Portland Raceway - December 1st, 2012

We were supposed to take 4 cars to Portland, 2 Funny Cars and 2 Dragsters, but one of the Dragsters pulled out, so it was decided that we would go anyway, and even do bye runs if we had to so the locals could sample Nitro Dragster racing.

We left Sydney on the Wednesday morning, as we had a sponsor commitment for Teng Tools in Melbourne on the Thursday, which was an all day deal with a few start ups as well.

We decided to also take our 'Le Rocket', which is our Portland-Ringwood-Bollards-etc 027
Ice Blasting Peugeot work van, as it is built for cruising, so we loaded a heap of gear into that to get some weight out of the trailer and hit the road with Dude and I in the Chevy C30 truck/trailer and Normy in the 'Rocket....

After a great first leg to Sutton's Forest, we decided that would be a great brekky stop and checked inside the trailer to find that the chassis stabilizer had moved as we had pumped the tyres up the previous work day to make the new go-jax fit but forgot to put them back down to the normal 10 pounds for traveling.  Hmmm, OK, lets pump the stabilizer up to the max and tape it to the chassis so it won't work its way out again.  That worked.  The whole trip that worked.

a motorist passing by was pointing backward to us where we saw a heap of smoke exiting the rear of the trailer.

Off we went again with no probs at all, and by mid trip it was my turn in the 'Rocket and chasing the truck/trailer down with thick shakes and the like as the boys just kept on cruising.  Worked cool.

The other side of Albury, right at Avenol....a motorist passing by was pointing backward to us where we saw a heap of smoke exiting the rear of the trailer.  Gee whiz....  It had certainly got hotter as the day wore on going South, and at this time (about 4pm) it was in the very high 30's.....and a tyre said 'no more'....and blew itself apart.  When that happened all the wire was exposed in the blown tyre and that ripped the other tyre on the tread area so it looked like a bad case of acne...REAL BAD!  We put the spare on and it was like a Bathurst Pit Stop...three guys running around throwing wrenches and wheels around.....only because we wanted to get out of the darn heat!  This was a sample of what was to come.

We limped into Melbourne about 6pm and still had an hours drive to Ringwood where we had been booked into for two nights. We met up with our 'Sponsor Manager' Steve Kane who took us all to dinner.  It was great to just get out of the heat and the darn truck.  Did I tell you about the truck while on that subject???  Four door Dual Cab C30 Chev truck, great....except - Only ONE window wound down..the drivers.  The air condition did not work - as Fred hadn't put the compressor back on.....did I also say it was bloody hot!  Well at least the flipper window opened up a bit (emphasise on BIT here) which stopped Norm and I from frying while riding shotgun.  The old bus went flawlessly though, never put a foot wrong, great on economy with the LPG, but hope Dude fixes the air for next time.

and there's the Queenslander with a HUGE smile on his dial wanting to be a damn comedian...

Portland-Ringwood-Bollards-etc 057We arrived at the Ringwood address for the demo day about 7am so we could put the car into position and the stall holders could set up around us.  We dropped the trailer off in the car park across the road, grabbed the damaged tyres and headed for breakfast and a tyre shop.  Straight after that we went back to the cool of the Motel for a few winks of sleep (10am was stinking hot already) and returned to the site about Noon as the day officially kicked off at 2pm.  Buddy had flown in from Brisbane and he used public transport to get to where we were, and there we were...all hot and worn out and there's the Queenslander with a HUGE smile on his dial wanting to be a damn comedian...

We were set for 2 startups but decided to add an extra one for Clay from Teng to take a seat behind the engine. I must add that Teng Tools are absolutely fantastic in helping our team, nothing is a trouble, so it was a pleasure for us to return the favor while traveling South. The fireups went really well, and the tech guru Dude made the most of an advancement situation to take over from Vinnie......don't worry Vinnie.

We put the 'Widow in the box about 7pm that night.  It is at this stage that I have to say it was 44 degrees C (111F) during the later afternoon, and I was the sucker who got to lay on his back on the ground and undo the fuel line to drain the Nitro.  Talk about laying on a BBQ plate...talk about 'Well Done'.....NO salt thanks!

We (Dude and I) stayed in the motel room that early evening with the air on MAX, while Norm and Buddy had to run an errand and they brought back thick shakes which filled the bellies...and prepared us for sleep.  We thought we may have a sleep in till 7 or 8am and then hit the road and miss the traffic......that may be possible when you don't bunk with an Elephant who rises well before sunup.....bounces around the motel room like he is in a caged fighter ring and makes every conceivable noise from every conceivable part of his body.....IT'S 4AM!  OK, Dude, let's hit the road.  We wake Norm and the Queenslander up and say we're gone...the Queenslander mumbles something about sleep and walks off....OK, like I said 'We're gone'.  We left Ringwood about 5.30am.....a familiar tune which you will see later.

We had to seek out a petrol station to fill the truck and chock the chassis stabilizer and every petrol station that could accommodate the truck and trailer was on the opposite side of the road.  Yep, we should have done this the night before, but let me tell you.....we were knackered.

Found a place, filled everything and we're on our way.....again.  A dual wheel-dual cab Chevy and a 9 metre trailer maneuvering through the outskirts of Melbourne.  Fun.

Anyway, about 7.30am we hit the Ring Road and we're on our way.  The 'kids' IMG_2313_BHwere well behind us leaving some 2 hours later, and as one of the people on board was a photography buff...had to stop at just about every landmark or rock (don't forget the wind turbines - Buddy) on the side of the road.  They finally caught up with us LATER that afternoon at the Motel in Portland.

The rest of the Dirty Dozen flew into Avalon mid afternoon and grabbed a mini-BUS for the 300k (190mile) ride to Portland. As Peter is the 'Team Driver' he was given the keys to the people mover and the rest of the yobbos proceeded to play Romper Room with JD in the rear (actually I think they drank it.... - Buddy).

They arrived, we swapped tales, changed then headed to dinner.  Some had late nights; the on-the-road-guys had early nights....except Buddy.

GREAT little track 1/8th mile, great atmosphere, great location, great people

Breakfast was at McDonalds across the road from the Motel at 7.30am. No real sore heads, but a few bleary eyed transport drivers. By 8.30am we were driving into the complex.  This is a GREAT little track 1/8th mile, great atmosphere, great location, great people and a town that realizes that the venue helps their economy.  If you go there, count how far the new homes are to the end of the braking area.....would be safe to assume that this venue will not be a 1/4 mile deal anytime in the future.

Did I mention that the town is on the water...did I mention that it didn't stop blowing a cool breeze all day? We had to reposition the rig to take into account the wind, then the guys once again set up 'Camp Widow'.Portland-Ringwood-Bollards-etc 128

Our first lap was about 2pm, so we made sure the old gal was ready.  Towed out, started her up, made a strong burnout, backed up to make a good solid run, staged and zoomed off.  We are starting to make progress now, and this was a full power run till the car got a little out of the groove and moved toward the center line where Peter buttoned off and coasted to the bottom.

Picked him up. Towed back and serviced the car.  Nothing major, cool and check the clutch, download the computer and check the temps.  All looks great.

all of a sudden 'Widow Racing caps start flying...

Tow for the second.  Good burnout, back her up then all of a sudden caps start flying...(if a crew guy sees a problem with the car on the line, they throw their cap into the cockpit at which time Peter will shut her down.

Tow back and find AGAIN we have sheared the 1/8 roll pin on the oil pump.  Gees, it was running a while before it was noticed, let's check the bearings.  OK, all looks fine, tear the pump and fix it.  That we did. Started her up and while idling, it sheared the other side pin in the delivery case....sheeesh.  We know the problem and were trying to warm the oil before we put it in the car, but must not have been warm enough.

OK, that's it, let's pack up and have dinner.  The crowd loved the Nitro cars and we are coming back again, just in the middle of sorting dates with the venue.  As I said, great people and a great little venue.

The team then headed out to a great little Pizza bar that looked after us really well.  A dozen hungry morsels lobbing in really made their night.

Again, Dude was pacing the floor at 5am Sunday morning, so sends me a text message 'What time??'...well I am awake now, so give me 20 minutes and we're off.  We rolled out of Portland at 5.30am (that time has a familiar ring to it eh??)

Iron Man stuff from Dude.  He drove 16 hours straight with just his usual coffee and pee breaks.  When it was about 7am, an hour and a half out of Portland,  I called back to the Motel and asked Vinnie would he drive home with Norm as he was going to be one up and we were worried he wouldn't make the trip without a stop.  Vinnie was his usual self (plus being a steering wheel attendant himself) and they left about 8.30am after brekky and Buddy punching into the SatNav...Sydney.  It then tried to take them another way until they realized that they hadn't seen that scenery on the way in on Friday night.  That put them another hour behind us, so they were never going to catch us, which was going to be a problem, as our bags with all of our fuel money was in the 'Rocket......

Dude and I scraped our cash together and made it home.  The trailer was backed into the Central Coast workshop about 10.30pm, which was a 17 hour traveling day.  We were knackered.

A couple of things that came to light were;

The team loves to have a laugh no matter at who or why....

Buddy loves to take pictures of ANYTHING...should have been born Chinese ("I think you mean Japanese Tānā-san" - Buddy).

Tommy actually had moths leave his wallet on Saturday night when he paid for dinner for the WHOLE team!

IMG_2355_BHBuddy should not win Track Raffles of 2 cooked Lobsters....McDonalds are still trying to get the smell out of the place after he had them for brekkie there.

Norm will not let any Queenslander drive again from Melbourne to Portland....or anywhere for that matter.

Garry won't comment again on the Bio's on the web site.

Brett will think twice about a road trip with the BWR guys again.

Geoff thinks we're all a fair bit stupid.

Vinnie wont answer the mobile phone so quickly when we're away next time.

Marty wants to know when the next trip is on.

Wendy won't sleep in the front of the bus again.

I won't bunk with the 'farter' again.

Norm WON'T bunk with Buddy again.....

So there you have our first official 'BWR Road Trip'.


Steve and Wendy Turner...


For the event photos, click here to check the Photo Gallery Portland Raceway, December 1st, 2012.

To see pics of the mischief that went on Portland Road Trip.



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