After the Festival of Power there was a whole heap of repairs to be carried out; we didn’t know if parts were salvageable or if new would be required; so the first thing to do was to send them off to be looked at by the professionals. Gaz took the cylinder block to Andy Mapes, we took the crank to Thomas Hamlin, and took the sump to Paul Hart Welding. By late May we had received the good news that all our parts were repairable, so we sat back and played the waiting game for these to come home again. In true Freddy’s Revenge style it was in the last two weeks that Freddy was starting to look whole again. A fire-up the weekend before Dragstalgia gave us the nod that all was working and sounding sweet.
We got to the track on Thursday afternoon after a mainly smooth journey. We unpacked, set up camp and timed it nicely for Dave and Hils to arrive and put dinner on. Friday was a set-up day for us, we decided to prepare Freddy in the morning, so we enjoy the RWYB action in the afternoon. It makes a change for us to enjoy some spectating and down time like that.
Saturday rolled around and we waited for our call, towed down the fire up road, Robbie suited up (which in the gorgeous weather wasn’t ideal as such) and got strapped in. Our first run was a match up with Steph Milam. The plan was a half pass, or as TC called it a ‘Maltese half pass’ – the guys from Malta will aim for a half pass but then when it feels good they stick with it until the ¼ mile, so that meant if all was going well he was fine to stick with it. Robbie pulled around and lit the tyres nicely on the burnout, he was then backed up by Jo who usually backs him up but on this occasion was 33 weeks pregnant, so Robbie had 2 BUGs – with the baby being his future goddaughter. TC brought Robbie to the line while Dave Milam did the same with Steph in the other lane, once the lights went green Robbie was first off the line by 0.3 seconds. Everything was looking well from the start line and there was no doubt that Robbie’s right foot was down until past the 1/8th mile. Running an 8.45 straight off the trailer, the team were all happy. Steph took the race with a 7.4.
Back in the pits we pulled the bottom end off to check all was looking ok, after the damage at Easter we knew where to look first. All was looking great so we put her back together and got ready for the second run. In the afternoon session we were paired up with Jim Draper. Robbie again lit the tyres nicely, bearing in mind he’s still fairly new to the car he has a throttle stop on for this so it’s never a super smokey Fast Freddy style burnout but soon enough…. Big Brother Chris was Robbie’s BUB (Back Up Brother/Bloke) this time. Once lined up with Jim, the lights went green and they were off. Robbie experienced as such his first run with altered style snaking (actually, altered style is all over the shop, so he experienced his first snaking) but he stuck with it until the finish line and took his first win, ran a new PB E.T. of 7.85 and at 174mph was one mph off matching his PB speed! Great stuff! Robbie said the run felt great and he barely felt the on-track movements, the team were all completely chuffed and the cheer/applause from the crowd topped it off.
We towed down on Sunday, to be paired with Jim Draper. Robbie lit the tyres again on the burnout but was unfortunately shut down for a fluid leak. Back in the pits we pulled the bottom end off again as the fluid seemed to be oil. A good look around showed the oil was coming from the rear sump gasket, which when it was taken off split in two. With just one of these in stock we hurried to fit it and get the car back together and fired up to see if this would work. On the fire up we could still see oil hastily dripping out, so we knew the gasket we had wouldn’t do the job. The team agreed to call it a day, get packed up and set off home. We were leaving with only a teeny tiny repair required and a new PB, that’s what we call a successful weekend!
After the National Finals we found the engine wouldn’t turn over, this turned out to be because the rear main and centre bearings were damaged. We pulled Freddy apart and found the block to be oval on the rear main and centre bearing housing, so we sent the block to Andy Mapes for some surgery to make it round again back to factory spec. Our gearbox was looked at kindly by Martyn Hannis who changes one of the gear ratios and set the clutch pack clearances, we wanted to change this to make sure our lowest gear wasn’t too low. Over the winter we also installed a data logger and carried out emergency repairs to the trailer stub axle after our breakdown on the way home from the finals.
We left for the Festival of Power on the Thursday afternoon later than hoped as usual, and all was going well until 2 hours down one of the rear wheels on the trailer suddenly started smoking. We pulled over and found one of the ball bearings had gone on the same axle which we repaired over the winter period after our National Finals breakdown! An hour later, after hammering the fused bearing off and replacing with a thankful new one which we had in stock, we were on the road again. We arrived at the Pod still in daylight thanks to the summer clocks change then got ourselves unloaded, fed and beds made.
We woke up Friday morning to hear rain on the roof. We prepared the car and got her scrutineered, however the misty rain and heavy showers kept coming and Friday was called off. After a long day of doing nothing we retired to bed at a reasonable hour, much to Robbie’s dismay as a young bachelor going to bed at 10pm on a Friday night.
Saturday we were due out in the afternoon, so the rain water was cleared and the racing started around 11am. We got ourselves warmed up and ready to go having had chance to watch the first round of Pro Mods and Fuel cars. We were running against Apache, which for all of us is quite special as we’ve all got quite a thing for that beautiful nostalgic funny car, and the side by side burnouts looked great! This was Dave’s first burnout back in the car for over 18 months and he’s sure still got it. Unfortunately we were shut down on the start line for an oil leak, however we are so grateful to the guys on the start line for their input and safety precautions as running with that leak could have ended the same as the Lucky Devil crash that morning (we hope you get it fixed and to see you back the track soon!) or even worse.
We got back to the pit and started pulling Freddy apart. The leak was found to be the rear sump oil seal, after hours or thrashing to get this repaired we fired up to test for the late afternoon slot only to find the timing cover oil seal to be leaking now. We missed the second slot and got the sump off to replace the seal and fix the leak. We were finished doing this well beyond curfew so we’d have to wait until the morning to see if all was good.
Sunday morning we were up and at ‘em so we could fire up as soon as the noise curfew finished at 9am, a quick fire up gave us the answer we hoped for and we were ready to race again. This time we were to run a bye while Chaos and Apache ran side by side 6.2’s – amazing. Another great burnout from Dave, no leaks shutting us down on the start line today and off he went. Freddy hooked up and Dave stuck with it until around the 1000ft mark, both ‘chutes out at the line to run a 7.67 at 160mph. That’ll do us nicely! It wasn’t quick enough to get through to the final so we packed up and headed home, all pleased with the outcome of the weekend even if it was only one run.
This event commenced Dave’s 30th year of drag racing, and with the help of many other races we presented him with a book full of messages of congratulations and love (well, one or two) which he was surprised and really pleased with. 2014 had been Robbie’s year to licence and get to grips with the car so for the first weekend back in the car Dave was pleased, as were the rest of us, and is right back in the saddle looking forward to our next appearance demonstrating at the Brands Hatch Speedfest on June 6th-7th http://www.speedfest.co.uk/ .
Congratulations go to Nick Davies and the Chaos team for setting a new European record! Fantastic stuff and that 5 can’t be far away now.
We had many visitors to the pit over the weekend, meeting some long time drag racing fans and some who were at their first event. We genuinely love meeting people and talking to them about our car and their cars too so thank you for your interest and we hope that being able to talk to the crews and see the cars up close makes drag racing that extra bit special for you. Please do keep popping over to say hi and have your picture taken with the car, as long as we’re not busy getting ready for or after a run we’re more than happy to help you with that wonderful one-time shot of your child stood next to a dragster!