in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of April 25, 1999
A bit of an (unexpected) bonus for action-starved Canadian drag racing fans this weekend comes in the form of the first round of eliminations from the Castrol Lone Star Nationals (Ennis, TX) broadcast on the Speedvision network. Saturday evening they showed an hour of qualifying highlights and today's two hour program promises to feature all the first-round action on a (slightly) tape-delayed basis. Broadcast times on the West Coast are 11:30 am - 1:30 pm. Repeats of this show are scheduled for Monday (April 26) from 6 - 8 pm and 10 pm - midnight.
Now for the latest news from Thunder-ville. The old saying "no news is good news" definitely doesn't ring true in our case. While the past few weeks have seen few and sporadic updates at Northern Thunder, the reasons have been partly work-related and partly car-related. In case you're wondering what happened to the "Deathmarch" counter.... the string of consecutive graveyard shifts finally ended on Friday morning after 89 in a row. That's enough, believe me. After I broke my previous "record" (of 79), the end couldn't come soon enough. And the only thing that kept me going for the last month was that big carrot dangling in front of me... the one shaped like a Top Alcohol Dragster.
As regular visitors know, it's been far from smooth sailing throughout this project and the past month has been no exception. Every time I thought we were getting close to the "finish line", we realized it was going to take another thousand, or five thousand, or ten thousand to really make it happen. Another bit of "alternative financing" found just a week ago allowed me to pay for the clutch and the shipping and insurance and a whole bunch of other last minute stuff we still needed. But we're not out of the woods yet, as we still have to deal with the Australian Customs service and deal with their estimation of the amount owing - which will probably differ (by a bunch) from what I'd like to pay; we'll just have to deal with it like all the other issues we've had to attend to over the last two years.
Now for a bit of a bombshell: The shipping container, with the race car, truck, tools and spare parts is still sitting on the dock in Vancouver. Even though I'd mentioned recently that it was enroute to Australia, the combination of ship delays, booking problems, finances, etc. have put the shipping date off until Tuesday, April 27 at 8:00 am.
We'll have photographic evidence of the container's departure posted on this page later that day too. On Tuesday we also find out the "best estimated" arrival date in Brisbane. At this point it looks like the end of May, leaving us not much more than a week to get the car assembled and ready to race at the Winternationals (June 11-13) at Willowbank Raceway. That, of course, is barring any ship, wharf, customs, trucking, etc. delays. It's gonna be pretty hard to hold my breath for a month, but we'll just take it one day at a time.
We won't be ready to take Australian Top Alcohol by storm, but we will be ready to run at that event and if everything works out web-wise, we'll be posting regular updates - including photos - from the time we arrive in Brisbane in ten days, until we return to Vancouver in mid-June. The next update on this page will be sometime Tuesday afternoon or evening, so come back then and see the container finally aboard the ship and leaving the Port of Vancouver.