Well, as I have mentioned in previous reports, this year has been difficult to get a real beginning to the season due to adverse weather and here we are at Santa Pod Raceway on 9th September for the European Finals race and let there by no doubt this is the “END GAME”.

After our ignition problems in Mantorp Park all the suspect components were sent for checking and repair, and in order to try to eliminate our oil pressure problems we have modified the crankshaft and installed an extra pressurised reservoir to increase oil capacity.  Now we have to qualify and see if our changes work.  Well the changes seem to work, oil pressure looks better and ignition has no misfires, but the car gets out about 100 ft and starts to shake so a change of gear and a stab on the throttle is needed to settle it down, so all we card is a 5.66, not great but enough to see us qualified for the eliminations.

For run number 2 we warm the car up as usual and go to the staging lanes for our second qualifier. But this time when we fired the car for our run David shut it down right away, the oil pressure was already at only 90 lb. so our oil pressure problems have not been cured!

After a great deal of investigation, including borrowing a new oil pump (thanks to Per and Karsten) we finally decide that the problem is related to engine temperature, so we plan to run the engine as little as possible in the warm ups and then refill it with fresh cold oil.  It seems to work, run number 3 good oil pressure all the way and this time no tyre shake.  So we go to number 1 qualifier with a 5.45/258 mph, much better.

Our 4th and last qualifying run we decide to try a few changes but its inconclusive as we shook the tyres again and only ran 5.52.  It felt much better but sometimes that happens, the good runs always feel easy and the not so good runs feel faster because you have to work harder.

OK so far so good, No.1 qualifier and low ET both necessary if we are to retain the title.  First round in eliminations; because we are on a Bye we could take it easy but then lose lane choice in the second round, so we will make a full pass and to do so we change the last run settings back to our baseline, all goes well and we run another 5.45.  No tyre shake, no oil pressure problems and we are on our way to the semi-finals.  Now all we have to do to be assured of the Championship title again is to win the semi final.  So still no pressure then!!

Our semi final opponent is Timo Habermann, one of the really quick leavers in the class, so I spend a little more time than usual collecting my thoughts and preparing mentally for the run, and lo and behold it's not necessary as Timo red lights.  We stop in the shut down area at the end of the track and I still won’t believe we’ve won until I hear Santa Pod announce it on the radio in the fire crew’s car!  Then the crew arrive and all hell lets loose for a while; but hang on we are still in a race, and now we have to meet Rob Turner in the final, and he has lane choice.  We ran a 5.52 against Timo and Rob ran 5.48 against Peter Schöfer.  The Turner car has been getting better all weekend and its good to see them running consistently in the 5.40’s and with our up and down performance this weekend it could be anybody’s final.

The first thing to be done is get weighed and then back to the pit to get ready.  Turnaround completed and our now customary short warm up and we are ready to go.  Rob chooses the right lane and we get the pit side lane.  This lane seems to give us more trouble with tyre shake this weekend so we are definitely on the back foot in this final.  As it turns out although we can’t outrun Rob this time (he cards a 5.48 to our 5.49) I leave first and still manage to hang on through the tyre shake for the win – and that’s it the end of “THE END GAME”.

I can’t finish this report without a few mentions.  It must be very obvious if you have read these reports this year that drag racing is not just 2 cars racing down a track, it’s a TEAM SPORT.  Without a good team you might as well stay at home, I don’t know how any single member of our team could do better, that’s a major factor in our success!!  To win the race you first have to be in it and they make sure we are in it every time.

I also can’t finish this report without mentioning our partners and supporters.  All our partners make their contribution to our victory in their own way and everyone gives us their moral support as well as assistance.  So a big thank you to James at Silverline Tools, Ray at Playstation 3, Les at Lucas Oil, Richard at Iron Cad, Chase at Crane Cams, Barry at BMRS, Kiki and the boys at Euro American and …… at 1st Line Motorcycles.  Last but not least, thanks to all the people who come to see us and wish us luck every single race, your support really does make a difference to us all.