Veidec Festival - Mantorp Park, Sweden


Sunday 29th July Mantorp Park I found myself walking the track and checking the start line prior to the TMD finals, when David got a phone call, passed the phone to me and I got the news that my daughter Anne had just given birth to Hayden our second grandson.  That’s definitely a new beginning.

The race weekend was a new beginning too, this is the first race this year that has not been shortened due to the weather.  At the beginning of the championship we knew what we had to do (get off to a good start).  Well we did get No 1 qualifier and set low ET, 6 points lead but without eliminations and a win no substantial lead.  On to Alastaro and start almost at the beginning again, object get a round in front but no, weather interrupts again!  We only collect another 6 points by being No 1 qualifier and again setting low ET.

OK now this is getting really difficult!  The third race of the year and still no substantial lead, but Mantorp Park really is the new beginning, this time we get a conclusion.  7 points lead increase after qualifying and then we win the race and that adds up to a total of 40 points in the lead (2 rounds of racing).  A far more satisfactory situation but a result not gained without considerable problems and a fair amount of luck.  Never discount luck, we all need it sometime even when you do your best to make your own!!

Friday – 1st qualifier, the track looks very green but we opt to go with a middle of the road set up and the track turns out to be really good.  Result 5.487 and straight to No 1 qualifier.  OK so far so good, we turn the car round, leave the settings more or less the same because now we have to run in the other lane (still an unknown quantity to us), well rain stopped play again.

Saturday – as we lost one qualifying session yesterday, we now have only two left and we take up where we left off, about the same time of day but in the other lane.  Lo and behold we run 5.4869, one thousandth off our run yesterday in the other lane!  The track must be good and for us the lanes are pretty even.  Well we go back to the pit and turn the car round and decide to tune it up a bit!  Last year we ran 5.45 here so the object on the next qualifier has to be to try to repeat that, but the time goes by with various little delays and we don’t get to run until 9.00 pm.  When it gets that late in the evening the track temperature comes down, maybe you get some dew settle on it so traction can get worse and at the same time the cool air and increased density makes more horsepower, not usually a good set of circumstances.  As some of the other cars seemed to be running well we did our best to adjust for the conditions and hoped for the best.  Well the best came, a 5.456 to equal our best last year and keep us at No 1 qualifier.  Now if it didn’t rain on race day we could attempt a new beginning again.

Sunday – Good track and good weather, 1st round at 10.40 and we are drawn against Derek Flynn.  We chose to run as first pair and a good job we did as we would need all the turn round time we could get.

The race started out normally enough, two burnouts, both cars back behind the line ready to stage, then Derek goes inadvertently into full stage without us being in prestage, so I wait and nothing happens so I elect to go into prestage and I make a big mistake, I roll right into full stage,  Now its part of my start line routine to put my visor down whilst stopped in prestage, so now here I am in full stage, visor up, revs down, I just know the tree is going to run instantly!  You just cannot launch a top methanol car at idle, it must have a specific amount of revs on the start line in order for its systems to function correctly, but  as I am correcting the rpm’s  the tree runs, Derek leaves and I have the horrifying sight of his car disappearing down the track!!  Well I set off after him as best I could, of course the tree showed an awful reaction time as you would expect in the circumstances, and somehow I manage to catch him just before the finish and can hardly believe my luck.  It isn’t over yet, as we slow down everything's fine but at the end of the track at Mantorp there is a considerable bend and as I approach it the car does not want to slow down any more.  Either the throttle is hung open a little or the clutch does not want to disengage.  Either way the road speed is too high so rather than risk either spinning or worse the car falling over, I kill the engine and brake as hard as possible in a straight line and go off the end of the track into the kitty litter only up to the rear wheels and it does its job really well, as do all the guys in the safety crew at the end of the track.  By the time the rest of the crew arrive in the tow car the track guys have the car towed out, pointed in the right direction ready to go back to the pit and get turned round, and lucky for us we had a shower of rain before the next pair of cars to give us extra time for all the cleaning up we had to do.  Boy that kitty litter gets everywhere.

Back in the pit we do our usual turn round maintenance, plus of course taking all the body panels off, cleaning out all the kitty litter and checking for damage, all seems to be well so on to the next round.

The semi final and we are paired with Paul in the Islanders car (our old car),  now Paul comes from years of Super Comp racing and during the time we were teaching them about the car I personally saw how quick on the lights he can be, and as in the first round a loss at this point would let our competitors get a healthy lead, our championship hopes could be screwed right here.

No pressure then!!

To say that we would have to be “on our game” would be an understatement.  The run starts, I cut a good light (for me) 0.034 and Paul has a similar problem to me in the last run,  he is looking down at the rev-counter when the lights run.  So I get to the end of first gear well in the lead and then the motor dies!  A quick pump on the throttle has no results so I kick out the clutch, let it roll as best I can and wait for Paul to come screaming past me, which he does at the scoreboards but the scoreboards are just past the finish line at Mantorp!  So we dodge another bullet and find ourselves in the final against Peter Schöfer.  Back in the pit we check the data from the run and see there is no ignition after 3 seconds, so we change all the components we can (coil and points box) and disconnect everything else electrical on the car in the hope that we will not have a repeat of the problem in the final.  Our changes seem to have worked, as we leave the line Peter is in front but I am able to drive around him and get there first and win the round and the race.

That puts us 40 points (2 rounds) in the lead for the championship going into the European Finals event at Santa Pod.

Its not over yet but we did finally get the result we were looking for in the beginning and now we can’t wait to get to Santa Pod for the Finals, where apart from the racing we will be able to entertain our much appreciated sponsors, Silverline Tools, PlayStation 3, Lucas Oil, Crane Cams, BMRS, Euro American Car Services, Iron Cad, 1st Line Motorcycles.

See you all there.
Dave Wilson