Today, I bring to you a story about my personal experience at B.A.D.D Launch Control 3 as a driver.
Photo courtesy of Sleeper Forest. Captured by Alexandre Haynes.
This story began about 2 weeks before the event; where in a Whatsapp group, some of my friends were talking about participating in the Drag practice. I’m not really a big drag racing fan, so I wasn’t thinking about going to the practice day. However, after reading multiple messages in the chat, my interest was peaked as Raj (white Honda Civic Type R) and Verdon (black EG Honda Civic) were going to the practice runs in their naturally aspirated track cars. After a while I thought “What the heck. I might as well bring my car too”.
As per usual with project cars, something always needs to be fixed and my biggest problem was a leaky overflow bottle. Also, at a previous Autocross, I broke one of the bolts holding the rear differential in the cradle, so this would be my first outing since February.
The night before the practice event I changed to my Dunlop X22 race tyres – which are at least 3 years old – and spoke to my mechanic Damien Coombs from GuavaTech and 357 Tuning for some set up tips. Then I was off to the races.
Getting in Some Practice
I took it easy on the car as I knew the cooling would be a problem, and even though I was sure everything was operational, I was still worried that something might break. As a result, I did some soft launches and no burn outs. No matter how much TV or YouTube you watch, seeing and doing it yourself can sometimes be as different as chalk and cheese. The flagger had to show me how to use the lights and even pushed the car to the pre-stage area.
My main goal after comparing my time slips with other drivers, was to improve my reaction and 60 foot times. It was at this point I knew the drug called Drag Racing just got a new addict. During the week after after the drag practice, I purchased a new overflow bottle cap and went to Fasteners Barbados to purchase some exhaust bolts after seeing one of them missing.
Friday morning, as soon as the all clear was given from Tropical Storm Harvey, I called Jason Downey to confirm that the event was still on and that the BMF would be opened. Fast forward to Sunday morning; racing fees paid up, parts on and tested. It was time to get some practice doing some burnouts and getting the tires up to temperature. Rev to 4,000 rpm, pop the clutch, smash the gas and hold with brakes. Then I practiced staging the car rolling in the box under load. Then I practiced the launch and getting as much grip as possible. With all those boxes ticked, I went home and got ready for the day.
The Main Event
As soon as I arrived at Bushy Park for the Race Day I was greeted by the scrutineer who looked through the car from front to back, checking the engine bay, battery straps, the seat and harness stability and lastly the helmet. Jason Downey held the driver’s meeting and informed us that we did not have to go up the hill to stage. Race cars and balancing race clutches is a recipe for disaster so I was very happy to hear this.
My Practice and Qualification times were much better than the previous Sunday.
The Evos and SR20 Nissans are no joke; running in the low sevens. 2.2 seconds is a lot of car lengths. I had a first hand view.
My race against B. Best in the Silver Evo. By 100 feet he was a car length ahead of me.
During qualifying, I was racing T. Catwell in his Datsun 510 (he was having launch control problems hence the poor 60ft time on the time slip). While I was a couple of car lengths in front, I suffered a huge fuel cut; hence the 44mph trap speed. Therefore I returned to the pits and saw this.
This tear in the fuel line could have ended my day before the bracket races had even begun.
I called Damian Coombs who was previously at the BimmerCup Rallycross and just like a super hero, he came with a length of fuel hose and fitted it to the car giving me just enough time to get ready for the bracket racing.
The race could not have started better, I beat him off the line and by the 60ft there was at least one car length between us. Halfway down the track it was two car lengths and then silence. Then I heard the other car’s engine again and then silence just before the finishing line. Shon Joseph (427) passed me by narrow margin in NOS fed Nissan Pulsar and I was gutted. Entering back to the waiting area, I heard a couple of people saying it was the “150 shot” of NOS that beat me, but I knew it was my car that failed me.
Shon won the bracket (A very cool guy. Congrats to him) but I wanted to show that I could beat him; so I called him out in a grudge match.
I was planing to throw the kitchen sink at this race, so I lowered the tire pressure and launched at 5,000 rpm. I had beaten him off the line and to the 60ft again but, before I could select second gear, the fuel cut issue returned and I just watched him fly pass me as if I was a spectator.
At the next round on October 1st, I am hoping to be ready, locked and loaded; and Shon expect to hold a L (maybe) :).
Based on the posts I am seeing on the BADD Facebook page, the next event All Grudges showdown should be great for the drivers and spectators.
Before I go here are some highlights: