NJMP, Thunderbolt Track
Saturday May 5th - Sunday May 6th
A few teams squeaked in the gate at 10pm Thursday and the rest trickled in mostly Friday Pete and Kat the last to arrive Saturday morning. With the JIT arrival of his shocks Bill appeared to be still doing the final assembly on the Flying Poutine entry though mid-mornng Saturday while still looking for a passenger. The weather was agreeable (dry) Saturday and I think all the teams managed to get out for the second practice session. Bill with a local racer Patricia Fernandez in the chair (and she had the biggest dinner plate size eyes I have ever seen, and that was in the pits before they went out!) Both Team Fletcher and Latest Developments Racing began picking up the pace and ran under last years lap record by about 1 second with the edge to Steve & Brett by 1/10th of a second.
For the race on Saturday 6 teams lined up and it was Team Flying Poutine with the hole shot to briefly grab the lead before being passed on both sides into corner 1 by Latest Developments and Team Fletcher with Chris & Jeff exiting corner 1 in the lead. Steve & Brett relentlessly pursued Chris & Jeff for the entire 7 laps, showing a nose a few times, and crossing the line less than a second behind. Bill & Trica settled in to a duel for 3rd with Team Essaf which saw several passes and lasted till the last lap when they both dropped the hammer (and 7 seconds off their lap times) with Pete & Kat taking 3rd overall. Not to be left out Team Double Trouble and Team Miller Time Racing hooked up for a race long battle for 5th and 6th. Fans were quite entertained by the 3 separate battles going on with in the same race. Immediately following racing on Saturday Team Latest Developments quickly borrowed Russ along with his truck and trailer to transport their sidecar to Mark Built, a local motorcycle race shop, where they were very happy to get their cracked frame welded up. Team Fletcher officially lowered the lap record by about 4 seconds with Latest Developments nipping at their heals 2 tenths back.
Terry Hall, the official track photographer from the Lightening Circuit, was so impressed with us he took photos of a few of the teams, printed them up and presented them as gifts! Later that evening while Team Essaf was busy corrupting Team Latest Developments at the NJMP Pub, something about celebrating Cinquo Da Mayo, we met one of the track owners and he also expressed his appreciation with the SRA for making the trip.
With only one practice Sunday morning all the teams hoped to make it count. Bill had teamed up with another new passenger, Ellen Yampolsky a vintage passenger with USCRA, but they only managed to complete 4 laps before the #21 rig coasted to a stop with an electrical fault. Team latest developments went out with their 3rd different gearing combination of the weekend, put in a couple of hot laps and came in to check their times. Team Fletcher stayed out for a few more laps shaking out the cobwebs. Both the #1 and #580 teams posted lap times within 2 seconds of their record setting pace from Saturday and appeared happy. After quite a bit of poking around, electrically speaking, it was discovered that ignition switch on the #21 rig was a bit suspect (Steve jiggled the key and it started ;-)
All 6 teams lined up for the start of the Sunday Race. At the green flag Team Fletcher grabbed the hole shot and lead into corner 1 with Team Latest Developments in hot pursuit. Team Flying Poutine hadn't finished their first lap when their electrical fault reared it's ugly head and no amount of key jiggling could get it to re-fire. So Bill & Ellen had to settle for front row seats at a marshaling station in the infield. Chris & Jeff explored several passing options over the first couple of laps before finally out braking Steve & Brett into corner 1. Team Latest Developments then stretched their lead by a little over a second for the next 3 laps. On lap 5 their rig popped out of gear entering corner 1 resulting in an off track excursion which finally concluded when they timidly rejoined the circuit well off the racing line in corner 4. Meanwhile Team Fletcher had closed the gap and motored in to the lead between corners 4 and 5. Chris & Jeff immediately rejoined the battle and hounded Steve & Brett for a lap and a half before deciding to drive around the outside of them in the high speed corner 1 on the last lap. The #1 rig kept the peddle to the metal while #580 dialed it down a notch for 2nd. With the #21 rig out and unable to keep pace with the pair of F1s ahead Team Essaf had a lonely ride to 3rd overall on their F2.Team Miller Time Racing picked up the pace from Saturday and pulled steadily pulled away from Team Double Trouble. There appeared to be an abnormal accumulation of pollen on the track which made it quite slick and caused great yellow clouds to be thrown up when ever a team ventured off the racing line. Congrats to all the teams (except #1) for keeping it on the black stuff while dropping their lap times in such slippery conditions!
Finally congrats to Team Latest Developments for wrestling the Thunderbolt Sidecar lap record away from Team Fletcher. The two teams traded the record back and forth all weekend usually only a tenth or two apart. In the end Team Latest Developments lowered last years record by 6 seconds with a 1:39.198 lap time.