Every cloud has a silver lining

It’s an old and tired adage, but the clouds of Easter certainly had a silver lining for us. At the time we were really disappointed to have had the meeting curtailed and thus being unable to progress with the momentum we were building, in retrospect it was fortuitous that the rain came when it did.

During our routine maintenance at the weekend we discovered a broken tie bar on one of the roller lifter pairs which had gone undiagnosed while checking the valve lash. Had we run with that damage we could potentially have seen cam damage or far worse, and have been sidelined until repairs could be affected. As it is we can replace with no damage, and ensure the motor is once again in fine fettle. In addition we are treating the supercharger to a freshen up so should be making a bit more boost come the Summer Nationals.

2014 Festival of Power

After a long off season which for us started when a rod fell out the motor at the 2012 Euro Finals it was time to hit the track again. The time off was spent rebuilding the engine and fitting a new body, a 1932 Bantam which was built by Pat Cuss for Wendy Baker and Paul Stubbings. The body was previously fitted to the Time Warp altered which is now wearing our old Mustang II funny car body, 2014 sees the Nostalgia Funny Cars racing with the Fuel Altereds so we were looking forward to the chance to race against a car whose history is intertwined with ours.

We changed a few settings in the clutch as part of the rebuild, so the first run was a shakedown launch off idle to 330 ft and all looked good, setting us up for a full pass the next day. We were up against Chaos which is always a pleasure but also a challenge, as they have that car running really well at the moment. With another idle launch we pulled through to a new PB of 7.42 @ 180 which was brilliant news for us – giving it a bit of RPM on the line should easily get the time down again next time. In the other lane meanwhile Nick took Chaos into history, taking the long standing AA/FA record. Huge congratulations to all the team.

The opportunity arose next time round to race Wendy in Time Warp but sadly the car was feeling recalcitrant and after the burnout and backing up Adam could not get forward gear and we had to shut off and tow back. Spirits were further dampened when rain put paid to eliminations day and we all went home a little damp, but overall happy with the weekend. We’ll be back out at the Summernationals with a brand spanking new Power Race Graphics paint job applied by Custom Exotics.

Thanks must go to Matt Wright and We Move Your Car for transportation at the weekend, and huge congratulations to Robbie Grabham for his first weekend out in Freddy’s Revenge where he handled the car brilliantly. Looking forward to racing you Robbie!

2012 Season Review

Not the most successful season on record. We started the season at the Autotrader Easter Thunderball in high hopes, after a very busy (borderline frantic) off season we all felt justifiably proud of the cars appearance, hundreds (no joke!) of hours spent lightening the body, improving the aero and most impressively of all the gorgeous new paint job laid down by our sponsors at Custom Exotics and pinstriping & polishing by Joe at Fresh Reflections A few upgrades and tweaks over the winter left us without a real baseline and every run at Easter saw the tyres lighting up and the hit, a quick pedal job and running mid-high 7s before the weather swept in and ended the event prematurely.

On to our next appearance at the Summer Nationals, another addition to the car in the form of a swoopy nose hoping to cure the top end wheels up we saw at Easter. The racing Gods however had other plans, the car was on a great run (new PB at every incremental) when at about 3/4 track I saw daylight, lots of daylight. The quick we release pins we had to fit to the body did exactly that, and quick released themselves launching the ’34 Ford body 30ft into the air, spectacular but painful. The impact all but destroyed the body. We made plans to return and I spent the rest of the weekend helping Darryl with a bit of colour commentary.

10 days hectic cutting, grinding and fibreglassing later we arrived at Dragstalgia with a very different look, a satin black ’23 T body a far cry from the show finish of the ’34, but functional, and at least we were out racing not sat at home. Everything came together with great weather and the car running sweet, the result a PB of 7.52 on an early shut off due to a ruptured fuel line, followed by a [email protected] for new best numbers at both ends. Set for a final round appearance against Chaos unfortunately I lost drive staging and had to watch Nick storm away to another impressive 6.3 pass.

The long summer break was too long, so we set out for a bit of testing at Mini In The Park, a couple of aborted launches due to a magneto fault and we set out to get ready for an outing in Super Pro at the Euro Finals.

Massive thank you to Ian Turboville for helping us out with a replacement rotor arm after Parcel Farce once again made a simple job impossibly difficult! First run a soft launch and check out run against John Everett (always a fun guy to race!) [email protected] A few tweaks to the fuel system and more clutch looking to take advantage of the awesome track conditions, driver error with a double clutch off the line but then the car was flying until around 500ft where I felt a weird vibration, quickly lifted and felt the motor die accompanied by a cloud of death smoke. I knew it wasn’t good news, popped the chutes, pulled over and left the brakes well alone in case I was swimming in oil. I hopped out the car, pulled the diaper back and confirmed the worst, a gaping hole in the sump and aluminium everywhere. Those shiny new Bill Miller rods don’t look so good when they’re on the outside…

A quick comment on diapers, basically it saved the car, 90% of the expelled oil was safely held in the diaper when we got back to the pits – without it there would have been 10qts of Lucas’ finest racing oil and chunks of aluminium under the slicks at 150mph and probably a very bent fuel altered stuffed into the concrete wall. Safety gear at its best, every car should have one. It also minimalised clear up time which has to be a bonus especially on such a busy weekend.

Finally a massive thank you to our sponsors; Lucas Oil, Custom Exotics, Auto Finesse and Fresh Reflections, to the crew – never down and always hard working, everyone who’s helped us this year (you know who you are) and our supporters around the world – over 1200 of you on our Facebook page now!

That’s our season done. We stripped the motor totally and are waiting on the diagnosis on the block/crank but we’ve got a few ideas to step things up a bit for next year! We’ll be back out at Easter, bigger, better and faster, its going to be a long winter again.

We’re gutted to miss the season finale at the VP Racing Fuels National Finals supporting the NFAA but I’ll be there (you can’t keep me away) and will give Colin a hand up in the commentary box for the NFAA again.

Dragstalgia II

After losing the freshly painted ’34 Ford body at the Summer Nationals we had a battle on our hands to get the car re-bodied in time for Dragstalgia, but there was no chance we would miss our headline event for the year. A replacement body was sourced, in the form a ’23 T which used to belong to my Dad and Uncle Mick 20 years ago, Dad made the trip to Dorset to pick the body up from Janet Powis (who’s late husband John of Henry’s Revenge fame had purchased from us.)

The body had been widened 7″ to fit John’s car so Chris and myself armed with an angle grinder cut the body into two and mounted it on the chassis to line everything up and brace it, the front of the body required lengthening 12″ and the turtle deck sectioning an additional 5″ and lengthening 6″ so a buck was made up to hold everything in place for fibreglassing. Dragstalgia at this point was a mere 10 days away! A week of furious fibreglassing and sanding assisted by Chris, my Dad and Joe later we had a body back in one piece, just prep and filler work to smooth it all in now, Tuesday and Wednesday night we put down the satin black paint, a far cry from the stunning House of Kolor Wild Cherry Candy applied to the old ’34 Ford by our amazing sponsors Custom Exotics, but needs must and all that.

Friday morning the body arrived at the track, mounted on the car and we all set about the finishing touches, mounting the parachutes, body catches etc. Saturday morning arrived with rain giving us some time to get stickers on and for Tanya to letter the body making it look more presentable. Jason Phelps kindly welded tabs on for mounting the rear wing, I fabricated some spill plates and we were good to go!

First run lined up against Joe in Nuthin’ Fancy, being out in the open and seeing a lot more was all a bit different but the car responded well, clocking new PBs at every incremental until a fuel line failed around 3/4 track, still running a PB 7.52 at only 147mph qualified number 2, lots of potential – all very happy and made the hard work worth it.

Sunday round 1 against Joe again, a slight stumble off the line and a very weak 60ft before the car picked up and pulled all the way through, [email protected] two more PBs! Unfortunately Joe suffered massive tyre shake losing an ignition wire which shut the car off so we took the round win.

Lined up against Nick in the unstoppable Chaos for the final was not to be, an air line caught around the reverser lever and pulled the car out of gear while trying to stage leaving Nick to solo for the event win with another storming 6.4 second pass.

All in we’re a very happy team right now, the work everyone put in to get the car ready was amazing, and it doesn’t look half bad either! Our crew is the best – a huge personal thank you to all of you. There’s still plenty more potential with the car and its going the right way, next up is a dabble in Super Pro at the Euro Finals for a bit more track time before the final NFAA round at the National Finals where we’re hoping to secure our 2nd spot in the championship.

A big congratulations for Dave Grabham and the Freddy’s Revenge team for getting back on the track again, really good to have you guys returning to the NFAA, also to my Uncle Mick for a new PB in his Jurassic Parts Wild Bunch slingshot, a very easy 10.45.

Finally a few more thank you’s to people who made it possible.

  • Lucas Oil, Custom Exotics, Auto Finesse and Fresh Reflections for their continued support.
  • Jason Phelps for the chute packs and welding
  • Roy Wilding for the wing
  • Andy Cowen of C&C Race Engineering for his offers of help and support
  • Ramon from Wild’r at Heart for letting us borrow his welder
  • Janet Powis for her help in getting us a body to run
  • Crunch for his ever-present help, support and tuning advice.
  • Andy and Joe Curtis for use of the awesome satin black ’66 Chevy pickup tow truck, finished the look off perfectly!

Down, but not out

After the mishap with our ’34 Ford body at the Summer Nationals it will be out of action for some time while we decide whether to repair or to build a replacement.

Completely gutted but not detered we do have a plan B, or more correctly plan T. We have acquired our old ’23 Model T body (as see in our gallery) which was purchased from us by the late John Powis 20 years ago, a huge thank you to his wife Janet for being so helpful in reuniting us with it.

We will have another busy couple of weeks preparing for Dragstalgia with the NFAA, but there is no way we would miss it.

We have everything we need except a rear wing, if there is anyone out there with something suitable to mount on the roll cage please can you get in touch via theĀ Contact Form or by calling Adam on 07887 840 497.

Another absolutely massive thank you to Scott, Brett and Amy at sponsors Custom Exotics, the work they carried out on the car was nothing short of stunning, we’re so sorry it doesn’t look quite so pretty right now. Also thank you to continued support from Lucas Oil, Auto Finesse and Fresh Reflections, and to everyone who wished us well and helped contribute to getting us back on the track, it is really appreciated. If anyone has any photos or videos from the Summer Nationals can you please either send them via email or share on our facebook page.