As you are aware, during the Goldenstates Drag Racing event on the weekend, the Perth Motorplex suffered a small number of incidents resulting in the early tripping of the ET beam in the right-hand lane (Lane 2).
Perth Motorplex uses the same Photoelectric Sensor units, as used in Drag Racing venues throughout Australia and the World (including the NHRA) and in other racing applications.
The alignment of the beams and a strong signal return from the sensors is crucial to the operation of the timing system and the beams at Perth Motorplex are tested and calibrated on each racing day at every event.
When the issue first presented itself during the third qualifying session for Top Doorslammer on Friday night, numerous steps were taken to evaluate the issue and remedy the problem.
On Friday night, the right-lane ET sensor operation was checked for strong signal to ensure there were no obstructions or moisture buildup on the sensor units.
After Friday s qualifying was completed, several measures of preventative maintenance were performed including the installation of new reflectors on the centreline timing blocks and all sensor units with lenses cleaned and checked
Prior to Saturday racing commencing, the timing system was rechecked and racing through the day revealed no issues with timing including the incremental timing points in the right lane.
Before Round 1 of Eliminations commenced again all beams were tested for correct alignment and signal return at 5:30PM.
However, during Top Doorslammer Eliminations, the problem returned for some cars in the right lane.
It then became clear the issue was far more technical and the problem appeared to be triggered by RF energy generated by high output magnetos at around 2.7 seconds into the specific runs.
After further investigation, it was apparent that there was some form of electrical interference or below ground cross-talk between cables that run down the side off the track.
Obviously, we did all the normal checks, adjustments and changed out some parts however we were unable to completely solve the problem. This affected only a few particular cars in Top Doorslammer and Top Alcohol in the right lane, however it didn’t appear to affect any other vehicles.
After discussing the matter with the senior ANDRA Stewards it was decided to change specific small data components in an effort to address possible cabling interference or cross-talk problems. Unfortunately this work resulted in a number of delays which combined with oil downs and the normal racing dramas, meant that ultimately we ran out of time to complete the event before the 11:00 pm noise curfew.
We also took a calculated risk to schedule Group 1 Exhibition passes on Saturday night, as a key test process to gauge our success in rectifying those timing system issues. In any other normal circumstance due to the delays we experienced, these exhibition passes may not have been conducted.
However, the priority always was to complete all eliminations and we were successful in getting all brackets down to the final pairings. We will now follow the normal Perth Motorplex process for dealing with those brackets that did not complete their finals and the two finalists in each bracket will split the points and prize money.
We humbly apologise to the racers affected and thank you all for being so patient under what was the most trying experience we can recall.
We also thank the ANDRA stewards for their assistance in this situation.
We also understand that the spectators found the event to be slow and disjointed at times and again apologise for this event not being up to our usual standard.
The whole Perth Motorplex team is passionate about our operations and always strive to give you the best track and Drag Racing experience possible, however on this occasion, we kicked the rods out and we are sorry about that situation.