I’ve just arrived back from Finland but it was not a weekend I wish to remember for long! Our luck seemed to be missing this weekend and I think it’s safe to say that the whole crew are exhausted from what was an extremely tough race meeting.
We arrived at the track on Thursday and after some maintenance and some cleaning the car was ready to go for Friday’s qualifying. I’ve personally always enjoyed travelling to Finland, although we seem to have always had challenging race meetings including last year where the car was burnt to the ground – I like the fact it’s usually hot, the bar is good and the crowd are always cheering which is really cool.
Our first run took place on the Friday afternoon which is actually considerably later than usually planned, with added delays it was a long wait before we were out on the track – As Dad did his burnout it came past me and pop the burst panel went. We knew what had happened and knew that was it for the run nothing else to do but push the car back. The issue wasn’t hard to fix some changes before the weekend had meant that the engine leaned out a bit too much during the burnout, more fuel will sort this out and we’re ready to rock and roll. But a Top Fuel (full track) oil down and a gigantic rain storm later and the days racing is finished.
We woke up the next day feeling pretty anxious about getting back onto the track, we were not qualified and needed a half decent pass to get into the field. But the day was almost as bad as the previous! Delays, starting at the beginning of the pro session instead of continuing with the classes who didn’t get a 2nd pass and bad weather meant we only got 1 run.
The pass was terrible also because as Dad goes into pre stage and then stage and the car jumps through the lights and goes into shake, we knew we needed to get a time so Andy hits back onto it and through tire shake and getting well out of the groove he manages to clock a 6.8 second pass. The clutch linkage broke which meant that the car never went onto the two step and therefore the revs weren’t right for launching. We were in the field….just but we were 13th qualifier
Race day approaches – Without a full pass on the track we knew the odds were stacked up against us, but that wasn’t going to stop us from giving it our all. The 9am start was being pushed back and back and we soon realised that there was a serious problem. The night before the timing system had been struck by the lightening and it wasn’t working. Racing failed to start until early afternoon and Pro Mods were first out on the track – We were 2nd pair. Dad knew he needed to cut a good light but it was slightly too soon with a -0.02 reaction time the win was given to Marc. The run again was not nice, tire shake and some added drifting gave us a time of 6.3 against a winning 6.2. It was the end to a very challenging weekend.
It’s hard sometimes to see the positive when the weekend has been such a disaster and you know that you can do better. We knew that if we had the 4 runs we were scheduled to have we would have been able to get the set up right and run with the top boys. We also knew as the rain came down that we were in the hands of the clouds. What adds to the challenge is the frustrations we feel when there are delays, all the teams were in the same position with this and its just one of those things.
Considering the elimination run was the first full pass of the weekend it wasn’t a bad number and after the first session of qualifying it would have landed us with a spot in the top half of the field. Unfortunately mechanical issues, bad weather and some unfortunate schedules meant that we simply suffered from not enough track time and each time we got onto the start line another issue attacked us. Sometimes that’s racing – and sometimes it’s just as important to have a bit of luck as well as being good. Hopefully in Germany we will see the return of this.