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Land Speed Racing Newsletter #384

Land Speed Racing Newsletter #384


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Mary Ann Lawford,   
PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY: Jim Miller, 1-818-846-5139
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Richard Parks, [email protected]  
PHOTOGRAPHIC Editor of the Society: Roger Rohrdanz, [email protected]
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA REPORTER: Spencer Simon, [email protected]
FIELD REPORTER/HISTORIAN: Bob Falcon, [email protected]
HISTORIANS: Anna Marco, Dick Martin, Burly Burlile, Jerry Cornelison, Robin Millar, Ora Mae Millar
IN MEMORIAM: Wally Parks, Tex Smith, Tom Medley, Lee Blaisdell, Eric ‘Rick’ Rickman (editors and photographers)
 GUEST EDITORIAL: By Jeff Garvin, Garvin Motorsports.
     In Motorsports, performance is always improving, and, at the same time, safety is evolving. Unfortunately when given the choice of more performance or more safety, performance is what the driver or team owner usually goes for. Who can blame them? They want to win! Over the years I have personally experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows in racing. Losing my teammate Blaine Johnson, at the 1996 US Nationals, was as low as it can get. At the time we had guardrails, not walls or soft walls, as are common today. HANS devices, lateral head supports, seat inserts and 6 or 7 point polyester seat belts were not on the scene either. In the above 1997 photo, I’m bringing Gary Scelzi to the line. Notice no HANS, Head Supports or Seat Insert in a car that went almost 330mph in the quarter mile.
     Today we know, without a doubt, that these improvements have saved drivers from injury and loss of life, and whether they are mandated by rule or not, every driver should have them. It is not until there is a bad accident or death, that safety is given the consideration it deserves. Sometimes even that doesn’t get drivers and owners to take a more in depth look at their vehicle and their safety equipment (or lack of thereof). But when a Dale Earnhardt gets killed, safety gets put on the front burner. That was February, 2001, and it still took years before the HANS was mandated in racing, because the drivers resisted. Mark Martin was quoted as saying, “I would not wear one for anything; I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and take my chances.” Today over 40 (a very conservative figure) racing series that fall under the banner of various sanctioning bodies use only SFI 38.1 certified head and neck restraint devices. Of that figure all but 4 have a HANS only mandate. NHRA is one of the 4. Why is that? (Note: I helped develop the HANS and was their drag racing manager in 2007, when devices were mandated for cars going 200 plus mph)
     Seat belts were introduced in Indy cars after WWII. The drivers resisted, even though 3 out of 4 drivers or mechanics that were thrown from their cars died. Many of the other 25% were seriously hurt. It still took 20 years before they were in passenger cars. That’s 20+ years of who knows how many deaths and injuries that could have been prevented. Seat belts do not only prevent you from getting thrown from your vehicle, they also keep you in place so you can be in control of your vehicle rather than it in control of you. Seat Inserts are another item that every driver should have. No seat, regardless of how custom it may be, fits exactly to the driver’s body. Seat Inserts mold the driver into their seat for an exact fit, reducing pressure points and giving more support, especially on the sides of the torso and shoulders. In a drag car they can also give arm support, so the driver has more control of the car, especially at the launch.
     Unfortunately, the above photos are two examples of what still goes on today. These are not seat inserts! On the left is a Jr. Dragster that is too large for the driver and is similar to what goes on in Super Comp. The car on the right is an example of an Alky Dragster that is currently racing, and was doing so at a major event where this picture was taken. Why are these cars allowed to run? Would you run without your seat belts? The tech person that approved this car (with a towel for a seat insert) wasn’t doing anyone a favor! I saw a second car in the staging lanes as well. What if a driver is hurt or killed because he was allowed to run without the safety equipment he should have had and that the rule book requires? His or her family, with a good lawyer, could own or destroy the sport we all love! Think about that for a second.
     Head supports and seat inserts are a rule in the Pro classes (including N/FC) and many faster Sportsman classes today. They share the same principle of energy management as soft walls. You could consider them the soft walls for your head and body. You don’t have to be involved in an accident to see the benefits. They not only keep you in place so you can drive the car, but help with the effects of tire shake and bumpy shut down areas. I installed the first head supports and bead inserts in drag racing, well before they became a mandatory item. Today they are standard in F1, Indy car, NASCAR and NHRA Pro racing. Every car, regardless of class or rules should have them. They are very affordable, starting around $100. Despite everything we know, we are still evolving today. For more information, contact: Jeff Garvin, Garvin Motorsports,
STAFF EDITORIAL, by Richard Parks.
     I've never been to Bonneville, but still intend to make the trip one of these days, although from what I've been told by friends and acquaintances, there isn't much of Bonneville left at the moment.  I would be interested to hear your input on this.  I read the reports that basically say everything's fine, but the racers say something else entirely.  Common sense tells me that there was a good reason Bonneville didn't run this year, and I rather imagine it has something to do with the lack of a surface to run on.  Bob Small
     BOB: Excellent question for an editorial in the SLSRH Newsletter and cause for rebuttal by many readers.  Here's my take on the issue and it is not necessarily the official policy of the Newsletter staff. 
     I have communicated with racers, observers, spectators and a few scientists and engineers who have widely divergent views on the condition of the salt flats.  My father was there in 1947, returned in 1948 and led the contingent of the first SCTA/BNI racers that opened up the salt flats to hot rodders on a large scale in 1949.  Other groups have also inspected and raced on the salt flats and to a large degree they noted a diminishing of the thickness of salt not only out where the racing is done, but noticeably around the edges of the lakebed.  BLM, State of Utah officials and mining companies have normally said that there has been no degradation of the salt flats, although one engineer for the mining companies candidly and probably off the record was quoted as saying the salt flats would be gone in a few years. 
     It is safe to say the majority of racers today concur that the salt flats have been mined away to an unsafe level, though there are some racers who believe otherwise.  Since impounded salt has only gradually been returned to the salt flats, it is hard to say if the mining engineers or the majority of racers are correct.  Some salt is being returned to the salt flats, but that only dilutes the existing potash and other valuable minerals, which goes back in solution and then pumped to the mining centers.  There will come a time when it is no longer profitable to mine the potash and other valuable minerals as they will be largely gone. 
     The problem as I see it is who will take responsibility for bringing the Bonneville Salt Flats back to life once the mining companies leave?  Who will re-pump all those millions of tons of salt back onto the lakebed and at whose cost?  The government is highly unreliable when it comes to enforcing the laws and equally deficient once the mining companies have pocketed their profits and fled the scene.  We are not talking about a few thousands of dollars here or there.  Putting the huge mounds into a brine solution and pumping them back onto the lakebed will take years and millions of dollars.  Like so many other ghost towns and dead mining pits the remains of the lake will sit there while the government does one study after another.  The only ones profiting will be the bureaucrats who will be assured of employment for life, studying the issue to death.
     It also seems to me that if the mining companies are forced to act wouldn't it be cheaper for them to simply load the mounds of excess salt onto trains and ship the salt back to the Northeast to use as winter road use?  It is a mistake to suggest that companies act in the best interest of the people or that they value morality over profits.  In conclusion I believe that the end result will be another scandal over the resources of the United States, it will be investigated until people are sick of it, companies will escape prosecution and the taxpayers, citizens and racers will be the ones to suffer.  It seems to be the way that our form of government operates.  The editor invites other views on this subject and will reprint them all.
     I wanted you to know that Will Moore is in a nursing home.  I heard from Bruce Geisler.  Will and I had become friends initially through the common interest in old Fords after meeting at the Donut Derelicts about 12 years ago.   Will had told me many times that he had built twenty-two 1932 Ford hot rods, and he had a small, dusty old shop in Costa Mesa where he loved to build cars.  In talking to Geisler I found that he had talked to Will's wife and she told him the situation.  I don't know yet whether this is a temporary situation or what is the depth of the illness.  Thanks for your thoughts on a write up.  Walt Lee
     EDITOR: Does anyone have a bio on Will that they would like to share.  I know that Will had a business in Costa Mesa repairing stoves and appliances.  He was also a regular at Jack’s Garage in Fountain Valley and also attended the Donut Derelicts in Huntington Beach, California.  When I had a problem with an old stove Will volunteered to help and explained how the old stoves had changed over the decades.  He found an old stove that fit and repaired it for me.  He developed some problems with his legs and gave up the business that he owned in Costa Mesa for many years.  When he could he came by Jack’s Garage and said hello to all his friends there.  I believe that he was also a gun collector and went all over the West collecting old firearms for his collection.  He was quite a hot rodder and he loved building old hot rods.  He never gave me his bio and now all that I can do is guess at what he accomplished in his life.  We send along our best wishes to Will and to his family.
     Here is the latest article submitted to   Our staff of writers and photographers are actively attending the premier auto events in the United States and Europe.
George Barris 1925-2015 "The King Of The Kustomizers"
     Just a couple weeks shy of his 90th birthday, George Barris, iconic car designer, customizer and builder passed away on Thursday November 5th 2015. He is most widely recognized for three high profile customizations – Ala Kart, the only two time winner of the AMBR award and used in multiple movies, The Batmobile from the original television series Batman (which was recently auctioned off for $4.6 million), and the custom vehicle that put him on the map internationally, the Hirohata Merc.
     Born in Chicago, Illinois, George Barris grew up in Roseville, California, and became interested in model making while in high school. His model aircraft projects were especially successful and he won multiple awards. After he and his older brother were given a rundown car to use, they began rebuilding and customizing it. They sold the car for a profit, and began another custom job. Their work gained popularity, and after George's brother returned from a stint in the Navy, the two began customizing cars in earnest, creating custom vehicles for private buyers, and then for film and television productions. George Barris also wrote a column on customization for Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines.
George Barris, California King of Customized Cars, Dies at 89.  By WILLIAM GRIMES November 5, 2015, from Business Day magazine.

     George Barris, one of the pioneer car customizers immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s essay “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby” and the designer of the Batmobile, the Munster Koach and other specialty cars for television and film, died on Thursday at his home in Encino, Calif.  He was 89.  Edward Lozzi, a spokesman for Barris Kustom Industries, confirmed his death.  Mr. Barris, a veteran of the body shops of Sacramento and Los Angeles, was a towering figure in the Southern California subculture of customizers and hot-rodders, known both for the sophistication of his design work and his flair for self-promotion.  He and his older brother, Sam, treated standard-issue Mercurys, Buicks and Fords as mere starting points for reinterpretation. They stripped away trim, reshaped body parts, and pirated grilles, headlights and taillights from other car models. George created his own line of outré paints, called Kandy Colors, to impart luster and depth to vehicles that became, in effect, rolling works of street art.
     In his baroque phase, Mr. Barris designed a slew of special-order cars for television, most famously transforming a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, in three weeks, into the finned Batmobile for the 1960s television series “Batman.”  In an entirely different vein he spliced a 1921 Oldsmobile and a flatbed pickup for the sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and he incorporated a coffin in creating the family car on “The Munsters,” calling it a Drag-u-La.  “He made a look — the Southern California customized car look — that was very distinctive.” said John DeWitt, the author of “Cool Cars, High Art: The Rise of Kustom Kulture.” “But his great contribution was putting customizing on the map. He was a phenomenal publicist and showman. L.A. was the perfect place for him.”
     George Salapatas was born on Nov. 20, 1925, in Chicago.  His mother died when he was 3, and his father sent his two sons to be raised by relatives in Roseville, Calif., a suburb of Sacramento.  The Barris name was fashioned from Salapatas and another family name, Badacardes.  Both George and Sam were car-crazy. When the brothers were in their early teens, they customized a 1925 Buick sedan that their father had given them, applying orange and blue stripes and fitting it with hubcaps and metal trim fashioned from Woolworth pots and pans.  While in high school, George worked part time at local body shops, putting in time under Harry Westergard, a legendary car customizer, and completing his first full custom job, on his own 1936 Ford roadster.  In 1942, Sam enlisted in the merchant marine and George moved to Los Angeles, intending to follow suit, but a promised assignment never came. Instead, he found work with Jones’s Body, Fender and Paint Shop, where he became foreman. He opened his own shop, in Bell, a suburb of Los Angeles, in 1944.  “It was like Tiepolo emerging from the studios of Venice, where the rounded Grecian haunches of the murals on the Palladian domes hung in the atmosphere like clouds,” Mr. Wolfe wrote in a famous passage. “Except that Barris emerged from the auto-body shops of Los Angeles.”
     The brothers reunited after the war and moved the shop, now called Barris Kustom, to Los Angeles. In 1948, George’s customized 1941 Buick took the top prize at the first Hot Rod Exposition at the Los Angeles Armory. It was the first in a long series of prizewinning custom jobs marked by a modernist feel for streamlining and understatement.  “Detroit cars are usually very well designed — so well, in fact, that we seldom change the basic lines,” Mr. Barris told Motor Trend magazine in 1953. “Instead, we accentuate them, develop them beyond the limits imposed by mass production, and try to refine them into a car which has design plus more lasting quality.”  Mr. Barris’s creations reached a national audience through car shows, new magazines like Hot Rod, Car Craft and Rod and Custom, and model kits sold by companies like Revell, Aurora and AMT.  One car in particular sealed the brothers’ reputation: the Hirohata Merc, a 1951 Mercury Club Coupe that Sam and George transformed into a sleek, elongated teardrop.
     The car, named after its owner, Bob Hirohata, expressed the Barris aesthetic in its classic period. The brothers extended the front and rear fenders, removed the chrome trim, lowered the roof, dropped the chassis to within a few inches of the ground and painted the car an arresting sea-foam green with dark green panels. Two 1953 Lincoln taillights were “Frenched,” or smoothed into the contours of the fender, and a new grille was fashioned from three 1951 Ford grilles.  The Hirohata Merc was the hit of the 1952 Motorama show in Los Angeles and a superstar after it appeared on the cover of Motor Trend. Rod and Custom documented Mr. Hirohata’s journey as he drove the car on Route 66 to the Indianapolis Custom Show, where it took first prize.  “The Barris brothers didn’t merely improve the looks of the original or ‘individualize’ it with bolt-on accessories as is done today,” Mr. DeWitt wrote in an essay on the Hirohata Merc for The American Poetry Review in 2009. “They reimagined it, redesigned it and rebuilt it so that it embodied a culture, a California car culture’s idea of what it meant to be completely cool.”
     Ala Kart, a customized 1929 Ford pickup, won the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophy at the Oakland Roadster Show (now the Grand National Roadster Show) two years running, in 1958 and 1959. “It gives you a feeling that you’ve done something to make a better world,” Mr. Barris told Rod and Custom in 1962.  Detroit took note. In the early 1960s, Ford hired Mr. Barris to customize production cars for two traveling exhibitions, Ford’s Custom Car Caravan and Lincoln/Mercury’s Caravan of Stars. Before long, the innovations of customizers like Mr. Barris began finding their way into the new breed of muscle cars, a development that spelled the end of the golden age of customizing.  In 1958, a year after Sam moved back to Sacramento for a quieter life with his young family, Mr. Barris married Shirley Ann Nahas, who helped manage his business until she died in 2001.  His survivors include a son, Brett, a daughter, Joji Barris-Paster, and a grandson.
     Mr. Barris’s cars gained cachet with film actors and other notables. He did his first celebrity job for Lionel Hampton, the jazz musician — a Jaguar — and a slew of commissions followed. He created a 1954 Cadillac Eldorado for Liberace with sterling-silver grand-piano hood ornaments that played “I’ll Be Seeing You” when opened.  His celebrity projects also included Elvis Presley’s 1960 Cadillac Fleetwood (with a gold-plated record player, drinks cabinet and shoe buffer inside), a gold Rolls-Royce for Zsa Zsa Gabor, and a caricature golf cart, with ski-jump nose, for Bob Hope.  Inevitably, the movies came calling. After the Hirohata Merc made an appearance in the 1955 film “Running Wild,” with Mamie Van Doren, Mr. Barris built two duplicate chopped and channeled 1948 Chevy stunt cars for the drag-racing scene in “High School Confidential” (one doomed to be crashed), and the chopped Mercury that James Dean drove in “Rebel Without a Cause.”
     Mr. Barris did some of his most memorable work for television. In addition to the Batmobile, the Munster Koach and the “Beverly Hillbillies” jalopy, he designed the fictional 1928 Porter driven by Jerry Van Dyke in “My Mother the Car.”  Over the decades, the price of gasoline skyrocketed and the cars got smaller, but Mr. Barris managed to keep his hand in, producing custom versions of the Toyota Prius (at the request of The New York Times Magazine) and the 2010 Chevy Camaro. In 2013, the Batmobile, which he had owned through the years, sold for $4.62 million at the annual Barrett-Jackson auto auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.  “Look, I’m just a crazy car guy, and I’m proud of it,” Mr. Barris told USA Today in 2005.  “My love for this nutty stuff keeps me coming in the office every day, 8 o’clock sharp.”
     A version of this article appears in print on November 6, 2015, on page B17 of the New York edition with the headline: George Barris, Car Artist, Dies at 89.
EDITOR: Bob Small sent in the following announcement.

     Lifetime Achievement Award Announced
     Art Chrisman Recognized by Petersen Museum.  Long time hot rodder and racing pioneer Art Chrisman received the Robert E. Petersen Automotive Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 SEMA show.  From the dry lakes and Bonneville to the strip and street, Art Chrisman has been building and driving top performers for more than half a century.  At the SEMA Awards Breakfast on November 4th, the Petersen Automotive Museum recognized his long-term contributions to the sport and selected him for the 2015 Robert E. Petersen Automotive Lifetime Achievement Award. 
     Like many Southern California hot rodders, Art got his start out on the dry lakes. He came from an automotive family, and he dove into serious racing with his flathead-powered No. 25 at the drags, where he was the first to break 140mph in the quarter mile.  At Bonneville, he and his brother Lloyd campaigned their now-famous mid-engined Model-A with a variety of powerplants, setting records throughout the 1950s. Before the decade came to a close, the pair joined forces with Frank Cannon to build their newest dragster, dubbed “Hustler I.”  With this car, Art took top honors at the first March Meet in ‘59 and later piloted it over 180mph securing yet another record. 
     Steve Coonan captured the all original, freshly restored Hustler I in action at the Fremont Nostalgia Drags in May 1986.  Art wasn't afraid to put the hammer down and smoke the tires the length of the quarter mile just like he did more than two decades prior.  After his years as a full-time racer, Art worked at Autolite and eventually started Chrisman Auto Rods Specialties (C.A.R.S.) with his son, Mike.  Their handiwork has shown up in The Rodder’s Journal a number of times through the years, including the cover of TRJ #9 and #34.  Art’s No. 25, Model-A and Hustler I have all been meticulously restored for future generations to appreciate the Chrisman’s trademark craftsmanship and impeccable attention to detail.  Congratulations on the recognition, Art.  Cheers!  Your Friends at The Rodder’s Journal
Gone Racin’…Bob Chilson biography.  Story and photographs by Bob Chilson, edited by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.   24 September 2012.  Reprinted by permission of Internet Brands, photographs are at


     While going to high School I worked for Kenny Harmon at Harmon and Collins in Alhambra.  Rather than being drafted in the Army at that time I enlisted in the Navy. 

After spending 4 years in the Navy from 1951 thru 1954 I began to have some fun that you can only dream about in the service.  

     I ran a 1951 Studebaker at Santa Ana.  It was the first year for the V8 and they ran fairly well.  I received several trophies, however most are all gone.  I also ran it at El Mirage in 1955, 1956, 1957.  However it was "Fixed up" and turned 121.2 MPH and won several races at that time. In 1957 I went to Indianapolis as a mechanic with Ray Crawford, with Edgar Elder as chief mechanic.  In 1958 I helped Edgar put together a brand new Kurtis car and spent a month at Indy.  Ray did not qualify, but we had one of the fastest cars there.

     After that along came a wife, kids and I could not do much in the way of racing, however I helped Jim Dunn several times at the drag races on and off for several years.  I worked for General Electric Company for 36 years in the aircraft engine overhaul business at the Ontario airport.  After retirement in 1991 I did some consulting work again with GE. 
     In 1998 I took my two boys to El Mirage just to show them what land speed racing was all about, well guess what, I got the bug again and bought a car that was for sale and completely re-did the whole car.  We currently run a "Lakester" in the "G" and "F" class.  It has a Volkswagen rabbit engine, (water cooled) turbocharged, Hilborn fuel injected, MSD ignition, dry sump oil system.  We currently hold the record at El Mirage at 199.302 MPH.  We held the record at Bonneville for a while and have since lost it.  At Bonneville we have gone 212.610 MPH.  I believe that this is the fastest that a VW powered car has ever gone, either at El Mirage or Bonneville.   Without going into more detail, this is about the way it was.  My son Dan Chilson drives the car now as it is much too hard for me to get into and out of.  I will be 81 next month and I still enjoy racing as much as ever.  

Gone Racin’ is at [email protected]
Please see the video BONNEVILLE - Utah Alliance Save the Salt at    Bob Small


Gone Racin’…The Century of Speed.  Story by Richard Parks, photographs by Roger Rohrdanz.  January 27, 2014.  Reprinted by permission of Internet Brands, photographs are at

     The Century of Speed exhibit at the 65th Annual Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) brought together around 60 of land speed racing’s (LSR) most unique cars in a variety of categories and classifications.  Ron Main approached the promoters of the GNRS with the idea of having a very special exhibit of land speed racing cars.  John and Annika Buck liked the idea and gave space in one of the buildings to Ron and others in the SCTA/BNI to organize a special exhibition and call it The Century of Speed.  This special show also made it possible to showcase Ron Main’s and David Fetherston’s remarkable book; BONNEVILLE, A CENTURY OF SPEED.  The first 2000 books were given by Ron and David to the SAVE THE SALT program to help in the replacement of salt on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in Western Utah.  Many hard working volunteers came together to help Ron Main fill the building with land speed race cars and sponsor’s booths.  People came from all over the world to see this special exhibit of land speed racing cars and the people who race them.
     The first moment that I entered the cavernous building 9 and looked at the history of LSR before me I felt overwhelmed.  The scope and breadth of the cars and motorcycles was simply amazing.  Ron Main and the volunteers spent a great deal of time to give this a very special look.  It took some time, just to move in and around the aisles before I could truly appreciate all the men and women and their vehicles on display.  My family has been involved in LSR since 1931 and we are newcomers compared to the first competitors from Europe and Daytona Beach.  In 1914 a four cylinder, 300 horsepower Blitzen Benz ran at the Bonneville Salt Flats and was clocked at 142.8 mph.  The current record, as of 2014, for a wheel driven, piston powered vehicle is over 430 mph.  This is the reason for the exhibit being named, "A Century of Speed.”
     Land speed racing is one of the two original automotive speed sports; the other one being town to town road racing.  In the very first day of the automobile there were men and women who took this new vehicle and tested the endurance and speed of their cars against others.  There is no prize money or purse to be won in LSR.  It is simply the pursuit of man and machine against time itself.  Land speed racing is a sport of gentlemen and ladies, and also egos and stubbornness.  Whatever glory is to be found is fleeting, but that is not why men and women compete.  It is the sheer thrill of making your vehicle and design transcend all that has gone before.  Even if a land speeder succeeds in breaking an existing record barrier, he or she will applaud another LSR team to come and break their record.  Often we think of our sport as “how fast or how many miles per hour we can go,” but the actual contest is time.  It is time that we challenge and our enemies are wind, weather, breakage, aerodynamics, endurance and a host of other problems that confront LSR teams. 
     In this article I am going to name most of the race vehicles at the Grand National Roadster Show’s Century of Speed.  For some of them I have commentary, and for the rest I can only hope that our researchers in the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter will use it as a template for additional research and report their findings to us.  I also hope that John Buck will give us another exhibit at a future show to bring together more of these record setting and unique vehicles for the public to enjoy.  Here’s the list; modified roadster (Pete Aardema), 2004 Ack Attack world’s fastest motorcycle streamliner (Mike Akatiff), 1949 So-Cal streamliner (Paul Atkins), 1970’s Pontiac coupe (Gale Banks), motorcycle powered streamliner car (Dave Brant), 1952 Buick Super ‘Artcar’ (Jeff Brock), 1934 Ford So-Cal coupe (Bruce Canepa), 1971 Triumph GT6 modified sport (Keith Copeland), the blue roadster (Mike Cook Jr), Alfa/Romeo modified sports class (Mike Cook Sr), Yacoucci/Costella streamliner (Jack Costella).  Mike Akatiff is a major competitor and record setter in streamlined motorcycles.  Gale Banks has raced and sponsored numerous entries and his Gale Banks Engineering company is well-known in racing circles.  Mike Cook is the promoter of Cook’s Shootout, a special Bonneville time trials reserved only for the fastest land speed cars on an invitational basis only.  Mike’s family goes back a long way in land speed and early drag racing.  His father was Doug Cook, a partner in the Stone/Woods & Cook drag car.  His son, Mike Cook Jr continues his father’s legacy.
     The red, white and blue star spangled flag paint job adorns Bruce Crower’s streamliner.  Others were the 2007 sidecar motorcycle streamliner (Tim Cunha), 1990 A/Blown fuel streamliner (Robert Dalton), 1934 world’s fastest Ford roadster (Dave Davidson), 1909 Blitzen Benz (Bill Evans), 1950 Ed Miller lakester (Don Ferguson Jr), 2000 Ferguson streamliner (Don Ferguson Jr), 2013 streamliner (Rob Freyvogel), 2013 beast sprint car (Damion Gardner), 2008 Mormon Missile streamliner (Lynn Goodfellow), 1942 P-38 belly tank lakester (Bobby Green), 2008 lakester (Scott and Seth Hammond), 1920 Burt Munro Indian Scout motorcycle (Tom Hensley), 1934 Ford street roadster (Jim Jard), 2005 Dodge Ram pick-up (Wayne Jesel), Knapp streamliner (Jim Knapp), 1992 Pontiac Firebird (Jerry Kugel), 1959 Red Head streamliner (Bill Lattin), 1937 Harley Davidson motorcycle streamliner (Jim Lattin), 1928 Frank Lockhart reproduction streamliner (Jim Lattin), 1941 Stu Hillborn dry lakes lakester.  The 1909 Blitzen Benz represents the first car in the exhibits century of speed and was famous in its day.  Jim Lattin has a large museum of motorcycles and race cars.  Jim often invites land speed racers to his museum when he completes a restoration on one of his famous race cars.  Jerry Kugel’s Firebird ran at Bonneville with a lot of fanfare.  Kugel is a master hot rod and roadster builder and the speculation was that his “doorslammer” would set some serious records.  It did, beating my brother’s (David Parks) record by 81 MPH in two separate categories.  Don Ferguson Jr represents another land speed racing family that has a history in the sport going back more than three generations.  He also has an impressive collection of old and valuable race cars.
     From the Museum of American Speed came the  Wee Eel streamliner (John Mackichan), 1997 Freight Liner diesel truck (Don Lemmons), 1989 streamliner (Mackichan/Schulz), 1990 Honda CRX-JDM (Miriam MacMillan), 1929 Ford roadster (Mike Manghelli), 1929 Ford Model-A William Brothers roadster (Tom McIntyre), 1952 Tommy Thompson streamliner (Tom McIntyre), McLeish motorcycle powered lakester (Derek McLeish), 1934 So-Cal Speed Shop Ford coupe (Bruce Meyer), 1948 So-Cal Speed Shop belly tank (Bruce Meyer), 1929 Ford roadster (Bruce Meyer), 2001 Nish Motorsports streamliner (Mike Nish), 2008 Speed Demon streamliner (George Poteet), 1969 Plymouth Barracuda ‘Blowfish’ (George Poteet), 1985 Chevrolet Camaro (Jack Rogers), Bonneville streamliner (Amir Rosenbaugh), 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona (Lee Sicilio), 1968 Chevrolet Camaro (Tony Taormina), and the 2010 SWIGZ Pro-Racing Electric Superbike (Dana Williamson).   Bruce Meyer began collecting and restoring rare racing vehicles before it was popular to do so and has a remarkable collection.  George Poteet and Ron Main with their Flat Fire and Speed Demon have almost monopolized the top speeds at Bonneville for many years.  Main is a colorful character in his own right.  He has a massive collection of hot rod and movie collectibles and created Main Attractions, which sold old Hollywood movies.  Main and Poteet have monopolized the top speed at Bonneville for a number of years. 
     Jim Travis lengthened the original 1960 squat streamliner named the ‘Pumpkinseed’ into the more streamlined version seen today.  Travis built the 1957 Plymouth Savoy reproduction car called “Suddenly.”  The original car was driven by Wally Parks at Daytona Beach and set the stock car record.  Ray Brock then ran “Suddenly” at Bonneville and after that no one knows what happened to it.  Other vehicles in the exhibit included; 1932 Ford roadster (Chet Thomas), Thomas streamliner (Dave Thomas), 1968 Mickey Thompson Challenger II streamliner (owned by his son Danny Thompson), 2014 Target 550 streamliner (Marlo Treit), 2011 motorcycle powered streamliner car (Jim and Mary True), 2013 Kent Fuller streamliner (Don Tubbs), 1929 Ford roadster (Steve Van Blarcom), class H streamliner (Dennis Varni), 909 Bonneville streamliner (Dennis Varni), the Markley Brothers belly tank (Dennis Varni), the Bob Herda streamliner (Dennis Varni), the Triumph ‘Orange Crate’ streamliner (Dennis Varni), 1957 Vesco streamliner (Rick Vesco), 1988 Vesco Turbinator streamliner (Rick Vesco), 1932 Ford roadster (Tom Walsh), 1969 Camaro ‘Big Red’ (Dave Ward), 1950 Kurtis built Cummins diesel (Bruce Watson), 1991 motorcycle streamliner (Sam Wheeler), and the 1927 Ford modified roadster (Anthony Young).  Danny Thompson is still active in land speed racing and will attempt to take one of his father’s old cars and go after a record in his class at Bonneville.  Dennis Varni has one of the nicest collections of famous LSR vehicles.
Gone Racin’ is at [email protected]
Gone Racin’…The early days with Art Chrisman.  Story by Richard Parks, photographs by Roger Rohrdanz.  7 January 2011.  Reprinted by permission of Internet Brands, photographs are at

   There is something very special about visiting Art Chrisman’s shop in Santa Ana.  In size it is about as large as most garages and the equipment is standard.  But it isn’t buildings and tools that draw people to this site, but the man himself and the heritage of the Chrisman family.  The Chrisman’s have been involved in racing since the first professional drag strips opened.  They set high standards for their work on cars and in developing driving performance that have inspired others.  They were the team to beat, the top of the hill, the best to try your skills against.  Every Wednesday night, except when the drag races and cruises are in Pomona, Art and his friends get together and hold a party after work, and it attracts racers from all over.  His Christmas Party is equally popular, and looked forward to by his fans and friends.  You never know whom you will meet at Chrisman’s garage.  Stu Hilborn, Fred Carrillo, Joe MacPherson and many others have dropped by to visit and relive the Golden Age of Drag Racing when it all started at the Santa Ana Drags in 1950. 
   Drag racing existed for decades, on the streets and on the dry lakes, in varied forms and rules.  All the raw materials were there for the sport to be created.  There were plenty of cars after the war as servicemen came home, married and traded in their pre-war cars for Detroit’s new beauties.  Young men found jobs and had money to invest in their hot rods, which they called gows.  The military abandoned airstrips everywhere as the country was now at peace.  A race was held at Goleta, California, in 1949, on a road near the airport.  There were trophies, rules and standards devised that we would recognize today.  But the real breakthrough came on July 2, 1950, when C. J. “Pappy” Hart opened the Santa Ana Dragstrip on a runway of an abandoned military airport.  Pappy charged admission and set rules, creating as he went along, and the reaction was explosive.  Within days the news spread from coast to coast, and within weeks carloads of kids showed up to watch the new sport, learn how Pappy ran the race, and returned home to create their own timing associations, safety rules and operations.  One of the first race teams was the Chrisman’s, Lloyd, Jack and Art. 
   Art comes from a large, Midwestern family.  His grandfather, Henry Chrisman had 16 children and the oldest was Art’s father, Evert, followed by 14 daughters, and then the baby of the family, Jack.  Henry was originally from Springfield, Missouri.  Evert was more like a father to Jack, while Jack was only a year older than Art and the two of them were like brothers.  Evert Chrisman married Winnie, and farmed land in Arkansas.  Evert also opened a garage in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas, which was called Evert’s Square Deal Garage.  Art was born in Sulphur Springs, in the Arkansas Ozarks, in 1929 during the Great Depression.  The Depression had started in the Midwest farming communities in the early 1920’s and spread to the cities during the ‘30’s.  A fourth of the population was unemployed and many more were underemployed.  Evert also worked for the railroad as an engineer and owned his own welder, going around to local farms to repair and weld farm equipment.  It was important to know many trades during the Depression, when jobs were scarce and short-lived.  Evert was a good mechanic and many of the moonshiners would bring their cars to him.  He would strip out all the unnecessary parts; reducing the weight and providing room for the jugs of whiskey.  He also hopped up the engines for more horsepower.
   As a young boy, Art would remember going to Joplin, Missouri with his father to buy parts for the garage, and helping his father in the shop.  Art never really liked going to school, though he enjoyed the classes in auto and wood shop.  Evert and Winnie had 7 children; Lloyd, Harold, Art, Hazel, Juanita, Joann and Etta.  Juanita became the mother of Jerry Toliver, who drove both drag boats and cars.  Etta was the mother of drag car driver Todd Movius.  During WWII, Evert’s skills as a welder were needed for the war effort and he joined the U.S. Navy as a Sea Bee, right after the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.  He was stationed at Johnston Island in the Central Pacific as an underwater welder.  Passing through California, Evert was impressed with the area, and wrote back to his father and family, “sell everything and come to California.”  Art’s Grandfather Henry was the first of the family to move west to California.  The family relocated to Compton, California, during the war and Art attended Compton High School.  His friends included Leroy Neumayer, Hila Bunch and Parnelli Jones.  Neumayer would be his partner in the building and racing of the famous #25 car, a front-engine fuel dragster, which had originally been a much shorter roadster.  The #25 car would be the first car to break 140 mph at the Santa Ana Dragstrip in 1953.  Neumayer would go on to become a top mechanic for oval track cars as well as in drag car and land speed racing at the dry lakes and the Bonneville Salt Flats.  Hila Bunch would go on to marry Ume Paulsen and race against men and women on the oval tracks, winning a record 58 races in a row.  Parnelli Jones would have a glorious career in auto racing and cap it off by winning the 1963 Indianapolis 500.  Rodger Ward would call Parnelli, "the most talented racecar driver America has ever produced.” 
   Art was a member of the Compton Saints Car Club.  Some of the members were George Barris, J.L. Henderson, Bill Gaylord, George Cerney, Dean Jeffreys, Junior Conway, Keith Black, Clem Proctor, Don Rising, Billy Demuth, Don Sparger, and Bobby Spere.  Barris was known for his original car customizations.  Henderson became well known as the chief mechanic for the Carroll Shelby racing team.  Gaylord would become a well-known upholsterer for race boats, racecars and hot rods.  Cerney was well known for his paint jobs.  Black developed an engine building shop that excelled in drag boats and drag cars.  Proctor would go on to race stock cars.  Demuth became a police officer for the city of South Gate.  Sparger was a company rider for the Honda Motorcycle Race Team.  Spere worked with sprint cars.  Uncle Jack Chrisman had his own racing team and would often race against his younger, by a year, nephew.  Art’s brother Lloyd, six years older, was the chief mechanic on all the Chrisman cars, and Neumayer also wrenched and raced.  Art was the principle driver in the family.  He also drove in land speed racing time trials at the dry lakes in El Mirage, California.  This one-mile timed course was located just north of Phelan, California, in the Mojave Desert, and was the official racecourse for the SCTA (Southern California Timing Association).  The SCTA was formed in December of 1937, to race at Muroc dry lake, northeast of Lancaster/Palmdale, California.  When WWII broke out, racing was suspended and the Army took over the dry lake.  After the war ended, the SCTA reformed and moved to the smaller El Mirage dry lake where they have been ever since.  Art turned 109.89 mph on August 12, 1950, in a customized 4-door Humpbacked Ford Sedan with a Flathead power plant.
   While in high school, Art worked on his own cars, including a ’32 Ford roadster, a ’39 Ford coupe with a Desoto engine, and a ’36 4-door Ford sedan.  He was never idle, and when he wasn’t working on his cars or his projects, painted cars for his friends.  He worked as a roofer and in local gas stations, until his father returned from the war to open a garage.  One of the gas stations that he worked at was Benny Cook’s Mobil Service Station.  “There wasn’t a lot of money in those days, and the war brought rationing, so working at a gas station was an excellent way to earn money and have the equipment to work on one’s own cars,” said Art.  He also worked on his cars at home.  Evert returned from the war and opened a repair shop in Willowbrook, California, called Chrisman and Son’s Garage in 1946.  Lloyd returned from the Army Air Corp and went to work as a mechanic for a trucking company.  Business boomed and Evert asked Lloyd to join him and Art at the garage.  Art did the tune-ups, Lloyd did the automatic transmission repairs and Evert did everything else.  Specialized work was sent out to Cook’s Machine Shop in Los Angeles, California.  Art was on the football, baseball and basketball teams at Compton High School.  He enjoyed going to the beach, mountains, chasing girls and participating in the games at school. 
   Art loved to watch the roadster races at Ascot and Carrell Speedway.  He participated in the local street racing every Tuesday night on Central and Avalon, near where the 91 freeway is located today in Compton.  He would go to the local drive-ins like the other young people and challenge others to race.  The races would be scheduled for 2 AM in the morning so that there was less likelihood that the cops would bust up their races.  Those that did well in these street races were challenged all night long for the local bragging rights.  Sometimes their youthful exuberance led to the practice of betting their pink slips and the ownership of their cars on a street race.  Art graduated from high school in 1947.  From 1948 through ’49, Art and Leroy would begin work on the famous #25 front-end dragster.  Neumayer traded his 45” Indian Choate Racing Motorcycle to Don Sparger for the roadster.  Sparger bought the car from Doug Carruthers who used it as a street car.  It had a Franklin steering front end, homemade body on a ’28 Chevy Frame, with a Model A Halibrand quick change rear-end, and Model-T springs.  They ran the car at the new Santa Ana Dragstrip during the 1950-51 season, and lengthened the car from its original 89 inches to 110 inches.  They changed the gear ratio depending on whether they were racing on the dry lakes or at the drag strips to give them better performance.
Gone Racin’ is at [email protected].  
Gone Racin’ … THE OLD CAR NUT BOOK #2, by David Dickinson.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  13 October 2015.  Reprinted by permission of Internet Brands, photographs are at

     THE OLD CAR NUT BOOK #2 is the second in the series by editor and author David Dickinson.  The book is a well-crafted paperback with a nice black and white cover photo and measures six by nine inches.  THE OLD CAR NUT BOOK #2 contains 49 stories by car collectors and hot rodders in 262 pages with black and white photographs interspersed throughout the book.  The paper is not high gloss and the photos are small, but the quality is good enough to help move the stories along.  Evancourt Press is the Publisher/Printer and the ISBN number is 978-0-9898065=1-0.  Try locating the book via internet or at my favorite book Store Autobooks/Aerobooks in Burbank, California.  You can read my review of THE OLD CAR NUT BOOK #1 to get the gist of the bench-racing stories told by car guys throughout the nation.  The stories come from the heart and soul of hot rodders and car guys and are remarkably well written.  I found them interesting and with often unusual stories. 
     Book #2 went way above book number 1.  The quality of the stories matched any of the many short stories by well-known writers.  Maybe they are just car guys and gals but they mixed comic writing styles with a great deal of zeal and pathos.  Some of the tales were sad, yet tinged with hope.  Other stories were of events where, “We should have known better” and I smiled and thought how all of us have been in their shoes at least once in our lives.  Even the battiest ideas for a car rebuild proved to be successful.  Steve Walker was enthralled with sidecar motorcycles and thought, “Why not a sidecar car?”  Only a hot rodder and car guy would come up with an idea like that.  Only another car guy and customizer could possibly tell you the nightmares you’ll have to face.  By the end of the story I was grinning at what Steve went through and the remarkable success he had with his “sidecar Alfa Romeo Veloce.”  Tom Glide penned a large number of stories and one of them centered on a ’67 Plymouth Belvedere.  That’s an eclectic taste for a robust muscle car, one that my good friend Ron Henderson went to so much trouble to restore.  Glide wrote with a great deal of emotion that came through to the reader how the Belvedere kept up the hopes of a young boy whose father was taken from him all too soon.
     On a more humorous story the editor, David Dickinson, gave us one of his embarrassing stories that hit the mark head on.  Just learning to drive with the “Ink barely dry on his driver’s license,” he meets up with two hot sisters who let David drive their car.  The young ladies spotted a hunk they knew and before mature thought could take hold the two young men were illegally street racing with the gals egging them on.  If young men are street wild, young ladies have a tendency to urge us past all prudence.  Yep, the cops caught them and young Dickinson lost his license for six months.  The moral as the editor/writer explained is to avoid wild young ladies and hot cars; as if that advice has ever been taken.  I laughed heartily at that story.  A woman I admire is Penny Pichette, co-founder with her husband Rich, of the West Coast Kustoms car show and a remarkable lady.  Rich has passed on though Penny still runs the car show up in Paso Robles.  She explained how the car show came about and how it ended up in downtown Paso Robles, a delightful Central California town.  I could read everything that Penny writes, but I have to say, what she says is even more entrancing in person.  The people that she and her husband know are also my friends, some of whom who have passed on; Eric “Rick” Rickman, Gene Winfield, and many others.  The editor should devote an entire book to Penny; I know I would want that book.
     Another story by a friend of mine, Ky Michaelson who is also known as the “Rocketman,” told of the exploits of Rick Rojatt, the “Human Fly.”  Rojatt wanted desperately to break Evel Knievel’s record of jumping over 13 buses in a motorcycle.  Evel himself was beyond brave, even beyond foolhardy and suffered injuries and broken bones in the process of his dare-deviltry.  But Rojatt surpassed even that contempt for life and limb by contracting with Michaelson to build a rocket-powered bike that could jump 36 buses lined up side by side.  The promoters were all for this death defying stunt but Michaelson shook his head and explained that there wasn’t enough room in the stadium to safely leave the launch ramp and land on the receiving ramp.  Rojatt who always wore a super-hero mask and uniform was undaunted, but agreed to only 27 buses.  Michaelson weaves humor and terror into this tale; read it if you want to know whether “The Human Fly” survived or not.
     Dave Darby tells us about the thrill and exhilaration of just driving on America’s back roads, exploring small towns and talking to ordinary people you would never meet in a big city.  I’ve been down the open roads with my father and later with my son.  Dad used to take any old road, the more inaccessible the better.  If he didn’t know where it went he just had to take it and he didn’t care where it ended up.  He was happiest there.  So is Dave Darby and he adds a poignant story about Bill “Shorty” Etes and his 1940 Ford Coupe.  Dave Southwick purchased the car after Bill’s untimely death and kept it in good running order.  An old tin car needs to be loved and it needs to ride on those old open highways. 
     Lance Lambert is a well-known car guy and his story is titled Pizza Sauce and 30W Oil.  Lambert is a man whom I understand completely.  He loves cars and hot rodding but being a mechanic is a confusing enigma to him and to me.  I can write all day on the subject and still not put all the parts back correctly.  In fact, I believe that the automakers deliberately put more parts than were needed to make a vehicle move simply to confuse me with left-over parts.  I have a garage full of leftovers.  Lambert solved his mechanical enigma by getting others to work on his car, a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline.  He worked at a pizza parlor which he managed and traded pizza to his buddies for working on his car.  He traded pizza for parts and pizza for oil and pizza for labor and pizza for just anything that he needed.  There’s no law in the books that says a hot rodder has to get down and dirty with oil if he can get down and dirty with pizza sauce.  I liked the humor in Lambert’s writing and hope he will contribute many more such stories.
     THE OLD CAR NUT BOOK #2, by David Dickinson is a delightful book.  It’s not better or worse than book #1, it’s just that I enjoyed book #2 more.  The more I read the sadder I got when I realized that these stories die all the time.  They are bench racing tales with more truth than fiction and even if there is some fiction in them they are highly entertaining.  I collected a number of Ak Miller stories, the kind that are rib-busting, or at least rib-tickling.  Those were comprised of stories about the tricks and pranks of a generation from the Great Depression and World War II.  I just can’t find where I put them.  Stories like those found in THE OLD CAR NUT BOOKS are usually oral stories with lots of hand waving, eyebrow raising, and tone changing histrionics that leave the listeners bent over laughing or cringing at the danger or the sadness of a loss.  When the speaker leaves us for the great “Cruise in the Sky,” those stories die.  For a time they are remembered until the listeners also pass on, then those words filled with passion leave us for good.  What David Dickinson has done is capture them for as long as paper will last and people hold them in our libraries and take them out periodically and read them.  Dickinson has done an excellent job and I heartily recommend adding the old car nut books to your library.
Gone Racin’ is at [email protected].
Aussie Invader November Newsletter, by Rosco McGlashan.  
     Our air brakes have just landed in our shop, hot off the mill and we are full steam ahead fitting them up to our chassis. These doors are a work of art in both design and machining, and the huge effort and commitment put in by a lot of great people to complete these, is a testament of endeavour and engineering brilliance.   Thank you big time to Paul Martin for the brilliant design features of these air brakes and the brilliant CFD studies to discover a potential disruptive airflow scenario that our doors would have created at high speed, causing our horizontal stabilizer to lose its down force and our car becoming too light at the back end.   Paul’s winglets are designed to straighten the flow of air spilling from the edges of the doors and directing the flow on a much straighter path rearward. Our doors do not open at a 90 degree angle to the cars chassis but when fully deployed are at 60 degrees because of the shape of our cars upper chassis structure.  
     CALM Aluminium for your brilliant support and for believing in us, that 7000 series aluminium is as tough as nails and brilliant material, we hope that a lot more Australian companies will start buying your fantastic product range.   Kentin Engineering, a really first class job guys and it was not until we started to fit the doors into place that we appreciated just how much drama these doors would have caused. Sorry Mal to have rung you 4 times a week, every week for an update on their progress, these are a first class job and we thank you Kentin Engineering.    
     It was a slightly sad day for my team and Western Australia but a shot in the arm for our project. We have sold Australia’s Fastest Car... Aussie Invader III to a Motor Museum being established in Gosford, New South Wales.  Our Crew Manager Pete Taylor has worked tirelessly to keep this unique LSR car in our home state of Western Australia and make her a feature in his beloved Whiteman Park Motor Museum. Sadly expenses and having a few dollars to keep progressing with Aussie Invader 5R had to take preference.   Pete like so many of my great crew spent thousands of hours building this car in my home garage, with their only payment being a nice cup of tea and ham sandwich! Many nights turned into early mornings and this car is a monument to their belief in our dream and their internal fortitude to see this car become Australia’s fastest. This sign says it all…  
     Aussie Invader III - The facts: Powered by a SNECMA 9K-50 (36,000 horsepower)     One piece Kevlar composite body; Fuel consumption was 10 litres per second!     Wheels were solid hand forged L77 aluminium; Wheels designed to spin at 8,000 RPM.     Achieved a speed of 1,028 km/h (638 mph) in 1996.  The Aussie Invader Team returned to Lake Gairdner in South Australia in 1996 and after some test passes, recorded a peak speed of 638 mph. This was faster than the World Land Speed Record at the time, held by Richard Noble at 633 mph. However, to claim a new world record, two passes must be made in opposite directions within one hour. Again bad weather prevented the team from achieving this goal.  In 1997 before Aussie Invader III could take to the salt again, the British in their twin jet engine car (Thrust SSC), ran 763 mph creating the biggest jump in the history of the Land Speed Record. Thrust SSC went supersonic and made Aussie Invader III redundant.    
     For as little as $20 AUD allows our supporters to quickly and easily upload their selfie onto the car, and into history. They will be able to follow myself and their selfie through the sound barrier, right to the record and into history.  If you want more information on Supersonic Selfie, please contact... [email protected].    
     Chris Demunck and Pete Taylor have been busy designing our front wheel well bulkheads. These aluminium and composite bulkheads are designed to prevent dust and foreign objects from damaging our steering, suspension or the forward nose structure. This has been a tough job working inside the nose itself in a pretty confined and hot environment.      
     We have had several Documentary and media requests this month but sadly we have had to decline most of them because of the time we lose away from our construction schedule. We did relent to do two printed articles for the great Race & Restore Magazine and MQ (BMW magazine), who have both been past promoters of our project.  
     Mike Baker from Colterlec has been on the job working in with Siemens to fit out our car with the latest and greatest data gathering devices known to man. Axle loads, bearing temps, wheels speeds, ground speed, body pressure plots etc. Thank you Mike for your drive and Passion.  
     In closing our teams best wishes go out to our Aussie speedway motorcycle mate Darcy Ward who is making a positive recovery from injuries he suffered whilst racing in Zielona Gora a couple of weeks ago. Darcy’s guts and riding skills showcase the true Aussie spirit of "when in doubt go flat out" all the best mate for a speedy recovery…         Kind Regards, Rosco McGlashan and the Aussie Invader team.