Toowoomba veterans burn some rubber
THERE were breakdowns, bush mechanic workarounds and a few close calls but the Toowoomba RSL crew and their Flying Pineapple managed to survive 20 hours on the Morgan Park Raceway.
The team of 15 veterans took part in a two-day motor race in Warwick over the weekend with Young Veterans to help raise money for the Rare Cancer Foundation.
Toowoomba RSL president Scott May said the group had been meeting for the past few months of a Thursday night to work on their vehicle, a 1986 Ford Laser dubbed The Flying Pineapple.
“We had the car prepped and ready to go two weeks ago, and when we went to load it on the trailer on Friday afternoon the distributor shit itself,” he said.
“We were frantically running around to find a new one and managed to find one on the morning of the race.”
The mechanical issues didn’t stop there however, with the crew soon discovering an electrical fault during their half-hour practice session before the 9am start time on Saturday morning.
Luckily they were able to find a suitable replacement at a wreckers on short notice, but then they had to install it.
“We had a test lamp that we were using to check the connections and for some reason it when we test a particular wire the alternator would start charging so we decided to hard wire the test lamp into the vehicle, and that got us out on the track and racing,” Mr May said.
In the end The Flying Pineapple lasted 399 laps in 20 hours with five different drivers, going through two sets of tyres, three sets of brake pads, a starter motor and 250L of fuel.
“We managed to stumble our way through overcoming little obstacles, the team adapted to the different scenarios and chipped in to keep the car going through the whole event,” he said.
“I’m a bush mechanic since I grew up going out fourwheel driving, and in the crew we had an ex-Army mechanic and an aircraft technician so between us we had enough knowledge to be dangerous, but it was also a learning experience for the other team members.
“We were explaining what we were doing so it was as much of a learning experience as it was a welfare experience.”
Mr Scott said the team also helped the fundraising efforts by running a military-style penalty box, which saw them claim the team spirit award for the weekend.
While the Toowoomba RSL team came 11th overall, Mr Scott said it was an accomplishment keeping a 35year-old car on a track for 20 hours over two days.
“To give 15 people two solid days of racing and track experience that was the most exciting part,” he said.
Mr May encouraged any local veteran looking to meet new mates, enjoy a free barbecue or tinker with the car to come along to a Garage Night held at the Toowoomba RSL Sub Branch from 5pm every Thursday.