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in the world of drag racing

Black Bar

The latest update as of July 14, 2000

Gee, it's been a while, hasn't it? About an hour ago, I received quite a shock when I started cleaning up this page in preparation for a new update. The shock was realizing that all the news from May and June was inaccessible. There were no listings on the What's Old page, and no way to access any of those "literary gems." That was a quick fix, but getting some thoughts down on this blank page will be more difficult.

To the casual visitor, Northern Thunder may seem to have been stuck in the doldrums for several months now, with infrequent updates and long stretches with nothing new appearing. Even worse, are the numerous pages that haven't been updated or improved for quite a while, in some cases, more than a year. However, like almost every website in the world, this one remains "a work in progress." Sometimes the progress isn't always apparent, but I'm working on something here every single day. And that will continue.

One large change at NT was switching over to the new site design, earlier this year, with all the navigation buttons on the left side, and each page sized for an 800 pixel wide display. (Instead of the previous unspecified width, which looked great on a 640 wide display, and really bad on a higher resolution monitor). With approximately 1400 individual (at last count) pages on this site, we're still less than halfway through the changeover -- and that's just one of the roadblocks to progress.

It's been suggested to me by several successful webmasters that I should ditch at least half the site and just concentrate on the areas that bring the greatest response, i.e., play to my strengths, dump the pages that don't bring enough hits, etc. That's just not going to happen, though. In fact, there's several new sections that I'd like to add to the site, but let's face it: I can't even keep up with what I've got already, so why add to the pain?

There's really nothing much to say tonight, at least nothing that could be covered in the one hour remaining before I have to leave for work. But before I go, did you notice the old scoreboard has been resurrected and put back on the page? Why even bother when my next downunder trip is that far away? Well, I'm a PRO-crastinator (with the emphasis definitely on professional), and if I don't set goals or deadlines for my projects, they simply don't get done.

Going back to Australia is one of those projects. If you followed our "adventures" downunder last year, you'll know that the plans for the race car didn't quite work out. Not a complete failure, mind you, but we never got the car down the track -- in fact, never even fired the engine -- but we accomplished most of what we set out to achieve. Then the money ran out.... then the money really ran out... then the plane ticket nearly evaporated.... and on and on it went.

Since returning to Canada, nearly a year ago now (god, where has the time gone?), I've gone through some major soul-searching about the future of the race car, and my own future, and still really haven't come to any firm conclusions. Other than the following: If I'm ever going to get the car running -- with me driving it -- then I'd better get with the program -- NOW! (In less than three weeks, I'll be celebrating the same anniversary that NHRA is this year; you do the math!).

So, to that end, I've decided to not worry about the repair bills to my condo for the near future (it's looking more like two years away now); or shipping my Chaparral to Australia until I really need it. What I still have to do is finish paying my credit card bills, bank overdraft, and buy the "odds and ends" (yeah, nickel and dime stuff: about $5000 in total) needed to finish the car. Then all we have to do is drag it up the highway to Willowbank Raceway and fire it up. Simple, eh?

Well, sort of. The current plan is based on continued good health, continued employment and no more unforeseen snags developing. As it stands now, I'll be flying down to Melbourne on Feburary 18 (2001), attending the Australian Nationals, visiting friends in Adelaide, then traveling over to Perth to attend the Westernationals at the new Kwinana Motorplex. Then back on the plane to Brisbane and full speed ahead with the race car.

In my current absence from the land downunder, my faithful crew is working on the car and the truck conversion (to right-hand drive) is already finished. You guys are still working on the car, aren't you? So, if all goes well, the car will be ready to run when I arrive in Brisbane in early March. Then we'll have three or four weeks to test the car (and driver) before I have to return to Canada in early April. After that? It all depends on how well things go in March, doesn't it?

If the car and driver can get up to speed quickly enough, then I'd be in a position to ship the trailer down in time for the 2001 Winternationals. And that would be the public debut of Thunder Downunder. Gee, less than a year to go. To some people that would be a long time; at my age, it's guaranteed to flash by quicker than a speeding dragster.

That's all the news for tonight. We'll have more updates on the race car on a periodic basis, but in the meantime, there's lots of other stories to write about. Stay tuned as we attempt to update this page regularly; maybe not daily, but regularly from now on. You read it here first.

Black Bar
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