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!

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