Photos courtesy TGC Photography
I went to Bakersfield on my annual pilgrimage with Peter and Greg Leahy and whole heap of Aussies. I would have to say our Aussie party on the Saturday night would have to be one of the highlights but that's another story. I ended up going home having purchased Doug Rose's 'Time Traveler' which has now been reborn.
It is based in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia and will run in the fast growing Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car section in Australia along with Graeme Cowin's half a dozen and Paul Shackletons's 'Shak Attack' from Mackay. We had our first three shake down passes last Saturday night 16/03/2013 at Benaraby Raceway, our home track.
They say that dreams can come true and certainly I was flat lining. One thing I have learnt is that when you don't know, ask or buy in the help of people that do know. With Ricky and Christine Steffens long association with the dreaded yellow peril Nitro, they were the obvious choice for me to ask for help and we spent a year and a bit going through the car from top to bottom even though it was brand new in 2008. The car was built by Dave Uyehara, has a BAE block with AJPE cylinder heads and Lenco Transmission. Ricky went through it from top to bottom and freshened the engine with new sleeves, rods & bearings and he has been the tuner and the teacher and I cannot thank him enough.
That first run, even after going to the drags for 40+ years was certainly different when it's your car and you are standing behind it and the percussion hits you in the chest, I thought this is as close to heaven as I'm going to get. Pity I'm not good enough to be inside it. We have two sons, Nathan and Zac, who will both share the driving. Nathan was doing the shake down passes as he has been racing longer than Zac. In the normal first nitro blues, his foot came out and he double stepped it a bit but then subsequent second and third runs just got better and better. Ricky hopped it up a bit and we got signed off for the eighth mile. We will be back at Benaraby next month before we hopefully go 400kms up the road to Palmyra near Mackay for some match racing between Paul Shackleton & Graeme Cowin's Nitro Nostalgia Funny Cars.
I have always said that there is no 'I in Team' and without everyone that is involved, especially wives, partners and children as well as all the Piranha Racing Crew we could never do it. When I decided to have a crack at the Nitro, I probably didn't realise the full ramifications of what I had let myself in for. I probably never thought for a minute, that on a Sunday morning we would be pulling apart the blower, the manifold and our two sons would be knocking the rods and pistons out and checking the mains and putting it all back together under Ricky's tuition. I couldn't be any prouder of our sons and couldn't be any prouder of the whole crew. That is one dream out of the road and the next is to bring the whole show to Bakersfield. I think though we will need to win the lottery to fund that dream but you never know.
For those of you who do not know of the work of Hans Kreuzen 'the Paint Doctor' from Maryborough you need to just look at the finished product. We wanted to retain Doug Roses 'Time Traveler' name and the lettering and most of the colour so Hans used part of the themes from both of our Lexus Piranha Supercharged Outlaw cars and incorporated these themes into the original paint work. It is all airbrushed as are all our cars and helmets and it is just a work of art.