Left home in London at 2am Friday and took an easy drive to Santa Pod raceway in Bedfordshire. I was going to visit some old mates who live near the Pod, but I forgot to take their phone number and address with me, (d’oh). Arrived at 7.15 in the morning & was behind 20 others who’d been there all night. Pete, Pet and Paul of the Stinger crew arrived with the race car at around 7.45 and the gates opened about 9.00.
We pitched up in our usual spot under the finish lights and started putting up the race car garage tent and getting unloaded, (amazing how much stuff the new Stinger transporter bus holds). James & Steff arrived. As soon as the kitchen tent was up, Pet got on with the most important job of the day -putting the kettle on.
Signing on was meant to be at 1pm but was nearer 1.30. We only got in a couple of runs on Friday and with the heat & humidity everyone’s’ times were down, (best we could do all weekend was 9.6 seconds for the quarter mile). I had my wildest ride ever in the altered. The marshals put us in the left-hand lane and every time I got on the gas pedal, the back end stepped out. I was on and off it loads of times, snaking the car up the track. Still managed nearly 130mph though, (it was like driving my Charger in the rain).
My mate Dave was there as photographer for one of the national magazines, so I had a word with him about doing a team photo for our sponsors. He managed to get the use of the start line after the track had closed and the track crew even left the tree, (start lights), up for us. The resulting photo came out better than we could have dreamed of. Friday evening came and we walked down to the beer tent, but I was so tired I didn’t stay long.
Saturday morning was soon upon us and was as hot as Friday. We got in a couple of runs then went over to see our mate Bob who imported a 1968 Dodge Super Bee from the States just 2 weeks ago. The conversation went something like this:
"Hi Bob, how’s the car going?"
"Hi Dave, it’s going good. Do you want to give it it’s first run on nitrous?"
Well, I thought, it’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it! I drove it over to our pit area to give it a quick check over and grabbed my crew. The seat was non adjustable so had to put loads of shirts/towels/jackets behind me so I could get the gas pedal all the way down, (I’m a tad vertically challenged!). The first run was nothing to write home about, but the second run gave us a ticket speed of 145 mph at the top end -this car’s a bit serious! Again, we didn’t get many runs in as the track kept being closed for oil downs, (oil on the track surface, which had to be cleared up before we could race again), etc. We spent Saturday evening sat around in the pits with a perfect view of the firework display, which was pretty spectacular. Finally got to bed at 2.30am.
Sunday morning arrived and thankfully it was much cooler than Friday and Saturday, but by 8.30/9.00 it was as hot as ever. I think we got in two runs in each car but times were down again in both. Taz & Manky popped over to say Hi, but as usual I didn’t have a lot of time to chat, (sorry guys). Speaking from a racer’s point of view, I’ve got to say the track organisation was less than impressive and I would expect our premier track in Europe to do a lot better –on Saturday we spent the best part of two hours lining up for a run in the blistering heat). Having said that though, the organising of the Nationals itself was fantastic and proved why it’s the best muscle car meet in Europe. The problems seem to be with the owners of the Pod. They need to invest more money in better facilities and provide more marshalling staff for such large scale events. I’d like to take this chance to thank all my crew for doing all the hard work, so that I can have all the fun. Also a huge thank you to Bob for letting me loose in his awesome Dodge. We’ll be running both cars at the Hotrod Drags at Avon Park soon, so if you’re there come over and say Hi.
-Dave 2 Lanes
photo courtesy of Dave McBride www.mopar.co.uk