It was a very frustrating weekend for the Flashback Racing Team at the East Coast Timing Association September land speed trials in Maxton, North Carolina. Expectations were high for setting multiple records, having set 5 land speed records in just 6 attempts in the May ECTA event. I prepped and modified both cars, our Triumph TR7 2 liter roadster and the crowd favorite, the 1951 Crosley “EXPRESS” pickup. Here’s what happened:

TRIUMPH TR7
Our TR7 roadster ran 119.892 mph on its initial run in May. This was our first pass with our new full race engine. It slowed on its second pass and co-driver Tony Chiles correctly diagnosed a bearing problem and we promptly parked the wedge. Since May, we rebuilt the engine, replaced the crankshaft with a re-manufactured stock journal crank with hardened surfaces and had the entire rotating assembly balanced. The new engine sounded great, had great throttle response and didn’t leak anything! Our hopes were high to tune this car to a 125+ mph pass.

I elected to put Tony in the TR7 and I would pedal the Crosley. Both cars sailed through tech on Friday afternoon and we were in line with both cars before the driver’s meeting on Saturday morning. Tony picked a quicker line than me and the TR ran 117+ mph on its first pass and blew a radiator hose at the end of the track. We cooled it down, cleaned it up, and checked it out… no damage. So back in line went the TR7. The roadster turned in a run of 116+ mph on the second run and we once again hunted for hidden damage from the first run. The day was getting hotter, mid 90’s, and the plugs looked a bit rich in the thick humid air. We adjusted the timing and the tire pressure and went back to work. Our two afternoon runs yielded a pair of 115+ mph passes and we ended the day scratching our heads and hunting for more speed on Sunday.

Saturday evenings at the local watering hole in Laurinburg, NC are a great time to test ideas about going faster and discuss theories about what is wrong with your race car. This always deteriorates into a BS session as the bar tab mounts.

Sunday morning we made another timing adjustment and checked the car for any mechanical issues (discussed on Saturday evening) that could be holding us back. We couldn’t find anything wrong so Tony made another pass. Our final run in the TR yielded only a 114+ mph pass. I made the decision to park the TR for the rest of the weekend.

CROSLEY “EXPRESS” PICKUP
The Maxton May event marked the debut of our crowd pleasing Crosley race truck. The little 44ci Crosley engine amazed everyone by setting 5 land speed records in 4 classes with a best run of 78+ mph! Visualize going 80 mph on the interstate in a golf cart and you get the idea! In the months following the May event, I created a ram air intake system for the little pickup, hoping to gain some speed at the end of the track by pushing more air down the tiny carburetor. I designed the system using components from Spectre Performance.

Our first run on Saturday morning was 76.2 mph pass. Close, but not close enough, our slowest record was 76.6 mph. Just like the TR7 we were just slightly slower than our May runs. We inspected the Crosley and found that I had overfilled the crankcase by almost a quart, which could cause enough internal engine turbulence to slow us down. We siphoned off some oil and followed the TR7 back in line. Pass two was again a low 76 mph pass. We continued to chase the set up with Crosley master Trim Freshley indexing spark plugs and bumping the timing. Three afternoon runs did yield a best pass of 77.111 mph – enough to bump our current record in JGRS (“J” Gas Real Street) and set our only record of the weekend.

On Sunday morning we once again implemented those Saturday evening speed strategies and put the “EXPRESS” in line for another pass. I made 5 more passes in the Crosley on Sunday morning and failed to hit the 77 mph mark. When the clock struck twelve (noon), we loaded the cars and headed back home.

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