Rice Vigeant Racing Newsletter:  July 14, 2004

Sorry this is so tardy, we've been busy and there hasn't been a lot of news.

At the start of the racing season, we were 5th overall to race since that was how we finished last year, and we were running Southwest Superbike’s 1300cc Nitrous motor.

At the May meet, less than 10 seconds into the first run of the year, the drive hub on our rear axel broke (during maximum torque) and caused us to turnout with no power to the rear wheels.  Mark & I (Alan) spent a few hours trying to repair the hub enough to get back into line and make a complete run.  We got the hub rebuilt enough to limp along but the meet was called after one round leaving us high and dry for points after the first meet.  To be competitive you need to do well at every meet, and we had blown it by the first meet.  Too bad since we had the most powerful motor we've ever run running strong in the car.

This problem left us with several issues to deal with:

For the hub, we bought a blank piece of steel 6 inches in diameter and 4 inches long and have been machining on it for the last few weeks.  We ran the June meet and will run this weekend with the repaired hub from before.  We will be running the new hub in September.

Repairing the broken hub until the new one is finished
Repairing the broken hub until the new one is finished.

 We decided that to get the most out of the season, we would ignore the points race and instead try to accomplish some of our other racing goals, notable, getting into the “Dirty 2 club”.  To get into the El Mirage 200 Mile Per Hour Club, you must set a record over 200 MPH.  Just driving over 200 is not that hard so to make it a real accomplishment, you must set a new record (much harder!).  The motor were running was set up with the idea of going 200 in the dirt (El Mirage) but we were going to take our time about doing it so that we could maximize our points. There is a strategy to earning points but with a blown season there is no reason to hold back.

There is however the little issue of being 111th to race... The track at El Mirage is actually built on soft dirt that is dried like adobe bricks, except only the first inch or so is really hard.  The first cars to run get a smooth and hard surface, after that the surface gets broken up and the last cars have a VERY soft and rough surface equivalent to a plowed field.  By being so far back in the starting line we had an awful track in June to run on and planned to run easy, check out the motor and earn enough points to move up in the starting line.

The only advantage to running almost dead last is that you can sleep in on Sunday morning... Except James & I have timing duties so we were up at the normal 6:00 am time, Mark got to stay in bed.  We finally got to make a run about 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon.  Mark was driving and I reminded him that the season was already blown and not to crash the car trying to get a record, just to drive as fast as was safe on a bad track and check out the motor.   Mark did well even though we was driving on “Marbles” (broken up bits of the hard track surface) and scored the fastest speed our team has ever done at El Mirage, 180.5 Mph.  The class record is 185 so we didn't
set the record but we did check out the car and motor as well as moving up to 79th out of 145.  We also evaluated what we think we could do with a better track and by pushing the motor harder during the first 2/3s of the track.  200Mph seams like a good possibility.

This weekend we hope we will be running on a better track and will be pushing the motor harder in the lower gears.   We would like to go about 190mph but we will be going faster if the course is up to it.  By September we want to get to 200.

We are planning to be racing at Bonneville in October again this year.  In the past we've had excellent help from our “Crew members” that have come out to help us race.   We are looking for a person or two that have racing experience to help us from Oct 12-16th at the world famous Bonneville Salt Flats. We pay for your food and lodging and some travel costs, plus you get
a free T-shirt!   If you have any interest, please let us know as soon as possible so we can start booking the rooms.

-Alan Rice

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