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!
29th September: After a successful first outing in the Freddy’s Revenge altered at the Festival of Power, Robbie Grabham and team went to Dragstalgia to continue his licencing in the blown-alcohol machine:
Dragstalgia was a very testing meeting for us as we had had gearbox issues which meant we missed a run. After help from various different people we managed to source new parts and fix the gearbox ready for Sunday. With one full pass under my belt I needed to make one more run to gain my licence. We towed down Sunday morning only for the starter batteries to let us down. So back to the pits to charge up the batteries ready for the afternoon run. After waiting all day the time finally came, on the penultimate run of the day I ran an 8.1/175 which was enough to gain my licence. I was over the moon! To top it off I was presented with the runner-up trophy for the event.
Next up was the UK National Finals. We had high hopes and I was excited to race someone for the first time. Saturday morning came round and I was paired against Nick Davies in the Chaos Fuel Altered. This would be the first time I would launch in first gear, and it resulted in a 7.88/174. I was so happy with my first seven-second pass and judging by the pictures so were all the crew. I thought this was a good baseline to work from and was looking forward to the next run. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be: the motor felt tight when trying to turn it over in the pits and we instantly knew the cause as we had massaged the pistons back to life for this event. We thought the repair would last the weekend but unfortunately it only lasted the one run. Still we hadn’t lost anything we just needed a new set of rods and pistons over the winter.
Our trip home was just as eventful as one of the stub axles snapped on the trailer on the A34. Luckily the wheel stayed in place and we managed to pull over with no disasters. The plan was made to unload Freddy on the side of the road and wait for another trailer. As usual with drag racing, offers of help flooded in. Big thanks to anyone who stopped to see if we were OK or offered us help in any way.
With our season over until next Easter the winter freshen up starts. Now the big debate starts of who will be driving next year; with the old man chomping at the bit to get back in the hot seat I feel I will have to give it up for next year.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us out over the season, but the biggest thanks go to the team for providing me with a great race car, and credit to my dad and to Crew Chief TC for building a fantastic car. See you all in 2015!