Jam Time 2002!
The 21st of September this year saw the 12th annual FastFours Jamboree held at it’s usual location of Willowbank, southwest of Brisbane, QLD. I was lucky enough to be granted a couple of Press passes for the event which allowed me access to pretty much anywhere. By the time I arrived at Willowbank the car parks were packing up pretty quick and it was looking at being a great day. The weather, although on the hot side during the day, turned out to wonderful clear Queensland day, with the exception of a very very light shower later that night. Obviously my biggest interest in the event was Chris’ ET. The car was looking very promising to improve on his PB of 12.67. A methonal injection system has been installed to help reduce inlet temps and the system and car itself were working very well.
I had arranged with Chris to put some big www.N12Turbo.com stickers down the side of the car just for the day, just so the people from the stands could easily read the webaddress. With the exception of me stuffing up the ‘O’ in turbo on the left side of the car the stickers looked good. Since there were to be no cars running slicks racing until 2:00pm we had a good look through the show and shine. Unfortunetly there weren’t to many ET’s or EXA’s to be seen. Just one pretty clean looking white ET on display in the show and shine. I planned to do a bit of a wonder through the car park later in the day to see what I could come across in the way of n12’s, but that didn’t end up happening.
The bikini comp was pretty much a non-event for anyone that didn’t turn up a good 15mins before it started, as it was that packed you could not see a thing! My keen roommate decided to take some initiative and climb up the back of some work ute that was parked nearby so he managed to get a good view.
The top 8 shootout was full of action! Rockie’s Pac RX2 slammed down a 7.88 on its first pass of the day, which looked like it would be a shoe in for the Turbosmart $2500 challenge, however on the last pass of the night the Rotormaster RX7 came out and ran a 7.86 to just snubb Rocky of the $2500 prize money. Archie’s series 6 RX7 had what looked to be some sort of engine/brake failure which caused him to slam into the wall at the end of his run which basically wrote off the right side of the Mazda. That was his only pass. Plenty of other top 8 cars seemed to be struggling for traction at the top end of the track with a couple of very close incidents involving the cars fishtailing and swapping lanes. Also quite a few cars seemed to not be able to pull up in time skidding off into the runoff area at the end of the strip.
The day seemed to be plagued with numerous oil downs which saw big delays throughout the day while track teams cleaned the track up. Finally however after a huge wait I saw FUL11 roll out to the strip. Chris’ ET now sports a full N13 driveline (N13 box, mr2 driveshafts, N13 CV’s and Hub) so chances of breaking a box didn’t seem as high as usual. His burnout was pretty small as the car seemed to go side ways in the water. With the car staged he got an ok launch and cruised to a comfortable 13.09, which in 29 degree heat that’s not to bad. Ben decided though that they would drop some height out of the front suspension in search of some better launch times. With the help of the coil overs this task is made much easier.
His next run would not be until later that night. It was that long till he ran next I was starting to wonder if he had gone home!! Surely enough though out rolled the ET for its second pass. Bit bigger burout this time and it was staged. Another clean launch and a good top end run saw a 12.80 flash up on the timing lights. Although not his personal best it was still a very impressive run which left lots of people in the stands asking “was that an ET???” During the staging of that 2nd pass I was pretty happy when the commentators gave N12 a big plug by reading the website address out to over 15,000 people :-).
With that pass out of the way I returned to the press box to take a load off. Just as I had a chance to sit down and go through the pics I just took there was Chris! Already back out in the Mickey Thompson lane staged. I didn’t have enough time to run downstairs and out of the track so I had to watch it from the tower. I managed to get a quick shot through the window but as you can see from the picture I didn’t have time to turn the autoflash off and there is the end result.. Pretty much a image full of flash :(. One of the advantages though of the press box is there is full tv coverage showing the whole drag from start to basically when they stop.
His start was pretty good, not his best 60ft time, but not far off it and by mid track he was going the fasted he has ever gone. It was looking to be a PB and possibily overtake Lou or even Con for 1st or 2nd spot on the top 10. Then all of a sudded at around 3/4 track I found myself looking at a huge backfire from the car and plenty of smoke. The car had slowed considerably and most like myself, had feared the worst for the engine.
I caught up with Ben on the way down to the bottom of the track where the ET was stopped and Chris had radio’ed back that the gear leaver linkage had snapped on his 3rd gear to 4th gear change. This made the car free rev and hit the rev limiter. The Autronic ECU has a advanced rev limiter that cuts ignition and tapers off the fuel gradually. The massive backfire was the result of this tapered fuel cut as all the unused fuel ignited. It seems the engine escaped unhurt.
Nevertheless that would be Chris’ night as he now had to limp back to brisbane stuck in 3rd. That also saw the end of my day as it was now 10:15p, and it was pretty much all over.
It was a great day alround which saw a huge display of tough 4’s, 6’s and rotary’s. Cant wait until next year and hope to see a few more N12’s there. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a race next year!
I’d like to thank all the people involved in the event and espically Ray Box for a great job.
Below are a few of the other pics I took throughout the day. I know they aren’t N12 related but some of you might like to have a look anyway.