Tom Klemme, 2021 Willis Racing Pro Motorcycle champion

Photos by John Bisci



  • Davenport, Iowa
  • Won at WWTR in 2021 on April 18, June 26, July 1, July 2, Oct. 17.

(December 16, 2021) — The 62-year-old proprietor of Klemme Performance Motorcycles has been repairing motorcycles and building drag bikes for 27 years. His father largely is responsible for getting his two sons, Tom and Joe, interested in bikes.

“Back in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, my dad was a kind of a racer – though not as serious as I am. He tried bracket racing and was not proficient at it. And neither was I in the beginning,” said Klemme. “I’ve been doing it a long time. My father got me into the motorcycles. There was I time I thought I was going to race cars. I’ve had door cars and dragsters, but I didn’t really care that much for them. I went back to my roots. I like the bikes. My younger (by one year) brother Joe comes with me to race too (almost every event), as do crewmen John Mealy and Tim Genung.”

When the 2021 champion tows in to race at World Wide Technology Raceway, it’s not exactly a quick shot up the interstate. The Davenport, Iowa, native hauls 260 miles – one way – to get to the track. Racing at WWTR means 10 hours on the road. Why trek to WWTR?

“Division 3 got the NHRA wild card this year, which means we’re sending two people to Las Vegas, so I was trying to double my chances of getting to Las Vegas.”

Getting to compete in the finals is important to Klemme, who won the NHRA’s Super Pro Bike national title three times in four tries (2008, 2011, 2012).

Klemme competes in WWTR’s bracket series’ Willis Racing Pro Motorcycle class but also races against cars in special events.

“You have a nice bike class. You get a lot of bikes compared to other tracks. Most tracks get five or six. You’re getting 15 to 20 and that’s a pretty good program. But I also like the opportunity to race against the cars at WWTR. I also like that you have the All-Star program – that was pretty fun. And I’d like to thank Willis Racing for contributing to the bike class.”

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