So with my engine in bits sitting on the workbench in the garage and lots of new bits waiting for everything to be balanced and matched it has been a pain to say the least, but making it harder faster & stronger for next year is the plan. So my first Das Drag Day was not in the plan, but kicking my heals after missing VW action the Mrs said why not just go to Das Drag Day anyway so a few phone calls to a certain Phil Jarvis and plans were made ferry booked and it was on.
Thursday night Phil turned up at mine, an extra hot Chinese, a number of games of pool and a few hours sleep and 6am Friday morning came round real quick. We set off for Bitburg, Germany in Phil's T5 (which was to be my home for the weekend) towing the fire bus behind, we just about made the 8:30am sailing from Folkestone to Calais. Boarding the boat we were followed on by a few other Brits towing their green race beetle, on the boat we hooked up with them for breakfast where we found out they were Das Drag Day veterans having traveled to the show for a number of years and filled us in on the show.
With the ferry ride over, the start of the 250 mile run to Bitburg begun. We shared the driving and the miles flew by with some very dodgy music from Phil's collection. We stopped a few times bumping into and chatting to a few other racers on route, including Mike Walravens who was in another convoy. The journey flew by and I am sure the speed rose the closer we got as we just wanted to get there, set up, and have a beer. Just a point to note is that the service stations abroad don't seem to have cash machines, we didn't have a euro between us so we were getting closer and closer with not a penny between us! This was a bit of an issue as you have to pay for the loo on the motorways but looking in the same bag I took to EBI 4 I found some euro coppers (not even a whole euro) but enough to get us in to the loo.
We soon arrived in Bitburg and after a couple of circuits of the town looking for a bank we had some cash and the hunt for the airport begun, at this point we really should have known the address of the Das Drag Day circuit rather than the plan to follow our nose's so Phil jumped out to ask the locals and the language barrier was overcome by some excellent aeroplane impressions by Phil, we got some directions and were on our way again. Well after we stopped laughing at Phil's aeroplane impressions I quickly found out that Phil has a ruuuuubish memory as about all we got was a general direction. Back on route we were hampered by a lorry shedding its load of paint and we were amazed to be passed by a VW LT Fire Bus with its siren & light going.
We took a diversion heading the opposite direction to everyone else (the follow your nose guidance system coming into play again) and we soon got back on the road past the accident and found the airfield after Phil's memory came back, arriving at the gate we were meeted and greeted by Kobus Cantraine. We headed in the gate to find a spot for the weekend and after a quick chat with Alex 'Jesus' Leiserach (and the offer to run them down to the shops for more beer), Alex made some room for us and we squeezed in with some of the Outlaw Flat Four guys, sandwiched between the Otto Brothers and the Udo Becker crew. After getting the Fire bus off the trailer and setting up, it was off to the shops and it was soon beer O'clock.
Saturday morning we were woken by the sun and not a cloud in the sky, it was already heating up and we were in for a glorious day full of the promise of burning rubber & the smell of fuel. We went for a quick walk round the site and it was obvious that the European scene is dominated by the Beetle with some real nice cars, naturally some cool German lookers and some uber cool Type III's on show but there were still some very cool and nicely detailed buses. As the site woke up the sound of roaring engines barking across the airfield just made me grin in anticipation of the day ahead.
The racing soon started and Phil in the Fire Bus didn't take long to get in the line up for the drag strip and was soon burning out and running close to his personal best times. The racing was real raw, you could walk between the racers and really feel the roar of the engines and get close to the action. The cars were a mix of VW's with a selection of American cars, Opels (Vauxhalls to us Brits) right down to a Citroen 2CV which was set up for drifting but was having a go on the ¼ mile and really was quite fast. Anyway as the day went on Phil was getting faster and faster and just after 3pm had run a new Personal best of 13.770.
At this point I really was missing my bus as I so wanted to have a run on the track and see if I could beat my PB of 15.8588 and get back into the BWA Top 20. Phil was doing consistent runs of 13.7's which were all within a few thousands of a second of each other, he was on the money all day winning most of the runs against Beetles and Type III's. A few buses were running on Saturday with Pascal Amodru in the WindSplit the main threat to Phil, but unfortunately Pascal was having a few issues with a crank trigger that he had fitted on site. Pascal's engine is a delight to see with some serious kit, having said that his whole bus is a delight. At the end of Saturday Phil was the fastest bus of the day.
Saturday night was down with the party bus DJ, a lot of Bitburg beer and some suspect dance moves. Sunday morning and a new bottle of Nitrous in the fire bus and the stinger fitted and Phil was chomping at the bit to get on the track, he was feeling there were a few more horses in the bus that he wanted to tame and all he needed to do was hook it all up in a run to improve further. Pascal's issues seemed to have been sorted and he started to get his times down, the Fire Bus & the Wind Split seemed to be real crowd pleasers in the heads up racing, however Phil was still running real strong and despite Pascal's best attempts Phil came out on top every time and actually improved his PB on Sunday with a 13.747. This made Phil the fastest bus of the weekend and more importantly the fastest BWA UK Splitscreen and joint 6th fastest bus in the world according to the Ultimate Aircooled Top 10
Great weather, good friends and great racing with a few beers thrown in for good measure makes for a great weekend and I plan to be there racing next year. Well done to James Wotton who was second in the event pro racers and Mark Prosser who won a trophy for the 3rd best Cal Look for his early bay. A special thanks to Kobus, Fast Freddie & Mike for organising a great show and not forgetting Phil for the lift and my home for the weekend.