We had a lot of confidence entering this event. A total of eleven drivers had entered and we felt sure what was learnt at the last event would serve us well. One of the parts “upgraded” between events was the flexplate. This was the fly in the ointment for us…. to cut a very long story short, the new flexplate wasn’t even round!!!! Brand new race quality parts, not even fit for purpose!!!!
We wasted all our time on Saturday fixing things….. but sadly missed all 3 qualifying sessions, so we were out before we even started.
“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.”
The National Finals at the end of September found us with a distinct possibility of finishing second in the National Championship… who would have thought that?! We hadn’t performed too well all year, but being at every event and being able to repair things when needed saw us being relatively consistent… and that’s what helps.
The important data we learnt at the European Finals helped us make some changes to the car. Let me tell you, rolling round on Saturday morning for the first qualifying run, I felt so sure, so confident that we were about to make a very big jump forward performance wise. I WAS SURE OF IT!!!
I rolled the gas pedal open as usual in the burnout, then BANG! I shut the motor off instantly and knew it was something in the transmission/drive line area. I was pushed back behind the start line and Lee Kirk opened the door and stared at me……… “Are you OK?!”… “Yes why?” I said… I took my helmet and neck brace off so I could look down… I wont repeat what I said, but I could now understand all the concern! Something had happened with the prop shaft and Lenco which resulted in the prop exiting the car in two pieces, making a mess of the trans shield and hoops on the way. The Lenco had seen better days too, it was quite badly damaged and leaking a lot of fluid. CARNAGE!
Thankfully the safety equipment did its job and no-one was hurt.
So, that was the end of 2012 for the Lucky Devil team. We ended 4th in the MSA British Drag Racing Championship, not too bad considering our performance this year.
All that is left to say is A BIG THANK YOU. To all the crew, Dennis, Adam, Tony, Andy and Lee. Gareth and Joe, our two boys for helping out and being at the track when they could. Keep up the good work at university boys! Belinda, my wife, for the fantastic support and help. I couldn’t do it without you 🙂
And of course our wonderful sponsors, Lucas Oil, NGK, Allyfab, Dentrepairs.co.uk and Originals Hot Rod Supply Co. for the great products and support. Thank you too to all the fans who say hi and wish us well at the track, it is very welcome.
2013 will see us back at it after a winter repair and rebuild programme. We will be looking out for more companies to come on board as sponsors too, and of course we will keep you all updated with news and progress. Roll on Easter!”
“My favourite event of the year came round in early September… The FIA European Finals! We had all the same super crew that came to Hockenheim with us, apart from Joe our youngest son. Joe started University at Preston that same week, where he is studying Sports Psychology. Drag Racing has a lot of that, well done Joe.
We qualified reasonably well, although not back to our best performance, and drew Andy Wright’s bad ass Ford in the first round of eliminations. For some reason, neither of us would go in to ‘full stage’, and we had a good old-fashioned burn down on the tree!!! So much so, that Ian Marshall (the chief starter) put the start button down, folded his arms and watched! Andy eventually went in to stage first and I followed… Andy left first, but fortunately we had the better performance and WON with our first SIX for ages, a 6.93 at 193mph!
Moving into Round 2, we had Bruno Bader in the “Gotham City” ’63 Corvette. Bruno was in the running for the European Championship so we just had to give him a race, even though on paper he had us covered. I had the advantage on Bruno from the tree, but he soon powered out in front with a 6.18 to our 6.69 at 198mph! The race itself was much closer than the numbers would indicate, and we learnt a lot from the data on that run, a LOT!!!
So that was the European Finals for us, a fantastic weekend, the place was full of spectators, the weather was awesome and it must have been the best race event at Santa Pod for quite some time. The super crew of Dennis, Tony, Adam and Andy and Lee Kirk, did a truly fantastic job all weekend. THANK YOU. Also thanks to our sponsors, Lucas Oil, NGK, Allyfab, Dentrepairs.co.uk and Originals Supply Co. for their continued support!”
“Well, Easter weekend at Santa Pod was our first race event this year and I’m very pleased to say we were there with the same great crew as last year (thanks guys!) and also Gareth, our eldest son, enjoying a well earned break from University.
We started the weekend with a couple of problems with our Bruno/Lenco transmission. We had the parts we needed with us, but they were wrong! So a trip to Wolverhampton was required to Penn Autos – many thanks to Andy Frost for his help.
The rest of the weekend we struggled getting down the very cold and damp track, qualifying with a 8.1 at 206mph after pedalling it for over 1.5 seconds!!!
Unfortunately, the event was “rained off” thanks to the typical Great British weather so we didn’t get chance to turn a wheel in competition. We now have to wait for the Main Event in June, where I’m sure we will do well.
Apart from our little issue with the transmission, everything else was fine. Big thanks to LUCAS OIL and NGK for providing us with truly great products.
Of course during all the down time due to the weather, it gave the crew chance try out the new shirts and make friends with Callum and Libby, whose mum and dad work as medics at the track.
Thanks again to all our supporters, crew and sponsors who make all this possible……….”
“Well what a weekend we had at Santa Pod’s National Finals!!! It started Friday when Tony had to be taken to the hospital with quite a nasty cut to his finger… the waiting room at Bedford A&E is another story…
Back at the track, we did everything possible to qualify well, but it wasn’t to be… only one driver managed to run a six in qualifying, that driver being Roger Moore. We ended up 4th with a 7.19 at 205 mph.
Eliminations on Sunday saw us against Andy Wright in round one, what we didn’t expect was Andy hitting the wall during the burnout…. which gave us an automatic win.
Round two was to be the the race of the weekend. We were paired against Roger Moore who had to beat us and then Graham Ellis in the final (assuming he won his semi final) to be the MSA Pro Mod Champ 2011. We pulled a good light and kept in front of Roger all the way to run a 6.96 at only 175mph to Rogers 6.99!!!
Roger was gutted, as you would expect but he had other things that nearly prevented his weekend even starting… his race rig was destroyed in a motorway pile-up!!!!! Too familiar for my liking. Roger and his crew were lucky to get away without injury and the car was good too. Santa Pod did a great job getting him to the track from the recovery yard.
The final was between Graham and ourselves. We did our very best but went up in a cloud of burnt transmission fluid from our BrunoDrive transmission, although Graham had his own issues and only managed a 7.5 to win… Graham won the meeting and the championship, well done!