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Wednesday 16th July 2003

Bluffers' Guide to RWYB

Graham Bell goes over the basics



The first thing to mention is that in order to run your car on the drag strip you'll need a crash helmet. You'll also need a long sleeved, non synthetic jacket to cover your arms in case of the worst - fire.

Safety requirements also dictate that before your car gets near the track you'll have to present it to the organisers. Scrutineering would be too strong a word - but they will give your car the once over to make sure that it's not likely to fall apart half way up the strip.

Once your car's been given the okay you can sign on to run, for which you'll need to present your driving licence (sorry learners - full DVLA licence only) and hand over your safety pass at pit control. Then, after signing the usual "If I kill myself it's my fault" disclaimer, you'll be issued with your 'race' number.

Strictly speaking RWYBs aren't really racing - they're merely time trials to enable you to find out how quickly your car can cover a quarter-mile. It's just that there happens to be somebody else in the next lane doing the same thing at exactly the same time...

Anyway, your number should be marked on your car so that it can be clearly seen from the control tower. The traditional method of doing this is to mark the side windows with shoe white, but it's a bugger to clean off afterwards so masking tape is a useful alternative.

With that done you're ready to run! Or at least you will be once you've reached the front of the queue in the approach lanes. From there the marshals will wave you towards the start line, where you'll be confronted by the "Christmas tree".

But before you get to that you'll be confronted by the 'burnout boxes'. These are patches of concrete, usually regularly doused with water, on which you can spin up the driven wheels to clean off any stones and crap they've picked up on the way to the start line and to heat the rubber up for better traction.

This undoubtedly makes a big difference with proper drag racing machinery running slicks, though I'm not convinced it's of much benefit with ordinary road tyres so you might prefer to drive round, rather than onto, the burnout box. But being a PHer you'll probably want to burn some rubber just for the hell of it...

Christmas Tree

Right, back to the Christmas tree. This is slightly more involved than the traffic lights in your local high street so let's run through the start procedure.

The Christmas tree has a set of lights for each lane, with the topmost lights being the small amber "pre-stage" lights, which are hooked up to a light beam running across the start line. You should slowly approach the start line until you cut this light beam, whereupon the pre-stage light in your lane will come on to inform you that you're almost in position.

Ease forward a few more inches and you'll cut a second light beam, activating the next amber down. When both these small ambers are lit you are "staged" (i.e. in position on the start line) so stop.

Once the drivers in both lanes have both their small ambers lit the start sequence can begin. This illuminates the remaining ambers followed by the green for go - and you already know what to do at that point.

A quarter of a mile up the strip you'll reach the speed traps at the finish line, cutting through more light beams which will record both your elapsed time (ET) and your terminal speed.

Whoooa!

Then it's time to get on the brakes and slow down ready to take the return road back to the pit area. Once back in the pit area you can make your way to the control office, pick up your timing ticket (for which you'll need to know your race number) and see how fast you were.

Note that your timing ticket records the time it actually took you to cover the quarter-mile. It does not, as some people think, record the time from the green light coming on to you crossing the finish line.

It might however record the time from the green coming on to you leaving the start line. This will be shown as your reaction time - and when you see it I bet you won't believe you could have been that slow!

All a bit of fun and plenty to brag about down the pub, although you may have to exaggerate a bit as most standard cars are just a tad slower than the purpose built machinery that frequent the quarter mile.

Graham Bell
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Author Discussion

Fatboy

Original Poster:

7,367 posts

158 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Top Guide You missed saying always go on the last amber though

Alan420

5,241 posts

144 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
What sort of car is it worth trying this in?

I mean my hot-hatch wouldn't really cut the mustard; 0-60 in 8.5 isn't terrible, but it's not 1/4 mile stuff.

The specialised machines would have been there by then...

Mr E

15,433 posts

145 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Doesn't matter.

I went to one in a 1991 Celica GTi.

Ran 1/4s in 17-18 seconds. Was fun.....

Run of the day was either the 2cv, or the bloke on the 100cc scooter. Got a standing ovation.

If you're lucky, you get drawn against something really stupidly fast. It's impressive watching it vanish into the distance....

Broccers

2,910 posts

139 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Alan420 said:
What sort of car is it worth trying this in?

I mean my hot-hatch wouldn't really cut the mustard; 0-60 in 8.5 isn't terrible, but it's not 1/4 mile stuff.

The specialised machines would have been there by then...


Funny my CTR has run 14.7, which was pleasing. I've seen Clio Cups do 14.2 with semi slicks and interior removed.

I've a friend who runs an Avenger at York. Its cost him a lot of money over the years and yet it still only runs high 12s. Drag racing is addictive - an aquired taste for some.

For me I'm happy I can use my shopping trolley as a daily drive and go round corners quickly.

basil brush

4,195 posts

149 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Hopefully running a 'warm' beetle down at Bugjam this weekend. I might also try and get my Tuscan on the strip and see what it will do. Should be interesting.
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grahambell

2,695 posts

161 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Fatboy said:
Top Guide You missed saying always go on the last amber though


Ah yes, but not everyone's had your advantage of being able to put in plenty of unofficial practice at Avon Park in their youth.

Better for total beginners to wait to see the green and be sure of geting a recorded time rather than trying to anticipate the lights and seeing a red.

But as Fatboy says, going on the last amber is a trick used by serious drag racers who have a saying 'see the green and you've lost'.

Hopefully we'll get the chance to put this into practice at Pistonfest 2004.

Fatboy

Original Poster:

7,367 posts

158 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Alan420 said:
What sort of car is it worth trying this in?

I mean my hot-hatch wouldn't really cut the mustard; 0-60 in 8.5 isn't terrible, but it's not 1/4 mile stuff.

The specialised machines would have been there by then...



Anything - my mini ran an 18.3 last weekend, not particularly rapid, but not bad

Always worth a laugh, but be careful you don't blow your engine up if it's your only car.

Oh, and let your tyres down a bit before you run, gives better traction off the line.


grahambell said:

Ah yes, but not everyone's had your advantage of being able to put in plenty of unofficial practice at Avon Park in their youth.




grahambell said:

Better for total beginners to wait to see the green and be sure of geting a recorded time rather than trying to anticipate the lights and seeing a red.


Bloody good point You do end up geting really carried away though - it's so addictive

grahambell said:

But as Fatboy says, going on the last amber is a trick used by serious drag racers who have a saying 'see the green and you've lost'.

Hopefully we'll get the chance to put this into practice at Pistonfest 2004.

I certainly hope so

>> Edited by Fatboy on Wednesday 16th July 12:24

Batty Matty

12,200 posts

136 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Wild!
was gunna take the bug up next weekend to santa pod, but the finance is a bit low.
the guy who built the engine said it should be mid 15s

Defo give it a go soon!!

Alan420

5,241 posts

144 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Fatboy said:

Alan420 said:
What sort of car is it worth trying this in?

I mean my hot-hatch wouldn't really cut the mustard; 0-60 in 8.5 isn't terrible, but it's not 1/4 mile stuff.

The specialised machines would have been there by then...


Anything - my mini ran an 18.3 last weekend, not particularly rapid, but not bad

Always worth a laugh, but be careful you don't blow your engine up if it's your only car.

Oh, and let your tyres down a bit before you run, gives better traction off the line.


Hmm... It is my only car, but a few weeks ago I found a single track rally-style road up a hill and it's been taking much abuse since then.

I think it'd be relieved to see something as mundane as a drag strip!

How much do these cost? And how often are they held?

RedTeg

1,146 posts

167 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
What's all this helmets/protective clothing and scrutineering nanny nonsense then?

No such worries at Crail (yet).

Fatboy

Original Poster:

7,367 posts

158 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Alan420 said:

Hmm... It is my only car, but a few weeks ago I found a single track rally-style road up a hill and it's been taking much abuse since then.

I think it'd be relieved to see something as mundane as a drag strip!

How much do these cost? And how often are they held?

My last one at Avon Park cost me 15 entry to the show, and another 15 for the strip. I think puer RWYB days are about 25 - excellent value IMHO.

Alan420

5,241 posts

144 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Fatboy said:

Alan420 said:

Hmm... It is my only car, but a few weeks ago I found a single track rally-style road up a hill and it's been taking much abuse since then.

I think it'd be relieved to see something as mundane as a drag strip!

How much do these cost? And how often are they held?


My last one at Avon Park cost me 15 entry to the show, and another 15 for the strip. I think puer RWYB days are about 25 - excellent value IMHO.





I'll have to find time to play!

Are there any in the South?

UKFIVEO

297 posts

142 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Great thread!

As someone who bought a 1969 Mach 1 Mustang many years ago with the intention of a full back to original resto job, I attended a RWYB at Santa Pod. 15.85 seconds later I was hooked! 3 years later I had a 600 hp Mustang with nitrous capable of running high nines.

Fast forward a dozen years or so and I still have a Mustang as a play thing and I still have to go to RWYB events. The buzz at running a personal best or winning a close race never goes away.

Anyone considering "having a go" should get the track and light them tyres up!

cotty

27,693 posts

170 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Alan420 said:


Are there any in the South?


The most southern drag strip is www.shakespearecountyraceway.com/

basil brush

4,195 posts

149 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Batty Matty said:
Wild!
was gunna take the bug up next weekend to santa pod, but the finance is a bit low.
the guy who built the engine said it should be mid 15s

Defo give it a go soon!!


What spec is the motor?

grahambell

2,695 posts

161 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
cotty said:

Alan420 said:


Are there any in the South?



The most southern drag strip is www.shakespearecountyraceway.com/


Not forgetting Santa Pod, which is also in middle England.

The safety equipment/scrutineering nonesense RedTeg mentioned is something you'll find most strips operate.

Alan420

5,241 posts

144 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
cotty said:

Alan420 said:


Are there any in the South?



The most southern drag strip is www.shakespearecountyraceway.com/



Not exactly round the corner... I'd be a little concerned about getting home in case anything did let go.

Hmm. Wonder about sprinting.

Broccers

2,910 posts

139 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Santa Pod I found to be very slippy and a bit of a treck from here.

York Race way is one for the Northerners.

Re Value - They do appear good /fun but beware certain days are very very busy. My last visit to York I got there at 11 am had one run after 10 mins then had to wait 2 hours for the next attempt after which I left. I'd advise anyone who was thinking of going to do so 2pm onwards and be prepared to stay till 5pm and get a few runs in.

Batty Matty

12,200 posts

136 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
basil brush said:

Batty Matty said:
Wild!
was gunna take the bug up next weekend to santa pod, but the finance is a bit low.
the guy who built the engine said it should be mid 15s

Defo give it a go soon!!


1776cc race crank, cam shaft, free flowing largened heads bigger valves, free flowing manifold, lightened flywheel, 2100lb clutch, dual twin choke 40mm carbs.

all pushing a stripped lightened (not through rust) bug


What spec is the motor?

DustyC

12,786 posts

140 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th July 2003 quote quote all
Ive just seen a Fiat 126 run the 1/4 in 11 secs this weekend.
You might not believe me but its true.
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