Two weeks into our latest adventure in OZ, things are coming together. Slowly, but surely,
we're working through all the bugs we've encountered in trying to piece together what is now a
unique combination in the world of blown alcohol drag racing. (Since the Edgecombe Racing team
defected to a BAE combination, we're the only team trying to make the B-1 cylinder head work
underneath a blower).
It could go without saying that not everything we need is available off the shelf. (But when
did I ever go without saying something about almost everything?) Three years ago, when this project
started, my crew chief Tom Mohan researched the subject as well as anyone ever has; asking all
the tough questions of anyone who could help. He put together a combination that on paper would
be competitive with the hemi-powered cars, especially with the blower overdrive limits in place
in Australia. We knew that we'd have to fabricate our own blower manifold, headers, modify the
head bolt pattern in the block, make some sort of rocker arm oiling system and deal with a few
unexpected problems in fitting it all together.
So how do you define few? Less than ten? Less than fifty? Less than one hundred? At this point,
I've lost count of how many "issues" I've had to deal with in turning a gigantic pile of aluminum,
steel and titanium parts into an operating race engine. Complicating matters is the loss of Tom's
valuable input, as a number of factors, mostly financial, have prevented him from returning to
Australia to finish the monster that he (unintentionally?) created. Trying to sort out problems
over the phone is getting very expensive and we're having to figure out much of this stuff on our
We is defined as: myself (Bob Wilson) team manager, driver, owner and as an absolute last
resort, mechanic. Ken Lowe - crew chief, tuning consultant, team leader. Darren Fahy - assistant
crew chief, chief mechanic. Dave Coles - fabricator and mechanic. We've also got a few other blokes
that have volunteered to help, including Darren Grimes (former part-owner and mechanic on a Top
Alcohol Dragster in Western Australia), and a number of other local (Brisbane) drag racing people.
Team meetings seem to be occuring almost hourly, as solving one problem inevitably leads to
the discovery of the next problem. We're working from bottom to top on the engine, ironing out
the details as we go and getting closer to the top every day. Or at least most days. Friday was
not one of those days; (check out March 2 for the story). But
today is the start of a new week, and we're hoping to hear some serious noise before the next
seven days are done.
As we begin work for the day, we have a complete shortblock in the car, and once we solve the
latest drama - gaining enough clearance between the pushrods and the cylinder heads - we can once
again torque down the heads. Then it should be clear sailing right to the top of the injector hat.
There's still some worry about how the intake manifold mounting bolt holes don't quite line up
with the corresponding ones in the cylinder heads, but that's a minor worry at the moment. And
the valley cover could do with some serious weight reduction, but that's not absolutely necessary
for a while yet.
If all goes as expected today, tomorrow's report might include some pictures of a completely
assembled and ready to run engine. As usual, it's looking to be another hot day here in Oxenford,
so we'd better get thrashing now. Before I sign off for now, thanks again to everyone, here and
at home in Canada for all the help and support you've given me over the past few years. There's
been many times, especially lately, when it's been the main reason we've continued with the race
car and the website.