Recently crowned WA Top Comp champion Wayne Keys says a new car may be on the team’s agenda ahead of next season, with his Holden Monaro-bodied car starting to show its age.
The chassis is now the better part of two decades old, having done service first under a BMW body, before a switch to a Holden Monaro in 2002. In fact, it’s one of the few cars still racing at the Motorplex that did service at Ravenswood International Raceway as well.
Over the year the chassis has been updated with the latest in safety and suspension, but incidents have taken their toll. Late last year, a high speed parachute failure meant the chassis and body needed major repairs.
“We have talked about a new car for a while,” Keys said. “At one stage we thought we would tidy up the Monaro or even put a narrower body on it, but now we have decided it is better to get a new car than to try and modify this one again. It is still the original chassis from the BMW days.
“So during the off season we are planning to sell the Monaro less motor and change to a different sedan.”
Keys said it had been an emotional season for the team, who did not think they would be back for some time after their crash. However the drag racing community pulled together to perform the repairs needed for him to return at the very next event and maintain his position in the points chase.
“The trip into the emergency catch net (at the end of the braking area) had us thinking that our season was over,” he said. “A tremendous effort from so many people not only had us back at the track within two weeks, but we were still in contention for the championship. That gave us extra motivation to do well and bring home some wins as reward for the people who helped.”
Just being at the track was one thing, but being quick enough to take victories was another. Keys said at the beginning of the season the team was searching for answers after their performances took a dive.
“Our focus for the season was to find the 5sec. tune-up again as we had lost it somewhere along the way,” he said. “Since our first 5sec. pass in January 2012 we had run nineteen more. To be competitive enough we needed to be back running those passes.”
Come the final event of the season in April, Keys held the lead of the Top Comp championship but rivals Stuart Moresby and Adam Marchant were breathing down his neck.
“We needed to finish one better than Moresby and Marchant to claim the title of State champion,” Keys explained. “At one stage, we thought we would be racing one of them in the final and who ever won that race would be the season winner. But a little bit of luck was on our side and both missed out on making the final.”
State championship earned, Keys still had more on his agenda before the Monaro was put back under cover.
“We had an extremely quick turnaround with maintenance and were on our way to Adelaide International Raceway for the ANDRA Grand Finals the following weekend,” he said. “It took all our qualifying passes to get a handle on the track and running a 1000 feet distance (instead of a standard quarter mile or 402 metres). We ran a good number with a 5.15sec. in the first round of eliminations, but it was a loss.”