Drachten, The Netherlands, 19th December 2023; The Junior Dragster category was first introduced in New Zealand when someone had the audacious notion of turning quarter-mile races into a sport for all ages. It was not until the eighties that the world started to embrace the idea of having minors behind the wheel of a race vehicle. Of course, not every parent is ready to send their six-year-old down the race track. Nevertheless, the idea proved not to be that silly. The juniors have their championship and are competitive once they start in other categories. In this Behind Staging Lane edition, the TCOB team went looking for the story behind one of the Dutch rising stars in quarter-mile racing! She was named ‘Porsche Killer’ in 2019, won the 2023 French championship in Junior Dragster, and was runner-up in several other championships. Let us take you through the story of junior driver Cheyenne Visser! 

Text: Told by family Visser, edited by Benjamin Wefer
Pictures Benjamin Wefer, Harald Czekalla, Clarissa Czekalla

Cheyenne was born and raised in Drachten, the Netherlands. She just finished high school, is sixteen years old, and is studying legal services. In addition to her passion for race cars, Cheyenne has a passion for horses and is active in equestrian sports. She owns a pony and competes in dressage competitions on a local level. Cheyenne wants to continue doing this at a professional level in the future. However, she also thinks of continuing to study law to become a lawyer. So how does a girl who loves horses and studies law end up behind the wheel of a junior dragster? To reveal this, we needed help from her mother (Henriette) and her father (Wolter), as she was only six when she first took the wheel behind a junior dragster. 

Henriette and Wolter are the owners of Redneck Cars Drachten, which supplies car parts, gadgets, and NHRA products. Their passion for American cars and being a parts supplier brought them to quarter-mile race events, where Cheyenne was always by their side. When the Quartermile organization organized races in 2014, Johan Ooman asked Cheyenne’s parents whether she would be interested in driving a junior dragster. Cheyenne was permitted to conduct “demo” runs as she was only six years old and, therefore, too young to compete. On October 3, 2015, she received her license to compete in junior dragster and team Dolphin, and her new passion was born! 

Her first dragster was a half-scale dragster, which used to be from Dennis & Timo Habermann. Yep, the multi-champion brothers in Top Methanol! The age limit during that time was eight years old for Junior Dragsters, but Cheyenne was already competing at the age of six. As the years passed, she became a passionate and sharp racer. In 2017, the Visser family bought a new (as good as new) junior dragster built for the outlaw junior dragster in the United States. By adding weights to the car, they made it race-legal for Europe. Cheyenne has won several races in the last decade and just won the 2023 French Championship. She also ended up third in the German MSJ Junior/DMSJ Drag Racing Championship 2023, runner-up in the Junior International, and second in the HARA Drag Racing Championship. With this achievement, she is ready to move on to the next chapter in her racing career: bracket racing! 

The Visser family recently bought a dragster (built by Undercover Motorsport) from Erich Pflug and will be racing in Super Comp in 2024. The Team name has also changed from Team Dolphin to Team Gremlin to honor the dragster’s previous owner. Currently, she and the Gremlin crew are preparing for the 2024 season. Of course, I took the opportunity to ask her a series of detailed questions. 

What are your expectations with your current setup? Or does it already meet your expectations?  My junior dragster did meet all my expectations. My best E.T. is a 7.60 at Hockenheim in 2019 against a Porsche. For the current dragster, I expect to get the most out of it. The chassis is a six-second build. Of course, we need to modify the current setup to get the car up to that level. But that would be the ultimate expectation for the new dragster. 

Who usually builds or maintains the engine?  My father is my mechanic and does all the maintenance. I am still learning all the techniques behind these race cars and am currently in charge of routine maintenance, like changing the oil and ensuring the right tire temperature. My father will continue as my mechanic on the new dragster with the help of Erich Pflug and his son Benni. Although Erich has retired, we are grateful for his support and help. Huge thanks to Erich, Gabi, and Benni Pflug. 

What would be the most remarkable moment you experienced in your racing career? And what would be the worst or least funniest moment? That would be the exhibition race against the Porsche back in 2022. Dad took all the weights from the car, which made it lighter than we initially wanted. The front wheels came off the ground, and I took the win! Another moment was back in 2021 at Zerbst, where I won with a 0.000 reaction time and an elapsed time of 7.901 seconds. My dial-in was 7.900 seconds during that run. 

Also, a special thank you to our sponsors, who believed in us and made all this possible. Ufkes Greentec Drachten, Wis Drachten-Dokkum, Laserworx Leek, Wierda Bedrijfswagens Drachten, Redneckcars Drachten, L”art Automobile Paris France, Holger Bieber Mannheim Germany, and Race Rescue België.

How do you see your future in drag racing? What will be your ultimate achievement? I want to continue growing within the sport and see myself driving FIA Top Methanol one day. But the ultimate dream is Top Fuel Dragster! I would love to be behind the wheel of the most extreme class in the world! 

Will you miss Junior Dragster? Yes, the juniors are more like a family compared to the adults. I will miss my family and the familiar faces I raced against. The current junior dragster was my baby, and it was sad to let her go. But, on the other hand, I am excited to be in the new dragster and meet the sports veterans at the starting line! 

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the following people: My mom and dad for all their support, Kalunki and Sven Klut from Junior Internationals, Andrea and Rene Kloss from DMV/HARA Dragracing, Erich Schenkenberger, Harald & Clarissa Czekalla, HARA Drag Racing Oranisation, Bernd & Steffi from UMC, Eric Angelioni from ATD, and all other organizations, and to all our drag race family. 

So, what does drag racing mean to Cheyenne? It’s a sport for me. I take it very seriously and dedicate time to reach my goals. It means everything to me!  

Now you know a little more about Cheyenne Visser, the Porsche Killer and 2023 champion in Junior Dragster (French Championship). After being successful in Junior Dragster, she is now ready for the big leagues!