Crikey! We haven’t posted for how long?

It’s been well over a year since our last news item, but it hasn’t been because we’ve been idle, but because we’ve been so busy!

DSC_04582014 ended badly for the Rough Diamond altered when then motor spread its internals over the track during the National Finals. This sorry state of affairs has yet to be resolved primarily due to funding.

Junior Fun Day Kirstie 1However Scott’s junior dragster performed well in 2014 and was this year upgraded to the Junior Modified class with the installation of a Blossom alcohol motor and Polar clutch, which now pushes the performance to 8.90 seconds at 70 m.p.h. over the eighth mile – which we think is quite fast enough for a 10 year old!

BA6E1403RDR crew member Maurice Takoor finally got to drive his ‘Spirit’ nostalgia dragster. This BMC 1298 c.c. supercharged, injected and alcohol burning car was first built in 1973 and is a true survivor of the sport. Maurice ran the car at North Weald and again at Dragstalgia. Unfortunately some issues with the transmission prevented the car from reaching it’s full potential, but it showed promise and is a hoot to watch and drive. We’ll be pulling the gearbox from the car over the winter and look into what the problem might be.

Bob Glassup Ivan Sansom full size imageThe primary reason for our general ‘busy-nes’ has been our involvement with Bob Glassup’s ‘Bubblegum’ Nostalgia Fuel Funny Car. This Ford Capri bodied funny car runs to a similar specification of the nitro funny cars in the 70’s and 80’s and has the potential to run into the 5 second zone. Late in 2014 Dave was taken on as crew chief to the car and has been responsible for the assembly of the motor, transmission and all mechanical aspects of the machine. These race cars are complex, and prone to self destruction unless maintained properly, so a softly-softly approach to the tune up and testing of the car has been taken along the lines of that taken by the Apache funny car team and their crew chief Rob Loaring (who has kindly offered help, encouragement and advice). Only two initial test hits were made in ‘Bubblegum’ this year at Dragstalgia, but the (little) data acquired has been useful, and the parts are in place for a full and (hopefully) exciting season in 2016.

Finally, the poor old Dallara is still sitting in the naughty corner awaiting attention, but a visit to the Bouley Bay hill climb in Jersey this year has sparked the interest in Sprinting once again – watch this space.

All of this, plus the throughput of our usual engine and fabrication work has made for a spectacularly busy and enjoyable 2015. The current dates for 2016 are in the sidebar of this page, and we’ll update these as when information is received. We hope to see you at the track!

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The legacy continues?

Here at Rough Diamond racing we are pleased to confirm that Scott Gibbons has been booked to have his first drive of a Junior Stock Dragster. This will take place at Santa Pod Raceway during the first day of the Mopar Euronationals on 26th July – the day after his 8th birthday!

Scott jnr drag 2Thought had been given to initially buying a Junior Dragster outright, but the decision has been made that it would be best if initial training and licensing were done using a school car. ‘Once we’ve seen how Scott takes to driving on the drag strip we’ll look at maybe hiring a car for events for the remainder of the season’ said dad (and team principal?) Dave Gibbons. He continued, ‘If everything goes to plan we will then consider whether to buy or build a car for Scott for the 2014 season, this will give us plenty of time to prepare rather than going at it half-baked this year. Frankly, the use of a school car is so cost-effective, and I’ll be at the ‘Pod anyway, it was a ‘no brainer’ for Scott to do it on that weekend’.

The minimum age for driving a Jnr. Dragster is eight, so Scott may possibly become the youngest UK Junior Drag car driver so far. Until then he intends to ‘research’ what will be required of him by asking those who have done it before lots of questions!

We get the feeling that Rough Diamond Racing may have just opened a huge Pandora’s box!

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2013 Race dates announced

It’s been a bit late in coming, but finally, here are our initial plans for this season.

Jon Spoard 124-27 May. The Main Event – Santa Pod

8 June. Sprint – Lydden Hill

22-23 June. The Summer Nationals – Santa Pod

 

 

Fawlty sticker 36 July. Sprint – Lydden Hill

13-14 July. Dragstalgia – Santa Pod

5-8 September. Euro Finals – Santa Pod

21-22 September. National Finals – Santa Pod

There are several other events on the radar which we will look at depending on funds. These are 24-26 August – The Open Sport Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway, and 19 October – a sprint at Lydden Hill.

Dave has also been asked to once again present the Top Sportsman TV programme and the DVD interviews of the Mopar Euronationals from Santa Pod on 26-28 July for Zeon TV. We also have something else exciting tucked up our sleeve for this event too!

Tail lift 2We decided against attending the Festival of Power at Santa Pod over Easter, while the dragster is pretty much ready to go the new transporter remains under construction – it would have been a struggle to get it ready in time, especially in the current weather conditions! The weather is also looking decidedly dodgy for Easter at this point, and with the new surface at Santa Pod yet to  prove its up to their usual standard we think it was a wise decision.

The Dallara stills needs some attention before it’ll be sprint ready again – we still haven’t rectified the problem encountered at the last event nearly a year ago!

We are delighted to have new support in the form of  ‘A Slice Of Fawlty Towers’ who provide Fawlty Towers themed restaurant events http://www.thecutproductions.com/fawlty-towers and continued support from Cygnet Business Solutions, Nutz 4 U, and Hillis Frader Vehicle Turntables.

We fully expect that some other good stuff will also happen during the season and we’ll keep you posted here and on Facebook. Please keep coming back to the website for the latest information, and if you’re at the track please come by and say hi!

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More on the Price Daimler

It’s been a few weeks since John Price happily drove away in his revived Daimler 250 saloon. You may recall that we carried out a few ‘adjustments’ to the car and it ran and drove better than anytime since John first bought the car 12 years ago. We were all very pleased with what had been achieved.

However, further driving indicated that the car was still running rich and using a lot of fuel. Dave had some thoughts on this as some ‘descrepances’ within the carburetors had shown themselves while he was working on them. At the time, in an effort to keep costs down, they were given a simple clean and correctly adjusted, but it is now clear that but doing so Dave had corrected some adjustments made by others to put a ‘crutch’ under the real issue.

So Dave set sail for Dartford, removed the carbs and brought them back to the workshop. Initially Dave suspected a punctured jet diaphragm, but it transpired that actually the jets and needles were excessively worn. New items from Burlen Fuel Systems were ordered, fitted, and the carbs returned to their home on the Daimler in Dartford. The car ran perfectly with little need for further adjustment, and subsequently drove better than ever.

We’re pleased to say that John is a very happy customer, and hopefully he has fallen back in love with a car that he was hating to drive.

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Price(less) Daimler…

Currently in the workshop we have the 1964 Daimler 250 Saloon belonging to the legendary (former) Santa Pod commentator John Price – hence the (not so humorous) title of this post!

John Price and his 250 Daimler

John has owned the car for 12 years and it has never run quite right. He has spent a considerable amount of money with various specialists trying to remedy the problem. Work included a completely rebuilt engine, gearbox, back axle and a new prop-shaft. Still the car ran poorly, uneconomically, and had a vibration at speed. Consequently he fell out of love with the car. So he brought it to Rough Diamond Racing to see if we could shed any light on the issues.

The good news is that we have! While doing some basic checks we discovered that at some time someone had made a very simple mistake – probably before John bought the car. Subsequently, this error has never been picked up, so over the years ‘adjustments’ have been made to try to remedy the problems – which in the most part actually made things worse…. What was the mistake discovered? Well,  to save the embarrassment of those that have gone before, we’re keeping that to ourselves!

‘Certainly sir, I can fix this!’

We have now returned everything back to factory settings, carbs, ignition and  valve lash etc.. Checked the cylinder leakage and adjusted the throttle and carburetor linkages to achieve fully open and fully closed throttles – neither of which were happening! Now the car is running as sweetly as the day it left the factory.

However, there is a but. There remains a vibration at speed, and we’ve identified this to be an issue within the ‘rebuilt’ gearbox – which is also failing to achieve all three gears. How we approach this remains to be seen as further investigation is needed…….

We’ll keep you posted.

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Mixed weekend at Long Avon Shakey Park Raceway

O.k. We’ll get the bad news out of the way first. Dave red-lit in round one…

But on the upside the Rough Diamond altered qualified sixth, after running a personal best for the car on our second run (only by a gnats, but it’s still a PB!). An 8.631 at 152.37 mph. We clearly underestimated the track and conditions and dialled too safely on the first two attempts, prompting an extra safe dial on our third.

The weekend wasn’t completely without problems. After the first qualifying run the car picked up a front tyre puncture – most uncommon. Fortunately for us, in the pits crewing for a drag bike, was a mobile commercial tyre fitter – complete with his van. A repair was effected and thanks to some track down time we didn’t even miss a run. We failed to discover the company he worked for, all we knew was that his name was Scott. So thank you Scott, wherever you may be. As Dave said, when he was doing this 30 years ago it would have been the end of the weekend. The chances of having a fitter in the pits, or even finding a tyre shop op on a Sunday would be zero.

Well the first paragraph says it all, Dave red-lit against Ian Powell in his dragster. Ian was closer to his dial – even a perfect light for Dave would not have been enough. Dave thinks that lack of sleep may have contributed to poor focus on the task….

Racing got down to the semi-finals before rain stopped play. We think that Peter Walters may have wrapped up the Super Pro ET championship, and it would have been great to see Scott Hauser race John Atkinson race in the finals.

Our sometime work experience lad was busy elsewhere (again!) so former drag racer Rob Hunt stepped into the fold. It was Rob’s first visit to the venue (whatever you decide to call it) since 1981, where he made his last pass in the Drag Addict altered. Dave and Rob were friendly rivals back in the day and this weekend Rob helped out with start line duties. As it’s Rob’s third visit to a drag race this year after a thirty-one year absence we suspect Rob is getting a little too keen for his own good! Drag Addict is seen here at Santa Pod circa 1979.

Other problems were off-track. First, our usual custard whipper, crew-chief Dick Hogben, wasn’t with us, so the duty fell to Maurice. The result was custard less thick than we are used to. Dave and Alli also tried to beat the mixture to the required stiffness, but to no avail….

Finally, our other main issue was sleep deprivation (see above). While we are not averse to the noise of loud music ourselves (the other reason two of us are deaf), the dodgems and then the bar played loud music until 3 ‘o’clock in the morning, which to us, is unacceptable. So, until we can be sure that a noise curfew is in place and enforced at the venue during events we wish to attend, we shall not return.

That’s it for the Rough Diamond drag racing season, however we will be appearing at the Flame and Thunder show at Santa Pod on October 27th. where we are booked to perform a flame burnout. It’s a cracking family event with loads to see and do, including fireworks, wall of death riders and monster trucks. Click on this link for more details http://www.santapod.co.uk/e_flame.php

 

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Our Dragstalgia

O.k. It’s been over two weeks since Dragstalgia and this update should have gone out sooner, but you know how it is, life sometimes gets in the way…

The second Dragstalgia at Santa Pod Raceway was once again a fantastic event, the only problem being that we were so busy playing with the race car that we didn’t get to see all the good stuff that was there! 

The team’s chief custard whipper

We were a man down as Maurice was at a Hot Rod event in Finland, however Dick was in attendance and on his usual custard whipping duties.

We were pleased to see that the Rough Diamond altered featured twice in the event programme (surely some mistake!) and we also took in the Friday practice day. We got 4 runs in while trying to eliminate a small start-line wheel-spin issue by playing with tyre pressure, wheelie bar height and launch r.p.m..

Saturday was wet for most of the day and Rough Diamond was first car on the track at 4.30pm and we were surprised by our second fastest ever run on the ‘green’ track.

Photo – Roger Gorringe

Following the first fire-up of the restored Allard dragster and the ‘cackle-fest’, Saturday evening once again saw the flame burnouts. Rob Loaring was on petrol ignition duties and we were first up.

Photo – Ivan Sansom

The result was not as spectacular as last year but pleasing nonetheless.

Spin paint art

The flame burnout caused us no damage other than a ‘spin paint’ effect to the lettering of a slick.

This could not be said of our friend John Everitt who, performing his first ever flame burnout in The Alien altered, failed to heed Rob’s first two instructions to hit the gas. When ‘Leadfoot’ finally nailed it, a fairly good inferno was underway. When he came to a standstill his ‘chute was on fire and the battery cables, turtle deck, ‘chute and ‘chute net were trashed. Only going to prove that what we are doing is literally playing with fire…. 

 

Rob Hunt, Dick Hogben, Dave Gibbons

 

It was also good once again to see Rob Hunt an old friend and fellow racer from the 70’s against whom we competed in his Drag Addict Austin 7 altered.

 

Photo – Ingrid Chesworth

Being a consistent and reliable car we had high hopes for the Wild Bunch race on Sunday. All cars run 4 times with the car having the closest average to its dial-in declared the winner. This all went to cock when on our first run Rough Diamond failed to shift into second gear. By the time Dave realised what had happened the run had slowed to a 10.31… This blew our competition chances, and unless we could run a mid 6 second pass our average was out of the window! The fault was traced to a broken signal wire from the MSD ignition unit – easily fixed for less than 5p.

Photo – Ingrid Chesworth

The remaining 3 runs were as consistent as usual and we used them well trying to dial out the wheel spin problem. No awards for us this weekend.

Next outing will be the Open Sport Nationals on August 25th – 27th at Shakespeare County Raceway. We’ve not raced there for some nine years (driving The Alien) and Rough Diamond has not seen that track since 1982! It’ll be fun to be back.

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Dragstalgia looms!

Rough Diamond Racing will be attending the 2nd Annual Dragstalgia event held at Santa Pod Raceway this weekend. We will be competing as part of the Wild Bunch group and looking forward to making some fire and noise!

We hope the weather is more kind to us than last year, and that we don’t need the special equipment we took to the Summer Nationals (left) just in case. The rain didn’t stop us from having a great time last year anyway, and we’re really looking forward to catching up with friends from back in the day.

Unfortunately we’ll be a man down this time around, Maurice Takoor had a clash of dates and has chosen to be at a Rod Run in Finland this weekend. While he will be missed we hope to see the re-appearance of the team’s ‘work experience lad’ for at least one outing on Saturday.

We are also scheduled to be one of the cars performing a flame burnout on Saturday evening, sometime around 8.30 pm. The car still bears the scorch makes from last years effort, and if we add to them…. well never mind!

The team will also take advantage of the test day on Friday in an attempt to dial out a minor start line wheel spin issue.

There’s a lot to see and do at Dragstalgia, go to www.santapod.co.uk for full details.

Hope to see you there!

 

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Scott’s cool ride!

Scott’s pit bike!

Rough Diamond’s co-crew chief Scott Gibbons has a new ride to tool around on. His custom cycle now has some extra finishing touches courtesy of the finest signwriter in the land – Neil Melliard of Pro-Sign.

No sooner than the bike arrived at the workshop, team owner Dave stripped the chopper style bike and gave the frame a satin black base-coat, then it was transported to the Pro-Sign workshop where Neil, fitting the job into his hectic schedule, worked his magic. Having been given a ‘blank sheet of paper’ the bike is now personalised with Scott’s name and some hand laid cool flames and stripes.

‘This project has taken priority over everything else in the workshop’ said Dave Gibbons, ‘but the chance for Scott to have the coolest pit bike at the track was too good to miss’.

Scott will be cruising the pits this weekend at the Summer Nationals. Come by and say hi if you’re there!

Big thanks go to Neil At Pro-Sign.

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Currently in the workshop

We’ve had this pile of engine parts in the workshop for a couple of weeks now, but work has commenced today.

What’s especially nice about this particular build is that it’s using all new parts – including the block, which generally makes the assembly process easier, quicker and a whole lot cleaner! However, chickens should not be counted, as on the downside, none of these parts have met eachother before, so some ‘fettling’ and ‘adjustment’ is likely.

This 350 cubic inch small block Chevy engine is destined for a sweet Model T Ford hot-rod, an all steel ‘Doctor’s Coupe’ in fact, belonging to a very special customer. More details to follow soon.

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