We eagerly awaited this event following a poor start to the season, this event attracts racers from all over Europe and it is a meeting that Brad really enjoys. The weather forecast was great and it looked like we would have a full weekend of action.
We had some guests for the event and we also had 2 sponsors at the event, Les Downey and his wife Mo from Lucas Oil UK , and Keith West from Pentagon.
We arrived on Thursday and set up the pits, we had 3 Lucas Oil dragsters competing this weekend so it was going to be busy because all 3 dragsters were in the same class.
Friday qualifying showed us that we has 6 rounds of qualifying so we would get plenty of track time, our first run Wayne dialled 7.72 but Brad ran a 7.707 breaking out by just over 100th of a second, the second run the car ran slower, the data didn’t show anything wrong so we changed the fuel ratio, the third run was even slower so we realised we had a problem. We checked the car over and couldn’t find anything untoward so took the rocker covers off and found two tight rockers, we made a decision not to run the car but due to our other 2 cars qualifying, Nick Good and Chris Parker, the crew were busy servicing these cars.
At around 4pm we decided to investigate further, this resulted in the cylinder heads and the sump being removed and we found 2 pistons had broken rings. I went to see Goef Hauser from Hauser Race Cars, http://www.hauserracing.com , and Geof kindly offered to open his workshop for us, this is a great gesture for 2 reasons, we race against his son Scott and secondly it was already 7pm,
What a great sportsman and a great gentleman!
I got the parts back for the crew and Nick and Cristiann worked until the small hours getting the engine rebuilt, they finished about 0130 but due to the noise curfew we had to wait until 9 o’clock the following day before we could try the engine.
The next morning the engine ran perfectly and although we were on the back foot and in last place we thought we would be able to recover the situation. We were wrong, the car launched really well but then wouldn’t shift into 2nd gear, Brad aborted this run, back at the pit’s we found a wire has come loose on the shifter solenoid, not related at all to the engine problem just a real piece of bad luck. There was then a huge accident in Pro Mod which resulted in a 2 hour delay, pleased to say the driver wasn’t too badly injured, but again our day was done.
Here’s the video;-
Sunday we realised we would only get 1 more qualifying chance, with no data yet Wayne had to take an educated guess and his stab was almost 2 tenths of a second over his dial in and this was only good enough for 28th place in the 32 car field, but at least the car was fine and we were in the show.
A little later in the day brought the first round of eliminations and we were against Wouter van Leersom from the Nederlands, this is where our weekend improved, he had some trouble and Brad was through the first round of eliminations.
Round 2 brought a little irony that we were drawn against team mate Nick Good, Nick prepares our car and this would be an interesting race, Nicks car is a blown alcohol car and reaches over 200mph in 6 seconds, however Nick still knew he needed a good light against Brad and tried too hard and red lit gifting the win to Brad! Our joy was short lived when we saw that Brad now had an oil leak that would be tricky to repair. Nick and Cristiann again worked hard to repair the car for Brad and once again we looked forward to the quarter finals.
Monday we woke up to a slight bit of moisture in the air, the track was dry and Santa Pod ran the pro cars first, our race took place around 1pm, Brad holeshot Ian Powell with a 0.053 reaction to Ian’s 0.105 giving Brad the advantage when the car lost traction and swerved to the right, Brad fought the car valiantly but had to lift gifting the race to Ian, congratulations to Ian. There is a short video on my (Wayne Jackson) timeline on facebook, if you look closely you can just see Brad getting out of shape as the video ends.
Summary, Nick always delivers Brad a great car but this weekend it decided to test our commitment, it lost!
We never give in until it’s over, and for Brad to reach the last 8 in this competitive FIA event was a great result for the team and keeps our championship aspirations alive!