THE past month or so has been an amazing time in the history of Team Bray Racing. Where to start? First up we went from Brisbane to the Perth Motorplex, then back home to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Century Batteries. The Jamboree at Sydney Dragway was the next stop, then across to Adelaide International Raceway for the Southern Thunder and ANDRA Grand Finals, and finally back to Willowbank for Santoís Super Thunder. Our truck driver, ĎPopsí, clocked up around 12,000km.
The Perth meeting was great; the track was probably one of the best we have ever experienced in Australia. Frankie Taylor, who races for TBR, and a couple of the American tuners at the meet agreed that the track was world-class, up with the best they race on in the USA. A big pat on the back to the Perth management Ė I think every single Pro Slammer ran a PB.
Century Batteries has just celebrated 90 years of manufacturing in this country, so to mark the achievement we built them a 1928 van painted up in company colours, which will be going around Australia over the next 12 months. Thatís going to be really cool. Century has been a great supporter of TBR over the past 25-30 years; theyíre a great company making great Australian products.
Ben finally got to run his Toyota Solara in the Sport Compact class at the Jamboree in Sydney. Our plan was to run the Jamboree last year, but that didnít work out, with a faulty torque converter ruining any chances of a good debut. This year Ben ran a new converter of his own design for the category thatís totally different to what we run in the Doorslammer car.
One of the biggest reasons behind Benís success this season with the Toyota has been Justin Simpson from Horsepower Solutions coming on board as a tuner. Ben has known Justin for over 15 years; heís a really switched-on, enormously talented guy and is really working well with the Haltech people. Everyone is excited about the future.
There have been a couple of hiccups along the way, but thatís to be expected while developing such a new project. Benís running a 1FZ straight-six out of a Toyota Land Cruiser. Most of the guys are using the 2JZ, which has enjoyed enormous development for many years now, but you see a lot of 1FZs in the sand drag machines that are popular in the Middle East.
Ben ran 1sec-flat for the 60-foot and finished with 7.20 at around 190mph, and thatís only running around half the boost of most of the other guys. For his efforts he also got the runner-up trophy for the weekend.
Back home in the workshop we have taken steps to go off the grid as often as possible by using solar power. We have installed around 300 panels and a 10-battery three-phase system. Since the news got out, we have had a lot of interest from people and some have come down to see whatís happening. Setting up has been a pretty expensive experience, but in line with the business plan laid out for me we should be in front in around five or six years. The other side of the coin is that we have CNC mills and lathes as well as around 40 3D printers, and we just canít lose power while we are printing. So the system has been set up so we use the solar power first and if it has to switch over, or there is a blackout, the printers and all the machines and equipment still keep operating.
AT ADELAIDE WE WENT UP AGAINST MARK BELLERI, AND EVEN THOUGH WE LOST ON A HOLESHOT, WE RAN OUR QUICKEST PASS WITH A 3.89 OVER THE EIGHTH-MILE
The componentry and technology are impressive, and when the system is all up and running Iíll take some pics and send them to Street Machineís Facebook page.
We have also installed LED lighting throughout the shop. It has been a real learning experience for me personally and proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. If any of our readers are interested in finding out more, drop me a line at Street Machine. Iím more than happy to have a chat.
I think itís long overdue that I pay tribute to our truck driver, Trevor Shaw, or ĎPopsí as heís known to everyone in the industry. He drives for about a dozen teams. We give him our car transporter and know he will get to the race track on time and in one piece. Heís also a great guy to have around the pits, hard-working and with a terrific sense of humour. He just loves driving; his second home is behind the wheel. I just wish he would stop hitting kangaroos.
After Perth, Frankie had to go home and missed Adelaide. He competed at South Georgia Motorsports Park in a radial event called Sweet 16, and it paid $101,000 to win. Frankie was tuning for Alex Laughlin, who qualified but didnít take the big money home. The race was won by Mark Micke driving a full steel-body 1978 Chevy Mailbu.
Adelaide fans are great, and itís a shame that we donít get to race there very often. I get a lot of texts from people there wanting to know when we are coming back. Iíve made a lot of friends over the years and really enjoy catching up with the people. I would love to see drag racing go back to two races in each state: a major championship event and another lower-key race meeting for the diehard fans. Adelaide International Raceway can best be described as an older-style race track, and over the years it has been home to some of the best racing in the country. Sitting up there on the hill is not the most comfortable place, but thatís all part of the experience.
The Adelaide Pro Slammer meet was memorable, but not for the best of reasons. The class ended up running over the eighthmile after there were some issues with safety, compounded by strong crosswinds. On race day we went up against Mark Belleri, and even though we lost on a holeshot, we ran our quickest pass with a 3.89. Zap took the win to keep his championship hopes alive. One thingís for sure: The battle between the Moits team and Zap will be worth the cost of admission at the Winternationals, to say nothing of another 20 or so Slammers trying to spoil their party. s