O’Connor warms up at wet Winternationals

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The 2013 Fuchs Winternationals may have ended in rain but that didn’t stop Murray O’Connor getting amongst the quickest and fastest cars in ANDRA’s hottest bracket, Top Doorslammer.

After recording back-to-back 5.8-second passes in qualifying and a semi-finals berth at the recent Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway, Team O’Connor was looking forward to a promising Winternationals campaign.

Despite the team’s best preparation, the tune-up saw the car break into tyre shake 100-feet into the first run and move towards the centreline.

O’Connor explains, “I had to give it a quick peddle (modulation of the throttle) and a straighten up before I again nailed the throttle. Unfortunately, the blower belt broke at three-quarter track and the Falcon coasted through for a 6.21-second pass at just over 220mph.

“But that wasn’t the worst of it – things got interesting when the ‘chutes tangled up in the braking area and the big carbon-fibre brakes failed to show any signs of life.

“After some gentle pumps on the brake pedal, the car finally slowed up enough to slide around the last exit before the sand trap,” which was a bit of relief said O’Connor with a smile.

A quick inspection in the pits showed that the differential housing had broken as a consequence of the tyre shake and the entire wheel, hub, brake and axle assembly has completely separated from the diff housing tearing out the brake line in the process.

The team missed the second qualifying session as they carried out repairs to the rear end of the Falcon, which also meant that the opposition teams had an additional opportunity to come to grips with tune-up requirements to suit the track conditions.

The team chose a conservative approach to the tune-up but still managed a 5.90, which would eventually leave them in fifth place in the quickest ever Top Doorslammer field.

Murray concluded “The final session saw us again hot it up a bit and with a 330ft time quicker than the 5.84 pass in the opposing lane, things were looking good. Well at least until the blower drive failed at the top of first gear!

“Back in the pits and an easy repair saw us ready for round one of racing but with the weather gods not co-operating the rest of the event was called off, which was a real for the fans and racers, but as they say – that’s racing!”

The next event for O’Connor Motorsport will be the Slamfest at Benaraby Raceway on 29th June.


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