Davenport Extends Streak
The last three times that the A/Fuel Dragster category has been contested at Bakersfield’s California Hot Rod Reunion – the name Davenport has been in victory lane….
During last weekend’s 2013 version, held at fabled Auto Club Famoso Raceway, it was versatile Canadian racer Ryan Davenport’s (Calgary AB) turn to win driving his father’s tried, true and high tech supercharged on alcohol, Sarmento-chassied dragster.
To date that very same car has now won 4X at Bakersfield in it’s history with Les himself driving to victory at both the March Meet and California Hot Rod Reunion events held in 2012.
For Ryan Davenport, this race was the first time he had driven this car in two years. He qualified #2 of the 9-cars entered with at 6.361 secs at 213.30 mph. Then in the championship round he beat #1 qualifier Kin Bates to the stripe handily, 6.256 secs 214.55 mph to 6.938 secs 212.19 mph. His best time of the event was a (near career best) 6.191 secs which came during round one and which was low ET of the race.
“It was a good event for us, especially considering it was the first time I had driven the car in two years,” said Ryan. “I didn’t get any of the runs 100% correct – but I got most of them about 80% right and the car performed well enough that it was enough for the win. And of course “hooray” for my Dad for vacating the seat so I had a chance to drive!”
Ryan reported however that the event’s positive end results did have a difficult path.
“On the last qualifying run, we burned a piston, blew out the burst panel, lost the blower belt and ripped off a breather hose when the belt left, oiling the track,” he revealed. ” We took it apart and fixed everything, and we started the engine before putting the car in the trailer. Then somehow the magneto got sick overnight and we couldn’t get the engine to start in the morning before eliminations. We borrowed a magneto from fellow class racer Bill Wayne and used it for all the elimination rounds – including the second round, when we beat Bill.”
Ryan was quick to thank Bill Wayne for that terrific sportsmanship and also cited some highly valued extra help from Roddy McMillan during the event. (Roddy races the Red Max Nostalgia Funny Car based too from in Alberta). “It was a good thing we had his help because one of our regular crew members Wade Ramsey, wasn’t available for part of the event. We kept him busy. I think he was hoping to see some of the race and the other CHRR festivities but I don’t think he ended up seeing too much other than our car.!”
Les Davenport’s team which is based from De Winton AB (Acceleration Enterprises) also includes TAFC racer Jirka Kaplan, have a super interesting Bonneville Salt Flats land speed record project car too which they are continuing to develop and which is another major story in itself. You can check out details on that unreal machine at their racing website here: www.Target550.com
Posted by: Bruce Biegler
Photos by: Marc Gewertz