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The latest update as of July 9, 2001

There's just so much to do around here to catch up that I really can't afford to spend the time doing tonight's little update.... but when a magazine sees fit to give me a story, with pictures, then my ego kicks into hyperdrive and I've just got to spread the news.

A few hours ago, my good friend Grant Stephens, from Cackling Pipes dropped a short message of congratulations about my latest media "coup". Assuming it was a short piece in the annual "Top Alcohol Planners & Schemers" issue of Dragster Australia, I thanked him for passing along the news. While I was at it, I asked if he could scan and email me the piece so I could see what was happening with the Top Alcohol class for next year... and more importantly: how we stacked up against the established players, and what, if any, impact we were expected to have next season.

As usual, Grant was back very quickly with the scan, but it was a page in the issue before the "Planners" edition, with the title of "Living The Dream". Whew. From a short, hurried conversation between myself and DA editor David Cook (while we were hurriedly unloading our gear from the back of a rented ute), he managed to convert my ramblings into a coherent and pretty much "spot on" article.

Here it is, pretty much the way it was published, courtesty of DRAGSTER Australia.

living the dream

Wilson sees Elvis at 1000 feet

BOB WILSON:  Driving into the Winternationals, this writer pulled up alongside a flat bed trailer hitched to a ute loaded with tools and junk, and on the trailer sat a white dragster with TA/D on the wing and a curious looking engine in the chassis. Who the hell owns that? we asked ourselves.

The answer was simple in the pits, it was Canadian Bob Wilson's car, with a unique B-1-headed TFX engine, and sponsorship from Kingston Park Raceway.

The Canuck, who has been plotting and planning to race in Australia for the past four years, finally got his car to a track, just a short two years later than originally projected.

"It's been an expensive four years," said Wilson. "Things we never dreamed could go wrong did and the budget continued to be stressed to the breaking point. But we're here."

The car saw only its second shot in anger at a Willowbank test and tune the weekend before the Winternationals. On a half pass the rocker arm stands lifted off the heads and it hydrauliced one piston, causing unseen valve train damage that was to plague the car throughout the Winters.

"These heads have only five 3/8 in. bolts to hold the stands down, and it's not good enough. We worked hard to get new inserts and longer bolts into it and the rebuild was only finished at 11 pm Thursday night".

The engine is a unique combination of TFX bottom end with a pair of Brodix B-1 heads. They were designed by Dave Koffel and were popular on US Pro Stock cars in the early 90s. They flow almost the same as a pair of Fat Heads and Wilson chose them because he figured under the Australian T/A rules, with the lower blower overdrives, the smaller combustion chamber would result in higher compression.

Wilson was getting many ideas from a US team which was running a similar combo, but having invested heavily in the parts he was a little dismayed when his mentors turned up at the beginning of the 2001 NHRA season with a complete Brad Anderson combo and went two-tenths quicker than ever.

As he related this, Wilson grimaced.

Bob Wilson

Anyway, here he was, at the race, battling the chaos of a pit arrangement that was ad hoc at best, a 20,000 km gap to home and a bunch of new car blues. And he was loving it.

"Can you believe this?" he asked at the end of qualifying. "Can you just believe this? I set out to do it and here I am. My old 392 iron-motored car at home had only ever taken me to a best of 7.4s, and here I am, having run 6.33 on a less than ideal run, and at my first 200 mph speed and I've qualified. This is awesome!"

Wilson didn't find it easy to get into the race. His car continued to show the stresses of that valve train damage, and he was forced to sit out the final session until Phil Jack could repair his heads overnight, hoping that he wouldn't be bumped from the show.

He stayed in, at number eight, but was left behind in the first round after his car dropped a valve in the burnout, leaving him to watch Mark Brew storm to a 5.65.

Wilson figures he's just begun here. He has a fully enclosed trailer on its way from Canada, and has already booked his tickets to return in December for the Castrol Series round and is eagerly awaiting news of the Top Alcohol Championship meetings next season because he intends to run every one of them.

Reproduced courtesy of Dragster Australia
Issue # 575 - July 13, 2001
Written by David Cook
Photos copyright by Lee Davis (Western Auto Pics) and David Cook (DRAGSTER Australia)

Quite the story, eh? Aside from a few minor errors and omissions, that's pretty much the way it happened. And even before the issue hit the newstands, the schedule for 2002 changed slightly, with the first meeting (the Castrol Summer Championships at Willowbank) taking place on January 18th, instead of it's usual late December date.

Now all we have to do is make it happen. The plane tickets have been rebooked; the trailer shipping is in negotiation; the new parts and pieces are being ordered, and the crew are sending me daily updates on our progress. Just 188 days left to cross off the calendar and then we can embark on the next great adventure. It can't come too soon... but I know it will.

That's all we have time for tonight; except to mention that we've updated the latest results, points standings and race reports from around the world: The Top Fuel Tour of Sweden event from Germany; The Cannonball from Santa Pod in England; The Konica Winternationals from Australia and the NHRA Pep Boys 50th Anniversary race from last weekend at Pomona. Check it all out by clicking on the StatsPage button.

Next update? Hmm, hard to tell.... maybe tomorrow, maybe not. You'll just have to check in to find out, won't you?

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