AERO FLOW RACE DIARY
It’s not often that I have doubts about going racing; it’s not often that I think, should I really go racing this weekend? However, for the Perth Motorplex nitro hot rod event, that was the case, as my wife Monique and I were stoked to welcome our first child into the world on the Monday prior to the event. It was tough leaving them behind on Friday night — in fact, a lot tougher than I thought it would be. We had the four Aeroflow nitro hot rods in Perth, and we were running a three-round format, so we got to race every car once, which was pretty cool. Prior to that, we had competed in two events with ‘Spooky’. In the first event, we made the final in New Zealand and crashed the car; in the second event, we won the meeting and ran our first five-second pass. It had now been six long months since we had raced Spooky, so it was straight back into it for the first round. First run was against ‘Psycho’. Now, I will tell you that just lining up next to this thing is awesome; the car is so iconic and is driven by the best driver in the series, Shane Olive. Shane has whipped up on me twice in the funny cars, but it’s 1–0 to me in the hot rods, so I was really hoping to get another win over him. Well, it only took 6.01 seconds and a quick pedal to feel reacquainted, as off the trailer, Spooky was a rocket. The best bit was a top speed of 394kph, which was not only my PB but the fastest speed of any of the Aeroflow nitro hot rods ever! We had a pretty cool crew for this meeting: young Kiwi Mitchell King, who was looking after the motor; young Josh Leahy, who was playing crew chief and looking after the clutch — Josh drives ‘The Bandit’ funny car, which I tune; and Kelsey Walford, who is not only Josh’s partner but has her own modified Altered, and was standing in for Monique for the weekend. Round two, we had Justin Walshe in ‘Berzerk’. The two cars were glued together for the first half of the track, with less than 1/500th of a second and 4kph separating us at half-track. At that point, Justin got out of the groove and had to lift to save crossing the centre line, and Spooky flew on through for the win with another big 390kph top speed. Even though the event is points based, it turned out, with the way it fell, that the last run would be the final; the winner would take the trophy home, and the loser would end up in second place on points. For the third meeting in a row, it was going to be Rick Gauci — in ‘Chucky’s Toy’ — or me taking home the winner’s trophy. At the flash of the green, both cars left like a rocket. Spooky had the front wheels off the ground just skipping along the surface; it was hauling. Then, about third-track, it started spinning the rear tyres — that’s Fuel Altered for ya — so I gave it a quick pedal to try to slow the rear tyres down, and it worked, gripped up, and went into a big-power wheel stand. At that point, I saw Rick’s front wheel heading over to my lane. I had to give it another quick whack of the pedal to get the front back down, then Rick’s car disappeared as I took the lead back. As I went through the finish line, I couldn’t see Rick but thought I had beaten him. What I didn’t realize was that he actually ended up in my lane behind me. This is what short-wheelbase nitro hot rod racing is all about — it was probably the most fun I have ever had driving a race car; it was just bad ass — I can’t think of another way to describe it! So that makes it two wins from three events for team Spooky. Now, we just need to swap that form to ‘One Bad Kiwi’! If only it were that easy!