News & Events
STA Parts Falcon - WE DID IT! 6.991 - The quickest and fastest TRUE Ford in NZ (Ford Body, Ford Powered)
Dedication and determination 2011/12 Season
Squig reports... It was a busy few weeks trying to get the STA Parts Falcon running again in time for the Bay Rodders Nostalgia Drags with many highs and lows along the way. As I mentioned on the report of the Nationals, we had stripped it down to find the burnt piston, no problems there we have spares. What we also needed was rings, an intake valve and new rod bearings. We managed to find most of these parts in our inventory and Tony Marsh was able to supply some old rings. The heads needed the seats cleaned up from the melted aluminium as well as the combustion chamber on #2 was a bit messy, it turns out that the head got a bit warped also from the heat so they needed planning. Brian Weber of Street Rod Engine Reconditioners kindly took care of this, that was until his head machine died (thanks for the effort Brian). This meant that Kerry had to finish them by hand which took him a while, then finally reassemble them.
Meanwhile, I was spending late nights at work welding up the blower manifold, which went rather well apart from it twisting a bit (even with a jig). I machined and massaged what I could with the machinery I had available to me, the rest I was luckily able to have my buddies Richie and Kevin at Trimac Machining do. With that done we then did our best at cleaning up the #2 cylinder on the block. We honed as much as we dared. It didn't entirely clean up but all we wanted was a couple of runs out of it, just enough for a SIX second pass. We chucked in a new set of rod bearings for good measure as quite a bit of aluminium grit (like lapping paste) went through the engine from the melted piston, cleaned everything up and set about bolting it all back together. The manifold had to be trial fitted a few times, what with the heads being planned and the manifold being machined things didn't line up as well, we slotted and enlarged all the bolting holes as well as adding double gaskets for it to finally fit. Next we needed the new hoses and parts for the fuel injection, as usual when ordering bits from the USA, though we ordered it all a few weeks back some how the parts got lost in transit. They turned up at the airport on Friday mid day so Kerry picked them up on the way through to my place where we set about making all new hoses and getting the car ready to fire up. All through this I could see Kerry struggling as he wasn't well but he percevered and we finally had it ready by about 6pm.
We called it quits at that point and decided to fire it up the next day as it was obvious that Kerry needed some rest. I got a phone call Saturday morning from Kerry's partner Elle saying that he was still petty crook and was at the doctors, so it was down to Graeme and me to finish getting it running. No problem, Michael was turning up and we should manage just fine, it's more that Kerry invests a lot of time into the engine and I could just imagine him fretting at home while we are doing our thing. Any way we fired her up and all seemed good until we shut it down and saw a small puddle of methanol in the valley. After investigation and another run we discovered it came from the under the blower, so off came the blower again we replaced the o-ring then put the blower back on again (about 1 hours work). This time all good!! We then reset the valve lash and bundled it all in the trailer to head down that evening. We wanted to get set up as we knew the pits would be real busy and congested the next morning, plus we wanted to see the "Cackle Fest". I texted Carol to let her know we were on our way as she had set aside a pit space for us (our usual space was reserved for the nostalgia cars). We got there just on dark unloaded that went to see the festivities, heaps of cool old rods but to my disappointment no Cackle Fest, oh well an early night then I was buggered anyway.
Sunday dawned cool and crisp but sunny, was this going to be the day? We got down to the track about 8.30 and got ready, Kerry however was still under the weather so turned up a little later. Meanwhile we watched the 1st round of quallifying, the air was good (900 feet corrected), the sun was starting to heat up the track and no wind. Pretty good conditions. Murray Smith clicked off an impressive 6.88 in the blue 55 Chev with the car, skating a little, so that track was pretty good. I went over and congratulated him and his crew, smiles all round. About then Kerry showed up so we got to work, as I said before we can run it with out him but being that he puts his heart and soul into that engine I really didn't want to do a pass without him present. Besides this is a team effort and he wants that SIX as badly as I do!
Once all warmed up and checked over again we headed over to the start line. We were given the go to fire up. The plan was to just do a 1/2 pass take it back to the pits to check the data so as to be sure not to melt it again. I pulled through the water box and onto the track to do the burnout. It made power instantly but came up onto the rev limiter, that wasn't nice, however I managed to feather the throttle a bit. As I rolled to a stop there was a bad vibration and a clunking noise coming from the engine... oh no now what's broken? I quickly shut it down, as I was pushed back off the track my heart just sank... all that work...over. We got it back to the pits and I explained what had happened to the crew, we were devastated! Well we decided we might as well find out want went this time and started to look it over. We pulled all the plugs and wound it over by hand, no knocking or tight spots? Checked the valve train, all good. Okay jack it up sump off and check the bottom end, again all good, look inside the bell housing all good. It was about this time Graeme noticed that the blower belt was loose, in fact loose enough to jump teeth...that could cause the vibration and noise. So we put it all back together fired it up and all was good... PHEW!! We adjusted the burn out throttle stop as well (no more over revs). Back to the start line.
By this time I'm pretty apprehensive, what's going to happen this time....no time left for a 1/2 track check out pass... It's balls to the wall!!. A small burnout and straight into stage, this is no time for theatrics. Fully staged revs up... flash go the lights. I drop the clutch and she pulls hard rattling the tyres a bit but not to bad, she's carrying the front left wheel in the air for 60 to 100 feet while heading for the centre line (we're in the right lane on a solo pass) I try to correct slightly not wanting to upset the car, at the same time I pull 2nd early to try to bring the front end down. This works as the car is now heading straight down track, flash goes the shift light so I pull 3rd then again for 4th, she flies past 1/2track.....this feels pretty good...she weaves a little heading for the stripe but nothing to hairy. Over the finish line, pull the chutes, cut the fuel, then when the engine eventually falters to a stop turn off the mag. I spend the next few seconds Coasting to a stop near the chute packers off the track with one thought on my mind...what was the ET...did we do it? As I remove my restraints, helmet and neck support getting ready to get out of the car, one of the chute packers yells out to me "congratulations you just ran 6.991". YEEEHHHAAAA!!! WE DID IT!!! I clamber out of the car a lot quicker now as some of my crew arrive on the scene with big smiles, they confirm it - 6.991... hand shakes and hugs all round. We start to tow back along the return road past the crowd who are cheering and clapping as are many of the track workers and fellow racers and crew. They all know the significance of getting any drag car into the sixes let alone a doorslammer.
We're stopped by the track manager Gary Boggart and the area steward Paul Burns (both fellow Ford men) who in turn thrust their hands into the car and offer congratulations. This continues into the pits with Kerry and the rest of the crew all in on the scene, Murray Smith/Craig Brown and crew come over and offer congratulations WOW what a great day!! My partner Tanya had baked some special 6 second cup cakes (with a 6 iced on the top) so these were handed round. After we had all calmed down and stopped shaking hands and hugging, it was back to business. Now we set back to maintenance and reading the data so we could try to get deeper into the sixes. On removal of the front clip we notice that the engine belly pan had been damaged and quite a bit of oil was around, pretty much anywhere it could escape from really. This was no surprise as we knew that the engine wasn't in the best shape what with that dodgy bore and 2nd hand rings, so we just mopped it up and did a quick fix on the belly pan. After downloading the data we saw that the boost was a little down (probably escaping past the rings into the sump which in turn pushed out the oil), we also saw that the tune up was indeed soft as the pyros reading the exhaust temps were quite low the air quality had deteriorated to 1600 feet. Knowing this and that the air would improve as the sun went down, we decided to leave the tune up as it was, the track couldn't hold that much more anyway.
Off out to the start line again. This time a bigger burnout (but not on the limiter), then at about 60 feet out the car makes a hard left with the back end into the other lane (I was in the right lane again on a solo), it continues to drift out till about the 100 foot mark were I regain control and bring it back to my lane at 1/2 track. I back it up and get it into stage. Revs up on the limiter, light flashes and we're off, the tyres shake hard this time (bugger I should have backed the clutch down) and at the 60 foot mark the rear end does a hard left again taking me into the left lane. I gather it back up again and idle down the track... day over. On the tow back the crowd is just as vocal about that run as the 6.991, that's the thing with drag racing... it's unpredictable that's what the fans like about it, one minute a real fast pass the next minute a pass all crossed up aiming at the guard rail. I spoke to Paul Burns later, the track steward, he said that in the last 1/2 hour the track had really cooled which is why we were all doing solo passes. It was down to 85 degrees and 75 degrees was the cut off point. The track conditions all day weren't that great. But all in all a great day....thank you Deano and crew of Bay Rodders for a great event.
At this stage I would like to thank everyone who helped me/us.
Firstly, Mark Segedin, Marika Segedin, Cheree Grainger, Dean Chauval, Daniel Simpson and everyone else at STA Parts.
All my other associate sponsors- Trimac Machining, Diffs R Us, Driveshaft Specialists, Western Auto Electrical, Procoat,
Street Rod Engine Reconditioners, & Terry Bowden.
My crew- Michael White, Graeme Annan, Poppa George, Zachary, Hunter and others who helped on the day and behind the scenes- Elle, Andrew, Terry, Kim. Lachy for helping with the carbon work. I know there are others and I'm sorry if I forgot to mention you.
A special thank you to Kerry Corbet, the dedication that he has put in this year and years previous is incredible. We have a partnership that works really well... both trying and succeeding to campaign the quickest and fastest TRUE Ford in NZ (Ford body/Ford powered). I can't wait to see what we can conjure up for next season?
And finally my partner Tanya and my boys, A heart felt thank you, I know this has been a long and hard 12 months for everyone with
me in the shed most of the time building and maintaining the car. Now lets finish that kitchen...
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