Latest News on Russell Pavey’s Progress with his Morris Minor Drag Car.
(Latest report taken from an e-mail from Russell Pavey on 30/4/05)
(Photography by Steve Thomas from Visual Velocity)

Hi Richard

Thanks for including me in your latest newsletter. I have no problem publishing the article anywhere you think fit.

I would like to be included in your regular newsletters.  Let me know what membership costs, etc...

Now for the update.....

As you may remember I was very excited to make this meeting. I had some new clutch settings to try out and I was quietly confident on running some BIG numbers.

For this meeting I added a new high speed lean out to the fuel system, a new offset drive for the magneto to make between round maintenance faster and a pneumatic staging device on the throttle. ( this allows exact stage RPM everytime)

The weekend arrived and I was pumped. Saturdays weather was strangely hot and humid and I sat out the first two qualifing sessions because the track was hot and slippery. The third session was at 5pm and we were ready. The new stage device worked a treat and I left with around 3500 rpm on board but to my disappointment the clutch was still too stiff and the engine just pulled down on the launch. A 7.34 @197mph was a good number and qualified us at number 3.

I spent some time seeking some help from Ian Cleland who is the crew chief for the Peter Kapiris Top Doorslammer. Ian was a great help and quickly identifed the problem with the clutch. The settings I had used for the clutch were supposed to be in the "ballpark". They were not in the right SUBURB! Ian suggested some changes to fool the clutch into doing its job without removing the entire assembly (gearbox, clutch can, clutch etc) We spent the night making the changes and getting ready for racing on Sunday.

On SUnday, we were offered the chance to make some test runs and I jumped at the chance. We readied the car and towed out around 2.30pm. I also added some more ignition timing to make some more power. I wanted that 200mph. I used the same 3500 Rpm on the startline and it left much better but still pulled down on the launch. It recovered much better and pulled like a rocketship the whole way down. When I pulled the chutes, the thump just about put me through the windscreen. I figured it had to be a good pass as I waited patiently for the crew to drive down to the braking area to pick me up. When the crew arrived, they were smiling but not going nuts.

I had just run a 7.14 @ 200.17 mph. Back in the pits, I reviewed the time card. The 60 foot time was a very slow 1.26 seconds but the half track mph was up to 159 mph. This was telling me that the clutch was still way too stiff and there was little I could do about it before first round of racing. I figured the only thing to do was to raise the startline RPM to about 5000 and hang on. I would either be a hero or a zero!

First round came at 6pm and I was up against Debbie Reed in a blown chevy dragster. She had a new PSI supercharger on her car and was fairly nervous about racing it. We both towed out onto the track together and did our burnouts. (I gotta stop doing big burnouts - my slicks are buggered already) I inchedd into stage and brought my stage lights on - Debbie inched in and as soon as I saw her full stage light come on, I brought the engine up to 5000RPM and then the unthinkable happened. My stage device failed and went to full throttle. The counterweight in the clutch threw my foot off the clutch and I was gone! Before the tree was even activated! I think I missed every shift and shut the car down in disgust. Because I left before the tree was activated, I had no time recorded - worse still - me jumping the start startled Debbie and she left too - disqualifing her too! What a circus! Everyone was just scratching their heads wondering what just happened!

I packed up and slunk away into the night to hide my embarrassment.

I've done my post race maintenance and everything looks good. I've pulled the clutch out and doing some measuring / calculating some sensible settings. The next meeting is on May 14th and maybe, just maybe, I can run that elusive six second number to go with that 200 mph pass.

Keep smiling

                                                                                                                                                                     Russell cracks the 200mph barrier!


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Updated 12/5/05