in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of May 20, 1999
Another gloomy morning, with the weather forecast still looking grim until the weekend. After being seriously spoiled by nothing but clear blue skies and warm days on my previous trips, the weather since we arrived 15 days ago has been downright dodgy. The only part running true to form is the temperature and even the rain is halfway bearable with 20 degree and up temps.
Still, the sun would help to brighten the general mood around here. It's been very frustrating sitting here waiting for the container to arrive and watching the clock tick down to the Winternationals. Even though we're doing all we can to prepare what we've got with us and what is arriving on a daily basis, we still can't get down to the real work until the container arrives.
I started the day full of hope and plans; phoned Crower with some questions about the clutch -- got Bob Molinari's voice mail. Phoned ANDRA inquiring about insurance coverage for myself and Tom and was promised that "Tony will ring you back when he's able". (Not today apparently). Phoned Willowbank (Raceway) to confirm that License Testing would be allowed at the Winternationals..... BIG trouble. It's not going to be allowed, despite what the schedule seems to indicate. Major bummer!
The logistics are thus: The container arrives on Tuesday, June 1st. Customs, wharf and steamship line clearance and delivery will take from two to three days which brings us to Thursday or Friday, June 3rd or 4th. The track at Willowbank is open for a test'n'tune on Saturday, June 5th. That is the only possible day to make the three passes necessary to get my Top Alcohol license endorsed so that I can compete at the Winternationals. Let's face it, even if the short block was in the car, even if the computer was mounted in the car, even if all the fuel and lines and control cables and wiring were ready to bolt in... we still couldn't get the car ready in time for the test'n'tune.
Hmm... time to sit back for a minute and think this one through. While at the moment our options seem very limited, as in "not a chance", with Ken (Lowe) ram-rodding the operation... almost anything is possible. Time to go on the offensive and lean on everyone in official-dom as hard as possible. Hey, I've got a project for tomorrow, besides the 10 am meeting with the people at OBM Customs Brokers. If we're going to be at the Winternationals at all, the OBM folks have to get everything organized with Customs and the FORS (Federal Office of Road Safety) mob down in Canberra and who knows how many other official bodies, so tomorrow's meeting is very important.
The balance of the day sees a never-ending stream of delivery vehicles arriving with lights, steel, oil line fittings and other miscellaneous items for the race car and our workshop inside the container. With Ken's guidance (and not a little prodding), we get the light rails assembled and actually working (with Wilson doing the wiring, that's more than a small miracle!). The overhead crane rail will have to wait until we pick up the chain hoist tomorrow at Cheapa Auto Spares. Hey Rolf, here we come again.
Despite the gloomy, cloudy weather, as I write this an hour after sunset, we still haven't had a drop of rain today. One small mercy anyway. It's almost time to call it a day and go up to the house and upload this latest update to the server. Then back to Gaven Heights for a good night's sleep as tomorrow will be another long day in the land down under. Let's hope we can make some more progress towards our goals and see at least a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. (No train jokes please).
My "remote" e-mail is working fine, so any messages can be sent to me (in)-directly at my normal e-mail address. (Ken's getting sort of tired of opening his new messages and finding they're all for me).
7:00 pm: Late update: We've (Ken, actually) just finished a telephone conversation with an ANDRA official. He's indicated that I may -- not guaranteed yet, until he's talked to another official party this weekend -- be able to do my license passes in Ken's Drag Racing School Modified Eliminator dragster at the June 5th test'n'tune at Willowbank.
This would allow me to make a "check-out" pass on the first day of the Winternationals, on the following week, then allow me to attempt to qualify for the event. There really is a light at the end of tunnel after all. Even the stars in the sky seem to be shining brighter. We'll update this continuing saga as it develops. Stay tuned.