February 6, 1968 in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada, Yves Giard grew up with an
infinity of curiosity to discover what made things work and why. His first
experience in material property discovery was at the expense of his brother’s
rubber boots. From there he started using his father’s old tools to disassemble
a radio, then a toaster, then a lawn mower, etc. From each disassembly of
non-working mechanical devices Yves started his collection of screws, nuts, and
bolts. All of which led to metal machining in high school.
Yves learned his skills from his father, who worked for a company called
Casavant Frères, which built church organs. To give you the true since of the
craftsmanship involved in his craft feel free to visit the company website at
www.casavant.ca. Before Yves used his talents learned from his dad, he used the
talents inspired by his sister. At a young age he played a drum in the
Saint-Hyacinthe Youth Philharmonics. Looking at the T-shirt he is wearing it was
obvious that motorcycles were already on his mind.
first adventure into the world of motorcycles came as a result of a neighbor who
had two old broken scooters in his back yard. The neighbor did not know how to
repair them so when Yves offered to try and repair them he gladly accepted. Yves
cleaned and exchanged several parts between the two scooters and to his surprise
was able to get one of them running. He went for a couple of rides and broke it
again. But then again the photo below might explain why.
Not satisfied with his first
experience with scooters, Yves soon offered his services to his brothers and
other neighbors who had started repair projects on their cars. Each would tell
him he was too young so he was turned away. When they were tired of working on
their cars and went out with friends, Yves would go into the garage and work on
their cars and repair them while they were out. To their surprise, when they got
back the repairs were complete.
Racing started out as a kid on snowmobiles. In 1987 a friend of Yves, André
Cabana, who had an FJ1100 Yamaha, invited Yves to compete against him at
Napierville Dragway. Yves had a GSXR1100 and took André up on his offer. The
next year Yves began to modify his GSXR1100 by adding a wheelie bar, new
pistons, valves, and carburetors. After a couple of years running the stock
chassis with a best time of 10.50 he modified his swing arm in order to make it
longer and changed the angle of the front neck rake.
The above photo shows Yves’
enthusiasm but looks a little like Freddie Mercury of Queen.
It was at Napierville that Yves met Bob Mochinskie from Plainfield, Vermont. Bob
was instrumental in helping Yves in his quest to race Funnybike; finding him
parts on the American market which included taking him to visit American shops
like Orient Express in New York, Rick Stetson’s Harry’s Machined Parts in
Massachusetts, Gary Clark’s home in Iowa, Fast By Gast and more. Pictured below
is Yves and Bob standing in front of Yves first trailer, which Bob sold him.
It was at this point that Yves
attempted to enter Funnybike at the Prostar race in Lebannon Valley, New York in
1997. Officials did not approve the tire and chassis combo and forced him into
Pro ET. Even though Yves was doing all the right things to his chassis to race
Funnybike, the rules changed the following year and at Atco he was once again
turned away. Finally in 1999 with a 10-inch tire Kosman frame and all the
correct modification Yves officially became a Pro in the Funnybike class after
qualifying with a 7.33 @ 187mph. It was the most stock looking Funnybike since
Vince Santangilo’s GPz1000 replica Funnybike in the 80’s.
He could have left well enough alone
and kept expanding from his aftermarket chassis, but that was not good enough
for the French Canadian. Not the kid who started out taking apart home
appliances. Regardless of his success in racing he would never be satisfied
unless he did it his way. His next quest was to build his own chassis. In order
to build a Funnybike chassis and machine the components necessary to be
competitive, Yves purchased a used, very used, CNC.
The problem was his tiny backyard
garage was not big enough to house the CNC and have the room to work.
So what do you do when you have a
very small yard and no room for expanding your garage? Dig up the backyard and
add on of course. While you’re at it go ahead and enlarge the homes basement and
add a tunnel from the house to the garage to avoid walking in the snow in the
winter. Of course the new 32’ x 11’ basement attached to the house is really an
extension of the garage for his parts inventory and small machinery.
Because I said, “dig up the
backyard,” you know that wasn’t an easy task. Yves proceeded to build a tower
over his garage in order to support a 250-pound piece of steel used as a hammer
to drive four steel pickets into the floor of the garage to support the
structure and the earth underneath is from collapsing when he dug the hole.
In order to raise the steel Yves had
to rig a motor at the top of the tower. Check out the pulley he made with
plywood and recycled plastic. The rest is basic construction but it shows that
every thing Yves tackles is not the easy way rather the right way.
After completely restoring the CNC
to like new condition, work was on the way.
Along the way, Yves invented a few
of his own signature marks on the sport. Pictured here is his magneto in his oil
cooled GSXR1100 complete with three speed transmission activated by air cylinder
instead of shift drum.
Another invention that caught the
attention of many people in the pit is what we Americans call a rotisserie. He
invented it to turn the bike upside down inside his trailer to split the cases
from the bottom and have access to quickly change the transmission. The
following photos show both the rotisserie and a pretty well known group of
onlookers to marvel at Yves new toy.
Yves’ attention to detail and
craftsmanship earned him both a Prostar Best Engineered and Best Appearing Crew
The late great Bill Hahn Sr. helped
Yves to develop other great parts just before his death in 2009.
After twenty years of perfecting his
Funnybike Yves hard work finally paid off in 2007 at the longest running event
in motorcycle drag racing history, the Prostar U.S. Motorcycle Nationals in Atco,
New Jersey. After qualifying 5th with a 7.11 Yves shocked the crowd with his
first round defeat of Funnybike legend and then current FB Champion Keith Lynn
with a holeshot win 6.70 @ 208mph.
He went on to win his first pro
national event. The win encouraged Yves to make the 1400 mile drive to
Gainesville, Florida where he secured the #6 national number plate for the year.
The following year he reached the top five and again captured the #6 honors in
AMA Dragbike’s final year.
Yves is still interested in
participating but is anxiously awaiting another National event series, which is
a little closer to home. As a contractor for new construction and renovations,
his day job is what has long paid for his expensive hobby but his heart will
always be at the track and creating new innovations for the sport he has spent
most his life enjoying.
Other Areas of Interest
Residence: Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada.
Significant Other: Chantale Bérard
Occupation: Contractor in construction and renovation.
Home track: Sanair 10 minutes of my home , Napierville Dragway 1 hours
Team Name: Giard Racing Team
Crew Members: It depend of there disponibility Chantale Berard, Ginette
Boucher Gérard Boucher, Marc Gobeil and some different friends.
Sponsor: Company who give me good price on different stuff: John Noonan
(Wossner), World Wide Bearings, Luc Lapierre Moto RL. Michel Lacasse Usinage
Lacasse. Himselph and open to others.
Accomplishments: 2009 & 2007 AMA/Prostar #6 Funnybike, 2008 AMA/Prostar
National Event Wins: 2007 AMA/Prostar Funnybike Winner, Atco, New Jersey
Special Recognitions: 2000 Best Appearing Crew AMA/Prostar, 1998 Best
Engineered Bike AMA/Prostar
Goals: PARTICIPATE... PERFORM... GO FASTER ...
Current race bike / class: Hayabusa Turbo Alcohol mechanical injection
Interest outside of racing: Machining parts in my hobby shop
Favorite foods: General Tao
My first language: is French before English
Daily driver: Ford Éconoline 1995 rusted
First motorcycle: Honda PA50 mopped and CB 550 Honda 1975
Hero: Better mechanics than me.