Back when I first joined my current race team we ran Standard Sedans in Speedway, the new team had never raced before and my experience was limited to six years in a Super Modified team.
We started off all enthusiastic and helpful, lending tools and giving a hand where we could but before long we found people taking advantage, it all went wrong when we had about a thousand dollars worth of tools stolen while we were watching our car race; even though the pits were packed with people no one saw anything…. Hmm!
We put a lot of time and effort into our car and started to do very well, soon we had complaints of cheating laid against us, the marshals checked the car and even went to the trouble of making us have the engine stripped and certified, of course we were cleared but the team talked of nothing else for weeks, valuable time lost!
A few seasons passed and we changed to Formula 500 which is a far more competitive class, we bought one secondhand car and new motor here in Australia and soon ordered a new American car/motor package. We invented tools when we needed something special, like Formula One style car lifters and movers and had our own machine shop make and modify all manner of bits and pieces to make the cars lighter, stronger and faster. Our aim originally was to manufacture and sell these parts to offset the huge costs of inventing them but soon we found people photographing our equipment and making copies.
We lost two seasons with a few motor explosions and a couple of bad crashes. Last season a few days after a full knee reconstruction our driver had to be carried to the car, placed inside and the cockpit packed tight with foam so he couldn’t be injured, he didn't race but only circulated…all to get the few points for turning up.
This year we have two new American fuel injected methanol motors to prove. Two, fast but raw motors that just didn't go the way they should... but exactly the same as another dozen new motors bought and used by other teams in Australia. Unlike the others we didn't run them, instead we drilled holes all over one motor and fitted it with dozens of sensors, tested, modified and retested, over and over until we got this little 634cc four cylinder motor going as well as we could.
Last weekend we raced our new motor for the first time and gave the rest of the Australian Formula 500 teams a big wake up call. Our car went much better than anything anyone could throw at us and we won the night and the final by half a lap.
Between races we kept the car covered with tarps and refused to allow anyone to see or photograph it. There are only a couple of things you could actually see that we've changed on the outside but the team has learned valuable lessons from the past and this year we are playing the same mind games the others had used against us. Already there are calls of cheating and again the marshals will check and audit our cars but this time we are laughing about it….