“The Main Event at Santa Pod is always one of the truly great events of the year and this year did not disappoint. The weather forecast was spot on, with the rain out of the way we were off and running in the first round of the FIA European Championship. We qualified very well, being the quickest British car, in at number 6 qualifier with a new PB of 6.45 seconds!
Earlier in qualifying we had run 6.50 at 220mph!! That was 5mph more than we had gone before and 8 hundredths quicker on the ET. To say everyone was pleased was an understatement!
Here’s on-board footage of the 6.5 @ 220mph run:
The 6.45 was our last qualifier, at a speed of 219mph. Looking at the data logger afterwards, it showed that I lifted slightly at the end of the run….. so there was certainly a little bit more to be gained on that tune up.
We have now invested in a GoPro Hero 3 so look out for more footage, in HD, after future events. Be sure to subscribe to the Lucky Devil channel on YouTube.
So, on to eliminations. We had Norbert Kuno in the first round who had qualified number 11. I went into the burnout as usual but then I saw the blower belt break… which is the very tough toothed drive belt that is driven by the engine, turning the supercharger…… so that was that, I had to be towed off the track by the safety marshals, thanks for the assistance guys.
To say I was disappointed was an understatement… after the great work we had all done, it left us all feeling a bit dejected. A supercharger belt can break at any time but to try and prevent this we would have to change the belt after every 3 or 4 passes….. unfortunately our funds don’t really allow that.
So, after proving ourselves, the car going arrow straight and quicker, we had to lick our wounds… repair the damage the belt had done and prepare for the Summernationals a few weeks later.
“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.
Friday 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.
Qualifying 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.
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.
Race 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.
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.”
“We had a fantastic weekend at The Summer Nationals at Santa Pod.
Saturday saw us qualify with a 6.67 at 211 mph!!! This became our new personal best and, would you believe it, we were Number One qualifier!!!
Sunday saw us against the Plymouth Barracuda of Graham Ellis in round one. Graham had been struggling to get the car down the track on Saturday and it was unusual for him to be the last qualifier. We had almost identical reaction times, Graham then pulled a 0.99 sixty foot to our 1.03… the numbers were in my favour, and then Graham’s, and then mine, and then back to Graham… all the way up the track! I ran a NPB of 6.58 at 214mph but Graham pulled out a great 6.44 at 206mph!
Some great highs over the weekend and a great door handle to door handle race against Graham, who went on to win the event…. well done! We came away with a big NPB in both ET and Speed and there’s still lots more to come… plus, no damage at all!
Big thanks to Adam and Tony, Kev Slyfield and everyone who stopped by to wish us good luck, Dennis my hard working crew chief…. we were discussing ‘improvements’ on the way home, cheers pal… Belinda, who needs her own medal for her continued support, and Joe my youngest son, again, so supportive.
“Great news!!! The Lucky Devil set a new personal best at the Summer Nationals at Santa Pod – 6.69 seconds at 210mph!! It’s great to be back in the 6 second zone and going quicker too. We are sure that there is more to be had from our Chevy motor and, the good thing is, we didn’t hurt a thing all weekend.
Pro-Modified isn’t a class to be taken lightly, its like getting in the ring with a Heavy Weight champ, its going to hurt quite a bit, but when things come good it’s all worthwhile! We managed to qualify 3rd and only just got beat in the first round against Graham Ellis, both of us having a “peddle fest” all the way up the track, great fun!!
Of course all this would not be possible if it wasn’t for the support of my crew and family, and of course our sponsors. THANK YOU to all!
“We have hit the SIX second zone, with confidence. Our first full pass this year was a 6.72 at 209mph!!!!! This is a big leap from our previous best of 7.19 at 191mph, our new KOBELCO supercharger has certainly done its job.
Unfortunately we damaged the engine on the first six second pass. We pushed a head gasket out, damaging the cylinder head and block! The damage is more time consuming than anything which means we won’t be able to compete at Santa Pod’s Easter Thunderball. Below you can see for yourself the damage to the block and the singed bulkhead, the damage to the cylinder head, and the distorted head gasket.
It’s a definite shame, but we shouldn’t moan, you can’t expect to have this kind of performance without the occasional hiccup! Thanks to my SUPER CREW, Dennis, Luke, Adrian, my two sons Gareth and Joe, and of course my wife Belinda.”
“Well after all this bad weather this year, you could be forgiven for thinking we wouldn’t have much to write about. The Summer Nationals at Santa pod saw us back in to the sevens with a 7.77 losing out to Andy Robinson in the first round.
The European Finals was next at the beginning of September. This is my favourite event of the year as it usually falls on or around my birthday, a great way to spend your birthday. The trouble this year was, we saw even more of the dreaded wet stuff, it rained and rained, we had only one shot at qualifying and unfortunately I didn’t make it!
The National Finals at the Pod was our last opportunity to get some good runs this year, and what a great weekend. We ran a new personal best of 7.19 at over 191mph, still not in that magical 6 second zone, but considering our distinct lack of track time this year, and the fact we are tuning the car ourselves as a team, I don’t think we did too bad. The car ran faultlessly all weekend, arrow straight, with no damage, and we also managed to get some more valuable data to continue our tuning programme for next season.
Over the winter we have a few upgrades to do performance wise as well as the usual between season stuff.
So that is our first season in Pro-Mod, all that is left to say is a massive thank you to all my crew, everyone at EDA, Webster Race Engineering and the tireless crew at Santa Pod, they deserve a medal for all the hard work this year.