The Big Crash!
Updated: Nov 2, 2019
Who would of thought going into the last round of 2016 was going to be a major turning point in my racing career. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a endless supply of money racing takes a massive amount of effort and a massive amount of sacrifice. More than most people would realize.
2016 had been a trying year for me. i have a very competitive nature and i hate to fail. When i decided to build the 875 4wd class 8 trophy truck i went down a path which i now look at in two ways. One it has brought me to where i am now and who knows if i would be here building a high end A-Arm huge travel 2wd trophy truck if i hadn't of taken the paths i have taken. However on the other hand i think of all the dollars i have wasted trying to save dollars......hahah i know right try and save money and you always end up spending more when it come to racing. Im sure some of you know what im talking about. I also think that you really need to be aware of how quickly something simple can blow out and become so expensive that you cant stop now you have come too far. well the 875 race truck was just that. It had gotten a bit out of control. The steering had never been great on the truck and in my infinite wisdom i decided to try something a little "out of the box" and design my own full hydraulic rack steering. God only knows why i thought this was a good idea......... other than it being very difficult but not impossible to fit a race buggy or trophy truck rack into the truck i figured i knew best and ehh well i was almost right.........
What transpired next was costly machining, costly hydraulic parts all base on my "hopefulness" it was going to work.
So we got it all in and headed off to the next race which was #Bencubbin #waorc and took it out and did the recon and it felt GREAT! Winning!!!.........Not for long........ Went out and did qualifying where we were now allowed to let the go peddle hit the floor and i lost 99% steering when i came off the long open road section where the engine had been pretty much sitting at 7000rpm for a couple of minuets. turned off the road went to turn again and was greeted with a "steering says no" moment not really what your chasing when you are trying to wash off speed and need to do a sharp turn. thankfully the steering was still there just really hard to turn, bit like how a power steering car feels like when the engine isn't running extremely heavy. Anyway we put it down to a failed pump, changed it out and went out for the main race however this was short lived as not far into the first section i stuffed up and cut the corner which push the racing line into a tree and well we damaged the front oil coolers so couldn't continue. was a massive disappointment. we had worked so hard to get to the race designing the new steering and it even sort of worked. however the loosing steering moment didn't sit right with me and after more investigation we came to the conclusion that the pump failed because either the relief valve got stuck open or the pump simply cavotated at the constant high rpm. either way this was one of those moments where i was already committed so far that i had to see it though which meant the purchase of a very expensive power steering pump which ran a huge external relief valve.
So it was back into the workshop to fix up all the damage and get the truck back going again for the Three springs race. i think we even missed one of the races so we could go and do some testing to make sure the truck was doing what it should do before #Threesprings. Anyway with all the disappointment and so far in the year i was looking to not only finish the race but finish well in the top placings.
Three Springs came round and we were ready for battle! Truck was as prepped better than it had ever been, It looked great the engine which i sort of glossed over was new prior to Bencubbin had barely 200kms on it and i was keen to see what it could do.We went out and did recon in the race truck and the truck felt great! we hit all the bumps and jumps at our maximum limited recon speed of 80km/h and they felt like no issue at all. Then came qualifying....... Looking back it goes to show no matter what you plan on doing can change when the racing red mist hits. Tom and I spoke about how we were going to take the first section carefully which was quiet tight and twisty and not really suited to the truck and wait until we hit the open sections before we were going to push hard. Well when the lights went green and we took off from the start line that plan seemed to change dramatically as we rounded the corner onto the stretch which lead onto the first of two jumps. The truck felt great it was steering beautifully and we actually got through the twisty section a lot easier than i thought. As we approached the first jump which lead onto the second jump at race pace Tom suggested from his navigators seat that we could hit this quiet a bit faster and i agreed and pressed down on the Go-peddle and we launched off the first jump however it would turn out that the next drop off/jump was a kicker, something we had not noticed at our recon pace of 80km/h. At race pace it kicked and it kicked hard! There was definitely time to think about the situation as we were flying through the air looking out the window at the ground coming towards us. I think we might have even said "this is going to hurt" or something along those lines before the impact hit. All said and done turns out i built a pretty tough roll cage as we landed right on it , full weight no suspension to soften the bow. That also meant we copped a massive hit and without all of our safety gear especially our hybrid neck restraints im not sure our outcomes would have been too good. we walked away from the crash with the most damage being our egos. I think what made the situation so sour was that the truck had finally reached the point where it felt great and didn't have any more issues and then....BAM! it was over. Didnt event get a chance to give it a good race. It was over before it began.
two years on and here we are. I have learnt a great deal over the last 5 years in off road racing and i might be down but im not out! Stay tuned and im going to give this blogging a go and show where i go from here and show some of you that even average Joe with some tools, good mates and sacrifice can build and race things that usually you might not be quiet able to afford.