Friday, 20 September 2019

124. The Hot Rod Drags 2019

I did say that after the Mopars that would be it for Slimline Racing for this year but after such a successful meeting well...?? the decision to go to the HRD's was very late one as Steve didn't know if he could get the Friday and Saturday off of work till the Thursday before the meeting. So it was all hands to the the pumps or was it? It would appear that senior team member and now occasional driver Dave was already going to 0 he meeting anyway so some phone calls were made and the team set off Friday for the Pod where some last minute adjustments were made and camp was set up everything was ready for the morning.

Saturday arrives and the weather is just awesome even Colin in the tower can't stop reminding everyone how good it is PB's after PB's were set in all classes. Steve managed the obligatory 3 runs with the Wild Bunch helped out this weekend by Dave's better half Jeni.


First run of the morning was against James Auld in his Little Faus dragster Steve managed 8.55 at 154.15 mph not exactly where we wanted to be but it's a start so some fettling with the fuel system was in order to try and regain the 8.3 performance of the Mopars, Next run was against a RWYB Barracuda this time he managed 8.46 at 154.8 mph so more fettling with the settings and then the last run of the day against Phil James in Rampage where Steve carded an even slower 8.63 at 152,12 mph. Again this was no-where near where we wanted to be but on the last run Steve managed his best ever 60 ft time of 1.18.


Some head scratching overnight lead to some more fiddling  with the settings. Sunday arrived with decent air but not as good as the previous day Steve's first run was against the Jag V12 powered slingshot The Boston Straggler this time on staggered (handicapped) lights.Steve managed to run 8.53 again! at 154.75 mph.


Video clip courtesy of Jeni

Next run was against Graham Rawlings in the insanely quick little air cooled VW powered slingshot Steve had spent the most part of Sunday trying out different settings for the fuel system to try and emulate the previous meetings performance and p to now this had still eluded him.

Video clip courtesy of Jeni

On this run  something went wrong Steve launched in second gear and only realised this when he went to shit into second this resulted in a 9.18 at 152.07 mph run never mind. Last run of the day was against Kieth Crampton in the gorgeous Soul City Shaker Steve ran another 8.54 at 154.72 mph all the runs on Sunday were against a dial in of 8.4 which we thought was a bit on the conservative side after what we ran wt the Mopars.

No matter what Steve did to the tune it looked like we had an 9.5 bracket car this weekend? why? we have no idea but we do know what we need to go forward. Next we have a few tings to sort out like the screen on the car and getting the fire suit re-tagged and we need to look into Hans devices for next year so even though this was definitely the last meeting of the year for the Tight Fit slingshot and Slimline racing we will back bigger and faster next year.........probably!!!

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

123. The Mopars

This meeting was not on our radar for this year, as it has turned out it was a good job the team went to the Mopars as it looks like Steve can't get the time off for the Hot Rod Drags. After Dragstalgia and the disappointment of the performance of the new parts till the very last run we needed something more to cheer us up. The last run at Dragstalgia proved we had some horsepower at last and that we were going the right way with the tuning. It was decided at the last minute to attend the Mopars but with a depleted crew as I was back in Spain. Steve and Dave too the car tot he Pod Friday morning to do some work on the car before the RWYB session started at 12 O'Clock. A couple of days before this Steve and I decided it was about time to let Dave have a go in the car. Every time we had tried to sort this out in the past something had gone wrong with the car but for now she was running OK, So Friday afternoon Dolly Dave Dream got togged up and towed down for a run.....

Video Courtesy of Santa Pod Live TV to watch the full video click here

No-one expected what came next, the track was good the car was running ok and after a lot of work on her in the last 12 months she now runs straight...ish but Dave's first run was arrow straight and fast he went through in 9.1 seconds and if he had not come off the the throttle early as he only hit 133 mph it would have been an 8 second run, a later  run with a two step off the line resulted in a 9.6 with a faster 137 mph and another run Saturday morning resulted in a  throttle problem so no time or speed recorded but! I bet Dave had a grin so big it could be seen from outer space.

For the rest of Saturday it was back to Steve in the hot seat again the track and air was good and the car was for the most part behaving itself. Without changing too many  of the settings from the previous day the team towed own to the start this time with the lovely Diana doing driving and back up duties. Steve was paired off with a massive pick up truck and the lights ran down and ....well!!



MY PB well and truly beaten with an incredible 8.58 second run wow even I was shouting at the top of my voice here in Spain.I knew it is in the car and I also knew there was still so much to come from that little red and black machine. Steve's next run was a bit of an anti climax as he only ran  8.7 but I found out later that he had a puncture on the front wheel at around half track which slowed him up a bit...! The team missed the last run as they tried to find a replacement inner tube for the car even a trip to Halfords didn't solve the problem but at the last minute they used a BMX bicycle inner tube but it was too late for the run. Sunday morning the team were up ready for another days racing again the track and the car were more than ready they towed down for the first run of the day Steve was paired off with Callum Swinchat who has been consistent in the 8 second zone the lights came down and off went Steve but he left behind a big red cherry as he had forgotten it was a handicap start with staggered lights and he broke out of the 8.4 second dial in he had set...yes you did hear that right he had broke out of the 8.4 second dial in........

Video Courtesy of Santa Pod Live TV to watch the full video click here

I spilt my coffee knocked over the chair and lost my voice Steve had jut run 8.38 at 157.43 mph so both ends of the PB for that car now belong to Steve...for the time being? Wow what a run. The next run something went wrong Steve stepped after the burnout cut the engine and was pushed back, After the tow of shame it was found that part of the throttle linkage had come away under the car which thankfully was easy to fix. Next run resulted in  a 8.4 second run which was good for the dial in but maybe not as fast as Steve wanted to go but it was found that this time both front wheels had punctured so this slowed him up a bit and with no way of fixing the problem on site it  was time to pack up and miss the last run but the team were not too disappointed they have had a record setting weekend Uncle Dave had been int he hot seat and they came away with is trophy.....


All in all not bad team. this however might be the last time the car hits the track this year as some work now needs to be done on her, we will see.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

122. Dragstalgia 2019 part 2.....

Just getting to Santa Pod for this years version of Dragstalgia was going to be an adventure in itself 3 days of hard riding an incredible numb bum and a total  distance of 4111.1 km or 2554 miles completed at an average 55 mpg the Super Ten did well. Arriving was in itself an achievement but on top of this the wonderful Wild Bunch are inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame this was worth the journey on it's own.

Me leaving on the morning of the 9th

I arrived around 21:30 on Thursday 11th to find the car was not as ready as I had expected, as I stated in Dragstalgia part 1 Steve had changed the cam shaft and checked everything out that goes with it, valve lift and clearance etc, changed the firing order by doing the 4-7 swap new head gaskets and new inlet manifold gasket and of course change the fuel system to match. But! there was another unforeseen problem bought to Steve#s attention by the very helpful Leo Knight and that was the valve springs which we have had in the car since we purchased the new engine 4 years ago, with Leos  help Steve found the springs were seriously lacking in tension and it could have ended up with us having no engine to play with. Not being able to find any springs suitable for the job Steve and I made our way over to Hauser Race cars where with Geoffs  help we purchase a whole load of shims this was Friday morning bearing mind that we had our first practice run scheduled for around 5:30 that afternoon and we still haven't even run the engine yet. Steve set about spending the next 5 hours shimming both the inlet and exhaust valves up.


With literally minutes to spare we ran the motor up, Steve wasn't happy at the way it sounded and on top of that he noticed a rather nasty oil leak coming form the inlet manifold which would have had us shut down at the start line. To top it all we had just been called into the pairing lanes.


I have never seen anyone work so fast in all my life the inlet manifold came off in seconds and was re-sealed Steve found two blocked injectors and one loose one all sorted put back together again and run but just two minutes too late for our call to run, We were all rather disappointing but we were ready for the next day.

Saturday would also bring it's ups and downs, we wee called for what would be our first run in the morning we were confident of big things we were paired off with Luca from Italy and......ring rust? I forgot to let go of the trans brake switch, I did eventually and the car went well..ish the time for us was 9.16 at 153 mph not where we wanted to be, we took a look at the plugs and they were cleans very very clean we wee advised that we were running way to fat and the plugs had been washed, OK so we leaned her out a bit more. Next run was against new boy Bob Wright in his "T" altered we ran 9.13 at 152 a bit better but not enough so we took more out of it next run I managed the burnout form hell against Jim Tanner bu the revs wouldn't come down after the burnout they stayed at around 3500 rpm I couldn't do anything but get off the end of the track no time recorded.


The reason for the high revs was found to be a loose idle adjust lack nut which let the scew undo itself enough so as not to be able to hold the car on the brakes or change gear.

Again a very disappointing and frustrating day the problem with the idle adjust was quickly seen to by Steve, the frustration of what was happening with the car was starting to get to us all, Steve was doing everything that he was advised to I was doing my best with the driving and Dave was also scratching his head we set 8.7 as our dial in and we had got no-where near it again even after all  the hard work and money spent...not a nice feeling. But we did have an excellent back up girl, Diana looked gorgeous at Dragstalgia and should have won BUG of the meeting in my humble opinion.

Diana doing her thing Photo by Callum Pudge click on the name for more

Sunday rolls around and we find ourselves up against Leo Knight in his awesome altered we didn't touch the settings form the last run and we did run a fraction quicker 9.01 the speed again at the 153 mph mark, So Steve and I scratched our heads and had a think, the new camshaft has a far longer duration and opens further so that would let more air in so we effectively leaned the car out just by changing the cam which means we have been going the wrong way with the fuelling so we started with an 85 pill in so we fattened her up from that setting ad went for our last run against Gonzo the Great and Alan Lloyd, but it all went wrong for some reason the car rolled the beams as if the trans brake wasn't working , then it did and it lifted the front wheels up so that was the end of that...well maybe not once we had towed back to the pits Steve had an idea and said run down and see if we can tag on at the end of the session and have an out of competition run, So I ran down the pairing lanes, haven't run that far in about 30 years, and asked the race officials if we could run again the answer was yes if we could get the car down in 2 minutes,,,bloody hell I had to try and run all the way back again, thanks god  the boys decided to  run the car down at around 50 mph once they had re-fuelled her, So having been told no long burnouts I just cleaned the slicks out of the box and nailed it and low and behold she actually went like she was supposed to, that was the first run of the meeting where my back was slammed to the rear of the seat, the wheels came up and away we went.


However the run didn't feel that good she was still a little flat at the top end and probably the high speed lean out needs a lt more work but when Steve came up to collect me he  had a grin on his face the first thing he said was you didn't use the chute and you just PB'd on speed 156.38 mph and I was just 2 hundredths off my ET PB at 8.7...phew!



About bloody time we were on the right track again, If we had managed to get the three runs in on Fridays RWYB ......"Thats Drag Racing" as we keep getting told.

Thanks to Blackett Photography for the great photo

So another Dragstalgia is over another excellent event for the now Hall of Famers the Wild Bunch, I got quiet emotional at the little gathering we had when we heard that news and so many PB's by the Bunch I didn't get to see much racing that weekend as we were so busy most of the time it was really sad to see what happened to Bob and Sam so glad they are both OK, the safety equipment does work folks, I'm sure both cars will be rebuilt, So what about us Slimline Racing? well there is a small chance of the car coming out at the Hot Rod Drags with Steve back int he seat who should now smash my PB's into touch I may make it back for next years Dragstalgia not sure  yet we will see?????

Oh yes the 1300 mile ride home was  by far a lot more pleasant thanks to the last out of competition run that we were allowed to do thank you Santa Pod Raceway.









Friday, 21 June 2019

121. Dragstalgia 2019 part 1.............

I semi retired form racing last year and Steve took ever running the car and has done very well, but I did tell him that I wanted to run at this years Dragstalgia. Now this leads to two problems the first is how do I get there from Spain and second getting the car ready in time, and as far as the car goes it looks  like we will be putting the engine together on the Thursday and Friday morning of the meeting just like we seem to have to do every year at Dragstalgia, more on that in a minute.

Lets have a look at how I'm getting there, at this moment in time I live just south of Valencia in Spain I could get a train to Valencia airport and fly to the UK but that mean organising lifts taxis and places to stay etc and that could get complicated and to be honest even though I was in the Air Force for 12 years I am not that keen on flying, There is a train service now that could get me where I wanted with a couple of changes but that is very expensive. I could drive there but Lorni will need the car while I'm away, you can see where I'm going with this can't you?...this leaves the motorbike..aha! So that's what I'm going to do and that will be an adventure in itself. not bad for a Granddad eh? I didn't take any of my bikes from the UK with me and seeing that all vehicles are around 20-25% more expensive over here in Spain that ruled out another Harley. so I am the owner of a Yamaha XT1200 Super Tenere.

Smug Russ with new bike

Actually I bought this in January for the prime purpose of touring, seeing that I am now on the right side of that 21 miles of expensive water way they call the English Channel, just right then for the trip to Dragstalgia. Route is worked out I am taking it easy this time and will take three days to get there going from home over the Pyrenees and stopping in Pau and then on to my friends biker stop-over just north of Limoges Called "Belonga Mick" yes it is really called that and it can be found on Google maps if you  ever find your way out to that part of France. Then on to the crossing and the Pod hopefully arriving on the Thursday evening. A trip of nearly 1300 miles, well that's the plan hmm so if you don't see me by Friday morning then something has gone drastically wrong and Steve will end up driving the race car. The bike has had a few additions made since acquiring it. in the vain hope it will make the journey safer and more comfortable for me.

Ready to eat miles.

Over night stops and crossings sorted and booked so that's the driver arranged how about the car? well! as usual Steve has been busy and after the Nostalgia Nationals was not too happy about the cars performance, so after consulting Spud Millers web site FIE and using the fuel calculator it looks like we have been running the car way way too fat we have been running with main pill of around the mid 80's but the calculator tell us we should be running a pill of around 120 that's a massive difference and worth a couple of tenths but that is still not enough now that everyone seems to have stepped up on the performance front, and as I mentioned in the last post our cam shaft is really crap for drag racing, so after consulting Comp Cams a new camshaft was ordered, one that is matched to our engine and our goals and it duly arrived a few days back.

Oooh shiny new thing

Of course we have also had a problem with the crankshaft seal leaking so  a shim kit along with new seals were ordered so now the hard work begins. Steve has stripped the engine down, the timing cover is off ready to fit the seal kit and shim and to double check cam timing for the new camshaft, the heads are off also to help with fitting of the aforementioned camshaft and also to have a look inside the motor and check out a few bits and bobs. In the past we have had a lot of problems with torched heads and we have had the right hand head welded up a couple of times Steve found there was a little "dink" in the usual place so to be on the safe side the head is going to an engineering workshop to have the dink filled and the head blocked, so now we also need a new set of head gaskets, the ones we have been using since the last rebuild are a bit thicker than we needed but they were all we could get hold of at short notice, so at the moment our car looks like this......




So with just over two and half weeks before I leave for the UK we have an engine in bits waiting for some machining to be done and trying to source some gaskets which when done still has to be assembled and the new cam shaft has to be run in and then a new fuel map worked out, so no pressure then Steve??. And of course having seen the current weather conditions in the UK it might be a good idea if I buy a boat! so a few prayers to the weather Gods on the way over are called for as well. So situation normal for the Tight Fit team then, see you all at Dragstalgia...I hope!!.........to be continued...

Saturday, 18 May 2019

120. Nostalgia Nationals 2019

A huge amount of work had gone into getting the car to the Nostalgia Nationals and a fair bit of cussing and plan changing, we had a set in stone plan for this year which went straight out of the window when the tow truck broke and used up all the budget so it was a a case of " we will just have to make do" with what we have, and try and optimise the motor to get the most of out of it. And of course the biggest `omission from this meeting was myself, this was the teams first outing without me, I have to admit it was really weird watching my car go down the track on the PC here in Spain. Bearing in mind all the stress leading up to t his meeting they did very well. The trailer was picked up Thursday morning and camp was set up at the Pod there were a few jobs to complete before the car was ready for the track most of which were completed without any problem, The team was made up of Steve and Dave of course and my  other son Phil and one of Steve's friends,

pit set up


Phil's accommodation for the weekend

On Friday the car was warmed up this is the first time the motor has run since the Hot Rod Drags last year and considering the length of time it's been idle in the back of the trailer she sounded sweet.



To be fair this engine has always sounded great. but while going through the gears on the stands Steve heard something he wasn't happy about he shut the motor down and turned the wheels and there it was a noise coming form the recently rebuilt axle, did this deter them, put them off nooo (probably yes) out came the tools and the odd naughty word I bet and the car was stripped down again,  and axle removed and stripped and the problem was found, a loose lock nut that had shaken loose because the lock tab had worn, problem soon fixed with a centre punch and thread lock, then the long job of putting everything back together and in the car again, they even managed to get the car on the track late Friday afternoon...



.. as  you can see things didn't go according to plan, in the burnout (not shown) Steve started to spin the wheels is first then pulled it into second and lost drive??? on the run he rolled the beams, when putting everything together after the rebuild earlier in the day the team got the gear linkage back to front so second gear wasn't where it should be and on the run it was finger/ glove trouble Steve just didn't push the trans brake button hard enough..well it has been over 6 months. The team got in three runs on Saturday with a best of 8.8 seconds, still down a bit on top speed but Steve knows why, I wasn't there to take the videos so please bear with me I'm not of the order of these but what the hell.



A great picture of Steve launching the car by Paul Evans

Up against Mark

Sunday morning saw the team out with a dial n of 8.6 which ended up being a little optimistic as the car slowed to a 9 flat but worse than that it was to be the last run from the car that weekend as a blown crankshaft seal ended play, replacing the seal is no biggie but the cause was a problem and  a shim kit is required so the team loaded up and headed home. The meeting itself was brilliant so many PB's set it was unreal and as usual The Wild Bunch put on a great show. It was a shame the car broke as Steve was after points, but the car did run the engine sounded awesome and the team did feature in the Nostalgia Nationals official highlight Video quite heavily...

Video courtesy of Santa Pod raceway for more great videos check out Santa Pods YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/user/SantaPodTV

Never seen Dave jump so high!!! So now its time to sort the couple of small problems out and try to get the car back to it's best ready for Dragstalgia and of course my turn behind the wheel ..looking forward to it..maybe we should re-paint the axle black!!!!!

Monday, 29 April 2019

119. Festival of Power, Dodge Rams and torrential rain....!

It's taken me over a week to get down and write all this up mainly due to a visit form a family member to our place here in the Valencia region of Spain. Lets start with the FOP I was sat in front of my PC in my office from the test and tune day till the final race on Sunday. There was a reason for this as Spain became victims to the worst storms seen in the last 75 years, on the Costa Blanca alone we managed to get 24 inches of rain in five days that's nigh on monsoon levels of wet stuff falling on my already dodgy roof, there are plenty of videos on YouTube of this deluge local towns flooded including Benidorm and Denia, we are lucky as our place is set higher u in the village than a lot of the houses, I wont complain about the walk up that hill ever again. SO there I am in the middle of this biblical size extinction event watching racing at Santa Pod at Easter bathed in sunshine, something very  wrong with that picture? But what an event PB's all over the place, Rebel in the 8.3's now listen up Brown boys if you want to go faster here is a little tip....paint your axle red shhhh! You backed off after that I can only presume that you either went out of your chassis tag or were saving parts, but what a belter of a weekend for you and some decent driving jobs, and ( I wont say this too loud" you beat Mark to the 160 mph well done. Mark tried to get his pilots licence even I jumped up out of my seat and winced at that one, glad you're OK mark and good to see the car back out the next day. Bob! what can I say an amazing run then disaster hope you get it fixed in time for Dragstalgia.. Great to see Bitchcraft running and turning all gears and to prove you don't need the fastest car to win congratulations to Keith. Getting itchy feet now. Such a great show put on by the Wild Bunch.

Back to our problem with the tow car the Dodge Ram  I can see why so few people use Dodge engines in drag racing the parts are so dam expensive, a new set of pushrods, new set of lifters a few bolts and gaskets cost nearly as much as the last full rebuild on our Chevy motor, Steve ordered the parts and while he was waiting got on the with cleaning the heads and intake etc up and reseating the valves after de-coking them.




As you can see the 160,000 miles this engine has done has taken it's toll on parts it was a bit of a mess to be honest and to make matters worse this engine has LPG conversion on it, Steve tells me the wrong plugs were in it to start with and that the correct plugs are the same as the ones we use in the dragster and are a lot cheaper too,, good news for a change! As usual Steve got round to fixing all the problems and making good a lot of the repairs needed and the parts duly arrived in the post, the lifters went straight into a bucket of oil as Steve put the heads back on.




Less than two weeks ago it looked very much like we were going to have to sit out the Nostalgia Nationals as we wouldn't have a vehicle to tow the trailer with race car in it to the track it has taken a monumental effort by Steve to get the Dodge stripped, cleaned and back together again bearing in mind he has a full tie job and a family to look after and all his other commitments, well done son you shall go to the track!.

It's alive!

Steve and Dave will now have to finish off the odd jobs on the dragster at the track but at least they will get there now, back tot he dragster, as most of you know we have been struggling since day one to get he car down the track in a time and at a speed that should represent the engine we have but we have never got there. Over the last few weeks Steve has been doing some investigation and it would appear that first we have the wrong heads on, apparently off the shelf ally racing heads are fine for SBC's up to about 390ci but ours is 441ci and we need much larger heads to alleviate this problem a little bit we can fit and adapter plate between the hat and the tunnel ram to atomise the fuel better. Secondly Steve has been investigation the cam shaft he got onto Comp Cams and gave them our engine build sheet, what came back told us what we probably knew but was frightened to accept, Our cam shaft is no good for drag racing it is far too small, it is high lift short duration and is good for a stall converter of 3500 max, ours is 5,500 now that explains a lot, so Comp Cams have designed us a cam shaft for our engine to "wake it up a bit" it's a wonder we have managed to get the car to run as well as it has? none of this will be ready for the Nostalgia Nationals as Steve has been to busy sorting out the above problems so he is looking for consistency that weekend and no more damage please!!! Race safe see you at the track soon.

Monday, 8 April 2019

118. Axles and Tow Vehicles..??

Here we are in April 2019 the season is about to kick off with the Festival of Power in a couple of weeks times with a very healthy 10 car entry from the Wild Bunch...well done guys and girls, the weekend just gone saw some of the teams at the Pod doing some test and tuning well done to the Pete Brown for licensing in the new car  and good to see that Bitchcraft now has all three gears.So the team were getting all excited abut the season and what we might be able to achieve this year once we get full throttle control??? 

As previously mentioned this years project was getting the axle sorted. Steve wanted to make sure he got it right so even went and bought a book...yes a real book with words and everything, so he could get all the right set-up information. After sourcing all the correct bearings.some for the second time and the arrival of the terminator kit to replace the crush gasket the axle was put together again.





With it all back together complete with new ring and pinion Steve cleaned the axle up rubbed it down and pointed it hmmm yes it is very red Steve didn't have any black hammerite only red, so red it is. This weekends plan was to refit the axle sort out one or two other little problems and then button it all up ready for the Nostalgia nationals as Steve's licence hasn't turned up yet.

Before Steve set off for sunny Luton he cleaned the Dodge up and checked her over and filled up with gas and fuel.



On the way to Luton the Dodge developed a bit of amiss-fire which Steve was a bit concerned about ,on Saturday evening he rang me tot ell me that the problem might be a bit worse than he first thought and he then sent me a photo of a spark plug.....Oh dear!!


No tip and a part f the ceramic is missing, Somehow Steve and Dave found somewhere open in Luton on a Sunday that carried the correct plugs for the Dodge but it made no difference so it looks like a bent push rod or  a bit of the plug stuck behind the valve or maybe worse..Something to sort out a bit later. So the axle was re-fitted.


 And yes it is very red! the problem with not getting full throttle was found. one of the  linkages was a tad too short and that was about it as Steve needed to get home somehow, I have to point out at this point in time Dave's car suddenly went into limp mode with the engine light flashing away on his dash so he couldn't give Steve a lift back, Living in Spain counted me out, and as Steve had all his tools with him so no chance of getting a train or bus so he limped the Dodge back at 30mph and praying all the way that no more damage was being done. We will find out when he strips the heads down in the coming week but depending on how bad the damage is will dictate when we or I should say the team can go racing.

Good luck to all the Wild Bunch at the festival of Power fingers crossed we may see you at some point at the track this year you never know?