This time I got up and cooked bacon, eggs onions and capsicum on the bbq for brekkie while everyone else slumbered.. I love bbqd bacon, egg and onion sangers for brekkie.. I joined Eric for an early morning constitutional and then I spent the morning thinking about getting eliminated in the next round. I mean I was already further along than I had been, even if I wasn’t going quicker.. we received an unexpected bonus when the organisers gave us a surprise practice run for all classes.. bugger that I was into the line up and ready to roll.. I left the line on a 0.208 reaction time and ran a 14.428 @ 96.51 mph.. ninety six emmpeeaych.. what’s up with that, I mean 97s and 98s were ok, just.. a 96 was just a bummer.. consulted the Crew Chief and we agreed a 14.20 would be a suitable dial in.. I was hesitant and thought of a 14.18 again, but Crew Chief was adamant.. “14.20.. write it down… fourteen point two oh, don’t write anything else down, point two… nothing else, point two”
We were paired up with Gary Cawthra in his missus’ ‘vette T-top.. this guy is a legend and even if I had had problems with Gary in the past it had nothing to do with us meeting in rd2 eliminations.. I was thinking of the mighty XA coupe and how much I’d missed seeing that at MMP the past season.. I ran through my little procedure and was grabbing my hand towel when I saw Mr Cawthra next to me in the staging lane.. his helmet had these little “no chevy” stickers, a bowtie with a line through it. I found it humourous to the extreme and started to giggle inside my Shoei.. Crew Chief was next to me all the way to the waterbox every run and we never say much to each other, it’s more that I just really appreciate the company when I am getting ready for anything competitive like this..
Being next to people like Mike and Gary at the line really makes you step up to the mark, I know these guys have the experience and the kudos to get in your head and undermine yourself before you even start.. til I saw the helmet I was already prepped to bow out in rd 2, after a real good laugh where my whole body joined in I wasn’t thinking of anything other than having fun and making it a good race for me and my opposition. I launched off with a 0.18235 reaction time and ran the car up to just under 5,000rpm and hit second, she slid in with a gentle thud and NO rev limit, ran it up to 5,000 and hit third and we were away to the line. I could see the Corvette next to me and slowly coming up alongside me, here he comes.. but the line beat him to it and I ran a 14.205979 @ 96.46 mph on a 14.20 dial in.. I was pretty pumped about this win and Gary was just as excited as we met up to collect out slips.. I was pumped to win by 0.04033, the adrenalin was really kicking in and I couldn’t help but indulge my fantasies and think how it had all the beginnings of a great day.. after all I had just eliminated Gary Cawthra!!
Next round I was paired up with a stunning yellow HG ute and figured that we were pretty close to our dial in with that last run and maybe we should look at the 14.18 I had been thinking about.. “nup, leave it as it is or you’ll do your head in and muck it all up” were the sage-like words from Crew Chief.. 14.20 it was to be.. I was getting into the skids by now and managed to lay down a couple of good strong ones with good smoke and I was also starting to get into driving the car into stage under brakes with revs on board.. I was really relaxed as I staged and with the revs up around 1200 I went on the last yellow.. away with a 0.20149 reaction I was just waiting for the HG to haul me in but with an almost identical run to the previous one I crossed the line with a 14.20463 @ 96.60mph on a 14.20 dial in.. a margin of 0.38583 and we had made it through to the next round..
The guys next to us and a few of my mates were starting to say things like “well done Kim, keep going mate, you can make it” and “all the way Kim, don’t let them stop you now” but it was when Crew Chief and I had a little chat about how it was all going and he said “You’ll put him on the trailer this time” that I really thought we could move forward.. I was starting to feel a little confident at our prospects but a quick check revealed our next opponent was someone who had eliminated us previously and the head games began all over again.. I wandered over to introduce myself and say hi which was all nice and friendly, especially when I mentioned he had eliminated me previously.. however when I asked him for my choice of lanes his demeanour changed and it was like I had asked him for one of his kidneys not lane choice at a local drag meet.. this made the head games all melt away and I wandered over to the car where Crew Chief and my trusty co-pilot Stefanee were relaxing, I mentioned the conversation to Crew Chief who said I had him scared and that I was to just go to the line and race my own race, “he’ll lose by himself at the tree”
At the staging lanes the Anglia/Popular blasted past us and headed to the line so I just kept my foot on the brake and cruised in slowly, did a nice strong burnout and sat outside stage getting the brakes and revs sorted before crawling into full stage. I left with a 0.23727 light and was really watching the revs as I changed to make it a really good run, we went strongly and I just saw the Anglia/Popular come rushing up but again he was beaten by the line and we crossed first by 0.02384 running a 14.30908 @ 97.41 mph on our 14.20 dial in.. the bloody vibration was still there, it was no worse or better than the run on Saturday morning but it wasn’t a natural noise for my car and I was determined to get it sorted once we got back home.. beating my opponent in this round, this was a really satisfying win and the guys back in the pits were getting more and more excited when I came back in after each race with the jac asking me after every run “did you win that time Kim??”.. I really enjoyed saying “yes” to the jac whenever she asked..
We were into the quarter finals and paired up against Jenny Gibbons in her awesome GTX convertible, Mike, Crew Chief and I discussed how Jenny was a genuine foot into it racer and that it would be another run being chased down by my opponent. I caught up with Jenny and offered her lane choice which seemed to surprise her somewhat, especially when I agreed to her pick.. was I being nice, naive or playing a head game of my own?? I was worried she would select the lane I wanted but I was also aware that if I was gonna lose it would be fine to lose to someone as sporting as Jenny.. Crew Chief just said “lose, my arse!!” I did a strong burnout and I kept the foot into her as the smoke started to billow.. it was about now that I first looked at the crowd and thought “there’s a few people here watching this race” but thought nothing more of it after that. I dropped my visor and brought the revs up to 1200rpm, I crept into pre-stage while Jenny did her burnout, I waited for her to go into full stage and then fully staged myself.. I left with an awesome 0.08106 reaction time and really fed the throttle to the floor, changed at 5,000rpm and waited for the convertible to appear alongside me.. I could see Jenny moving up alongside me as we neared the line and with a flash she was past me and we were braking.. when I got back to the pits the crew were yelling and screaming and clapping.. I wasn’t gonna be sucked into a false belief and headed to collect the timeslip with Jenny.. we went over it and with I smile I saw the word “winner” under my et of 14.30225 @ 95.78 mph on a 14.20 dial in.. margin in the end was 0.03316. this was quite simply another bloody great race, great really isn’t the right word but it fits.. Mat Gibbons praised the reaction time saying that was where I won the race.. we were through to our first final round and would meet Tony Baird in the FB van with the Ford V8 under the hood.. he had eliminated Ian Harvey in the often-seen-braking Mercury Cougar , Harvey was simply outgunned by Baird in their semi..
We had a team chat and settled on our dial in, 14.20, and our lane choice, I did my own thing and managed a pretty ok skid and crept to the line at 1,200 rpm and awaited my lights.. with a reaction time of 0.08279 I was gone and really thinking to myself I couldn’t keep the blue behemoth behind me til the line.. I shifted well and the car ran strongly as I looked around to see the blur of the FB racing up behind me.. I kept swinging my head from the van to the line and back, from the van to the line and back, I was thinking I could really beat this guy.. from the van to the line and then he was alongside me and it was all over..
The margin in the end was 0.02834..
A deaf person would have heard me celebrating inside my helmet.. I knew I had won, I was more than certain he hadn’t got past me in the last few feet.. I was ecfuckenstatic!!! But suitably restrained at the same time.. I headed for the pits and my own personal fans who had watched me through to the end.. guys like Mike, Mat and Crew Chief, and all of our crews, well they make the win even more memorable and meaningful because they are there to share it with so cheers you guys I love you all and I was truly humbled by your showing support..
We had won our first round meeting in our first full season at Masterton and it was the final official meeting they would hold which made it even more of a sweet victory. We ran a 14.37115 @ 95.75 mph on our trusty 14.20 dial in and we won a final made up of two first time finalists who both keep their foot on the gas not the brake, we ran a most exciting and close race and we both deserved to be there..