As the title says, i went to the Gti International event at the Shakespeare County Raceway last weekend and was keen to do a run to see how old lightning would do with me at the controls.
The weather was fabulous (burn't neck) and there were plenty of cars to check out, plus more than a few lovely ladies. We strolled down to the drag strip as i wanted to see how it all worked before i jumped in. Watched many cars from varying positions to get different angles on what was happening. Lastly i got close to the start to see how the start lights (christmas tree) worked.
2 yellow stage lights at the top, the first one comes on as your wheel breaks the first beam, then you nudge forward a little more and the second light comes on, your now in the start position. Go too far forward and the first light goes out, time to back up a little.
Next 3 or 4 yellow lights come on almost immediately after the 2 stage lights are lit, this is your get ready to go warning, then BOOM they go out as the next GREEN light comes on. We all know green means go, bury the peddle and go. There's not a lot of time between the ready lights and the green GO light, possibly half a second.
Ok, i'm ready, i go to the signing in hut, fill out my details and pay the lady. I can already feel the heart starting to race at the anticipation of whats coming. Next i go collect Lightning and drive round to the entrance of the queueing lanes. A friendly marshal gives the car the once over, "can you open the bonnet and boot" i oblige, yup the engines still there and in the back he says "theres nothing there that will kill you" WTF!
I get a lovely white number scrawled on the back window and then onwards into the queue. It seems slow going as 2 lines of cars slowly crawl forward. As the queus gets close to the strip you end up been directly at the side of the track moving back towards the start. My minds working overtime, remember to get it into launch, remember to turn off the a/c, turn the mirrors in (every bit helps). Then as i get almost dead level with the start, the annoucer informs everyone, time for a demonstration by the sponsors. The queue stops while a handfull of invited cars get to do their stuff:-
the highlight of which was this crazy VW Scirocco, which did the fastest time of the weekend. 9.6 seconds
Then its over, the demo is finished, my mind had taken a break while i enjoyed the show. Time to pull up the overalls (Arms and legs have to be covered) and slip the helmet on. This is the first time i've worn a helmet in Lightning and it feels just wrong, i'm now uncomfortable in the baking sun, with the a/c blasting away and me in overalls and a helmet. Only about 4 cars in front now so time to get focused, it seems like ages since i entered the queue, but in reality its only probably a couple of minutes. Now i'm the next car to go, the marshall signals me to swing round and join up in the far lane behind a car just leaving for his run. Avoid the concrete patch which has the water where the cars have been doing tyre warm ups (don't need that) and now i'm been gestured to pull forward into stage. Remember, remember, remember, all the things i had to do, still creeping slowly forward like its my granny driving as i'm nervous and don't want to go through the stage and have to reverse back. The car next to me has already staged up, i can see his 2 lights are lit. Me i'm still creeping forward, i'm thinking everyone will be saying whats he waiting for. still slowly i creep, whats happening, i'm sure i'm further up than he is and still no lights, then it happens. The first light springs into life and immediately i freeze. Then i ease off and nudge forward a little........yes the second light comes on. Ok i'm ready, swap right foot to left foot on brake and hit the accelerator, but wait whats happening, 3 yellows, then green in as quick as it was to read it, GO GO GO.
I'm still not honestly sure as to whether i got a launch or i just floored the pedal as i saw the green. It was all too quickly there and i was off.
Many thanks to Vito for recording this for me.
As i flew past the line i glanced to my right to see the Gti behind me, at least i won!
Then i realised i still had the a/c on and the mirrors out......DOH, oh well i was at least the coolest running down the strip.
Reaction time: 1.01 (really bad)
Mid speed: 84mph
1/4 time: 13.6
Final speed: 104mph
Well that was fun, but i know next time i can better that.