About Us

The Black Bear Team was formed in late October of 2001 and committed itself to a 5-year program which will result in the Team racing two (2), 1/4 mile dragboats on the National Circuit sanctioned by the International Hot Boat Association, the IHBA: An open cockpit boat which will be raced in a class which permits elapsed times as low as 7.70 seconds and speeds of around 140 + mph and, a capsule cockpit boat which will race in the top class(es) which are not limited by elapsed time or speed (classes in which boats typically run the 1/4 mile in the 5 second range and achieve speeds in excess of 200+ mph).

In 2002 the Team accomplished all of the objectives it had set for itself:

1) We completed reconfiguration, testing and successfully raced the first of our boats, the open cockpit, ”Black Mamba” (named after the aggressive snake which is silver green, with a black mouth ... one of the most poisonous snakes known to herpetologists): The boat was a Champion in both the IHBA and NJBA River Racer (12.00 to 12.99 second) Class in 2000. As presently set up with its nitrous oxide injected, normally aspirated 565 cubic inch engine (based upon a Dart Big “M”, modified chevrolet big block [BBC] design with 12 degree, NHRA ProModified style Pro-Filer SpreadPort, high flow aluminium heads, a WILSON Manifolds CNC sheet metal intake and, BURNS 3-step, tunable merge collector, stainless steel headers), the boat is set up to race in the 8.00 to 8.99 second ProEliminator Class of the IHBA and the UBFJ (UnBlown Fuel Jet) Class of the NJBA (National Jet Boat Association), at speeds in excess of 135 mph.


2) Completed research, design, assembly and testing of our 3,000 Hp engine (built, dyno tested & raced @ 1,525 Hp) for the 1st capsule boat planned to run first in the 7.00 to 7.99 second, ProModified Class, then in one of the TF (Top Fuel) Classes on the National Circuit in the IHBA, . This engine is the one currently installed in the open cockpit “Black Mamba”.

In 2003 we plan to accomplish two (2) goals: 1) Successfully race our current boat , the “Black Mamba” in Division I of the IHBA and, 2) Complete the Research & Design Phase and, perhaps begin Construction, of our next, much faster capsule cockpit boat. The “Black Mamba” #454, is presently configured, and will remain so through 2003, to compete in the ProEliminator (8.00 to 8.99 second) Class in the IHBA. After getting the boat back into our shop from “outside suppliers” and completing our own modifications, we have the Mamba running consistent low 8 second elapsed times, attaining speeds of 135 to 145+ mph in the 1/4 mile.


Jak Young - Owner, Black Rear Racing & Capsule Boat Driver: Jak has advanced degrees in Geophysics, Geochemistry, Geology and an M.B.A. and for over 30 years has been involved in worldwide projects and owned businesses involving these and related disciplines. His 15 plus years racing experience is building engines (primarily “Muscle Car”, A-Altered drag car and sportscar engines in the mid 60’s to late 70’s) and driving drag, dirt track and sports cars competitively. Currently, his sole focus is building Black Bear Racing into a viable, professional organization.

Mike Sampica - Crewchief & “Black Mamba” Driver: Mike has over 35 years combined asphalt and boat drag racing experience. His experience includes engine building & modification, car and boat outfitting & setup and, competitive driving. He is also an experienced over the road, tractor trailer long haul driver. In 2000 Mike raced the old “Black Mamba” in both the IHBA and NJBA Associations finishing Runner Up in the 12.00 to 12.99 sec. River Racer Class in the IHBA and 12.00 sec. Class in the NJBA. Currently Mike is the Crewchief of The Black Bear Racing Team and Competitive Driver of the “Black Mamba”. He has driven the Mamba throughout its shakedown trials after her reconfiguration and has been instrumental in her setup as a consistent, competitive ProEliminator DragBoat. Mike served in The U.S. Air Force in Southeast Asia and currently runs his own business.

Jim Sampica - Jet Pump Hardware & Hull Specialist: Jim also has over 35 years combined asphalt and boat drag racing experience including building & modifying aspirated and blower engines, setting up dragboats and driving them competitively. In 2000 Jim drove his “Sundancer” dragboat to the NJBA Championship in the 11.00 sec. Class. In 2001 and 2002 Jim only raced his boat in a few races as his work commitments prevented him from campaigning her more. While he was only able to race the first two IHBA events in 2002, he did get his boat to run in the low 7 second range, in the ProCompEliminator Class: In fact, though it can’t be published for he ran far below the IHBA 7.70 E.T. Limit, he holds the fastest time ever in his class - Blown Gas Jet @ 7.51 sec.. Jim’s expertise in jet pump hardware and hull/keel configurations has been fundamental in the Mamba’s present successful setup. Jim served in the U.S. Navy in Southeast Asia and is currently employed as a Senior Supervising CNC Machinist.

Debbie Young - Team Mgr., Graphic Designer and Computer & Software Specialist: Debbie has a B.A. in English and a Ph.D. in Education. After teaching for five years, she decided to go into the Database Design & Implementation and Computer Hardware & Software Businesses. When the internet was in its infancy, she saw the opportunity to expand her business into an area in which she could additionally apply her backgrounds in Photography, Film (principally Videography) and Graphic Design: Website Design & Maintenance, Advertising with a emphasis on Graphics and Targeted Direct Mailing. Deb, in addition to managing the Team, handles all computer hardware and software involved with race activities, including, but not limited to, interfacing laptops to the on-board data acqusition system and getting the data in a intelligible (for racers) format. Additionally, she is the librarian for all data. Debbie served in Germany in the U.S. Army.

Aaron Forrest - Mechanic & Computer Specialist: Aaron is currently working for a large automobile dealership in Tucson while studying for his degree in Mechanical Engineering. Aaron has been working on cars, trucks and engines since his teens. He has also acquired substantial knowledge in computer hardware & software systems as he has been working with them since about the same time he became interested in automobiles and trucks. After an extensive training period, Aaron will become the backup driver for the “Black Mamba”.

Nathan Forrest - Mechanic, Information Researcher & Data Analyst: Nathan is currently completing his degree in Civil Engineering (with minors in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering) at the University of Arizona while working part-time at a national auto parts supply house. Prior to starting his university studies, Nate served in the U.S. Air Force at duty stations here at home and in the Middle East. He has been working on cars and building engines since his early teens.

“et. al” - Depending on race date, location and their work commitments, various friends of the Crew attend events and “Pitch In” to help in the Pit. In addition to their help in daily race activities, we find their differing backgrounds, perspectives and input at the end of the race day, and race events, to be very valuable in the solution of problems encountered and Black Bear’s continuing growth and betterment.