Series Round 4 & Real Steel
Series Round 7
15th-16th July '06
reputation as long as my arm to stand up to, the 2006 Mini Showdown looked
like it was going to be fun... and guess what? Two days of sweltering heat,
rapid racing and one almighty Beach Party on Saturday night have done
nothing but strengthen the feeling that this gig is fun with a capital "F".
We were fortunate enough to have crew member Chris with us after a period
off-duty, and new crew member Steve was also arriving on Saturday morning to
pitch in with the duties. Couple that with a visit from our family: Vicky,
Pete, Evan and Craig and the weekend was looking good.
We were expecting the heat of the
day to maybe slow the Belle down a little, but what actually happened was
that we fought for traction for the rest of the afternoon. Combine that with
a missed launch grabbing a red light, and the afternoon didn't go that well.
When the Belle turned hard right after two launches, we ran a pair of 10's
(10.65 and 10.96) and Helen gave up after the red light to cruise through to
a 14s pass.
But never mind, we knew roughly
where to dial in for Sunday, so as long as we could get off the line well,
we'd be okay.
Tea time with Twisted Dean and
crew member Chris.
Dean and assistant, Steve...
But, a bit of
business first. With the Belle's 6 point harness now being 4 years old, we
needed to replace it. So we spent Friday evening in the warm sun fitting the
belts and then had a spot of tea and a shandy or two.
Friday moved into Saturday, the
sun came up, and at 11:30 we hit the fire up road. We decided to make a fast
lap and ran 9.68 and 9.70 both at 136mph. This looked promising, so after this
first pair of runs we settled down for lunch and a rest before heading into
As the sun began to set and the
evening came home, we boarded our canoe and drifted into the lagoon next to
us for a Wild Bunch Beach Party.
The gang had
done a superb job of decorating the pit to resemble a beach scene complete
with palm trees, parrots, sharks and a limbo pole. Loads of people got in
the spirit and dressed up in grass skirts and loud shirts. As you can
imagine an excellent time was had by all. To put a smile on your face,
click here to
see the pictures.
Sunday morning came round, Dean
was nursing a throbin' noggin and the
heat was still on.
We warmed up the Belle, picked a
dial in of 9.75 and
readied for the off. The first pass was a weekend best: 9.61 at 135mph. After lunch we ran the second
session and managed a good 9.66 at a slightly slower 134mph. Both runs a bit too quick for our dial in. After a cool down
period the Bunch readied for the third round.
At the launch the Bell made a
slight move and Helen had to steer her back on course, this led to a too
slow 10.21. Due to the very hot conditions the third round was the final
round so we set about packing up before meeting the rest of the bunch by the
Backdraft bus for the presentations.
Our performance wasn't good
enough to be placed, but we'd had fun as usual and set off home with the
Belle in one piece and a wide smile.