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Wild Bunch Results
Easter Thunderball

14th April - 17th April

Points awarded for the Real Steel Series Round 1

This event was the first Real Steel Series event of 2006, the 40th �Easter Thunderball�. There was a field of 7 Wild Bunch cars competing: 2 Altereds, 4 Slingshots and 1 Rear-engined dragster
Event Participants
Position WB Driver Car Points
1 40 Darren Law Wicked Lady 7
2 3 Helen Smythe Hell�s Belle 5
3 4 Chris Hartnell Backdraft 4
4 9 Ed Yates RamRaider 3
5 54 Phil Sweeney Antisocial 2
- 100 Roy Wilding Chariot of Fire 2
7 34 Alec Coe & Kev Mortimer Shy Talker 1

Spot Prizes
#1 QualifierDarren Law40The Wicked Lady.018 Off
Best AlteredRoy Wilding100Chariot Of Fire 
Best Radical/DragsterDarren Law40The Wicked Lady 
Best SlingshotPhil Sweeney54Antisocial 
Quickest E.T.Alec Coe34Shy Talker8.143
Best Appearing TeamC & C Drag Racing Team4Backdraft 

This was a really special event for the Wild Bunch, as it was the first time we had competed at the Easter Thunderball at Santa Pod as a class, and on a very special anniversary occasion, the 40th Anniversary of the track. And it was like Drag Racing heaven with 4 days of qualifying and racing!

Friday. This was a qualifying day and there were scheduled to be 3 qualifiers. The day started off cloudy and cool, but improved throughout the day. All 7 drivers took part in the rounds.

WB 3was Helen Smythe in her second event of 2006 in the Hell�s Belle altered. She Dialled in at 9.80 for her first round and ran a good 10.093 @ 134.40 mph in the first round. She kept the same Dial for the second and third rounds, and ran a 10.256 @ 134.72 mph in the second and her first 9-second pass of the season in the third, with a 9.919 @ 134.62 mph, with a fine Reaction time of .068.
WB 4�Crazy� Chris Hartnell was also in his second event of the season. He Dialled in at 9.50 in the first qualifier and broke out with a 9.256 @ 144.18 mph. He changed the Dial-in to 8.90 for the second round and ran a solid 9.122 @ 146.09 mph, which proved to be his best run of the weekend. In the third qualifier, he again dialled in at 8.90, but with the track cooling down at the end of the day, he had a slight loss of traction off the launch, and posted a 9.654 @ 142.81 mph.
WB 9was Ed Yates taking his second turn of the season in the all-new RamRaider slingshot of Team Dog�s B�s, after a great debut at the Power Nationals. The team dialled in at 9.00, still not knowing what to expect from the new car, and Ed improved on his time at the previous event with an 11.413 @ 98.92 mph. They kept the same Dial for the second round, but the car lost fire after the burnout and had to be pushed back. Staying optimistic with the Dial for the third, Ed ran an 11.466 @ the car�s best yet speed of 124.67 mph.
WB 34Alec Coe was in his third event of the year in the Coe & Mortimer Shy Talker blown slingshot, looking to run in the low 8�s. The team Dialled in at 8.20 for the first round, and Alec went straight out and ran a storming 8.143 @ 166.63 mph, a new Personal Best E.T. and Quickest E.T. for the Wild Bunch for the weekend! In the second round, they lowered the dial to 8.12, but a slight hitch with the transbrake produced a still respectable 8.375 @ 164.72 mph. In the third qualifier, they kept that Dial and matched up with �Crazy� Chris on the cooling track. Alec lost a bit of traction off the line and posted a 9.271 @ 164.26 mph. Unfortunately, at the top end, the team discovered some extra crank case pressure, and took the heads off, to find the head gasket blown. In doing so they also discovered some damage to a valve and collet. Luckily this was found before any serious damage could occur, but sadly it meant that Alec and the car were sidelined for the rest of the event, a great shame. Hope the Mad R�s team can fix it and be back out soon, chasing that 7-second pass again!
WB 40Darren Law was making his first appearance of 2006 with The Wicked Lady Rear-engined dragster. He started off with a Dial-in of 10.75, and ran an 11.219 @ 125.74 mph in the first qualifier. The team modified the Dial-in to 11.21 and ran a great 11.228 @ 126.41 mph in the second qualifying round, just .018 off, which proved to hold as #1 Qualifier throughout all 3 days of qualifying! They kept the Dial for the third round and ran a consistent 11.265 @ 125.78 mph.
WB 54Phil Sweeney was also on his first event of the season with his Antisocial slingshot, now sporting a brand new Rover V8 lump thanks to sponsors Lund engines. He started off with a Dial-in of 12.30, not really knowing what the new engine would run. In the first round he recorded his first 12-second pass, with a 12.943 @ 105.63, his best speed to date! He kept the Dial for the second round and posted an even better 12.457 @ 108.20 mph, followed by another new Personal Best E.T. and Speed of 12.385 @ 108.59 mph, which proved to be his best run of the weekend, and gained him the number six qualifying space.
WB 100Roy Wilding was in his first outing of the year in his well-turned out Chariot of Fire altered. He Dialled in at 11.80 for starters, and ran an 11.585 @ 111.66 mph in the first round, followed by an 11.578 on a Dial-in of 11.50, which was eventually to earn him the number five spot in qualifying. He modified this to 11.52, but broke out in the third round with an 11.442, a new Personal Best E.T. for the altered.

Saturday There were scheduled to be 3 more qualifiers on Saturday and the day started off with a fog so thick that you couldn�t see the finish line from the start line! This lifted very gradually, but it stayed cloudy all day, though dry, and all three qualifiers were completed. Helen improved her position in the first round of the day, running a 9.781 on a 9.75 dial, just .031 off, which eventually turned out to be the number two qualifying position. This run netted her best speed of the weekend, a 135.53 mph. She later posted 9.978 and 9.817 on 9.70 Dials in the 5th and 6th qualifying rounds later that day. Crazy Chris stuck with his 8.90 Dial from the Friday, and recorde a 9.328 in the first round of the day, followed by a 9.300 on the same Dial. At the end of the day, with the track cooling, he dialled in at 9.20 and ran a 9.232 @ 142.75 mph, .032 off his Dial, which later earnt him the number three qualifying spot, right behind Helen! Ed brought the �RamRaider� round for the first run of the morning, but unfortunately lost fire and had to be pushed back with some new car teething troubles. He came back out for the second run of the day, and recorded his first 10-second pass with the car, a 10.643 @ 133.92 mph, the first time in the 130�s, and on a 10.50 Dial. On the last run of the day, he improved even further, with a 10.246 @ 138.84 mph on a 10.00 Dial. Darren continued to put together a pair of low 11-second runs, with an 11.398 and a weekend best of 11.141 on an 11.21 Dial, whilst adjustments to Phil�s new setup meant he recorded a 13.287 in the first pass of the day. He then improved again to a 12.565 and a 12.810, both on 12.30 dials. Roy changed his Dial to 11.44 and put in passes of 11.699 and 11.575, both at 113 mph.

The highlight of the day was undoubtably a pair of demo runs to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Pod. This was a real honour for the 4 participants involved: there were 2 altereds, �Hell�s Belle� and �Chariot of Fire� and 2 slingshots, �Backdraft� and �Antisocial�, and it was staged as an old-style flag start, performed by none other than former chief starter, Stu Bradbury, who leapt into the air just as he used to in the late 60�s! Needless to say, all the teams really enjoyed this, and it was a great moment of history repeating itself, nostalgia-style! Many thanks to Stu and to Darren Prentice for organising this, a very memorable experience.

Sunday There were scheduled to be yet 3 more qualifiers on Sunday! The day started off fairly cloudy, and as it turned out, the afternoon was dogged by a heavy rainshower, which eventually cost almost 5 hours of track time. We still got in 2 qualifying rounds though! Helen broke out twice, and recorded her best two runs of the weekend, a 9.768 and a 9.689. Chris put in passes of 9.344 and 9.585, once again the second run being late in the evening, at 10 past 8! Ed recorded a new Personal Best E.T. and speed for the slingshot once again, with a 10.053 @ 139.35 mph. This was the fastest that he had ever driven before, and being on a 10.00 Dial, earnt him the number four spot. His last run late in the day was a 10.317, and both he and Chris had produced some small methanol header flames in the dusk! Darren posted more 11�s with an 11.660 and an 11.156 @ 126.00 mph, his fastest of the weekend. Phil put in more mid 12�s with a 12.730 and a 12.572, still getting a handle on the new engine, whilst Roy had an off pace 12.369, followed by a better 11.638.

Monday (Race Day) started off sunny and cool but became more cloudy as the day went on. All 7 Wild Bunch cars had qualified for the race, but sadly �Shy Talker� and the Mad R�s had left, in order to make a start on the repairs at home in the garage. So there were due to be 2 good races and 2 Byes in the first round, the quarter-finals.

The first pairing saw Roy facing Helen. Roy posted an 11.59 Dial-in but brokeout with an 11.493, handing the win to Helen who ran a 9.726 on a 9.60 Dial, with a .125 Reaction. Roy was pleased with the car�s performance and even more pleased to win the �Best Altered� Spot Prize for his well-turned out car. The second race resulted in a Bye run for Ed as his opponent was due to have been Alec. Ed recorded a 10.266 on a 9.80 Dial to progress to the Semi-finals. The other race of the round saw Phil and �Crazy� Chris matched up. The start was incredibly close as both of them recorded identical reaction times of .240! Phil had dialled in at 12.54 but had problems, posting a 13.399, whilst Chris took the win with a backing out 9.392 on a 9.26 Dial. Phil was awarded the �Best Slingshot� Spot Prize by the commentary team for his good debut with the new engine and some very entertaining wheelies throughout the weekend! And Chris, Claire and Mark of C&C Drag Racing Team won the �Best Appearing Team� award for �Backdraft�s� performance and a smart appearance with some very period white jeans and red crew shirts accompanying the flag start demo. Rounding off the first round was Darren, with a Bye run, by virtue of being Number 1 Qualifier. He recorded another good 11.196 on an 11.10 Dial-in. Darren and the team were also very pleased to be awarded the �Best Radical/Dragster� Spot Prize by the commentary team for their consistent performance and good-looking car.

After the quarter-finals all the cars returned to the pits and prepared for the Semis. There were quite a few classes of eliminations to run, and then the rain started, and this came in frustrating waves, with the track nearly dry, only for it to rain again. The track crew worked tirelessly between showers and clearups, and just when we all thought we might get a chance, and several classes got called to the pairings lanes around 7pm, there was more rain. The officials still didn�t call the event off until it became beyond a reasonable chance of drying up, and this was about 10 to 8. This was such a shame for all the racers, and there were sure to have been more exciting racing in this Semi-finals with Helen and Ed paired up, and Chris and Darren.matched up.

Although we did not progress further with eliminations, we were able to declare a result for our Real Steel Series round by who was closest to Dial-in without breaking out. Darren emerged the winner as he was the closest with just .096 off his Dial. Helen was second, Chris third and Ed fourth. Congratulations to them and indeed to all the Wild Bunch racers who put on an excellent show for the 40th Anniversary Thunderball. It was a real thrill to be involved!

All in all, a great event unfortunately cut short by the weather. Huge thanks again to all the track crew, marshals and officials for their hard work. They never stopped trying to get the track ready for racing, and we are very grateful for their efforts. And thanks to everyone at Santa Pod for making us so welcome! We are now looking forward to the second Real Steel Series round of 2006, at the Ultimate Power Series Round 2, the �Shakespeare Nationals� at Shakey!