First day of practice…

SAWASDEE HAA!

I’m yet to attend a sanctioned event where the build up to the start of event didn’t drag on and a sense of anxiety amongst the drivers and crews didn’t create stress, Well the worlds is no different, we arrived 3 days early to get a feel for the environment, the people and the track and I was getting really edgy and once the engines started and the first cars went out on track, my ears pricked, my eyes lit up and I was RACE FACE: ON

As usual, there’s no holding back and the Huge RC complex roared with the sound of engines, They use three or four industrial fans to vent the space of nitro fumes. Yes, it was loud, but not as loud as I expected, the ceilings are high and there’s a lot of open space to dampen the sound from echoing. While I’m on the topic of Huge RC, let me say this, anyone that thought hospitality was high on the list of priorities in Australia, hasn’t got a chance when compared with the people of Thailand. I’m not sure if it’s their religion, culture, tradition or upbringing, but it surpasses anything I’ve ever experienced in my life and I am in awe and in my element, sharing the most exciting trip of my life with the most fantastic, warm, passionate and giving people on the planet.

I was disruipting Pim, Surikan’s wife while looking for a key to park our gear, I felt like I was imposing and she shut me down with….

You are my guest, you will not speak of it…

The best thing was, Luke was there to hear, witness and be part of a truly wonderful representative of the Thai people and I am proud to have brought my son to a place where he can really learn from a culture that surpasses anything we have to offer at home. So a HUGE RC SHOUT OUT to Surkarn, Pim and all the hosts at Huge R for making this the  most special and warming experience on our first day of racing….

FUCK IT”S HOT AND HUMID!!!

Sorry, but I can’t express it any other way!! 37c, 75% plus humidity and a thunder storm was brewing, just like it does in Brisnbane. Lu, my love, I’ve lost over 2 kilos today alone, look out, the Harry that left Brissy might come back a little lighter than you think!

I took advantage of the lovely ladies in the canteen area who had cologne towelettes in the fridge for around 50 cents each… I made a take-over bid and bought the whole lot of them. As a responsible sub-tropical resident I took it unto my self to find as many  over 40 people outside of the A/C boxes and began to hand out these towelettes to prevent my wonderful vacation being disrupted by heat stricken old people passing out everywhere! There were a few exceptions, one was Dario Ballestri who was sitting behind us and he looked like he was about to explode, he’d travelled 13 hours straight to the track, no sleep and had to endure he huge change in climate and for anyone who thin Dario is not a people person, well that depends on how you treat him and I was thank graciously for a simple 50 cent gesture and lent him our fan to help out his mechanic whoi was also on the brink of heat and jet lag exhaustion. Later I shot video footage of Patrizio and Darios’s mechanic sleeping while having their foot massage. As for me, I was RAINING sweat the whole day as were many others, but nothing could dampen my mood., well almost nothing…

A crew of foot massaging ladies cordoned off the carpet track, setup sofas and began running their foot massage, the canteen had delicious Thai chicken and beef on offer, there were fruits, drinks and  again, wonderful hospitality in all the Pro shops too. Luke got so hot at one point, I finally decided we would splurge out and get those Hudy setup guages we’ve been wanting for many years just to cool off in the Pro shop, picked up a new servo horn and a Hudy T-shirt as well, after all, we’re racing with the creator of our delightful tools!

Ok, so you want to hear about the racing… Well, it was decided with the smaller crowd of racers in the IDP (those never raced on track) It was decided at midday to continue with free open practice, limited to 15 drivers on the stand.

Did someone say grip? You have no idea what grip is, I’ve never seen so many world class driver traction rolling and flipping, yes, Jeff, PJ, Jesse, Steven and Luke too. Obviously we’re not pushing as hard, but let me say this once, everyone struggling to find ways to remove grip from their cars. So if you have your theories and opinions from an armchair, keep them or get your arse over here and show us what you got!!

I cant say I have any real information of who is fast or isn’t but Jesse is our fastest driver out there and the rest are doing everything they can to get a GRIP on the GRIP! The first half of the day for us made us look like total gumbies, we had slipping clutch, the grub screw on the carby cylinder came loose and the rubber band meant we didnt have carby opening and could get tune, W forgot to widen the track width as the Matrix tyres (which are awesome) , didnt add camber, didn’t add toe and after several attempt to stop the car lurching right off the start, worked out our dogbone slipped out of the hub, so we shimmed out outdrives with fuel line.

This went on till lunchtime and I popped a fuse when I couldn’t get to the idle screw, (Yes Andrew Christie, you know I’ve told you and I meant it) I grabbed Andrew Gillespie’s Dremel and greoud away the bottom heat sink fin just to get to the idle screw. Im sure everyon in RC can relate to that bad day.

Out on track, some were flying on track, some were flying OVER the track. there were cars on ther heads all day long, helpless turtles waiting to be punted on the back straight, I think Benn Dunn got cleaned up by someone. Pit entrance was challenging too… I picked up Luke’s car and one of thje other Capricorn Driver slammed head long into the barrier, just as the wheel came off the ground,

Honestly I didnt lose my cool over all the failures, but that idle screw and the heat got to me big time, it was more a frustrate rant than anything aggressive, the other issues were more like cleaning up the shit than it was eating it, we at least knew what was going wrong, bnt MAN we looked like wannabes, then the THUNDER CRACKED, the DELUGE began and practice was halted as train came with the winds blowing under the roof and watering back straight.

Many thought that the day had ended but the track was still officially open until 6pm. AS in Brisbane, the sun shon, there was strip of water along the back straight and engines fired up while one guy was running in an engine on track, Then others went out and I looked at my watch and it was 5:35 and grabbed Luke and took opportunity to get a good run. It’s out of the norm to have such a long open practice session and Luke was on point for his level and holding his own on track, With the grub screw on the carb sorted and the fin ground out of the way of the idle screw the Murnan Moidified Flash came on song, it was fhe first time in our RC history that our car was powered equally and Luke did his thing, keeping it clean, circulating and doing it lap after lap. My eyes were glued to him as usual, I roughed 5 minutes and each time we came in there was plenty of fuel. I estimate we could run 8 minutes on the tank and making time isnt going to be an issue, it might even become a strategy as we enter the finals.

MAN THEY’RE FLYING!!!!

Let’s get real here, these guys are a level up from anything we race with at home, Jeff’s struggling,  going to be a PJ, SJ, we’re all struggling but take heed, there’s one star in the show at the moment and we’re hoping that the other three get up to speed and Im sure they’ll find their sweet spots. For Luke and the other 6 of us, just keeping off our lids and making it real is going to be the challenge. We haven’t even seen those that have raced the track do their thing. One racer is hard done by and that’s Dan Jones, (aka Dan Vector) who once raced an EP car on track on a different layout and he’s just a spectator and it’s killing him!!!

I can’t name who’s on song at the moment, we haven’t seen any times, Hagberg, Ballestri, Thirsten, Branson, Schaffer, Pietsch, they’re all there and anyone who thinks they can pick a winner needs to get a reality check, anything can happen here and probably will!

Home boys

While I was overwhelmed by our own problems and capturing vision, here’s what I know so far. Jesse is on point, Peter and Jeff either havent yet shown their cards or will have to change up which is risky and there’s something not right about Steven’s car. Benn and Ricky had engine woes, Joel is having trouble getting power down to ground, Andrew G seems to be ok and I’ll get more info tomorrow as I will for Aaron. After the first half of day being a disaster for Luke, his last thirty minute sessikon before close of day 1 was outstanding. It was Luke at his best ever and with a car that’s now going to be air conditioned (BIG THANKS TO OUR LEGEND AARON) we’re taking the morning to gather all the information we have from a 30 minute session and then prep the car and begin a few tweaks here and there and settle down to focusing on seeding heats and quals. Lu’s you’d be so proud of him.. I am!

Big thanks to Brad Davis for putting together a great bunch of Aussie representatives and we’re all hoping the family gets better and our thoughts are with you. Lookinf forward to seeing the boys wearing the Green and Gold!

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