Rob Pilkington found his quickest pace of the season so far but it was not enough to take a win at the January 8 round of the Top Comp series at Perth Motorplex.
Pilkington hit a 5.68sec. pass, just the team’s second time into the 5.6 zone, but remarkably it was defeated by a stunning 5.66sec. run in the other lane from Adam Marchant’s dragster, thanks in part to Marchant getting a reaction time advantage at the start of the race.
“As I launched the car I knew it was going to be fast as it took off the line like a catapult and charged to the finish in sub-record time but unfortunately I had a bad reaction time on the start line and that gave Adam the upper hand,” Pilkington said.
“It’s odd to lose on our quickest time of the season, but drag racing can be like that, you need to be on your game at all stages of the race.”
The team was perhaps fortunate to come as close as they did, given that qualifying produced some odd problems.
The Force Equipment/Alutech Funny Car is normally reliable in the day time heat but the tyres spun on the start line in both qualifiers. The team had to find a tune up solution, and quick.
“As we had our normal set up in the car for the conditions we found it very unusual to do that,” Pilkington said.
“This put us in unfamiliar territory as we were positioned in the bottom half of the field and we not sure what was causing the start line issues. After returning to the pits and looking closely at the onboard data we decided to change the clutch with a fresh unit and see if we could return to our normal sub-record times to get to the finals.”
The culprit for the tyre smoke was later found to be a faulty clutch disc.
Looking at the positives, Pilkington said the one quick pass of the day gave the team some valuable data and the confidence that they are on the right track with the tune up.
“We know we are on the path to some possible 5.5sec. passes,” he said.
“It’s one of the next major goals for the team and would certainly be a massive accomplishment. With the hard work of the team I’m confident it’s a goal we can achieve.”
While the team has now dropped to second in the points, Pilkington said the margin of only five points is not a large one.
“We are looking forward to the next round on January 28 and 29 for the Top Fuel round being held at the Motorplex to reclaim the lead and hopefully run these sub-record numbers again,” he said.