Early start to the season

“Well, the start to the drag racing season couldn’t have been more mixed… In the weeks before our first event, the weather was absolutely atrocious. As cold as you could expect and SNOW… lots of it! My sanity was questioned on more than one occasion… “Wayne are you sure we should be going racing?” We had spent a lot of time on the car over the Winter – repairing the damage we had at the last event of 2012, checking the motor and giving it a freshen up, checking all the shocks and springs, rebuilding the Lenco and Bruno, checking and altering the Torque Converter, fitting a new Racepak data logger… so I was itching to try it all out.

Loading the car in to the truck the week before Easter was almost like an expedition, we had to dig the truck out of two foot of snow, and tow the race car out of the garage, usually we can just push it, but even though we had cleared as much snow as we could, we couldn’t get a firm grip on the drive to just push it.

So, with my sanity constantly checked throughout the following few days, I set off to Jon Webster’s on the Thursday morning with Joe. Jon was his usual very helpful self and we set about setting the car up after its full overhaul during the winter… which it still felt like… freezing! Jon and I discussed a few things and finished setting the car to our liking. After loading the car back in the truck, Joe and I went for a meal locally, and then got an early night.

The crew at the Festival of Power 2013Friday morning we headed to Santa Pod, ready for the weekend ahead and the brand new track. A few teams had decided not to show, supposedly due to the cold weather and the new virgin track surface. However, everyone in Pro-Mod showed up, all six teams.

All our crew duly arrived (thanks guys) and we got everything ready and set up, got the car scrutineered and finished programming the new Racepak.

Preparing for qualifyingQualifying the next day was taken easy due to the FREEZING COLD conditions but we found ourselves number one qualifier with a 7.62 at 210mph… I guess everyone else was trying too hard. Andy Robinson then put a fine 6.9 on the board for the new number 1 in his brand new ’69 Camaro and then promptly sat the rest of qualifying out.

 

Trying to keep warm!Light flurries of snow were experienced on a few occasions during the day and another bitterly cold night was experienced by us all… we had two out of our three heaters fail and our toaster! A prompt visit to Machine Mart in Peterborough was needed for some new heaters, only for one of them to fail too… We were all struggling to keep warm and keep the motor warm in the race car too, because a warm motor works far better.

Sunday came and we tried another approach to the track and conditions. The new racing surface is great and a true credit to everyone at Santa Pod. We just need some of the “newness” wearing off of it and some warmth in the track. Our first attempt on Sunday saw us with massive “tyre shake” but some good data anyway.

It was our very last qualifier that saw everything come together, even with a track temp of only 41°F and the temp in the water box of ZERO!!! The car hooked up real good with a 1.04 sixty foot, short shifting through both shifts, a dead straight run… crossing the line with a 6.69 at 214.85mph!!!! Your new number one qualifier and a New Personal Best speed. Oh, did I mention we had soft snow flakes falling in the pairing lanes too?!! And still everyone else was struggling. You can see from the photos how cold it was.

This is a clip of the in-car footage on the number one qualifying run.

To say we were pleased was an understatement… the long hours over the winter and the determination to attend in the bitter cold weather conditions were working.

Heading to the pairing lanesRace day at The Festival Of Power. We had a bye run in the first round due to the uneven amount of cars and us being number one. We decided to repeat everything from the previous day, just to see if the conditions would be the same… tyre shake was the answer but we were on a solo pass anyway.

For round two we were paired against Rick Garrett in his swoopy ’41 Willys. Going into stage on the lights was probably the very worst time for the air bottle to give up!!! Basically we have solenoids on our transmission and these need to be activated on the start line, only we didn’t have enough air… so a big fat RED LIGHT was duly shown on my side of the tree!!! Frustrating isn’t the word… Rick went on to win the event against Andy Robinson in the final… and we had to console ourselves.

Hopefully The Main Event will be a bit warmer!If you had told me the week before we would be number one qualifier, with a new PB for speed and come home with some great data, and having experienced a great new track I wouldn’t have believed you, due to all the poor weather. Not too shabby at all 🙂

Thanks as ever to our great sponsors and crew, without whom all this would not be possible.

Our next outing is The Main Event at the end of May… I can’t wait.”

Wayne

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