Drag racing is more a team sport than most people imagine. It takes a small army of dedicated souls behind the scenes to bring a race vehicle to the track – especially if it happens to burn nitro.
Rory Taylor is the WA-based owner of the Nitro Thunder Funny Car, which will feature at Hidden Valley Drag Strip’s NT Titles on August 13, and his journey over thousands of kilometres has been to pay tribute to one of his pit crew who passed away recently, Ryan Sherwood.
Sherwood was a well known figure in pit areas of drag strips around the country and Taylor said his death had saddened the racing community. Taylor decided that he wanted to bring the team to Darwin to show Sherwood’s family and friends the beast he worked on when he travelled to Perth.
“Ryan was a much loved and valued crew member who lived in Darwin but always travelled to Perth with our driver Matt Abel to help out when we raced,” Taylor explained. “His recent sudden death shocked and saddened us all.”
The team performed a number of laps at the recent Nitro Up North event, including an idle down track in tribute to Sherwood, but were unfortunately hampered by driveline issues. Taylor hopes those issues have now been resolved and if all goes well, the 3500 horsepower nitro-fuelled race car should cover the quarter mile (402m) strip in 5.6 seconds at over 400kmh.
“We have replaced the broken drive line components which we think may have been an issue due to the transportation of the vehicle from Perth to Darwin. We will be going back to our baseline tune up which went 5.60sec. in Perth earlier this year,with modifications to suit the Darwin weather and track conditions on the day.
“Our team really enjoy competing in Darwin because the track facilities and staff are great, the local fans really enjoy the show and the weather is pretty good too. We are not the only ones who think this way, there are always lots of familiar West Australian faces there whenever we go there. I would recommend making the trip if you are a competitor or a spectator.”