#53 Kersten Heling
1922 Harley-Davidson J
I’m Kersten Heling, the one & only daughter of the spectacular Steve “Doc” Hopkins. My lineage is deeply rooted in motorcycling. My Mother tells me I was born with a shop rag in my hand. I’ve been testing the limitations of various vehicles ever since. Following my Dad’s lead, I developed a fond love for drag racing nitro Harleys. At the ripe age of 4, I professed that I would one day ride one of these fierce machines. In 1995, at 16 years of age, my Dad helped me put my tenacity to the test & I was licensed as the youngest Nitro Harley pilot in history. To present, there are still very few women to have ridden a nitro Harley & no one 16 or younger. For over 23 years I’ve indulged my passion for Nitro Harleys at various drag strips across the country acquiring a personal best ¼ mile of 7.55 seconds @ 178 MPH.
In addition to drag racing, I have dedicated my life to the family business, the greatest dealership in the world, Doc’s Harley-Davidson of Shawano County, Wisconsin. I’ve worked my way through every facet of the dealership & I’m proud to say that I currently serve as General Manager. It was through the dealership that I met my amazing husband, Shannon. Shannon began working for our dealership in 1989 at 15 years old. He has dedicated his life to learning every aspect & co-manages at my side. We are a great team at home, at work, & at the drag strip.
In 2016, I had the honor of assisting in sharing my Dad & Dawn’s Cannonball Journey with the World. I was deeply inspired by that initial Cannonball experience. In 2018, I was one of the first three women to complete every mile of the Cannonball. Stewball 2 & I also received the honor of being the 2018 1919-1928 Division Class 3 winner. Riding alongside my Dad as he completed every mile of his 2nd Cannonball with a sidecar & passenger was a life changing experience. The bond that I have developed with the 1922 Harley-Davidson that my Dad so thoughtfully built for me to ride is hard to put into words.
Prior to Cannonball 2018, most of my endurance run experience had taken place in a minivan full of kids. “Perfect days” in that setting are far & few between & I rarely get a sticker at the end of an arduous day. With that said, my greatest love & pride in life are my three boys, Ethan (8), Aksel (5), & Aidan (1). One of my greatest challenges will be the time spent away from my precious boys. I am thrilled to be once again, carrying the #53 plate on “Stewball 2” in Cannonball 2020 & perhaps one day my boys will aspire to do the same.
For more info on Doc’s Harley-Davidson visit WWW.DOCSHD.COM
To follow our 2018 Cannonball journey visit our Face book page: www.facebook.com/Docsmotorcyclecannonballjourney2016