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Former BHS grad sets world record

October 6, 2011

This enlarged version of a $10,000 check was won by Schnitz, and motorcycle engine expert Cecil Towner after Schnitz used the cycle in front to set a world record on a quarter-mile track in Maryland. From left are Wayne Robertson, Phil Davis, Towner, a man identified only as “The Fonz,” Schnitz, Towner’s father (also named Cecil), Tim Hayes, and racetrack owner Jason Miller. (Photo courtesy of Schnitz Racing)

    What are the odds that two members of the same high school graduating class would become world-class motorcycle performers?
    The odds are two for two when you talk about Ryan Schnitz and Josh Borne, both of whom graduated in 2000 from Bellmont High School.
    Borne, now of Atlanta, Georgia, has established a career as a daredevil performance artist, doing spins, wheelies, and even handstands all over the United States. He has performed at least twice in Decatur in recent years, including in August during the city's 175th anniversary celebration
    Now, Schnitz, who still lives in Decatur, recently set a world record by piloting a cycle at 203 mph on a quarter-mile dragstrip to become the first person to break the seven-second barrier on a street-legal, but much modified, vehicle.    Schnitz, 30, set the record on the weekend of October 1 and 2 at Maryland International Raceway as he did the quarter-mile in 6.907 seconds to break the 10-year-old record.
    Schnitz is the technical advisor for his family's business, Schnitz Racing, downtown on Third St.
    The bike he drove is a heavily-modified 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa, using BP racing fuel. The cycle has an engine tuned by Cecil Towner. Schnitz estimates the value of that cycle at $80,000.
    On top of setting a world record, Schnitz and Towner won a $10,000 prize from businessman Tim Hays for using a clutch made by Hays Machine Works.
    Schnitz says his record time could be beaten by a few tenths of a second in coming years, but it's impossible to break the six-second barrier in a quarter-mile distance.
    Now, if Borne could one-up Schnitz and do a handstand at 203 mph, that would really be something!

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