Just got back from a cracking weekend on the Isle of Man. The ferry journey over on the Thursday night was rather rough, and not very pleasant, but once there, and we had driven to Paul and Maria's in a torrential rain storm, we finally got to bed after midnight.
In the morning it was still raining, but by late morning the rain had almost gone, and we set off to the track at Jurby. Set up, bike out, and had a look about. Julie Moxley, by this time was on her way, I hadn't heard from her for a couple of weeks, apart from a text to say she was on her way. Imagine my total surprise when not only Jules got out of the car, but Minx (Sarah Chapman) too! Lost for words I'm not, very often, but I was …… Brilliant that I had both of them here. Very happy !
We had a little walk up the track later on in the evening, and it is not like anything I was expecting. Having been spoilt by the Santa Pod track and Shakey, this track had no rubber, no stick, a strong headwind, and I have to say I was worried ! Although the bike was a lot slower than I was used to, I knew that I needed to be able to ride this, and communicate exactly what the bike was doing so we could set it up accordingly.
The following day we were ready to race. The weather was over cast and incredibly windy. This was just for fun? The whole idea to come over was to see old friends, and bringing the bike was a bonus, so I didn't have a "race head" on, it was testing and getting some more seat time in the attempt to run a nine. However with the most God awful headwind, the bike had other ideas, and I was still in funny bike mode. First launch was very squiffy, wheel spin and all over the place, and although I didn't feel like I was in any danger, it never occurred to me to feather the throttle, but simply punch gears ! When it did the same the second time, Minx was beginning to worry about my safety, and my usual ""brave" stats was replaced with "mental" I red lit on a couple of runs, and the clutch was dragging, but did better on the last run of that day, and Paul thankfully said he had a better than I was using part worn tyre and would fit it for us, while Kev and Julie set about the clutch, as by this time, typically it had started to rain again.
Food and drink and a marvellous social gathering, met a lot of lovely people and great characters, you know who you are ! For the record ….At no point was Minx in charge of cooking ;) Turned in, ready for the following day.
First run, still had the wheel spin, and the second, and was getting a bit scared and despondent. I went off to get changed out of leathers, and came back to find the crew in a huddle with Kev.
He had bought me a brand new tyre, and Minx was off to get it fitted. Most women would expect jewellery, but no! This is the second time he has bought me a race tyre, and I love him for it !! He also took me aside gave me a pep talk, told me all the things I was doing wrong, showed me when I should be doing what, and that really kicked me into touch.
Paul said earlier that this would be the difference between night and day, and he wasn't wrong! It was a real confidence boost to actually go the way I was facing and not slide about! With the help of Kev mentoring, Minx calming, and Phil Woods crew Miff, spotting, the times got quicker, until Helen from Straightliners told me to find my opponent and get ready for eliminations.
I had totally forgotten that I was actually entered in a race meeting!!
Elimination 1 in which I was racing against the class leader, and Championship leader, John Hawkins, on a Bandit 1200. he had run a 10.14 earlier, and I was still way behind these sort of times. It was like a switch had been turned on, and my whole attitude changed. I was racing, competing, and wanted to win! And win I did. I knocked him out in the first round, with a 10.23 and bet him by 200th's of a second! Sorry John ! There were only 4 in the class, but I was now in the final!
Competitive head was back on ….. And I was up against a local chap David Atherton on his R1. Cracking race, ran a PB on this track for me and the bike of 10.16…….. My first Straightliners win, on a brand new track, on a street bike I am still learning to ride! Very happy, what a perfect finish to a great weekend.
My first run out on the track where conditions were not what I was used to at all, was 11.09 so to finish with a 10.16 was not too shabby.
Lots of people to thank :- Kevin, this goes without saying thank you so much for so much, Julie and Minx, Paul and Maria, Dee and Lauren, Trevor, Phil and Sarah and the Straightliners massive, Louise for betting me a pound that I could run a 10.5 and would give me the pound back if I ran a 10.2 (it's now my lucky pound, it's still in my leathers pocket, and there is stays!!) IM73 dragbike racing, Finlo Hughes for the best race of the weekend, Erik Feijt and Arjen De Hass for giving me the bike to play on in the first place, everyone we met on the Isle of Man, who were so welcoming and friendly, and lastly my new tyre !!
I'm loving this retirement - Bring on the Bulldog Bash !
The season sadly none of us are contesting the ACU Championship, Kevin is still building the top fuel bike, but other commitments have taken precedence, so the bike is on the back burner for now.
Lizz has (supposedly) retired from competitive racing, but will be out testing, and will be racing at the Bulldog Bash on Dutchman's Erik Feijt's bike, who he has very generously agreed for it to be brought over to the UK for this. There are also rumours that Kev may have a go on Rockets funny bike too!
Jake has out grown Junior Drag Bike in more ways than one. Jake is nearly 18 now, and over six foot, the Junior bike is far too small for him. The plans are for him to be out on Kev’s old Bandit in due course.
Talking to Funny Bike Racer, Dave Peters (Rocket) who we are crewing for this season, we have offered the Junior Bike, as a sponsorship deal, to his Nephew Will Pickering, who has outgrown his first junior bike. We are delighted to be able to do this.
We wish Will the best of luck, and will be there to give him all the guidance and support he needs.
Latest Mutterings From Lizz
Yes I know I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again. I am now officially retired from competitive drag racing. This doesn’t mean that if the opportunity arose, I wouldn’t be on the race track again; it just means that I will not be competing, or spending all my money on racing, instead supporting and crewing for Kev when the fuel bike comes out.
Kev has given me more racing years than I ever expected, mentoring me and giving me great advice, which led us winning a Championship in 2013. He is one of the best nitrous tuners out there, we learnt from another good guy, Ken Cooper, and Kev and I testing and developing his own ideas, has been able to tune my bike with minimal spare parts with tired old stuff which I could never afford to replace. There are not enough words or hours in the day to really thank Kev so much for everything he has done for me. To have achieved what we did was pretty good, considering!
I am (so far), in a relatively short career, the second woman, next to Helen, who has won the ACU Comp Bike Championship, won the APIRA Championship, and was Runner up in the SPRC one. I also won the SPRC Paul Giddings memorial trophy for overcoming adversity, won the APIRA most outstanding achievement award, and Sportswoman of the year. I am also the second woman, next to the late Sarah-Jane Head to have competed in Funny Bike. I have been very lucky. I am going to miss the racing and the banter, a lot!
My crew is one of the best. Chris Pyke, who has been Crew Chef for many successful racers; Lee Baxendale, Ken Cooper, Helen Whiston (Curran) and Kev, to name a few, and guided us all through seasons, and assisted us in winning Championships and has been my rock, and calming influence, and took me seriously, answering every stupid question I ever had, and was always there during the highs and the lows. He will be back crewing for Kev next year, when the new fuel bike comes out.
Massive thanks goes to Julie Moxley, whose eagle eyes and her infamous quote “I know something here is not quite right, I just don’t know what” ,will go down in history. When we have checked her concerns, every time, she has saved the engine from carnage and irreparable damage. She came to help us knowing nothing about motorbikes, and now is a very good starter and clutch lady – Both Kev and Chris and Minx have helped and guided her, and she is a valuable part of the team.
Over the years there have been some characters crewing for me. The romantic idea to have the first all-girl crew in Europe fell flat, and although of us really had any idea what we were doing at the beginning, we were Eager! Lisa Ambler, Jemma Sandell (Cooper), and Sarah Chapman – Minx- who knew more than most, was happy to get her hands dirty, and all four of us one evening, late into the early hours lapping valves and getting blisters in the vain attempt to get me back on the track the following day. Massive thanks too, to Mandy for sublime catering skills.
I can’t get this far without thanking Jake Charman either. Now 17, he has been a huge part of the team, from making tea and coffee in the early days, to now setting up the clutch, fuelling up, fettling, and more recently towing me at the Bulldog Bash, which I have to say I was worried about, but this was short lived; He is one of the best. Nothing fazes him, and he is one amazing chap, Kev should be very proud of him, I know I am. One race meeting at Santa Pod he stopped racing during eliminations whilst he was racing in Junior drag bike as I was going rounds, and he wanted to help the crew. What other child would do that. I won that meeting, I don’t think I every really appreciated at the time what a sacrifice he made. One very genuine person.
This brings me to a quick(ish) report of my last runs at the Bulldog Bash.
I hadn’t ridden the bike for 2 years, which is owned by Richard Gipp. Big thanks go to him for letting me loose, and the help and support he has given me over the years too. The last time I rode it, I was 4 stone heavier, and this time we had quite a few issues in getting me off the line. We needed to take quite a lot of power out of the bike to do this!! (We were riding blind as we had no setting for a more slimline Lizz!)
So In brief , I wheel span, I caught fire, blew a hole in the headers, which Dave May took away to weld up, needed other welding done, which Martin Hill thankfully did, issues with the clutch basket and the electronics, Kev having to go home to get parts, and just got back in time for me to run again. Again Kev, Julie, Chris, Paul Callow and Jake got the bike sorted time and time again to get me up the track. They worked their arses off, it was a challenging weekend, and I am so grateful to them for their persistence and dedication.
Track conditions were not on our side, a lot of wheel spin on all runs, and terribly out of practice, the shift light was like a strobe, so I guessed the shift points, but got up the track ok. My times were on a par with another Funny bike racer, Dave Peters, so we were reasonably happy with this.
I will admit I got a bit tearful, twice over the weekend. Once, when my faithful Comp bike, now sold, which I won the 2013 Championship on, was pushed passed me to go to its new home, and the second time, my last run, when I got to the top end, and realised that this was my final run, and “that was it” Everyone at the top end were so lovely, and wished me well.
On the tow back, everyone in the stands gave me a standing ovation, the cheers, whistles and yells, was totally overwhelming, and very humbling. It’s things like this, that makes you realise what a unique event the Bulldog is, what a totally amazing sport drag racing is, and how much everyone appreciates what you do, whether things go according to plan or not.
Once back at the pits and I had thanked everyone who had got me up the track, and calmed down a bit, Erik Feijt, a Dutch racer came to see me, and asked if I would like to race his race bike the following day. Funny how these things happen. I thanked him very much for this very kind offer, and said that I would have a think about it.
Sunday morning, found me in my leathers again, wondering what on earth I was thinking, to agree to ride a bike with a clutch lever (the funny bike has a slider clutch, and no lever) and no wheelie bars!
Long story short, I had three runs , each run faster than the next, and it was then I decided to call it a day, before I flipped or broke it. A great finish to an awesome weekend and thanks so much to Erik for that opportunity.
Huge thanks as always to the HA for an incredible event, and to Sarah and Dicko, for inviting us in the first place. We will see you next year!
Massive thanks to everyone that has supported, guided, taken the mickey and sponsored me over the years. Plus Photographers, Journalists, tracks and track crew. I have met some pretty cool people and made some lovely friends along the way. However, I still stand by the fact that I was only ever as good as the crew I had – I was always just the nut on the saddle who was a little brave and tried to do as they were told, made the light go out, always hit 5th, and eventually I got that right too !
What a wonderfully terrifying sport!
Kevin, as you know bought the fuel bike, “The Purple Princess” from Steve Carey and after taking a
good look at the chassis without the engine in, rather sensibly decided that a new chassis was
definitely in order, due to a terrible crash that Steve had on it at Dragstalgia in 2013. As you can
appreciate, these things cannot be bought off the shelf, and are not cheap. It is a work in progress,
but things are moving in the right direction. Pulleys have been made by Portobello Precision, and he
has had a meeting with Jon Webster at Webster Race Engineering
(webster-race-engineering.co.uk) and Dejan Jankovic from Portobello Precision (Find him on
Facebook) to talk about the next stage of the build.
The engine has been rebuilt, and is sitting pretty waiting for the chassis and various other
components to be made. To get the build right first time is what is imperative. Rushing to get this
finished is not an option. However he hopes to be back on the track in 2017, and will be good to have
Chris Pyke back as Crew Chief too.
Jake stopped racing to concentrate on his Exams, and is now in his second year at Salisbury Sixth
Form College working hard on his A ‘levels with a view to going to University to study, in Jake’s
words “something in computer networking or programming.” He is going to various University Open
days to weigh up his options for the courses he wants to do.
Jake also had one heck of a growth spurt and no matter how much power was put into the motor; the
chassis of the junior was far too small. Standing tall at 6 foot 4 the JDB is sadly out of the question.
He would like to have a go on Kev’s old Bandit, (yes, that one!), we still have the old comp bike
chassis, and then there is always the fuel bike at a later date! There are options for once he has
finished his A levels, got a place at Uni, passed his theory and his driving test!!! (No doubt not in
Lizz has been clamouring to get back on the Funny bike now she is fit and well, and 20 months out, a
deal has been made with Richard Gipp, and the “Black Cat” is now back at Nitrous Junkie HQ after a
refresh, and is now ready for testing on the 23rd/24th July at Shakespeare County Raceway. Her only
outing will be the Bulldog Bash, where she has been invited to do exhibition runs. This will be her
last hurrah before officially hanging up her leathers and retiring. She will be back crewing on the
Fuel bike, and occasionally having a play up the track on anything that comes out of the garage that
may need testing!
“There are many people to thank for getting the Funny bike up and running”, Lizz says. “ Richard Gipp
and the gang at Gipp Racing, Vincent Pels at Zodiac, “Fast” Fil Papafilippou, Steve French, Sam
Freeman and last by no means least, Kevin for simply everything”
Today saw more progress as I have collected the new pulley blanks from our friends at Portobello Precision CNC Milling and Turning these will be trial fitted before the gear is cut and they are anodised thanks very much for the excellent work and enthusiasm of Dejan and the team making these one off parts.
The first day in Drachten and the weather was very hot. The first two hours of racing were allocated for testing so we decided to get a couple of runs in early to see what the bike would do after tuning from Don Kennedy. Our first run was delayed a little by some issues setting up the tree, Dad, being a little rusty at this crewing game, forgot to pull the pin out of the air shifter. I noticed the flag flapping in the wind just after 60ft and tried to pull it out however the loop connecting the flag to the pin broke leaving the pin in place and meaning the run was completed in 1st gear with a final time of 17.46 seconds @ 44.36 km/h (27.56 mph). In our second test and tune run everything went well. I ran 10.86 @ 97.27 km/h (60.44 mph). We decided also during qualifications to switch from feathering the clutch back to our old method of dropping the clutch at high revs. This took a little perfecting as at first this caused big wheelspin but a burnout caused the engine to bog. After a few clutch adjustments changing spring pressure and weight we were back to our 10.8. A slight increase of the shift point later brought the time down to 10.56 seconds @ 97.72 km/h (60.72 mph).
Qualifying was based on reaction times and by the end of the day I had reached number 1 qualifier with a peak reaction time of 0.147 seconds.Day 2 was another day of qualifying and I was still running consistent 10.5’s giving us a good base for our eliminations dial-in.By the end of qualifying I had dropped to number 3 however this still gave me lane choice for the first elimination round. A drivers meeting was called that afternoon as the weather forecast showed 80% chances of rain for Sunday. We all agreed that the best thing to do was run one more qualifier then move into at least two elimination rounds that afternoon. Unfortunately, a very large oil down stopped racing as the curfew was coming closer and despite the track crew’s best efforts that would not be able to clear the track in time.
In the first elimination round the next day I was paired with Jan Van Schie who unfortunately had mechanical issues and could not attend giving me a bye into the semi-final where I was with Louis. After drawing at rock paper scissors at least 10 times a coin toss decided lane choice allowing me to choose the right hand lane. At first I thought I had no chance as Louis left the startline way before I did and I only found out at the top end that he had red lit and seen the light as he went past it. This got me through to the final against Blade. After some glitches with the timing system it was found out that I had broken out and Blade had won.
Overall it was a great weekends racing with some great friends. I would like to say thanks to Dad for transport and crewing as well as Rene Van Den Berg for his brilliant hospitality and for making us feel so welcome. I would also like to thank Emrys Blomont and Margot Schmidt along with everyone else at ESLA and the track crew for running a brilliant event and getting us a total of 16 runs over one weekend. And finally thanks to Lizz for organizing our first event in Europe.
After testing at The Bulldog Bash it was time for my first meeting on the new bike. To start with we decided to keep the bike as it was and went for a dial in of 10.2 just to get a number on the board.
After running a 10.8 we decided to see what could be done with the clutch. We lightened the base springs to allow for more clutch slip off the line and added weight to the arms to compensate further up the track.
This worked off the line with a falling 60 foot time but definitely felt sluggish. We also noticed the shift point was set far too low as I shifted gear just as the bike was about to take off. All together it equated to a time of 11.2.
The night before eliminations we added even more weight to the arms and rose the shift point to try and get some speed back and guessed a 10.6 dial in. I ran another 11 second run and was out. But all in all we learned a lot about the bike and what needed to be done. We are planning to go to some Run What Ya Brungs in the next few weeks to set up the clutch and find a shift and launch RPM that works.
I would like to thank Dad and Lizz for helping me over the weekend and Mandy Chant for taking me to and from the track.
It’s been a frustrating season with having no bike to race, due to the Comp bike going off to have some modifications and should have been ready for August. Unfortunately, through no one’s fault the deal fell through, which left me with nothing ready to ride!
For the first time, I had been invited to the Bulldog Bash, which is always a hoot and a holler, and we were looking into other options on what to ride. Thanks to Richard Gipp, we were able to rent his Pro Mod. Kev and Gipp spent a weekend sorting it out, as it had not been ridden for 2 years, got the bike home, but unable to test, as work commitments had left everything to the last minute!
After the amazing fun I had at the Bulldog Bash, running a 7.6 first time on nitrous, with this bike, and getting a feature in MCN, and my 15 minutes of fame, I fell in love with racing all over again, and asked Gipp if I could rent it again, and enter it in the National Finals in Funny Bike. FB24 was born!
The weekend came, Kev had finished work early to get to the track. I followed on a couple of hours later. Straight out of the car, and onto the bike, and managed to sign on and get it scrutineered before it shut…… just made it in the nick of time, thanks Steve.
The following day we did a bit of maintenance, got the bike prepped and ready to go. I was (as always) excited and nervous at the same time. This debut in Funny Bike was quite a thing for me, I was comfortable in Comp bike. This was a challenge! It was a pretty big field, I really wanted me and the bike to do well!
The whole Team were able to come this weekend, including one of my very dear friends Jeni Long, of yawningcatphotography.com, who asked if she could film us in the pits and beyond. This should be interesting! You can check this out on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DA62eiZwPU
First Qualifier. Burnout, so far so good. Up to the line, lights went down, launched, and wheel spun, short shifted all the way up, but still managed a 1.14 60 foot and 7.62 @ 172mph. “Did you wait for the shift light Lizzy”?
“Erm….. I didn’t see the light at all” Doh! One run out of the way! I would be more together next time.
But number 2 qualifier. How very cool!
Second Qualifier. Too much water in the burnout box, and still water on my tyre, wheel spin all the way, and a tail wag. But got to the end in one piece with a slower 1.20 60 foot and 7.81 @ 171mph, grinning like a loon!
Time wasn’t on our side, and the curfew stopped a third qualifier. I had Bob Brooks in the first round of eliminations. This could go either way. The last time I raced him, it was in Comp Bike, and he ran a 7.1
To my 7.7!! Bike was ready, I was ready, and Crew were ready!! Time for a bit of food, and a relax with the Team, and see what happens the following day.
Bike on 2 step in pits, and re fulled, all good. We were called into the pairing lanes, shook Bob’s hand, and away we went. Burnout, back into 1st, nitrous on, straightened up, pat on the back, and over to me.
As I paddled up to pre stage and then stage, as I put my thumb on the 2 step, my right foot slipped off the foot peg, and got wedged under the peg – I have small feet, and the pegs, are just that little bit too high for me…… got it back onto the peg, but lost concentration, let go of the button, and launched about a fortnight before the lights went down. Dammit! It was an awesome run, isn’t that always the way, but unfortunately no time or speed. Got to the top end, and was surprised to see Bob coming around the corner too. He too had red lit, but not as badly as me, so he took the win!
I had such fun, and all thanks to some pretty amazing people who make it so enjoyable. Richard Gipp – the owner of the bike, and all round good egg, Kevin Charman my amazing bloke, puts up with a lot, and has been one amazing Mentor, he has taught me so much over the years, and such a great support. I can’t wait for him to be back out there on the Fuel Bike!! Chris Pyke, the best Crew Chief ever, his dedication to us all as a Team and we are very blessed to have him as a great friend too.. Huge thanks too, to the rest of the incredible Super Crew:- Julie Moxley, Sarah Chapman, Mandy Chant and Jake Charman.
So now what? Well, I am not going to be doing the Extreme performance Bike weekend, but I have spoken to Gippy about next Season……. I thought I was, but I’m not ready to retire just yet!
Nitrous Junkie Racing latest mutterings…..
It would appear my witty press releases have been missed, so I thought I would just put finger to keyboard, as it were and tell you what (little) the Nitrous Junkies have been up to.
The story so far ……
Kev Charman has bought Steve Carey’s Top Fuel bike, the Purple Princess, which suffered a huge and memorable crash at last year’s Dragstalgia Event at Santa Pod in 2013. So far we have upset absolutely no one in the village, much, by firing it up on nitro, or spending a lot of time in the garage. A new chassis is going to be built, and all being well, Kev aims to be out testing towards the end of next year. He is in no rush, and wants to learn as much as he can before he takes it back to the track. Big thanks to Steve to coming up to us, and spending a day with the crew teaching us all “stuff”
Huge congrats to Steve, we went to the reception, so know it’s true….. Annette has made an honourable man of him, and they got married last Saturday !!
Jake Charman’s new Junior Bike, aptly names “The Halfabusa” is now finished and he has been testing. The chassis is 68” long, and needs to be! As Jake at 15 years old and 6’2” anything shorter would be a squeeze! He is learning to morph! The bike engine is from an RM 125cc, and, as we had to start somewhere, we carried on with the standard motocross gearing. Needless to say, although he was getting up the track, it was running out of gears, so this needs to be addressed, as does the clutch and maybe the sprocket. It was a good starting point on a brand new bike, and is happy how he and the bike performed. He is entered in the National Finals at Santa Pod on the 20th/21st September.
The fabrication, and engineering work has been done by Dave Branch, a lot of fettling by Jake, and financed by Dad (Kev)!!. The bike still needs paint, but it runs just as well without, so a new paint job will be unveiled in 2015.
Lizz (that will be me then!) has just been having some fun. So much changes so quickly, that sometimes it’s hard to keep up!
Being bike less, due to a new build, and invited to the Bulldog Bash, spoke to Richard Gipp who had a Pro Mod (somewhere) for rent. This bike has a good pedigree, owned by some pretty colourful characters, firstly Ken Cooper, and then Dave Bailey. So with work commitments, and no testing weekend available beforehand, Kev and Gippy spent a day making good a bike that hadn’t been run for about 2 years, and Kev brought it home. We then went up to Stratford a bit curious to how I would do on it, with the bigger tyre, a lighter chassis, and 10 months for me out of the saddle!!
We decided to join the run what you brung and get one run out of the way before the demo runs. So the first ever shake down run on the bike for me, was to be normally aspirated, and was not too successful. It launched, had massive wheel spin, crossed lanes, hit a timing block, and got to the top end in the wrong lane, swearing at the bike, deeming it dangerous, and deciding that last year’s successful season and the Championship win in Comp Bike, was a total fluke!
My no nonsense crew told me to stop being such a girl and get on with it. So after minor adjustments, clutch checked, aired and fuelled, we were invited to join the rest of the bikes that were doing exhibition runs. They track has just been prepped, and was sticky, the sun was out , the crowd was there, and I was dreading it!
Not a quick run but as normally aspirated again, it went through the gears, and got safely to the top end. 9.7, straight, and a bit relief for me. “That’s the nitrous on next run” Kev was heard to say, apparently!
Next run burnout, back into 1st, pushed to the line, straightened up, air tag out, nitrous on, pat on the back, and on my own. Wow! Awesome, it launched, and light gear light gear light gear light gear, off the throttle…… seemed slow, like I was waiting for something to happen. It felt effortless, I was worried. Just had to wait for my tow back to tell me how I did. 7.6 @ 172mph! Yes! Very happy about that! On an known bike? ..... happy days! The crowd were cheering and I was grinning like a Cheshire cat. All the congratulations were quite over whelming.
After that run, Charlie Lester, a lovely reporter from Motorcycle News (a popular weekly newspaper here in the UK ) came to speak with us. She was especially interested in the bike and the fact a girl rode it, so a potential article is on the cards, how very, very cool. Her photographer Simon was a total gent too.
I got a feature in MCN “Under the microscope”. The interest this has generated is beyond belief, and thanks so much to Charlie for not misquoting me once !
One of the other track photographers, Dave Derry asked if he could put his GoPro on the bike for the next run. It was very exciting although a tad daunting to get all this attention, especially as I was riding someone else’s bike!! Anyway the camera went on, all maintenance done, and then the wind picked up.
By the last run it was incredibly windy. We had kindly been advised that there was a cross wind right to left at the top end of the track, so to be careful. And careful I was. I was leaning a bit towards the end. The run off isn’t particularly flat and I managed to get caught by the wind at the top end and couldn’t get myself off the bumps. But I made it in one piece, and ran a 7.7 @ 175mph!!!
Here is the run in the wind !
Kev's New Toy
What has he been up to ? Kevin has been in talks with Steve Carey, the owner of the Purple Princess Top fuel bike, who had quite a dramatic "off" at Dragstalga last year.
Thankfully Steve is ok, but the fuel bike needs quite a lot of TLC, and Kev seized the opportunity, the deal was done, and has bought the bike!
Kev won the TF Championship in 2011, on Rene Van den Berg's old bike, and since then there has been speculation on what he would do next. Now you know !
The bike is now at its new home, awaiting new chassis and wheelie bars and we are looking forward to racing Top Fuel again, and the Team would like to take this opportunity to wish Steve all the very best in his new venture too.
Jake's New Bike April 2014
Brighton Speed Trails will continue!
The Brighton Speed Trials have been held on Marine Drive since 1905 and is one of the longest-running motorsport events in the World and is to be allowed to continue following a council decision.
More than 12,000 people signed the petition calling for the Brighton Speed Trials to remain amid concerns that councillors wanted to scrap it. The event was first held in 1905, but was cancelled last year following the death of a competitor in 2012.
It will now go-ahead in September but with amendments, subject to guidance from the Safety Advisory Group.
2013 Review, and a New Bike For 2014
In 2013 I had a tough year of racing, getting taller and a tad heavier, so we were having to work really hard to set up the bike. We made such good progress on the old bike in 2012, gaining 6 positions in the championship. 2013 was therefore very hard gong, I got taller and wanted to go faster, but the bike didn’t. Towards the end of the year, cramming myself into the bike, knees sticking out, it was very obvious I was getting far too big for the old bike and, thanks so much to Dad it was agreed a new one just had to be built.
The new bike is beginning to take shape at Dave Branch's and will hopefully vastly improve on some of the shortcomings of the old bike. Even Dad is too short for the new one, the foot pegs are too far back for him, but is just fine for me ! On the old bike, we were having problems setting up the clutch and finding the balance between the clutch slip and wheel spin in order to get a good launch. Then there was me, the rider that gained an inch in height between every meeting, was definitely proving problematical!
I would like to thank my sponsors from 2013 - Doug at Ensys Ltd and Uncle Steve at Motorshack, who will hopefully be able to continue their support for next year. Thank also to Tony at Abbey Motorsport for some wicked 2 stroke advice and hope he can give us some tips for next year.
PS I am nearly 6 foot 2 and not 15 until May, yes I am tall, please try not to mention it too much, as I am tiring of it now!
A Fulfilling Season
It has to be said, it’s been an interesting year!
From winning the first meeting of the Season, at the Festival of Easter, or whatever it was called this year. Driving there in a snowstorm, and being called for the final in a blizzard! Running my Personal best on a track that temperature was -1, when everyone else was struggling with grip issues, the little comp bike just kept skipping up the track, without too much effort at all!
The Comp bike engine had gone off to Ken Cooper at Cooperized and came back better than ever. Running 8.7 normally aspirated was very pleasing. We even jokingly thought about more compression, and going 8.50 normally aspirated…. But by then I happily had a 7.7 bracket bike, and was enjoying myself immensely.
We had a couple of hiccups, one at Shakespeare where I hit the Armco, snapping my brake lever, and needing a bit welded back on and bruising myself somewhat, but still went on to come runner up at that meeting! Kevin had managed to get the bits that was needed to repair, big up to Nigel Barker (I still owe you a lever mate!) and the welding done, thanks to Rick Cook. The second hiccup was changing the slick, and on the first run, I shot left, couldn’t bring it back and crossed lanes. I was mortified. I have never done that before, that always been told to do everything you can not to. I obviously didn’t.
One rain off at Pod, and runner up again at Shakey
I won the APIRA Championship, so onto see if we could achieve the same at Santa Pod
We were still leading the ACU Championship, by quite a hefty margin and I had to keep myself in check and get on with the job in hand.
The next meeting was very disappointing. I didn’t qualify…. Picking myself up after that, the bike had developed an “electrical” glitch….. We changed everything, to try to rectify it. Coils, schnitz box, battery….. The list was endless. Found it eventually, and was the $1 part! By then I had lost what good lead I had, and really had to do well to give me any chance of winning.
Testing the weekend before the next meeting – I ran another PB of 7.61 and then 7.60. Happy that all was well we went to the last meeting of the season, a bit more confident that we had been for a while.
All I had do was qualify well, and get through the first round. No pressure there then!
The night before the meeting, we had got scrutineered, bike back into the awning, and walking to the caravan, I tripped down a gully, and twisted my ankle very badly. Thank goodness for Julie Moxley and a roll of plaster, and ice! After each round, I was bundled off to put my foot in a bucket of ice, and everyone rallied around me! I cannot describe the pain!
I qualified number 1 with another PB of 7.46, and backed that up with a 7.43 in the first round of Eliminations. That win rewarded me with the ACU Championship. The Team were so happy when I got back, I couldn’t believe it – We’d done it!
Unfortunately the bike came out in sympathy for me in the next round, with a big bang, a flash, and lots of smoke, I got to the top end unscathed, meanwhile Kev was down the other end being handed bits of crank case. Thankfully due to running a diaper, there was no oil on the back tyre, or too much on the track, and racing started again quickly.
So Lizz, ACU Champion, racing with all the parts that Kev kept for spares, from when the motor had been refreshed in 2006, and now given back to him in a bucket!
The twisted ankle turned out to be a broken one. I wish it was possible to bottle adrenalin, I would be a very rich Lady by now!
There is a list a mile long of people who deserve a mention. Kevin, I love you lots, fab tuning honey! Jake Charman, you rock! The support I get from you both is amazing. Chris Pyke, the best Crew Chief ever! Stuart Ashton, Mandy Chant, Steve and Julie Moxley, Sarah Chapman. What an amazing Team. I seriously couldn’t do it without you. You are totally responsible for making me run good enough to win Chamionships !
The most incredible Sponsors ever. Tony at Abbey Motorsport, Doug at Ensys, Viz at Vizman Kustom Art, Jeni at Yawning Cat Photography, Ken at Cooperized Dyno and service Centre, Simon at Claron Graphics, and the help and quick parts delivery from Jay Regan at MRE.
All the hard work has paid off, and been noticed too. To be nominated for any of the Perputual Awards is an honour, but two? Outstanding achievement, and Sportswoman of the Year. There are some amazing people nominated in both catagories, good luck to us all !
So what happens in 2014?
We have been talking with Tony Gillam, the Director of Abbey Motorsport, who showed quite a lot of interest in the bike this year. With that in mind will be collaborating with him next year. We are planning some radical changes, to modernise the bike. The bodywork too is being changed and having a face lift, and a new fantastic design, thanks to Darren at Power Race Graphics. Then we will be ready to do some extensive testing and development. Big thanks goes to Miller Oils who will be supporting our venture, with their range of superior lubricants, Jeff at Trackstuff will also be supporting us with fuel, and then Tony himself with his know how and very successful experience with turbo engines (there I said it ) this should be a very interesting experience, as well as learning curve, and all being well, aiming for a first competitive outing around August.
Exciting times ahead!
Extreme Performance Bike Weekend
We arrived at the track not sure what the bike would run after the National Finals.
Up early Saturday morning ready for scruitineering and the first run, after some thought between two times written on either side of the board we decided on a dial of 10.7 from last meeting over 10.4. We went out to run and you would not believe it ... a 10.4! I thought the timing boards where broken when I first looked up at the gantry! Other than that, the bike launched better than it has for a long time and begun to hit the bars again. Time to turn the board round and a dial of 10.4 for next time.
Next run out and after another good launch, a 10.2. Got back to the pits, still laughing inside my helmet and gave the ticket to Dad to which he replied "You are so fired! A dial of 10.2 for next run.
Went out again hoping for a time the right side of the dial this time, and that was exactly what I got, 10.4, the right side, now we need to get a bit closer.
Sunday morning at time for another qualifying round, so we decided on a 10.4 dial. I ran 10.6, yet another completely random time!
Eliminations and we decided on a dial of 10.4 as it seemed to be the most reliable time, went out, and had another cracking launch, 10.7, so it turns out we were correct to begin with!
I would like to say thanks to Dad, Lizz, Mandy, Stuart, Helen and Julie for their help over the weekend and also my sponsors, "Uncle" Steve Wood at Motorshack and Doug at ensys.co.uk.
Also to Dave Branch and Pete Davis who are working on my new bike for next year.
Well done Scott Collier for winning it great lad great way to leave juniors good luck for the future! Last event on my bike so 2014 new bike, new season , new start.
I came into this meeting quite inquisitive about the outcome! I always try not to read Eurodragster on the eve of the last meeting of the Season, as they forecast what all the riders have to do to win the Championships! This time I did have a quick glance, and I “would have to qualify well, and get through one round of eliminations” No pressure there then !
After the disaster of the National Finals where I didn’t even qualify due to an electrical issue, this may have seemed quite a lot to have to achieve. Thankfully we did go testing to see if the untested “fix” had worked, and I ran a new PB of 7.600. I came to the meeting a lot happier, and was determined to do my best, enjoy it, and see if we could find the elusive 7.5.
Arrived Friday, set up, scrutineered, and all ready for the following day. Took a tumble and twisted my ankle which didn’t help!
Woke up to rain, which held up proceedings for a while. The track Crew as always beavered away until the track was dry, prepped, and we were called.
Q1 – I did the girliest burnout ever, and cooked the clutch somewhat, so it dragged me through, red lit but still managed to run a 7.63 @ 174mph!! Being qualifying, it still put me in number 1 position, so was very happy with that. Kev sorted the clutch out, told me exactly where I went wrong, did some minor adjustments (which I still don’t know what it was) and ready for the next one.
Q2- Burnout a lot better, but then horrors….I was shut down due to an oil leak. One of the clutch cover bolts had worked its way loose, and was dripping oil all over the exhaust. Pushed back a bit glum. Phil Leamon was up next, and uncharacteristically oiled the track so a clean up operation ensued, so we went to check if we managed to sort out our issue, were we able to go again, thankfully we are allowed, so Kev dashed back to the pits, got the bike sorted, and off I went again. The bike felt really slow, I seemed to be waiting for the light on each gear change, but no dramas. When Stuart came to fetch me, he had a big grin on his face, I had just run a new PB of [email protected]!! Ecstatic was an understatement ! When I got back to the pits the Crew was leaping about, Kev just looked at me and grinned “That was meant to be the 7.5”, he said!
Parked the bike up for the rest of that day, checked it all over and prepped for Eliminations Sunday.
Saturday had very sadly been full of breakages, Phil (Leamon) had a broken crank, Allan Davies had destroyed a piston in the liner, Jem Ven also had crank breakage, but was able to replace. We were dropping down like flies. Big well done’s however to Kev Osman for finding the 7, and Tony Clarke for running a 7.66 – awesome !
E1 – against Harold Wolfenden, I love racing him, it’s always calm, and a bit of a giggle at the top end. It was a good race, I thought I had red lit again, again no dramas, launched hard (1.16 60 foot) and ran another 7.4, this time a [email protected], and no red lit fantastic – Harold found his 7’s again, and ran a 7.97, happy days, but I took the win – and the ACU Comp Bike Championship!
E2 – I could relax a bit, and try to win the meeting. I was against Phil Crossley, another guy I like to race. He had me off the light, both ran a 1.18 60 foot, I went passed him, and then something gave way, big bang, the vibration went through me, and my leg was beginning to get a big warm, and Phil went past me. When I got to the top end, and off the track, there was oil everywhere, but thankfully none on the tyre. Kev has always insisted on an under tray with a nappy in case of moments like this, which had caught the majority of the oil, and apart from Kev being handed bits of engine cases, there was not much of a clean up to do on the track, but I am so sorry for holding up racing.
On first inspection of the damage, the cases are broken and damaged the barrels. The small end of the con rod is broken, the rod punched out of the back of the cases and through the barrells. Until it is stripped we can’t be sure what else, but suspect some bent valves minimum in the head, as the spark plug has been closed by the piston.
Congratulations to Jem Ven on the win, and Phil runner up – it was an amazing race, and hardly anything in it !
What an amazing year. The little chassis has seen 3 Championships now since 2005, it has been an amazing teacher. Huge thanks goes to John Austin for loaning it to me – he bought it from Kev in 2006 with the CB1 plate on, and it has the CB1 plate on it again !
The biggest thanks go to some pretty amazing crew, without them I would be totally nothing!
Kevin Charman, the better half, and Jake of course. Our Crew Chief Chris Pyke, who deserves the biggest mention, has seen and helped Kev win 3 Championships Comp, Funny and Top Fuel and runner up in Pro Stock Bike. Who was happy to step in again to crew for me, and be there for another one ! He is always there, a terrific man, whose knowledge and tireless enthusiasm is limitless.
Thanks is, again not enough!
Richard Gipp, Nigel Sadler, Stuart Aston who have been there for me in one guise or another!
The girls, Sarah Chapman (Minx), Julie Moxley, Mandy Chant and Helen Hayward. You 4 are awesome.
My Sponsors and supporters - I could not have got up the track without you either! Ken Cooper at Cooperized Dyno and Service Centre, Tony and the gang at Abbey Motorsport, Doug at Ensys, Jay Regan at MRE, Jeni at Yawning Cat Photography, Debs at Armadillo Ink, Steve at Motorshack, John Austin, and Dave at Dave Branch Engineering.
Finally Eurodragster and the Track Crew as always, fab. Thanks for the updates, and relentless hard work – muchly appreciated.
P.S The twisted ankle got x - rayed, and I have in fact broken my ankle, and rodded a ligament. Hard as nails me… adrenelin is a pretty fantastic thing! In plaster and on crutches, but still grinning!
Stripe 21 Open Sport Nationals
After finding two broken piston rings at the Junior Fun Day at Santa Pod on Wednesday we headed off to Avon Park hoping that a new piston and rings would solve the lack of power we have been having recently.
First run out we decided to dial in 10.00 as a ballpark figure and I ran 10.80. The bike was back launching hard again and I definitely felt the front wheel lift up.
Second run and we used 10.00 again to confirm our theory and I ran a 10.70. Again, the bike lauched well and despite a few prolems with the launch RPM light an alltogether good run. Back to the pits and an attempt at fixing the light ready for tomorrow.
Sunday and the second day of qualifying. We agreed on a dial in of 10.50 for the next round as I still felt I could take some time off my ET. Another 10.70 and a whack with the dial in board from Dad (he suggested a 10.70 dial). We still had problems with the Launch light though, it was staying on down the whole track causing me to shift gear early.
After another 10.70 run with the light on all the way I went through the wiring and tightened up the ignition switch to stop it rattling around ready for eliminations.
First round of eliminations we went in with a dial in of 10.60 and hoped for the best. Due to the problems with the light, I couldn’t be sure if I was launching at the right RPM and as a result went in a little low causing the bike to bog off the line and run 11.00 pushing me out.
I would like to thank Doug at Ensys and Steve at Motorshack for their support and Dad, Lizz, Helen, Julie and Sarah for all their help both in the pits and on the line.
What a roller coaster the last few weeks have been for myself and the Team!
The bike decided that it had done more than enough, thank you very much, decided that it was time it put us all to the test, and not just content to drop cylinders, and have just one thing go wrong, throw in a curve ball and really test our patience!
Before the National finals, I have never tested so regularly in my life ! Ran perfectly ok normally aspirated, and 8.7 which was lovely, but not nearly quick enough. As soon as we armed the nitrous, it went slower. Home again, taking it all apart, leak down was fine, so after the 3rd weekend at the track, Kev made the decision to do something he hates doing, and changed everything !
New fuel pump, batteries, new lines, new solenoids, new plugs, the list went on. One test, and the bike did the same thing again, changed the coils, thanks to Richard Gipp for the loan, out again and ran a 7.74 wagging its tail in it’s usual style. Packed up went home, and was happy to be a bit more confident about the meeting the following week at Shakepeare County
Q1 at Shakey, woke up to rain, and thought “here we go” But it soon dried off and away we went. First run bike straight, good launch, and straight in. Number 1 qualifier 7.72 sec @ 169mph.
Allan Davies also straight into a good 7 too. Great to see him getting form now… he has worked so hard to achieve this, one to watch !
Q2 The bike was storming ! 7.71 @ 171mph. I am in no doubt that Chris (Crew Chief) was highly delighted that we were after the bigger car classes who were very kindly putting some rubber down the track !
Unfortunately there were a few hold ups, so we only got the two qualifying runs. Finished the day still at Number 1, happy days !
Sunday Overcast but dry
Q3 Burnout done, and then shut off, as oil had been found at the top end. Pushed back and waited. Second burnout, bike lurched forward, and stalled, re started, but by that time the clutch was so hot, it pulled me through the lights, so a red light, a 7.79 @ 164 and some very hot clutch plates !
Q4 A bit of a slippy one, and the bike launched very hard, and lost power, punched all gears, and shut off, running 14 seconds, but still number 1 qualifier, and again only 2 runs.
Back to the pits and began doubting myself. I had used hardly any fuel and no nitrous, had I been on full throttle from the launch ? After a diagnostic, and quite a bit of help from everyone, especially Dale Leeks, thanks so much to him, we found a setting we never use, on the schnitz box, had somehow activated itself! Problem hopefully solved.
I had a bye in the first round. Usually I would break the beam, but I had to test this to make sure all was ok. It was! 7.72 @ 164mph
Next round I had Harold Wolfenden. Lovely bloke, good mate, and usually good racing.
I beat him with a 7.79 @ 161mph, which meant I had Allan in the Final. Allan was still storming, with PB after PB. I appeared to be getting a tad slower for no real reason.
Down to the start line, the usual camaraderie, and then all very serious. I needed to win this ! It was not meant to be, the bike launched very hard, 1.13 60 foot, and then all went wrong, it lost power and didn’t sound very well at all, but I kept it pinned as I couldn’t see Allan…. As he charged past me ! So Allan won his first Final, and I had my second, second ! 7.76 to my 8.25, and a poorly bike!
I had however won the APIRA Championship !
The bike is fixable, and we will be contesting the National Finals at Santa Pod on the 21/22 September.
Big huge thanks (Until a better word is invented) go to the most amazing team, Kevin Charman, my amazing bloke, for just sorting it all out, Jake Charman, for the added help when asked. It’s a big ask, but he is amazing. Chris Pyke, our fantastic Crew Chief, Julie Moxley, Sarah Chapman, and honoury Crew, and photographer, Helen Hayward. I would be so lost without you !
Our Sponsors, Tony at Abbey Motorsports, Doug at Ensys, Ken at Cooperized Dyno and Service Centre, Jeni at Yawning Cat Photography, John Austin for the rolling chassis.
Lastly Shakespeare Track Crew and Marshalls, the fab pit runners Linda Williams, and Mark Cousell, and Eurodragster for the great updates, and news items!
Lizz McCarthy - Back in the Sevens!
After a few concerns involving the bike dropping out, blowing headers off, or simply not wanting to play ball, we decided we had to change a lot at once, rather than one thing at a time, as we usually do..... After changing the coils, thanks to Richard Gipp - Happily back in the sevens, and looking forward to the next meeting - The Open Sports Nationals, at Shakespeare County next weekend. Thanks also to Chris Pyke, and Sarah Chapman, who went beyond the call of duty to crew for us this weekend
Summer Nationals 22/6/13
As per usual, when me and dad arrived at the track, the awnings where already set up thanks to Lizz, Gipp and Nige.
First run out in the morning and the headwind was unbelieveable! It knoked my MPH down to 56! Despite the wind, the bike launched well with a small wheel spin. Back in the pits, we tried raising the forks to get the spin down to a minimum. Next run out, it turned out that this had bought back the bogging problems from last meeting! Not wanting to lower the forks, we decided to tighten the clutch springs slightly. While this did get us a slightly better launch it still wasn’t great so back to the pits for the same adjustment again. On the last run before eliminations we still had a better launch but not quite good enough. We had only one option left. Dial in slow and try to push Lou out. The bike still launched with a bog as usual, when we were nearing the end of the track I couldn’t see Lou so decided to roll off. As soon as I saw the ticket, I was kicking myself immediately. On my 11.50 dial in I had run a 11.48. If only I had rolled off slightly sooner! Never mind, theres allways next meeting!
As always, I would like to thank my sponsors Doug at Ensys (ensys.co.uk) and Uncle Steve at Motorshack. Also, Dad, Lizz, Gipp, Nige and Chris for help over the weekend.
Firstly big thanks go to Richard Gipp and Nigel for the huge amount of help in getting both awnings up, tool boxes sorted, and myself and Jake’s bike set up ready for scrutineering, whilst Kevin went off to fetch afore mentioned Junior Drag Racer from Southampton.
When they arrived back, all they had to do was get Jake signed on and scrutineered, so happy days.
Kevin had done quite a bit of work on my bike since the last meeting, where I unfortunately made contact with the wall. I was therefore feeling quite positive that I could bury demons, have some quite quick runs, and try to keep my lead in the Championship.
Saturday came, so did the most ferocious head wind, and so did the crew, Chris Pyke and Julie Moxley. Sarah (Minx) would be arriving Sunday. All knew all too well how I would be feeling, so the mood was quite serious. I on the other hand let it all get to me, and was very apprehensive on how the bike would behave.
First one against Jem Ven, I’d never raced against her in qualifying, and I think we were both looking forward to it. Good burnout, up to the line, and that’s where it all went a bit wrong. As I paddled in, I felt that I wasn’t straight, when I launched, I realised that I was right, launched very hard, big tyre shake, and shot to the left, and with the wind as well as the swiftness of the launch, my brain didn’t have time to react as well as I would like, and I was heading toward the centre line. Before I knew it I had crossed lanes. “Where the F*** was Jemma,” I thought, so stayed as close to the centre line as I could, before she skipped passed me, apparently a superb riding job, anticipated my move, and ran a 7.72, and run one of a National Speed record ! I was mortified, I have been taught its bad manners to cross lanes, but I went exactly the direction I was facing.
eneral consensus of opinion was that when I paddled into pre stage, I moved the bars to the left, and once it was in my head that I wasn’t straight, it was game over. My fault entirely. Went to see Jemma and apologise, she was very cool about it all. Only upside was a 1.13 60 foot!
Minor adjustments to the bike, to make sure the bike could go a straight as it could possibly could. Both Chris and Kev at separate times gave me a bit of a talking to. Concentrate on the end of the track, let nothing take your eyes from the end. The throttle does turn both ways!! I am blessed with some amazing crew, with a wealth of experience, and will always appreciate how lucky I am.
Next run against Phil Crossley, and what a run. Remembering everything that Chris and Kev had told me, and really concentrating hard – Burnout, launch run, I could see Phil all the way up the track out of the corner of my eye, thinking “I wish he would go away!” Turned off at the top end, very happy to have 1. Got to the top in my own lane, 2. Forgot about the head wind 3. Happy nothing messed with my head. I looked at Phil, thanked him for a great race and neither had a clue who had got there first!
It was me!! 1.14 60 foot and 7.82 @ 160 to Phil’s 7.99 @ 157mph - Gave me the number 2 position! Jemma at number one, with a new track record to boot. Many Congratulations to her!
Bike and rider all ready to go. Went through all my checks, and down to the pairing lanes, this time against great mate Allan Davies. Had a giggle in the fire up road, I love Comp bike, we are by far this season’s most impressive bike class, in my opinion, with such a mixture of bikes, plus we all get on so well!
No clue what happened to Allan, until the end, to find he never got off the line. Meanwhile I ran a 1.13 60 foot and a 7.72 @ 160mph, keeping the number 2 spot.
Minx, Jedi Master to Julie’s Grasshopper eventually turned up …. !!
1st round Elims
Up against Kevin Osman. He was still getting to grips with his new bike, but what a lovely fella. He had problems off the line, which was bad for him, good for me 1.14 60 foot 7.74 @ 161mph
Next round, I would have had Tony Clark, but unfortunately after a brave effort from the track crew, after a deluge of rain, the track dried, and us called, the rain came down in earnest.
Eventually the meeting was called, and then the sun just to be a tease, decided to come out!
A marvellous weekend as always, and big thanks as always, in no particular order:-
Super Crew and associates, Kevin Charman, Jake Charman, Chris Pyke, Julie and Steve Moxley, Sarah Chapman, Richard Gipp, Nigel Sadler.
Tony Gillam at abbeymotorsports.co.uk – Thanks is not sufficient, but thanks – Doug at www.ensys.co.uk- Jay Regan at MRE who got clutch plates to me super quick, everyone at Eurodragster.com, and Dragbike.com
Next outing at the Retro Show doing demos. Hope to see some of you there .
Springspeed Nationals 4/5/13
When Dad and I arrived at the track, most of the setting up work was already done thanks to Lizz, Gipp and Nige. Thanks also to Don Kennedy, Bois Reed and Ray Debben for helping to find some spark plugs at short notice.
First run out in the morning we started out with a 9.89 dial but it soon became clear that the bike was having real trouble leaving the line without bogging. I ran a 10.34 @ 65 mph. I came back to the pits feeling sure I had let go of the clutch too slowly and it spun the clutch instead of the tyre.
Saturday morning , and another attempt at leaving the line. This time I made a point of reminding myself to ping the clutch and there was still a bog. Back to the pits and we put even higher pressure into the tyre and lowered the front in order to get the wieght away from the back wheel. Also, we decided to lean out the fuel mix. but still had the same problems as before.
It was the last run before eliminations and lean didn’t work so we decided to try rich. Thanks to Binz for finding us some jet drills to use as we proceeded to make a richer jet. Even now, we still had the same problem.
We went into eliminations thoroughly baffled. We could only hope for scott to break out. He ran a 7.97 on his 7.90 dial to my 11 on a 10.91 dial. Oh well.
As always thanks to my sponsors, Doug at Ensys (www.ensys.co.uk) and “Uncle” Steve Wood. Also thanks to Dad, Lizz, Gipp and Nige for helping me throughout the weekend.
You can visit youtube.com/nitrousjunkieracing for videos of this weekend.
It’s taken a week and one lost race report to get this sent out, as thinking about the weekend, and the catalogue of events, the realisation has finally sunk in how incredibly lucky I was, and how blessed I am by the most amazing crew and friends.
Set up as usual on the Friday – Kev went to fetch Jake, and I got the bikes organised and scruinteered. By the time they were back, the whole ensemble had arrived and we were ready to race!
Woke to the sound of rain, and thought “here we go again !” The wind was quite blustery, and soon dried up, called down, and rained again, and back to the pits we went. A few hours later we were back in the fire up road. I paired up with Allan Davies, I was in the left hand lane - and was advised to do a bigger burnout than normal, as I had had a new tyre fitted for this meeting. Big burnout I did!! Up to pre stage, launched, and immediately turned left, and although I tried to keep it away, I hit the armco, like a bouncing bomb. I can’t tell you why I kept it pinned, but the paramedics and fire crew were chasing me down the track, when eventually I came to a stop not long after the first return road, as unable to stop due to only having one brake lever. This has been snapped off on the armo with a foot peg, and scraped my leathers. Thankfully I sacrificed my leg and elbow to save the bike from worse damage!
Adrenaline is an amazing thing, once stopped I was very shaken, and in quite a bit of pain, so was taken to the med centre in the ambulance. I am so sorry for holding up everyone elses racing.
Eventually I was allowed to go back to the pits, to find that the bike had been pretty much turned round, a new lever found, thanks so much to Nigel Barker, and the foot peg was about to be re welded back on by Rick Cooke. Thanks so much to him, and the secondary offers from Jim Usher, and Richard Walters. All I had to do now was convince Ian Connop (big cheese medical type chap) that I was ok to race, and get bike and leathers re scrutineered, and I would be ready for the last qualifier of the day.
Happily they all gave me the go ahead, just in time to hear a couple of Comp bikes burn out.
I was given permission to do a re familiarisation pass after the last session, but nerves got the better of me, and I burnt the clutch out in the burnout, so would have to get my head sorted, and race the following day. I must thank 2 JDB buddies Jake Charman and Louis Davies for being total superstars and cleaning my clutch, and all the plates and steels, and putting it all back together again – it’a a rotten job – thank you so much.
Got out about 2.30, very sore and quite stiff – I was so nervous, I really thought I wasn’t going to be able to do this. Kev had taken a load of timing out, so it was going to be gentle and I was allowed to go solo. It was a normally aspirated run just to get me back in the saddle. I ran a 8.71 – the fastest the bike has gone with no nitrous, so was pretty pleased with that – and the team were just thankful I made it up there with no dramas!
The second run was awesome. I found my mojo! Still solo – but ran a 7.71 @ 173mph my quickest mph to date. It
got me up the ladder to Number 1 qualifier, sorry guys, seems a bit rude really !
What a day ! All sorted, and was up against Harold Woldenden in the first round of Elims. I love racing him, we always have a giggle, and is a good mate. Poor bloke red lit, whist I ran a 7.89 @ 162 mph and took the win. Tony Clark came up next, and we were all so chuffed for him to find that he had run his first 7 on the Outlaw, brilliant ! Phil Crossley had run another 7.8, another PB, and very pleased for him too !
I had a bye into the Final, so just staged, and waited to race Tony I was very much looking forward to this too. Ken Cooper looks after both out engines, it’s been a while since a Cooperized final !!
Needless to say, he put me in the left hand land, which completely messed with my head. So with a reaction of about 2 weeks, and “after you Tone” I chased him up the track, but he had me. He beat me on the tree, with another 7 – 7.9 to my 7.8. I am going to have to watch him !
Big huge thanks as always to my fantastic crew. Kevin, thanks for being so patient with me. Jake, Minx, Julie, Nigel, and Chris who has heard about my accident, and texted even though he was on the other side of the world, to see if I was ok. Richard Gipp, Allan and Clair Davies and Kerryanne Frazier.
Paramedics, Race control, Track Crew and Pit runners, Mark Cousell and Linda Williams, you rock !
Lastly to Eurodragster, and some incredible sponsors – Doug at Ensys, Tony Gillam at Abbey Motorsports, thank you so much for coming to see us at the weekend. “Uncle” Steve Wood, Vizman Kustom Art, Jeni at Yawning Cat Photography, Simon at Claron Graphics – Thank you all so much for all your support!
Festival Of Power 30/3/13
When Dad and me arrived at the track, the awnings, vans e.t.c were allready set up thanks to Lizz, Gipp, Clair and Allan. After getting the caravan set up we started to get my bike ready for scruitineering. Despite the efforts of the track crew, the track was very cold. First run out I ran a 10.10 @ 66mph qualifying me second. Because of the cold track there was a lot of wheelspin, so we decided to drop the rear tyre pressure and go out for another run with a bigger burnout. Unfortunately due to small flurrys of snow throughout the day we would have to wait until Sunday for our next run. The big burnout heated the clutch causing the bike to drag me through the startline and red light. Apart from the clutch, this tecnique was working well so we decided to keep the same approach for the next run. Later, Dad decided to check the weather station and the adjusted altitude was under –300! Terrible for engines. After some consideration, we decided that it was too late into the meeting to change the jetting. Monday began with a surprise qualifying run then straight into eliminations. Jordan Bissel had allready left the track due to the cold weather leaving me a bye into round two. Round two and I was against Lou, the run went well and some very close racing, he won by just .04 of a second. He later went on to win the meeting.
I would like to thank Dad, Lizz, Steve at Motorshack and my new sponsor, Doug at Ensys. There will be videos of the meeting at youtube.com/nitrousjunkieracing including on board footage from my bike.
My weekend didn’t actually start too well. It was the first time I took the van to the track and had to set up, usually I swan along after it’s all done by Kev, but as he wasn’t racing, he went to fetch Jake from Southampton, leaving me with a van that I hated driving and awnings I had no clue how to put up!
Thankfully, Richard Gipp turned up, as well as Allan Davies, our Crew Chief Chris, and Sarah (Minx) Chapman – Gippy got me organised, and that was just as well – so thanks so much for the help!
All set up pretty much, off to get scrutineered, sorted and ready for the following day. It was about that time, when we stopped we realised how bloomin’ cold it was. There was frost on the windscreens, and shivering crew. It was going to be a cold night! (Minus 5!)
Saturday morning came, and we woke to snow flurries, which refused to disappear. My bike had to have the fan heater put on it to get the oil a bit more fluid, eventually she started, put on the 2 step and ready to race. We had already decided that due to a few changes over the winter, where we had done away with the head gasket and now using bigger power rings made by Dave Branch, we were in unknown territory, a normally aspirated run was the sensible thing to do. We also had no idea how the track would be, and had already made the call not to change last year’s slick. Every time we were called the snow started again!
Eventually we got down to the pairing lanes, round to the burnout box, nice burnout, into 1st, staged, launched, shifted, and then found I could shift no more…… and seemed to have no air to do this either ! I eventually got to the end in a pretty dismal 22 seconds at about 29mph, giving me plenty of time to appreciate how smooth the track surface was, (or something!)
Got towed back to the pits a bit miffed and baffled.
Kev and Chris found that a seal on the air shifter ram had forgotten how to be a seal, and this was what had caused me shifting issues – my constant pressing the button being in total denial had emptied the air tank, so we were barking up the wrong tree for a while. So that all sorted and thanks to Ray Debben for his input, I was ready to race again.
The rest of the day progressed, myself and the crew got considerably colder as did the temperature. I was getting a bit concerned about the conditions, and if I really wanted to go out again, when I noticed “someone” had written “NO” on the damp bodywork – the racing was stopped for that very reason several minutes later! Dew point had hit. We would have to wait until tomorrow to see if the shifting issue was cured.
Sunday couldn’t have been any colder could it? With an icy wind, it was bitter. Spent the first part of the morning wishing I could hibernate, and trying to keep the bike, myself and my poor crew warm.
Track temp was at zero, but according to the weather station the air was good. Comp Bike was called and off we went to race! Nitrous on this time, as I had a bit of ground to make up, launched hard, wheel spinning along the way, drifted to the right, corrected, and scampered to the finish. It all happened very quickly, and I felt, it was quite a messy run. Something fell off though. When I looked over the bike, it turned out to be a wheelie bar board. Chris had just had them made for me, sorry Chris, and sorry Ensys! So what was the run time? To be told when collected that I had just run a PB of 7.61 @ 164 mph on a freezing track, was more than we could have hoped for, and number 1 qualifier too! Happy Days.
Nothing broken, apart from the board, the bike was all prepped for the next run. No issues, a very similar, bit slower, 7.64 @ 167mph. The new track is awesome. Who would think it possible to run the numbers on a track as cold as this!
I sat out the last run, so we could do a bit of maintenance, I must mention, it is quite nerve racking watching your class, and wondering if you have done the right thing is missing a round. Jem Vens run looked pretty quick, but not as quick as me (yet) Allan was getting quicker, and ran a PB, Harold was creeping up. But I kept the No 1 qualifier position. We had another qualifier in the morning, but we had already decided to spare the motor in the cold conditions for eliminations.
Good call, it was still pretty cold. Harold at last had found his missing seven, but unfortunately had broken beyond “at the track repair” and Jemma too snapped a cam and was unable to make the first round of Elims. I had Phil Crossley in the first round. I don’t know what I was thinking about, I got rattled when I couldn’t get the bike to burnout, and once it did burnout, I was a bit flustered, short shifted all the way up, and didn’t feel I was making a very good job of keeping the bike straight. A very messy 7.95 @ 159mph, but enough to get me through to the next round to Phil’s 8.85 @ 132 mph.
I had a bye into the Final, and just staged as it was so cold I was beginning to feel that part of me were dropping off, and just waited to see who I had in the final. It was between Allan Davies, and Phil Leamon. Allan was improving all the time, but Phil took the win.
So here I was, first meeting of the season in the Final. Mr Leamon has demon reactions, and there was no way I would ever be able to compete with that so I would have to chase, and not red light.
As it goes, I was not too far behind and overtook him, running a 7.72 @ 164 to Phil’s 8.32 @159mph. My first Event win!
Big thanks goes to my wonderful Kev for the motor, the support, the mentoring, and mickey taking, Ken Cooper for “Cooperizing” like a boss, Dave Branch, Richard Gipp, Jake, and Chris Pyke. What a bloody marvellous team we are!
Additional thank yous go to Minx and Vizman Kustom Art for Sponsoring the meeting, and Minx for coming to Crew when she really should have been home nursing lemsips, Julie Moxley for endless cups of tea, fantastic soup, and Team building!
Thanks to my Sponsors :- Doug Cheke at Ensys and Tony Gillam at Abbey Motorsports, and all the amazing people who took the trouble to come and wish me well, and came back to congratulate me when I won.
Lastly huge thanks to Eurodragster, the relentless Track Crew, Marshalls, and all at Santa Pod. The track is fabulous, with some heat in it; it is going to be amazing!
A Quick Update
It's seems a very long time since we updated you with anything at all, so no time like the present.
With only a few weeks to go before the Festival of Power at Santa Pod, we feel it safe to say that Kev will definitely not be racing this season. The general idea being that he supports Jake and Lizz, and does some work to the house, as there will be some money in the bank !
He finished in 2nd Place at Santa Pod in Pro Stock, and found that he is not cured, still has the nitro bug, so it has to be Top Fuel or nothing !
Lizz will be racing in Comp bike again, and would like to thank all the "bloody marvellous" people who voted for her, and helped her win the Paul Giddings Memorial Trophy, for over coming adversity. From broken wrists, to broken engines, to running sevens, was more than she could have hoped for at the end, but what a fantastic end. She is now very much looking forward to the new season, and seeing what can be achieved..
Big thanks to John Austin who has let Lizz use the chassis for another year.
Jake had a learning curve last season, changing small things, and getting faster, getting to grips with the Junior Bike, and really coming into his own, finishing also in 2nd place at Santa Pod (like Father like Son) and can't wait for the first meeting.
The Crew will consist of Kev, Sarah (Minx) Chapman, who will hopefully be about a bit, and Chris Pyke.... without these guys we would be nothing!!
We are also delighted to announce that Lizz and Jake will be sponsored by Kev's employer Ensys. Kev spoke to Doug Cheke, the Director of the Company, to ask if there was any possibility that his previous sponsorship could be transferred to them, and he was happy to do this. We would like to thank him so much for this, and and financial backing is always very much appreciated.
Meanwhile if there is anyone out there who would like to give us any support at all no matter how small, spark plugs, nitrous, fuel or tyres or even a meeting by meeting package, please get in touch.
See you at the track !
Our 2012 Christmas Card!
Halloween Bonfire Burn Up 27/10/12
This weekend was a chance do some runs and finish my competition with Louis. First run out of the van was a 10.2 with a lot of wheelspin as well as a red light. We went back to the pits to try and solve the wheelspin by raising the front end of the bike to help the weight transfer to the back wheel quicker as we thought there may be a wheel spin problem. Out for another run and a 10.8 despite trying the burnout in second gear to get more heat into the tyre. Back to the pits once more and a little baffled, when we spoke to some of the other people riding two strokes we where advised to lean out the main jet which we did and the bike still lost MPH indicating that the power produced had gone down! So even more baffled we looked at the weather station and the adjusted altitude was at around -360, terrible air for racing and a sign that the bike should be made rich not lean. We put a bigger main jet in and went out and ran a 9.8 and back to 66mph, we think we could have still gone up on the jetting but the track closed at 5pm so we’ll have to wait till next year to see!
Come Sunday the weather had turned and the rain was coming down, at one o’clock the decision came that the meeting had been called. Despite the rain, in a stroke of luck we took off the clutch cover and noticed a missing pin, luckily before it caused any major damage, so off to the garage to find where it’s gone!
Extreme Performance Bike Weekend
I arrived at the track late and as usual thanks to the great team everything was ready to go in the morning.
Saturday morning, after Lizz’s first qualifier me and Lou wend out for a straightliners RWYB pass down the full ¼ mile. We had some very close runs, even a few where our 330 ft times where identical! As the bike is not set up for the quarter we decided to change the front sprocket to a 17 tooth instead of a 15.
Despite all our work, the bike actually went slower! Running around 17 seconds instead of the previous 16’s making me and Lou even and all to play for at Halloween!
As usual thanks to Dad, Lizz and my newest crew, Jordan Clark for all their help, and to my sponsors “uncle” Steve Wood at Motorshack and Alan Young At RCP Training
If anyone had told me back in May when I had two broken wrists, that I would run two 7.7's and be in the Final at the Extreme Performance Bike weekend, I would have put a lot of money on it !
What an bitter sweet end to what has been quite a frustrating season.
The problems we had beforehand, at the National Finals where the liner had dropped on number one cylinder, to get me through this weekend, we had a bigger power ring made by Dave Branch, and Kev worked every evening to get the motor back up together again. Thanks is such an inadequate word but thanks to you both so much. When the bike roared into life on Thursday night, it sounded good, and we started loading up the van for the meeting.
The first qualifier, the bike sounded ok in the burnout, onto the two step into stage, and launched hard. Third gear, it started to sound a bit rough, and as the timing ticket, showed a disappointing 8.51 @ 138 mph. Back to the pits to do a leak down test. There was a leak now on number 4 cylinder, so off with the head, and found that number 3 power ring was starting to pull into the bore. We decide that there was not enough pinch on the ring, and after scouring the pits for a thinner gasket with no luck, myself and Kerryanne Frasier, with an emery cloth and a block, set about the head gasket we had, and some time later we had managed to get seven thou off it fairly evenly! Unfortunately I was completely out of time to have another qualifier, but by the evening the bike was back together.
Sunday morning, we were lucky enough to have another qualifier, started the bike up, to put it on the two step, and it kept cutting out. There must be something wrong with the cam timing. Took the cover off, and found it was one tooth out. This was about the same time that we had the call for the qualifier. Chris and Kev worked like men possessed rectifying the problem, I asked if there was anything I could do, I was told to go and get my leathers on! Cams set correctly, Kev had two stepped it, Sarah had set off with the starter waiting for me to get to the line, and I got there a bit stressed, apologized to Harold for being late, shook his hand, wished each other luck, and off we went to race.
I didn't run well I think I hit the 2 step instead of the air shifter, and the bike coughed, in time for me to see Harold whizz past me, and me run another 8.5. No change in the ladder.
I had Harold in the first round of eliminations, Kev told me just to go out and have some fun and stop stressing, it's just another ride.
Who would have thought it - my ride was stonking! - I ran a PB, a 1.16 60 foot, a 7.74 to his 8.0, the bike was pulling like a train, and seemed a bit messy mid track, but I did it. I had also taken him out of the Championship, I was gutted for him but elated for me all at the same time. He was such a gent about it too, thanks hon! Back to the pits to a bit of cheering and a lot of hugs, and my fab team got the bike ready for the semi Final against Phil Leamon, who had already won the ACU Championship, and many congratulations to him.
I knew it was going to be a tough one, I had to keep my nerves about me, his reactions are awesome, and if all went according to plan, I could chase, and chase I did!! I not only caught up with him, over took him, but ran another PB of 7.71 @ 163mph!!! It was all getting a bit surreal! It would have been very cool if it had been a Cooperized Final, but Nige had found form, on Paul Wing's bike, and just pipped Tony Clark at the post, so Nige and I in the Final !
"Keep a hold of this McCarthy, you may just do this", I thought, Just have some fun..... Big hug and a bit of mickey taking with my old friend, and into the burnout box. Strong burnout, up to the line, there was a bit of a commotion going on around me, I stayed looking up the tack, until Bob Day told me to shut off.... What?? he was joking right? He wasn't - he had a handful of oil, the clutch cover had come loose, and was dripping oil. I shut off and
Nige took the win.
To say I was beyond gutted was an understatement, however Bob made a good call, the cheers from everyone in VIP, made me smile, and I went back to the pits, amazed that I broken and been repaired, had gone rounds, won a trophy, got a cheque, and run two 7.7's !! Saturday evening I really thought it was all over.
What a fantastic bunch of people I had fighting my corner that weekend. Kev Charman, you are one in a million, and Chris Pyke you are the other one ! Sarah Chapman, who came back to crew for the weekend after 2 years out, please come back soon! Kerryanne Frasier for the gasket work, and being such a mate, Dave Branch, Ken Cooper, Jake Charman, Allan and Clair Davis, Richard Gipp and Nigel Sadler.
Big thanks for the great support I have had this year from Ken at Cooperized Dyno and service Centre, Richard and Sam Stevens at MPM Oil UK, Steve Wood at Motorshack, Debs at Armadillo Ink.
Lastly, as always thanks to the incredible Track Crews, Commentators, photographers and Tog and the Gang at Eurodragster.
It's been emotional !
National Finals 22/9/12
In their own words……
Kevin Charman - Pro Stock Bike
After a very busy afternoon getting loaded up and meeting up with Gipp and Crew, we set up the Nitrous Junkie/Team Gipp pit space, complete with MPM branding. All looked very impressive. Four bikes in 4 different classes. Jake in Junior Drag Bike, Brendan Young in 9.50, Lizzy in Comp Bike and myself in Pro Stock, we were set on a pretty busy weekend!
Saturday came, and down to the start line for Comp and Pro Stock, with Juniors a few classes behind. I helped Lizzy get set and run, then donned helmet and gloves on for my run. First pass for the PSB was a 7.80 @ 170mph, that gave me number 2 slot. Although we were still not getting data from the logger, and the 60 foot times were down. Towed back to the pits, Chris, my Crew Chief was helping Lizzy get her bike ready for another run.
Gipp and Nige set about getting the PSB turned around and made some more changes to get out 60 foots back, while I went off to the line again, this time with Jake!
Qualifier 2, same deal, set Lizzy off, back to the Stocker, did the burnout and the bike stalled as I was putting it back into 1st gear. Re started and up to the line, stalled again. That was it, push back as you can only have one re start. Fortunately this did not change the ladder and we stayed at number 2.
We scrapped the third qualifier as we were having problems with Lizzy’s Comp bike, so Chris and I worked on trying to get this ready for racing.
Sunday morning we were down to 2 bikes, as we couldn’t repair the Comp bike at the track. Very disappointing for Lizzy and the Team.
Round 1, I was up against Ray Debben. The clutch was starting to work, as we were back to 1.16 60 foots, and a winning 7.7 ET on a tricky track.
We were set up to meet Len for the Finals, but the weather thought otherwise, and the meeting was called at 13.30.
Jake Charman - Junior Drag Bike
After some very good runs at Shakey last meeting I was keen to see what I could do at Pod. I arrived at the track and everything was ready to go! Thanks to Dad, Brendan, Gipp, Nige and special thanks to Lizz for taking time off work to come and pick me up!
Before we raced we were all given purple and black ribbons to put on our wheelie bars for Martin Bishop and his Family who lost their Grand daughter in a tragic accident last Monday. All in Junior Drag bike, and Nitrous Junkie Team are thinking about them at this most difficult time.
We decided to start with our last dial–in of 10.10 and I ran a 9.92 @ 66 mph prompting us to change the dial to a 9.90 for the next run. Back to the pits normal maintenance done, back out for qualifier no. 2. Next run I ran a 9.99 @ 66 mph bumping me up to 2nd qualifier and taking a shot at the perfect light award with a .002 reaction time (the best reaction for the class as far as I know!) Qualifier no. 3, no changes to speak of, 9.92 @ 66 mph bumping me up again to 1st qualifier!
Sunday morning and a bye in the first round. I kept my dial in the same after yesterdays success and ran 9.93 @ 66 mph! Unfortunately we began to get spits of rain that soon turned into buckets and the meeting was called making every official meeting of Junior Drag Bike rained off this year!
As always thanks to my Sponsors “Uncle” Steve Wood at Motorshack and Alan Young at RCP Training - hope to see you both next year! Also thanks once again to Dad, Lizz, and Chris for crewing on the line and to Donna, Gipp and Nige for support in the pits.
Now I just have to wait for next year...
Lizz McCarthy – Competition Bike
I was looking forward very much to racing again at Santa Pod, after not being on the track at all due to injury, and having such a successful time at the Bulldog Bash, running 2 sevens back to back.
While Kev went to the track to set all three bikes up, drove from Banbury to Southampton to fetch Jake, who lives on the Isle of Wight, and then drove onto Pod. This was the first time all three of us has racing at the same time, and we were under no illusions that this could be a very busy weekend!
From suffering engine damage at the Bulldog and having various parts around the country, Kev had been working flat out most evenings, once parts arrived getting my engine back together again for this meeting. I can never thank him or Allan Davies enough for all the help. Finals checks done and started at the track, and was happy when I got a call to say all was well, and no problems.
Saturday morning we went to start the bike up, and it wasn’t having any of it. It started fine the day before, why not now. Eventually after going over the whole bike, and testing everything, a loose connection was found, sorted and the bike fired up!
First run was disappointing, and fantastic at the same time. Unfortunately I didn’t give Harold Wolfenden the race I so wanted to (we have been trying to race each other for 3 years !) Although the nitrous purged, it didn’t activate. I knew I was on full throttle as I was trying to wring the neck of the throttle trying to chase him! Great shame, but still very happy that I ran an 8.90 normally aspirated. It’s the quickest the motor has gone. Before that it was 9.1 with Kev on it !
Back to pits, found the issue, so the next run should be a good nitrous pass.
Second run, launched hard, and then seemed to lose power, kick in again when I hit 3rd gear pulling me towards the wall, and me having to correct it quickly. A power ring had failed, resulting in a very rough 8.70, and very fortunate that I didn’t do anymore damage to me or the bike. We need to address this, as this is the second time, I have had the same thing happen, and just had repaired.
There was nothing that we could do at the track, so my bike was put away. To say I was gutted was an understatement – but on the bright side, Jake did fantastically well, number one qualifier, nearly a perfect light winner, and Kev got into the final, before it was rained off.
Our next meeting, the last of the season is the Extreme Performance Bike weekend in a fortnight, I am so hoping that my bike will be ready, but if not there is always next year…
Thanks as always to our long suffering, hard working Crew, who without them, this Weekend would have been murder ! Chris Pyke, Donna and Corey, Richard Gipp, and Nigel, Allan Davies, Big Rich, and Alan Young, and our Sponsors, Richard Stevens at MPM Oil UK, Steve Wood at Motorshack, Ken Cooper at Cooperized, and Doug at Ensys.
A quick mention too to the Track Crew, Eurodragster, Colin Theobald, and Nitro FM, without them we wouldn’t have any idea what was going on!
European Finals 6/9/12
As we battle with a press release, and look out and see it's pouring down with rain again, we can only be thankful how very lucky we were with four days of fantastic weather over the European Finals.......
Q1 Straight out of the trailer, first round, on a bye, 7.87 @ 167.9 mph, and a 1.23 sec 60 foot. This was not a bad starting run for me, and had me at number 1 qualifier for a least 30 seconds ! The bike is still not 60 footing, and the data logger is not helping by showing corrupt data. At present we are trying to tune the bike by what I feel and what Gipp and Chris see. Back to pits, serviced the bike and make a few tiny changes to help me and the bike hopefully get some better 60's.
Q2 Left lane against Elvira Karlsson. My reaction time was not as good as the first, launched ok, but the bike has some smoke escaping, which we initially thought was from the rocker cover. Shifted into 2nd gear, and realised that I did not have the bike on full throttle - my bad! Back on full throttle for the rest of the run, cursing myself all the way up, under my helmet. Back to the pits, and decided that we would need to go right through the motor to find what was causing the smoke, and where we thought what must be a leak, was. We needed to find exactly where.
Q3 We missed this qualifier, the first one on Saturday, as we were still working on the bike, making doubly sure that we had cured the leak.
Q4 Leak cured, and another bye. A good reaction, still lacking on the 60 foots, happy no mechanical problems, but no improvement as I ran another 7.8 and still struggling to improve as the data logger was still acting up.
Sunday First round Eliminations I had Fredrik Fredlund. This was going to be an uphill race! Freddy had been running pretty consistant 7.1's most of the weekend, a very good racer, with much more experience than me, in this Pro Stock malarky - but I would give it my best shot! I got away first with an .05 to his .08, but after that it was all Freddy ! Many congratulations to him on the event win, and the Number 1 plate in the Pro Stock Bike European Championship 2012. As for us? Still no bloody data! So home we went.
Thanks to the Team - Richard Gipp and Nigel Sadler, my Crew Chief Chris Pyke, and my other half Lizzy.
Thanks also to our Sponsors - Richard Stephens at MPM Oil UK, Doug at Ensys and Steve at Motorshack.
We must also thank Eurodragster for the data and the commentators, Daryl and Colin, over the weekend, you guys do an awesome job!
Now we are getting organised for the National Finals which is back at Santa Pod on the 22/23rd September. We have all three of the Team out for this one. Myself in Pro Stock Bike, Lizzy will be in Comp bike, we are in the process of getting her motor built up now all the parts are back, and Jake in Junior Drag bike. We have not attempted all three of us out at the same time - This will be one to watch!!.
The Open Sports Nationals 25/8/12
After a while of downtime since the last official meeting I was looking forward to some competitive racing, we arrived at Shakey on Friday and it was already raining! But spurred on by the previous rain offs we went ahead and put the awning up, got the bikes out etc.
Saturday certainly didn’t set a good mood for the weekend, even despite the track crew’s efforts to dry the track only a few classes actually got out sadly not including Junior Bike!
Sunday began with Comp Bike out first and glorious sunshine! Junior Bike where out a few classes later and we decided on a dial of 9.87 and I ran 10.11 which we put down to rider error as for some reason (still don’t know to this day!) I didn’t ping the clutch, I just dumped it! So, next run out we used the same dial in but despite a correct launch I ran 10.11 again, so we put in a new spark plug and dialled a 10.12 for the final qualifier. Now, I don’t know how much power a new plug makes, but I pinged the clutch and the chain broke! Back to the pits, repaired for eliminations in the morning.
Because of the problems in the last qualifier I wanted to have a bit of leeway so changed the dial in to a 10.10 (sorry to Lizzy as she had to run about trying to find a pen!). Liam had dialled in a 15.00, so I rolled into stage and settled in for a five second wait. I won and got through to the next round. I would like to say well done to Liam as he was very close to his dial in and it was a very close race! My next run was against Louis so we had almost identical dial ins, unfortunately when I launched the bike went up on the bars and the footpeg hit the back of my foot, which I think turned the bike left a tad. In my attempts to catch up with Lou I broke out! Unfortunately though the final didn’t get run because of poor weather making 4/5 meetings rained off!
As always thanks to my sponsors, Uncle Steve at Motorshack and Alan at RCP Training. Also to Dad and Lizz for crewing and to the track crew for keeping the track going despite the rain.
Lizz McCarthy: Person Of The Week!
Nitrous Junkie's very own comp bike rider Lizz McCarthy has recently been named Dragbike.com's person of the week well done Lizz!
Click Here to see her write up.
The Bulldog Bash 9-12 August 2012 - Lizz does the double!
This year as Kev was not going to be doing demonstration passes at the Bulldog Bash, I was invited instead. It was more track time before the Open Sports, and will give us a chance to test a few things that we had been meaning to, but unable due to the terrible weather we have suffered this season, and the fact I broke my wrists in May! This weekends crew was Kev and his Crew Chief Chris Pyke. They have a weath of experience and an amazing rapport, and certainly put me at ease......
The first demo I was quite nervous. From watching some of the run what you brungers going up the strip, it looked a bit slippery. I was assured that the track would be prepped so went and got changed, and did the last checks on the bike with the boys. We were called so went and got ourselves situated against the wall.
Kev started me, and burnout done, I forgot to stop and wait for him to get me back into first gear, and rolled towards Chris who was spotting me, and looked quite surprised to see me there so soon! Gears sorted, purged nitrous, and went into pre stage. Everything happened quite quickly after that, I think I hit the shift points, I may have missed a gear, but up to the end in one piece, and waited for someone to come and tow me back. I thought about my run, and what I could have done differently, and then Kev appeared with a serious look on his face, and asked me how fast I thought I went, I thought is may have been an 8.7- he then told me I had run a 7.95 @ 165mph!! My first 7!! I did a bit of a happy dance, the grin is still here !
The tow back is "en masse" down the track, and Jerry Cookson who is commentating introduces the riders and drivers as they are towed back. The cheers were amazing when he said my name. My 5 minutes of fame!! The amount of people who came to congratulate me was over whelming, thank you to everyone who did, and if I seemed a bit dazed, it's because I was!
Bike checked over and all A-ok, the next demo at 5. The weather was very warm and the track was sticky - happy days!
The next run was a bit strange. Although it wasn't said out loud, they boys knew I was putting myself under pressure to do it again. How gutted would I be if I ran an 8.0? It felt very strong, the 60 foot was a 1.18, however I was battling with the bike to keep it straight, and it was a very messy run. Lack of experience and being on the bars for nearly the whole run, felt a bit wobbly and the shift light seemed to be coming on very quickly - so wheel spinning. As it goes, happily I ran another 7, but a 7.96 but 10mph down. Got the bike back to the pits, more congrats, and was questioned on if I was on full throttle. I know I was as I tried to open it a bit more but was there already!
We decided to do a leak down, and it wasn't good, so decided to lift the head off and see if it was something we could repair at the track. Unfortunately this was not possible - The head gasket had gone. To be honest I didn't really care. I had run two sevens, beating my PB by 0.8 secs !!
The repair, we are not going to rush. We are going to order some parts, and seeing we are not in any Championship battles, we don't want to put ourselves under any more pressure getting this ready for the Open Sports. We could thrash to do it, but there's no need. It's a shame, but I'm hoping to be back for the National Finals at Santa Pod.
A great weekend. Big Thanks to Dicko and Sarah for inviting me, to Kev and Chris, you guys rock! I strongly believe that I could not have achieved this without you - To the track crew at Shakey- for their hard work and thanks for such a good track. Thanks also to Richard Stevens at MPM Oil UK, Steve Wood at Motorshack, Debs at Armadillo Ink, Simon at Claron Graphics and Ken Cooper at Cooperized Dyno and Service Centre.
Oh! and to all the people last year I told that as soon as I ran a 7, I would happily quit - sorry, I lied !
TOTB Demos Elvington Raceway 29/7/12
Jake Takes Up The Story:
After some cracking runs at Avon Park last weekend we decided to do some test runs at totb at Elvington. When I arrived I was expecting to do my usual, 1/8 mile and roll the rest. But as usual, there was a problem. Elvington doesn’t have 1/8 mile timing, so this meant I would have to run my first ever quarter and on an unfamiliar track too! There was a huge headwind, but with much anticipation (new track nerves as dad says!) rolled up to the line. It launched beautifully and ran well too! I ran 17.56 @ 59 mph despite having to shut off before the finish due to the wind getting under my chest and trying to blow me off! Back to the pits maintenance done and out for another pass. I went down to the line with my demons put to bed knowing what to expect. I went up to the light ready to launch but must have gone slightly past it as when I pinged the clutch the bike bogged slightly running a 17.39 @ 70mph. Next run was a pretty textbook pass, spun the tyre a tad but still ran a 17.52 @ 68mph.
As always thanks to Dad for crewing, Lizz for some great photos! Also to my sponsors Uncle Steve at Motorshack and Alan at RCP Training for all their support!
For Ladies That Launch 22/7/12
After being picked up from Don Kennedy on Friday afternoon we loaded my bike into the van and set off for shakey where we wanted to try out a few new things. The first of the changes was using a launch light, which despite making the bike look like a Christmas decoration really helped my launching. On my first run out I managed to pull a .070 reaction and after Don’s tuning I ran a 9.9 @65MPH. Despite the better times, the rear tyre was still struggling to recover after spinning off the line, so that afternoon we changed the rear tyre. The new tyre helped to get my time down to a 9.8 @67MPH. My next run I bought the revs up to the launch light but took them too high so it hit the limiter and started to die.
As always I would like to thank Dad and Lizz and also my sponsors Uncle Steve at Motorshack and Alan at RCP Training.
After racing at Ladies that Launch, this was the first time back on the bike since breaking both her wrists in a car accident in May. Lizz McCarthy has got back on the bike nervously at first, using the time also as testing time. She got the handle of it, after nearly 10 months of not racing, and came home with a PB and a trophy!
Kev and Gipp noticed that the bike was going off song on launch, deciding that this could be due to the bike running far too rich, when the nitrous came in. Bike came home in one piece and Kev is now in the garage, thinking about the next stage!
Leak down done, all appeared to be fine. Just adjusted the nitrous tuning, and see what happens.
The wrists seem to be holding out ok, so the next trip out for Lizz is the Bulldog Bash on the 8th - 11th August, and very much looking forward to this :)
Lizz would like to thank Ken Cooperized Dyno and Service CentreRichard and Sam @ MPM Oil UK Top Fuel Racing, Steve @ Motorshack, for their continued support, plus Jeni @ Yawning Cat Photography and Rob Cox for the photo discs.
Jake’s News Update 29/6/12
After some testing at Shakey we seem to be having some problems with the engine not reaching the top of it’s rev range.
We have tried changing the fuel jet and richening up the carb, but the problems still remain. When the engine starts to reach the top of the rev range it seems to die every second or so.
After trying all we can think of we have sent the bike to Don Kennedy for some Dyno testing and hopefully to get to the bottom of the problem.
As always thanks to my sponsors “Uncle” Steve at Motorshack and Al Young at RCP Training.
Summer Nationals 23/6/12
Met up with Richard Gipp, his crew Nigel and the Pro Stock bike at the track on Friday, set up as per normal, and bike all prepped, scrutineered and ready for Saturday. Lizzy was keeping an eye on the weather forecast, as it was changing hourly, from terrible to not so bad but windy!
Saturday, we were not disappointed, weather was dry but terribly windy, but nothing we couldn't handle.
Qualifier #1 7.88 secs @ 166 mph - Spun off the line hurting only the 60 foot, the rest of the run was fine, not too bad a start for an opener. #2 Qualifier
Qualifier #2 - We had to sit out, as the clutch switch stopped working just as we were about to leave for this qualifier. We had no time to fix it.
Qualifier #3 - 7.83 secs @ 166 mph - Left the line ok, the 60 foot was a bit better, but still had some spin. I thought had double shifted on 2nd shift, but video evidence proves different. There was a slight improvement on time.
Qualifier #4 - I was made to sit this one out too, as last time I over ruled the Boss, I damaged the bike ! Good call by Gipp on reflection, as it rained anyway! And did it rain !
Sunday got up to see low cloud no rain, but a ferocious wind. The Track, rightly decided that the bikes would only run over the 8th due to the weather conditions, as there was a very strong cross wind. To help the bike as much as we could we took the wheelie bar boards off to give her a fighting chance. Sorry Doug - having the best Sponsorship space on the bike, comes with a price! They will be back on for next time.
We had Ray Debben in the first round of Eliminations, we had lane choice, but as far as I was concerned it was still going to be a tough race. Ray has been racing in Pro Stock for many years, and has a wealth of experience compared to me. My 0.05 reaction to ray's 0.08, managed to get out in front of him, Somewhere around the 330 foot, I felt the bike step sideways, and feathered the throttle. I thought I caught sight of a green bike by the side of me, so got back on it, and tried to morph into the bike. I stayed in front, not realizing that Ray had in fact shut off and made the first return road. Back to the pits, prepped and ready for what was going to be a long wait for the Finals.
The Final against Len Pagett, again another racer with a wealth of experience. Both into stage, no messing about. Len cut an awesome light, I, on the other hand was obviously having a doze, and stopped to watch him go, it seemed. A pretty dismal 0.22! First Loser, Congratulations to Len, not much of a race really, sorry! My First trophy in Pro Stock However!
Towed back to the pits, and got around the corner to find the joke really was on me. The whole Team were all sitting on the benches having a doze... very drole!
All in all not major issues this weekend, apart from one - The only big issue we did have, all weekend, was no data to tune from due to an intermittent problem with the logger, which reared its ugly head again, after us thinking we had it sorted. Pretty much all the runs were guess work by Gipp, and to be honest, he did a fantastic job of "tweaking blind" - a lot of it he didn't tell me about! Still quite pleased considering I am over weight and under powered !!
It was very good to see Paul King back on the track again, but disappointing not to see Mark Smith.
Very good to see Richard and Sam Stevens, our Sponsors from MPM oil UK, all be it brief. Hope your back is getting better, Sam.
A quick shout out and "mend quick" to Leigh Russon, after his off at the weekend, from the whole Team. Hope you are recovering and not too battered.
The recognitions to individuals and also the Sponsorship that help us out over the season is getting bigger and bigger, so in no Particular order:-
On the front line - Richard Gipp, Nigel and Chris Pyke, Lizzy and Jake.
The Track Crew, and commentators at Santa Pod, Eurodragster - as always!!
Our Sponsors - Richard Stevens @ MPM Oil UK, Doug Cheke at Ensys, Steve Wood @ Motorshack Thank you never seems enough !
The Main Event Santa Pod Raceway 1- 4 June 2012
Two vans locked and loaded for nearly a week at Santa Pod, travelling from different sides of the country!
Both Richard Gipp, myself with Lizzy arrived Thursday, set up ready for Friday evening, where we hoped to test at the Pro Test session, I needed more seat time, and this was the perfect opportunity. We fitted a new exhaust and did a few other little jobs, warmed the bike up and found we had a small leak on the head gasket. That scuppered our plans to test, as we had to fit a new head gasket - but hey, better now that on race day!
Saturday due to the on and off weather, our first session got called down at 4 o'clock. I was in the right hand lane, on a bye run. Gipp Chris and crew did a sterling job of getting me settled, and lining me up. Got a good 0.09 reaction - ran 7.87 secs @ 167 mph. We were not too sure if this was going to be enough to qualify. Racing against Europe's best Pro Stock Bike riders, and again another rookie season, I was very happy to have qualified 6th in the first session.
Second session - again the rain had held the track up, so it was 8.30pm when we go to race again! Track was going cold, Gipp asked me if I still wanted to take the run, I decided I needed the practice. 7.95 secs @ 153mph, shut off before the 1000 foot, as the bike would not change into top gear because of wheel spin. The result of this was damaging the 5th gear shift fork and shaft. After checking the weather and seeing 100% chance of rain, we decided to repair this when the had more time the following day.
Sunday rain totally stopped play. Thanks to Dale Leeks, Alan Young, Klaus Brinkmann and Allan Davies for being the bailing the water out of the awning team, while Gipp, Chris and myself repaired the bike. All done, all happy and praying for good weather Monday. I had Ulf Ogge in the first round.
Monday Eliminations was going to be a tough round. Ulf had already run a 7.4 so we had to find 4 tenths from somewhere. It's not like we haven't been the underdog before! Had a .1 reaction to Ulf's .2, that's where the advantage stopped! Ran out best for the weekend with a 7.77 chasing his 7.20 ! Still pleased to be racing the best in Europe and having improved all the way. Not too bad a result for keen amateurs on a practice motor! I don't feel that we embarrassed ourselves at all.
Big thanks to Gipp, to my crew Chief Chris, to Nigel, who, although unable to make it this time, sent a marvellous food parcel, Bryony for the biscotti and Lizzy help as her wrists are still healing, Eurodragster for the live reports, as we can never remember what we have done once home ! Plus the support from Richard Stevens from MPM UK , and my sponsors Doug at Ensys and Steve at Motorshack.
Springspeed Nationals Shakespeare County Raceway 4-6 May 2012-05-12
Kev’s Report - Pro Stock Bike
Pro Stock Bike is a very different animal to anything I have ridden before. It is seriously not as easy as they would have you believe. Obviously it is one heck of a lot lighter than the Top Fuel Bike from last year, it also does exactly what you ask it, in terms of steering, much much quicker !! You only have to glance anywhere but straight, and the bike will act accordingly! Because of this, I was doing more than a quarter mile on my runs, as I was going the long way round!.
Friday evening, I had to drop Lizzy and the caravan up to the track, as she unfortunately was involved in a head on collision the day before, breaking her wrists, spraining her back and unable to race and drive. To say she was disappointed is possibly an understatement, as she has not been given answers as to the extent of the damage to her, or how long she will be out of action. We all wish her speedy recovery, and hope that she gets fit enough to get back out there before the end of the season, even if only testing.
Richard Gipp and His crew Nigel were on hand to set up awnings and caravan for us, while I drove down to Southamptonto fetch Jake, who was competing in Junior Drag Bike. I must thank them, as all we had to do when we got back late that evening, was take the Junior out of the van! Thanks guys.
First Run Was the second qualifier. We decided that we had bikes to sort out for Jake and Bryony (she was doing observed runs) It was possibly more important to get them down the track first, plus it was too cold for the OAP's (me and Gipp) to race!
First run I put myself into stage crooked, and shot off towards the wall, short shifted, over corrected, but got to the finish line in one piece, with an 8.113 @ 160mph!
The wind at the top end was pretty fierce, from right to left, and I was beginning to worry where Lenny was, as I didn't want to get blown into his path. I didn't realise that he had had problems on the start line, and didn't race.
Commiserations to Mark Smith who broke a crank on his qualifier, putting him out of competition. Hope to see you back soon mate.
Back to pits bike prepped and ready for the following day.
Sunday's first run was an odd one. Came out of the burnout and one of the carbs was hanging, blipped the throttle a couple of times to try to shut the carb and a flame from the exhaust licked the side panel and caught the stickers on fire! I was totally oblivious to all the commotion, until the fire crew came and put me out! Back to pits cleaned the carbs, prepped bike and re sprayed side panel.
Second run - No fires this time, but I was still short shifting. I have got to get used to this revving thing, and its high RPM !! No improvement on time.
Monday the Heavens opened, and it was called.
I realise that I need more seat time, and we are hoping to get a test in before the Main Event.
Big Thanks to Gippy and Nigel for all the advise and support, mickey taking, and incredible curries!
Thanks too goes to my crew - Chris we missed you, Lizzy, stop being so impatient, do as you are told, and rest, Jake well done to you on your qualifying and dial ins, and Bryony - get you!! Knocking 2 seconds off your time, on the last observed, and rising above it all when things didn't go according to plan!
Thanks too to my sponsors Doug at Ensys and Steve at Motorshack.
Lizzy would also like to say thanks to everyone who has sent her get well wishes, it is so kind of you all, and quite over whelming.
Jake's report - Junior Drag Bike
We arrived at the track late Friday night to find the awnings already set up thanks to Gipp and Nige for helping Lizz, as she has 2 broken wrists, so all that was left to do was get my bike out of the van.
Saturday morning was mostly spent getting the wheelie bars on and doing the usual maintenance on the bike ready for scruitineering in a few hours. For my first run I decided to keep my dial in of 10.28 from Easter, as I hadn’t had a chance to adjust it at the Big Bang. I went into stage ready for a 5-second wait, Liam’s lights dropped and my side red lit, I ran my run, slightly miffed. When I got back dad told me I had rolled out of stage.
We decided not to do a burnout for the next run just because we still wanted to test the track after the previous run. I dialed in a 10.28 and ran an 11.014 at 61.22 MPH. The bike bogged a little off the line, a close race with only .182 in it.
After the bog on the last run we decided again, not to do a burnout. My dial in was 10.28 and after another slight bog, I ran an 11.213 at 63.11 MPH.
I decided to change my dial in to 11.0 for what would turn out to be my last run. The bike bogged and I ran an 11.121 @ 63.03 MPH
I would like to thank Dad, Lizz, Bryony, my Sponsors, Alan at RCP Training, Uncle Steve at Motorshack and all the staff at Shakespeare County Raceway
EASTER THUNDERBALL 7-9 APRIL 2012
Kev and Jake Charman were both racing at the Easter Thunderball. Kev debuting in Pro Stock Bike, and Jake in Junior Drag Bike.
We arrived Thursday night, set up and check both bikes out and did some jobs we didn't have time to finish, on The Pro Stock bike, especially, as to ride it was a bit of a late decision ! Thanks to Richard Gipp for being able to rebuild a motor and get the whole bike sorted in a fortnight !
1st run - The track was still very cold, and I was trying hard to remember how to ride a bike with 5 gears. I short shifted the whole run, and shut off before the finish line, and cruised through. This was the run run of the season, the last run of last season was 171mph on my arse, so still to be on the bike was very pleasing. 8.52 @ 139mph.
Sadly with Mark Smith with mechanical problems, and Ray Debben having problems too, there was only myself and Len Paget in. The first run gave me number 2 qualifier!
My second qualifier was on Sunday, and late due to the weather. The carbs were hanging open a little bit, which unsettled me a bit, as I had forgotten about that, having ridden injected bikes for the last 2 years! Got it together, and got it up into stage, and ready for the second launch. (Thanks to Richard bell for the nod on the tag!) The bike launched better, the track was coming round. Shifted 1st a little early, but managed to hit a couple of shift points along the way. The run was an improvement, resulting in a much better 7.95 @ 164 mph.
Sadly on Monday's race day the meeting was called, the rain was not going to let up. Bit disappointing, but happy to have run a 7.
Meanwhile Jake in Junior Drag Bike was not without its moments.
Despite not really knowing what the bike was going to do we took a stab at a dial in of 10.28 which I used for the rest of the meeting. The track (despite the track crew trying so hard to get some heat in) was very cold and as a result the rear wheel spun causing the bike to slow slightly. I went back to the pits and did the usual maintenance and out we went for a second qualifier. The bike spun very badly. It left the line and turned violently to the right, luckily I managed to hold on and pull it straight and complete the run with no more problems.
On my third and final run I decided to do a burnout. It burnt out perfectly apart from not being able to climb out of the dip in the burnout box and therefore coming out with a wet tire, I dropped the clutch and the bike just stayed still spinning the wheel. When it eventually found some grip it bogged the engine and went very slowly up the track. Thanks to Chris and Kev for crewing on the startline and Lizz for videos. Also to Donna for some great food. Thanks as always to my sponsors, Al at RCP Training.com and “Uncle” Steve at Motorshack.com
Ever grateful to our incredible long suffering Team, My long standing Crew Chief Chris Pyke, and Fiancee Donna for the catering, Gipp for the ride , (I will get there mate!) and Nigel his Crew. Bryony for the support and cake, and lastly Lizzy who is being very patient, and Happy Birthday to you Honey! Thanks too to my sponsors, Doug at www.ensys.co.uk
Meanwhile Lizzy's bike is getting there, has had a lot of head work done, so we decided that she would be better to re learn again in Comp bike, due to a disappointing season last year, and a disasterous one the year before !
This season she is being supported by Ken Cooper, who has got my engine at the moment , and is being freshened up, all being well she should be out for The Springspeed Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway. This will be the first meeting where all three of us are racing, so it's going to be a busy one !
She is also delighted to announce that this season she is being supported by MPM oil, (www.mpmoil.nl) and would just like to thank Richard Stevens very much.
MARCH 29th 2012
Sometimes you are really better off quitting the Top Fuel Bike game when you are ahead and still have money in the bank.
Having won the ACU Championship in a Rookie Year, was more than we could possibly have expected. The Shark Attack Bike, owned by Rene Van Den Berg, for the second year had retained the Number 1 plate with 2 different riders, and both the Nitrous Junkie team, and Rene were very happy with that.
Without the crew, Chris Pyke, Kev's Crew Chief, Jake, Lizzy, and Bryony, plus Rene's Crew, Craig Boulton, and Binz, thank you all, we really couldn't have done this without you.
Testing , and crashing, with Kev on board, at the Extreme performance, however, kicked us all back into touch. The damage, although luckily minimal, still needed to be paid for, and that is when we got to thinking.
The Top Fuel Experience has been something that we have only dreamed of. We will always be grateful to Rene for the opportunity, but there comes a time, especially when the work is quiet, and not as much money is coming in, where Kev decided to call, it a day, and one very hard call to Rene later, said that he simply couldn't afford to ride the bike. It is an expensive piece of equipment, and (God forbid) should anything else get damaged, we would be in deep trouble.
The deal was initially only for a year, until an offer was made, and was accepted before weighing up the Pros and Cons
Rene, and the Team are working very hard to get the new Fuel bike ready for Easter, it's a fantastic bike a lot of hard work that has gone into it but there are still lots of small jobs to sort out , so it may be better to get Rene back on the track with the original one and start the Championship on that , if needs be.
There has been no fall out. We are all still friends, and we wish Rene, and Ivana and the team the very best for the 2012 Championship.
Kev is not retiring, the idea was that he supported Lizz in Comp Bike and Jake in Junior Modified, in their endeavors this season. Whatever he does after this paragraph, they both have exemplary back up and crew, so they can continue to race also.
Meanwhile in deepest darkest Nofolk, Richard Gipp called Kev up and said "So do you want to come to the dark side?"
The Pro Stock bike was lent to Kev by Gipp when the crank broke on the Funny Bike, in 2010, and we had no time to fix it, Kev enjoyed the Prostock, and as Lizzy put it, was like "possibly riding a polo pony after a shire horse"! He knows what to expect, after it nearly breaking his neck the last time on launch! Kev is competiting in Pro Stock this Season.
Old racers never die, they just get fatter? Kev, after the Top Fuel diet is now having to strive to get thinner. Pro Stock could be interesting this year !
News for January 2012
At last we have some news. I am to run the Fuel Bike for a second season. I said to Rene at the end of last year, that I would be happy to ride it again, and I wasn’t too happy about leaving my Top Fuel Bike Career, with the number one plate, and a crash. We have been speaking to Rene over the winter, and another deal has been done.
The bike is being repaired, and we fired her up last weekend, and she sounds good. Chris (my crew chief) and I are going over to The Netherlands in the next few weeks, to help Rene refresh the engine, and learn a bit more.
I will be doing the 2 European Meetings here, and all the ACU rounds at Santa Pod. Hopefully Lizz and I will be racing at Drachten in July.
Over the closed season, I have been working on getting Lizzy’s Cylinder head repaired, and another one to work on, to give her a fighting chance of running the 7 she so desperately wants. It’s not been an easy 2 seasons for her. We have talked through who is doing what this year, and she is happy to run at the 2 meetings, Spring Speed, and Open Sports at Shakespeare County Raceway, plus For Ladies that Launch in July, unless we go to Drachten,for the Explosion Drag racing weekend. At Santa Pod she will be entering the Summer Nationals and Extreme Bike weekend. This way she can still crew for me, and not have to worry about her race, and I can crew for her, and not worry about mine !
Jake in Junior Drag Bike, has 6 rounds this year! 3 of them being at Santa Pod, which is excellent news. His bike will be refreshed and Jake wants to change a few things to try and get some consistancy , we hope he will stop growing soon as he is already in my leathers and Lizz has had to buy another pair!
Because we are now sharing crewing duties, we have had a change to our Team! Craig and Binz , loaned crew for last year, taught Chris and Lizzy what they needed to know, while Rene’s bike was being built, they will be going back to him, but still around if we need some advise as he is hoping his new bike will be out this year. Lisa and Graham, we are sure, even though taking some time out, will still be around and about if we need them, so this years Team is:- Chris Pyke, my long standing Crew Chief, Lizzy, and Bryony Wadkin-Snaith will be joining us full time, is keen to learn, and available for all the meetings, so we all have a constant, (and a cake!
We will, no doubt see a lot of you at the Dinner and Dance in February, and if we don’t we will see you at the track!!
Provisional Race Dates for the Team 2012
Kevin – Top Fuel
EASTER THUNDERBALL 6-9 April Santa Pod, GB
MAIN EVENT 1-4 June Santa Pod, GB
EXPLOSION DRAG RACING 20-22 July Drachten, NL
BULLDOG BASH 11-14 August, Shakespeare County Raceway, GB
EUROPEAN FINALS 6-9 September Santa Pod, GB
NATIONAL FINALS 22-23 September Santa Pod, GB
Lizz – Competition Bike
SPRINGSPEED FESTIVAL 5-7 May Shakespeare County Raceway, GB
SUMMER NATIONALS 23-24 June Santa Pod, GB
EXPLOSION DRAG RACING 20-22 July, Drachten, NL
BULLDOG BASH 11-14 August, Shakespeare County Raceway, GB
OPEN SPORTS NATIONALS 25-27 August, Shakespeare County Raceway, GB
EXTREME BIKE WEEKEND 6-7 October Santa pod, GB
Jake - Junior Drag bike
EASTER THUNDERBALL 6-9 April - Santa Pod Raceway
BIG BANG 27-29 April - Santa Pod Raceway
SPRINGSPEED FESTIVAL 5-7 May - Shakespeare County Raceway
JDB ROUND, (mini festival) 7-8 July - Shakespeare County Raceway
OPEN SPORTS NATS 25-27 Aug - Shakespeare County Raceway
NATIONAL FINALS 22-23 September - Santa Pod Raceway
EXTREME PERFORMANCE BIKE WEEKEND 8/9 OCTOBER 2011
We entered Comp bike at the Extreme performance as we wanted to test a few things that time had stopped us from doing during the season.
The weather was not really with us, the track was cold and fairly loose at the top end.
The first run the bike launched well (1.10 60 foot) and a 6.9 on the quarter with a slowing 150 mph. Around the 1000 foot mark the front end of the bike felt like it was trying to wash away, my feet came off the foot pegs, but managed to keep my balance, and control to to the finish line.
Took the bike back, checked it over and ready to go out for the second one.
Set off for a bye run in the left hand lane, again the bike launched very well, this time a 1.08 60 foot and 169mph through the eight. Again at the same point in the other lane, the front wheel touched down, and again it washed out. This time I was unable to control it, the bike slid violently to the left hand wall, and had me off. I chased the bike across the line on my bum and went through at 7.2 at 127 mph.
I thought about getting up and then thought better of it, and laid there until the paramedics came to get me. I have got away very light - scuffs and bruises, and the bike too has got away pretty much unscathed. Bent wheelie bars, handle bars, foot pegs and pulleys, nothing irrepairable.
Huge thanks to the paramedics, for the speed they got to me, their sense of humour, and the track crew who too were excellent..... Massive respect to you all.
Lizzy and myself would also like to thank all at the other end of the track who looked after her so well. That is not something I would like to put her through again, sorry.
In no particular order - Dave Warren and Ingrid Chesworth, plus a huge thanks to Carol Ishmail who took Lizz to the Medical Centre, once she got a very quick response that I was ok., Darren prentice for escorting Lizz, and Bryony and Joe for ferrying clothes and generally looking after the pair of us. Also every one for the texts calls and e mails , it has been over whelming, and I am really ok. I will return !
Big sorry to Rene, and all of our crew, but also well done to Lizz who was "only going to do a burnout" after freaking out a tad after my crash, and went through and got in to semi finals in Straightliners, brave lady !
NATIONAL FINALS 24/25 SEPTEMBER 2011
Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that we would come away with the number 1 plate!! What an incredibly, unpredictable, and amazing sport this is!
The first run of the day we were not too sure what to expect. Craig had changed the ratio the week before, and we went to Santa Pod to test the bike last weekend. Unfortunatley the weather was not on our side, so never got out to test.
Kev had Steve Woolatt in the first round of qualifying, Steve had gone into pre stage before he had been pushed back from his burnout, but unfazed Kev launched and the bike just flew, 6.71 @ 202 mph, taking him to the only Fuel bike that ran a six in the first round, and gave him the Number 1 qualifying position. Needless to say we were very happy with that. Steve unfortunately had problems, running a 12.79.
As drag racing goes, the highs and lows always come with it, and the second run, against Chris Hannam. Kev launched, the bike charged off again, sounding strong (1.08 60 foot) and the primary drive belt was destroyed again, thus running a 11.22 at 66 mph. Chris on the other hand ran an awesome 7.13 @ 189 mph! Got back to the pits, and then to our horror, discovered that we only had one left. We put a call out and thanks to Eurodragster for putting an SOS out on the website, and Colin Theobald for putting a shout out, the hero of the hour goes to Alex McIntosh, of Street Eliminator fame, who pooped over with a belt we could use, would take no money for it, and was pretty sure we could return the favour at some point. Big thanks to him.
Third and last one of the day, and was mildy comical. Kev had Chris again. Kev launched, and the tyre just smoked. Chris had waited for a while before launching himself, and ran a 7.24 @ 187 mph, but Kev effectively did a quarter mile burnout, getting hardly any traction at all, feathered the throttle, but the bike was having none of it, and ran a 10.06 @ 173 mph, huge mph for such a slow time!! Ian King ran an amazing 6.14 @ 213mph this put us in second spot , many congratulations to him and the team !
Usual servicing and maintenance done in the evening, leak down was all ok, and now decide what we were going to do the next day.
Massive commiserations to Steve Woolatt and the team who damaged their engine and could not make the the first round of eliminations
Sunday first round, as Steve could not race we had a bye, where we just staged for the next round,. We staged again for the Final. There was no other reason than we were trying to save parts. This was the clincher for the Number 1 plate in the ACU Top Fuel bike Championship. We were to meet Ian King in the final. Would we be able to win the meeting as well as the Championship?
Just before our round there had been a small mist of an oil down, and Ian and the team decided to swap lanes with us, which was no problem, and then we felt a small splatter of rain. Thankfully this blew over, and away we went. Kev's burnout was a bit longer than expected, but Ian waited, and we are sorry if we held you up! Ian just got away first, Kev's tyre lit up again, and he feathered the throttle, and was chasing Ian. Ian was heading towards the guard rail, and by the time they both got to the end, neither of them were too sure who had taken the win. Kev lost by .122 of a second ! An honorable second, and a very good race! 7.78 @ 140mph for Ian to Kev's 7.87 @ 199mph - that was some chase!
So there we are, runner up in the meeting, and number 1 in the Championship. We are under no illusions that we won because we have the quickest or most consistent bike, with rolling sprags, chains, and belts ,but as they say, you have to be in it to win it, and we did!! Not bad for a rookie season, and there is still so much to learn!
We could never have done this without the help and support of the incredible Rene and his Crew, Craig Boulton and Binzi, our Crew Chief Chris, Pyke, and the back up gang. Our Sponsors, Doug at Ensys, and Steve at Motorshack.
Also big well done to Kev's son Jake, who got through to the Semi Finals in Junior drag bike, we are proud of you too!
Thanks to to Eurodragster and Colin Theobald, as always for the excellent coverage over the weekend. And Big thanks too to everyone who came and congratulated us on the win, it's a bit of a thing to have run a 6 second pass first ever run, thinking it was a flook, running a PB this weekend, and now to have had three number one plates - Competition bike, Funny Bike and Top Fuel. What an achievement !
We would also like to say hi, and please get well soon to Paula Marshall, and hope to see you back at the track as soon.
FIA European Finals Santa Pod Raceway 2011
We arrived at the track on Wednesday to set up our side of things before Rene and the crew arrived on Thursday, so we were ready for what we hoped was going to be a very good meeting.
All arrived, the bike unloaded, and we went about checking it all over, and discussing what the game plan was. We were concerned that after the issues we had with the chains snapping, and wanted to try to re tune the bike, as it is tailing off after the 1000foot mark, and we really need more track time to get it back into the 6s again. We had 2 qualifying rounds on Friday and Saturday, so any changes we made had to be important ones, to make this worthwhile.
Friday dawned, final checks, and started the bike up. It sounded strong and good, so now ready for the first run.
Good straight burnout, and as I was being pushed back, (I am told) The Battle of Britain memorial flight spitfire flew over the track. Mentioned on Eurodragster as being “a great sight”!
Launch was also good, and a 1.12 60 foot, which was better than it had been for a while, then the motor revved, the primary drive belt had snapped, so a disappointing 9.55 sec run at 85 mph was my qualifying run. This put me at Number 4, surprisingly, as the only 3 to have gone faster than me in this session were Steve Woolattt (6.34), Petri (6.42), and Ian King (6.94).
Back to pits changed the belt, checked the timing, clutch and usual maintenance, and ready for the next one.
The second run was great 1.13 60 foot, and the bike flew. 6.88 at 197 mph, big thanks to Craig and a very happy crew! Not much more I can say. No dramas!
Saturday’s first run 1.11 60 ft 6.90 @ 194 mph. The 60’s are coming down slowly. We discussed changing the ratio, and maybe testing next weekend, and see if we can get the bike up the track more consistently, in time for the National Finals.
The second one was disappointing again, when the bike decided that it was going to throw another primary belt, giving me a 13 second pass. We have sorted out the chain issue, and now replaced it with a belt one. I do have to say a huge congratulations to Peter Svensson and the Team 5.88 at 224 mph, fastest Top Fuel Bike pass in Europe!
Elimination day, and I had Steve Woolatt in the Quarter finals. He had been running quite well, with a couple of nice 6’s but you never know what could happen (His last 2 runs were problematical, with a 13 and 22 second pass respectively) could today be a zero to hero one, for me?
No it couldn’t! Both of us had trouble trying to get our bikes to burnout. I ended up driving up the track, and when Chris came to push me back, he was having trouble getting the pin back in to the throttle stop. When I tried to launch, the bike was having none of it, almost like the throttle cable had snapped. Steve too had problems, and won the race with a 7.5, which was more disappointing for me, as that could have been beatable.
The problem was the nipple came loose on the throttle cable so as much as I turned the hand grip it had no cable attached !!! A 50 cent part that had let us down
Thanks, as always to Rene, Craig and Binzi , and my crew Chris and Lizzy. Also to Doug at Ensys, Eurodragster for the live coverage, thank goodness for the live reports, or Lizzy would never have a reference to get our race report done!
Lizzy too would like to say a very big thanks too must got to Bryony, from Queenie’s Cup Cakes for the art form drag bike cake she made. Her cakes are awesome, and worth every penny should you consider having one made. She is contactable via us, or through her Facebook page.
Open Sports Nationals 2011
Jake, the third, and youngest racing member of the Nitrous Junkie Team, was competing in Junior Drag bike at the weekend.
Jake takes up the story:
From the minute we left home it was bucketing it down with rain, but Me, Dad and Lizzy were all still being optimistic and packed our sunglasses!
Unfortunately though the rain was a sign of things to come and in turn we only got three runs of the whole weekend! The track crew tried very hard, but it was not to be, and the curfew didn't help either.
All weekend was spent trying to get the back wheel to spin which just didn’t seem to be happening with the setup the bike had (sprockets F15-R40). After trying to make the current setup work and not getting much in return we decided to change the rear sprocket to a 45 and use a new spark plug for the first round of eliminations. And believe it or not we actually managed to spin the wheel too much! Despite this though I broke out by .2 0f a second running a 10.2 pass on a 10.5 dial in.
As always thanks go to Dad, Lizzy and Bryony for their help and support, and my Sponsors, Uncle Steve at Motorshack (www.motorshack.com) and Alan Young of RCP Training (www.rcptaining.co.uk)
The 25th Bulldog Bash 2011
This year, not only was it the 25th Anniversary of the Bulldog bash, but all three of us had been invited to do demonstration runs, which Lizz and Jake thought was pretty cool!!
Jake and myself went up on Wednesday, the two bikes already polished and checked over, whilst the Fuel bike was arriving with Rene on the Thursday. Once he arrived we set up, wheelie bars on, and just waited for the arrival of various crew and rider, Binzi, Bryony, Chris, Klaus and Lizzy on Thursday evening.
Friday came, the weather was on side, and the RWYB started, and we started up all bikes, checked for leaks, and waited until demo time. I had really wanted Lizzy to do a test run, to iron out any gremlins before the demos, as we had had issues again with the nitrous not working, but this was not to be. The stunt riders started their routine, which was our cue to get lined up in front of the wall, and ready for racing.
Jake was racing against Scott Collier, Lizzy against Ken Cooper, which she found too funny for words (Something to do with him being a bit of a hero!!) and I would be doing a pass on my own.
Jake's run was ok, but trying to find a clutch set up, as the track was very sticky, was causing problems, but over all he was happy. Lizz was going to do a normally aspirated pass, and did a stonking burnout to a big cheer from the crowd, Ken being very gentlemanly let her go first, a .2 reaction, a 1.20 60 foot, not too shabby for a normally aspirated run, and then hit the rev limiter. The bike just wasn't changing gear, so she shut off, and coasted up the track, while Ken stormed past, and took the win, leaving her to push the bike to the end, before someone came to rescue her. She managed to hobble back to the start line to start me up, and see me back!
My run was good, strong burnout, and good and straight, pushed back , launched, and ran a 7.0 @ 196mph, good start, but we had to find the 6 second passes again!!
Back to the pits, did the usual maintenance on mine and Jake's, then onto Lizzy's - took the clutch out, and then Klaus discovered that the reason the bike wasn't changing gear was because the shifter had detached itself from the ram! Relief that we didn't have to drop the sump, and change gear selectors, the bike was happily going through all the gears, we got ready for the second run of the day.
Again Jake's run was ok, still struggling a bit with a very sticky track, but got to the other end. Lizzy got to the other end, but still had big problems with shifting, or not as the case may be. After one more attempt at getting up the track, and locking the gearbox up, and having to take the chain off to get towed back, she sulkily agreed that this was no place to be attempting to repair this, as I had problems of my own, I broke the drive chain last run so we checked the engine and found a problem with the valves not sealing Again, my amazing crew come up trumps time and time again. Rene asked if we were here to race, or here to party, so we took the head off lapped the valves (fortunatly none were damaged) and re done the clearances. Eventually getting finished at about 3 am, to be continued after a bit of sleep.
My proudest moment of the weekend, not only having the whole of the Nitrous Junkie riders racing at the Bulldog, but coming back down the strip after my last run (7.0 secs @ 197mph) with my son, Jake.
We have some work to do on Lizzy's bike before the National Finals, and we are both hoping to get to test before the European and National Finals.
Big thanks to all our Super Crew. You guys and girls are all totally awesome - Frontman Rene Van den Berg, Chris Pyke, Binzi, Lizzy's new International crew - "Yellow" Klaus Brinkman, and new team member Bryony Wadkin-Snaith. A mention must also go to the Hells Angels for organizing another superb Bash, Status Quo, Bad Manners and The Dammed are still great showmen ! Big thanks too to Chris, Dicko and Sarah for the invite, and hope we will get invited again !
Lastly ,we would all like to wish Lizzy all the best for her knee operation on Thursday, and hope this one is a success.
Drachten Internationals 15th - 17th July 2011
From the time we left the ferry at Calais to head onto Drachten, it was raining. By the time we got to Drachten, it was still raining , 5 hours on. We fleetingly had one of those awful "We could have stayed home for this weather, moments" But this soon passed when we got settled, met all the gang, The Family Van den Berg - "Shark Attack Drag Race Team", and from the English contingent, Binzi, Les Harris and Tara Reeve!
After setting up, and chewing the cud, we did some routine maintenance on the fuel bike, ready to fire up the following day.
Friday the weather still overcast, and intermittent showers, but the bike had also decided to develop a leak from the head gasket over night, so the head had to come off. Myself and Binz, under the close supervision of Rene, set about repairing this. It was a very frustrating day, and thanks to Binz for his relentless "sigh, lets get the head off" lament, as another problem reared its ugly head, once we warmed it up. The rest of the spent was spent repairing this, so didn't get out all all. We used the time wisely, and went over the bike totally. It was a strange experience for me, being in a foreign place, using foreign tools, that weren't mine, very alien !!
Saturday, the weather had cleared up, and we had a chat about the track. I asked Rene where I had to slow down, and turn off, and he replied "You don't turn off, you just stop, and pull to the side" So a little apprehensive about an unknown track, with a short run off on a Top Fuel Bike, we set off to do my first 8th mile pass of the weekend.
After the burnout, the wind was blowing all over the place, and the fumes were getting into my helmet. I didn't realize that I had lifted my head so high to try to get away from them, so Lizzy was on tip toes with her arm stretched high in the air, and "Pet" Binzi was struggling to see over the top of me to see her! Binzi has since been told to slap me on the head next time, and tell me to get my fat head out of the way!
The bike launched ok, felt a little squirmy, shifted gear, but I don't think I was on full throttle all the way, resulting in a 4.8 sec pass. I slowed down pulled over and sat chatting to the Funny bike guys who were already at the top end waiting for their tows. I was quite happy with the first run, the first one on an unknown track can be daunting.
Back to pits, serviced the bike, moved the foot pegs forward, as Rene was missing his lady! Changed my leathers for a crew shirt, to find I had nothing to do! Lizzy was starting the bike, taking it off stands (I never realized she did all of that!) , and directing back, and Binzi was pushing him back from the burnout. So in my new supervisory role, we went to do the run. Watching Rene riding was interesting, to see a totally different riding style. Considering it had been nearly a year since he last race, we will let him off for being slower than me - 4.9 secs - Good effort Boss ! Went and collected the man. to see a big grin! He was very happy to have been back on the bike. Back to pits foot pegs moved back, usual servicing and ready for the next one.
The next pass storming burnout, and had to break so that poor Binz didn't have to run after me too much! I remembered to keep my head out of the way so he could see Lizzy and all was well!. Launched, the bike still a little squirmy, but I determined to keep it nailed, until the 8th and was rewarded with a 4.6 @ 255 km/hr, and stopped at the other end with no mishaps.
All sorted for the following day, and we all went off to enjoy the hospitality at the track.
Sunday the weather didn't look like it was going to be on our side, Got one chance of a run after the Funny Bikes, Nice strong burnout again, but the ever vigilant Rene spotted a small leak and shut me down, which was kind of strange, as I didn't see him pull the lanyard and couldn't figure out why the engine was dying! Binzi and Rene pushed bike back to pits, and we decided to call it a day, so the bike could have the maintenance done in a workshop instead of trackside.
As always I must thank Rene, Corina, Ivana, Reintsje, Karim and Pops for the backup, fantastic hospitality and taxi service, the irrepressible Binzi for coming over to crew, what a star, and all round team player, every home should have one ! Les and Tara for the help and entertainment, and Lizzy for the behind the scenes organization for the trip, and the quick learning and getting to grips with the crewing side of things.
And Drachten ? Hope to see you again, maybe racing side by side against Rene...............................
Next trip out is the Bulldog Bash on the 11-14th August, where Kev, Lizz and Jake are all doing demos, on Top Fuel Bike, Comp Bike, and Junior respectively :)
The Main Event santa Pod Raceway, 27th - 30th May 2011
My thanks go to Craig and Binzi, again for working late on the bike to get it up and running for this event. They had a lot to deal with as well as try to get the bike ready . Trying to juggle a personal life as well as working on bikes, keeping the loved ones indoors happy and going to work, late nights in the workshop are just a part of life for Lizzy, Jake and I, so much appreciated fellas !! Also Dan (the man) for the late night welding, thanks mate.
What we were not expecting over the Main Event was "Hurricaine Pod" cloudy and rainy, but the Santa Pod track crew as always, unrelenting, kept up the fight and beat the weather, and kept the track good. Although the bigger Fuel bikes were not suffering as much as the Super Street bikes (Wayne Saunders, who had an off at the top end, hope you are healing, and not feeling too sore now), it was still a bit of a thing to put into the equation.
First run - technically a shake down pass to make sure the new gearbox was a good 8.004 @ 139mph but 155mph at the 8th I did have to hang off the bike to keep it straight, but now I know what to expect, I know my limitations!
Second run against Petri - my burnout good and the bike sounded strong, and as I was being pushed back (just saw the blue line) Petri came past us, with a long burnout and had problems getting the bike back I was in for quite a wait, but the starter shut him off, just before Rene was going to shut me off, as the engine was getting quite warm. Having been told by Rene that all I must do its ride, and not worry about what is going on around, I was quite calm, and it never really occurred to me, that 1. I ,too was getting warm or 2. The engine was also! The run was ok, 7.115 @ 198mph, but rolled off the throttle towards the top end. The wind was a lot stronger than before, so I was happy with 7.1 and due to Ian, and the two Steve's running slower than me for one reason or the other I was number one qualifier!! That was us for the day and after some work on the bike, and some food. (Thanks Debbie for the pudding !!)
Sunday, the wind had decided that it couldn't decide which direction it was heading, and my first run of that day was 7.4 @ 187mph.
Last qualifier of the day was when I went from Hero to Zero! The rather good burnout felt very good , launch was good, not the quickest 60 ft, 1.18, but felt strong, and then wallop! The chain adjuster broke, turning the wheel into the frame, and ripped all the front sprocket teeth off. My first ever run of over 25 seconds at 18 mph! All sorted within the hour, and ready for the following day. That run was a bitter disappointment, as Rene had said to Lizzy earlier while I was being pushed back, that I would run a 6.... all was geared up for it, the air was, for the first time this weekend, sensibly good for us, and the wind had dropped!
The following day rain totally stopped play.
So, the conclusion of the weekend?
With my reaction running from a fortnight, to 0.22 and 2 mph off 200mph , and the bike was running sluggish all weekend, and nothing to do with the rider, this will be addressed before the next UEM round, so we will have to test at some stage.
Thanks as always goes in no particular order to The track Crew, for never giving up until the Red Arrows cancelled!! , Eurodragster for the great coverage (sometimes we could not write press releases without glancing back) , Andy Marrs for the timing, we could big ourselves up so much more if it wasn't for you !!, Rene (Ouwe Rukker) Van den Berg, for taking my money, and being a good friend.... ! Chris for being the exceptional Crew Chief, and advisor he always is. The lovely Donna and Corey for providing good food and entertainment throughout the weekend, Craig, Binzi, Debz, and lastly Lizzy, who is still smiling through the pain, and still putting up with all of this .....
The next report if all goes to plan will be from Lizzy on the comp bike it will be a thrash to get ready but we'll give it our all as usual !
The Easter Thunderball Santa Pod Raceway 22nd - 25th April
"Where do we start with this report? With all the work that has been going on in the background, it would be only right to thank Craig and Binzi for all their hard work over the past few days, to get us out on the track this weekend. Thanks seem inadequate, but thanks!
We got to the track on Thursday night to get set up early, and go over the bike thoroughly, and gave us all a chance to chill a bit, before Saturday. The weather was very kind to us compared to last year, Lizzy got to see a lot of racing before the stress of me going out (she is not too fond of top fuel at the moment, but I’m sure this will pass!)
Bike all ok, and rest for the first outing on Saturday – where the bike spun off the line, and headed for the wall, so I shifted gear and rolled off the throttle, great start! (It transpires that after speaking with Ivan Sansom about the first run, I had done the right thing, as through his lens, I was heading right for him!) So a 16 second first qualifying run it was.
Second run was so much better, 6.9, the long way round, the bike went one way, I over corrected, and went the other... And still managed 199mph, and Number 2 qualifier. Bike back looked over all seemed to be ok, and onto Sunday.
Sunday first run, I thought the sprag had let go, and the crew thought I had not shifted soon enough; I am still learning, and understanding new sounds and noises. The bike launched hard, but then nose dived, so shifted into second, and that possibly hit the clutch in the gearbox real hard, frying the internal clutch and working the clutch really hard, I had damaged the gearbox.. The second run was the nail in the coffin, the sprag didn’t hold it, and the worn out gearbox is now really worn out, and a new one is needed.
We did a deal with Eric Teboul, for a newer B and J gearbox, with sprags we can now buy off the shelf, plus a good selection of gear ratios and spares. After much discussion between ourselves, we decided to take the broken gearbox out and see if the new one would fit in, to be delighted that yes it would, but unfortunately needs new mounting plates for it, which we could have totally bodged at the track, but at about 10.30 pm, I reluctantly decided to call it, and get the machining etc done properly at the workshop. Lizzy, Jake, Rene and the crew were gutted, when Chris who had been thinking (one eyebrow was up!) and said “Can this thing launch in second? “ Craig looked startled for a moment, and the excitement went back into the meeting again, I felt awful for asking the crew to take the new gearbox out and put the old one back in, but they seemed keen to do this. We wrapped up the evenings re build at about 1 o’clock is, and was up again at 6 am to finish off...
We were still finishing off in the morning when we got the hour call, but had the time to start it up, sort of the timing, and grin (a little) over what we had done!
So against Shawn Rodman with only second gear I burnout, launched, and flew, Shawn had an excellent run, had me on the tree and the 60 foot, and I thundered past him, but only just! I beat him by 0.2995. Myself running a 7.28 sec, and my first plus 200 mph pass (206 mph!) to Shawn’s first 7 sec run, 7.73 @175 mph.. A fantastic PB for him, nice one. I had a bye into the final, where I now had to wait to see if it was going to be Steve or Christian, Christian taking the win previously against Cannon.
It was Steve! He had been so consistent all weekend, with times averaging pretty much in the 6.4’s every run. To get this far was more than a rookie racer could have hoped for, so to race in Top Fuel in the final was quite a big deal for me.
Best burnout of the weekend, very happy with that one. Steve beat me, deservedly, a 6.34 @ 218 mph to my 7.31 @ 205 mph. Another 200 mph + for me, and the last two runs done with only second gear! I felt my runner up was honourable, I don’t think the team, Rene or anyone could ever have thought we would get this far, but we did, against considerable odds.
I also had the privilege of meeting Mark Pemble who built the engine set up and campaigned the bike, and ran a 6.9 on it 20 years ago. I was understandably quite surprised when he came to congratulate me on mine!
The bike is now off to get the engineering work done, new gearbox, and move the foot pegs back about 5 foot (Rene has very little legs!) We will be out again testing hopefully before the Main Event.
Big thanks as always go to the amazing crew I have inhertied and we are all learning a lot. The Boss, Rene, Craig, Binzi, My team, Chris, Lizz and Jake... You are all tops. Who have thought I would ever have a trophy for top fuel! It’s a great class but terrifying! (Even Lizzy is beginning to enjoy it more)
I would also like to thank everyone who has phoned and sent us messages, to congratulate, it is very, very humbling.
Thanks also to Eurodragster for the excellent coverage, the hardworking track crew, and the lovely Kathy Taylor (you know why)."