Previous year happenings!

2011 Season

November - El Mirage

The weekend started with question, as the weather forecast indicated that we were likely to get rain. We worked to get all the track and communication set up as well as get the #2111 WGBR Truck and the #369 Roadster through tech impaction. As the sun goes down earlier this time of year, we started thinking about BBQing dinner and getting some rest. During the night the rain did come and from inside the trailers it sounded like racing might not be happening. However, when we woke in the morning the track was dry and we were ready for a fun weekend. 

The #2111 WGBR Truck in the 2.0L / Blown Modified Mid-Mini Truck (G/BMMP) was the first vehicle down the course with Keith Pedersen behind the wheel. The truck was fast and we were able to bump our previous record by 3mph, now set at 168.916mph. The team was very excited and headed to inspection for record certification. Next on the line was the #369 Roadster 3.0L / Blown Gas Roadster (F/BGR) class with John Romero piloting. The roaster looked fast on the course but only achieved 169.203mph on a 175mph open record. John looked at the data and discovered the power plant was not making boost. They tracked that down and were ready to go again. Rick Yacoucci ran the Nebulous Theorem III #788 in the 260 cid / Gas Streamliner (E/GS) class running against a 208.331mph record. Rick was down the course at 203.467mph but the engine was not running where he needs it to in high gear. Mike Manghelli looked at the data from the #2111 WGBR Truck and added boost to the engine management system, Keith just smiled. The team ran the #2111 WGBR Truck down a very slippery loose course and Keith could not get the truck to stay hooked up (tires kept spinning) and was only able to achieve 165.263mph. However, Keith pulled the parachute right as the truck came through the timing line and all worked great (this was the fastest speed that the parachute has been deployed in the truck thus far). After correcting the boost issue in the #369 Roadster, John was ready for another pass. The roadster did not make much improvement, a pass at 160.923mph. However, John was unable to get the roadster into high gear and the focus on the transmission started (the transmission was replaced between the last meet as we also had a transmission problem then too). We had a very big gathering of people enjoying the 2nd Annual WGBR Chili Cook Off, evening refreshments, and the heat of the fire on a cool night.

Sunday held promise as the weather seemed perfect and during the night the SCTA had moved the course as so we were racing on a new slice of the dry lake bed. The #2111 WBGR Truck was first down the course and all looked good until Keith shifted into third gear. The truck sounded like it dropped several cylinders. Later analysis indicated that the ECU Computer failed and the truck was done for the meet (and the season). Next the #788 Streamliner headed downed the course and wend 205.952mph. The Nebulous Theorem team started thrashing trying to figure out what the issue was with the engine. We next ran the #369 Roadster and John was able to go 158.879 and the team�s frustration with the transmission concluded with the decision to replace the transmission in the off season with something bullet proof. Work continued on the #788 Streamliner and the entire team started focusing on the streamliner. John Romero and Rick found a management setting that they thought might be setup incorrectly in the ECU and made the necessary changes. The rest of the team scrambled to get the vehicle assembled and at the last minute we discovered we did not have enough fuel for the next pass. We got a gallon of fuel from one team, another from the #2111 WGBR Truck and yet another from another team (thanks to all the generous fellow racers). We blended all of the different fuels together and ran the streamliner down the course. Unfortunately, Rick was only able to go 207.976mph. As the time left in the 2011 racing season had expired, the entire team shared smiles of our accomplishments and packed up the equipment and headed home.

We cannot wait for the 2012 landspeed racing season to start in May 2012. We have many changes and enhancements envisioned so please look at the web site to say up with our off season activities. The WGBR Team would like to sincerely thank our families and friends for all of their support during our 2011 season. We also would like to express our gratitude to all of our sponsors. THANK YOU ALL, WITHOUT YOU WE CANNOT BE SUCCESSFUL.


October - El Mirage

The WGB Team did something that they have not done is quite some time, that was run all three vehicles at El Mirage. Our pit was full of action the entire weekend. Rick Yacoucci ran the Nebulous Theorem III #788 in the 260 cid / Gas Streamliner (E/GS) class running against a 208.331mph record. Rick was very fast the first run at 207mph, just missing the record. The engine was not completely tuned so after making corrects in the Engine Management System, Rick was off again. This time he did 205mph and he is concerned that the engine may have dropped a cylinder. John Romero was driving the #369 Ford Roaster with the new supra engine in the 3.0L / Blown Gas Roadster (F/BGR) class on an open minimum record of 175mph. John started down the course fast, but the transmission would not go into 3rd gear causing John to find that the top speed possible in 2nd gear is 130mph. After thrashing in the pits, it looks like the transmission is going have to be replaced.

Keith Pedersen drove the #2111 WGBR Truck in the 2.0L / Blown Modified Mid-Mini Truck (G/BMMP) class against their own 2009 record of 164.969. The truck ran very rough in 1st and 2nd gear, but was much better in the rest of the gears. We did not have the turbo boost turned up enough in 5th gear, so it did not build RPMs quickly (i.e. speed). However, it was enough for Keith to go through the timing traps at 165.669mph setting a new record. And this is where the pass went awry. As Keith lifted off the accelerated after crossing the finishing line, the truck pitched sideways and started spinning. During the spin, Keith ended up backwards on the course at 140mph causing the back of the truck to get slightly airborne. However, this was enough for the splitter, air dam, and front bumper to be destroyed. In addition the truck has new sounds when it is rolling that warrant further investigation. Check out the truck video by clicking on this link.

#2111 WGBR Truck's front end damage following the spin

October - Bonneville: World Finals

Thursday - 06 October

We arrived at the end of the road only to find that the salt flats were now part of Lake Bonneville. There was minimally two inches of water everywhere. On the drive to the starting line we found that the water was more than 6" deep. Clearly, World Finals was canceled for 2011. The tear down of the course and the pits started. Besides having to do this while wading in water, the temperature was 45 and the wind was 15mph making this a very cold and miserable task. The communications team tore down and packed up all of the radios, printers, microwaves, repeaters, and antennas. We then headed to the pits and packed up our gear. As the wind blew, the water depth in the pits increased and we were all very glad to get out of there ASAP. Back in town we quickly gathered our gear, checked out of the hotel and started the journey home. Along the way we encountered snow and rain, but the roads remained dry. A quick ten and a half hours later, the tired WBGR crew arrived back in the Antelope Valley disappointed that we were not able to race, but happy to be out of Lake Bonneville.

One of the SCTA/BNI trailers out on the middle of Lake Bonneville

Wednesday - 05 October

When we arrived at the pits, the wind was blowing. It was a strong cross wind and the SCTA/BNI determined it was too strong to start racing. They did send three test cars down the course, with only one not being a turnout. As we waited for the wind to die down, the rain came. And came. And Came. At noon the SCTA/BNI board determined that there would be no racing today. Tom, Claude, and Keith went geocaching while the rest of the team heading in to town. The rest of the day the weather only got worse with the winds increasing along with the rain. It also rained during the night.

The WGBR #2111 Truck after the first part of the rain

Tom Hanley out Geocaching on Cater Island (The island north of Floating Island)

Looking out to the Salt from Cater Island.  This view is the salt (water) north of Floating Island.

Tuesday - 04 October

The weather keeps getting more threatening.... This morning started off with wind, cooler weather and very overcast. It only sprinkles once or twice and not much of that so the salt did not get that wet... it is humid and the salt is absorbing some of the moisture so we are concerned about the potential impact of the pacific storm that expected to hit on Wednesday. We did finishing prepping the truck and roadster and they are now both entered. Rick and his team worked on the streamliner almost the entire day and the good news is by day's end it had been started (for the first time) and some initial tuning was accomplished. Tom enjoyed the chance to sit in the roadster while it was fired up.  Racing starts on Wednesday morning :)

The WGBR Team working on the Roadster

Claude Parker and Tom working on moving the oil filter mounting bracket

Even Dan Warner was working on the Streamliner

Rick and Pete working on the Streamliner's engine

Tom Hanley is in the Streamliner while it is being started and tuned.

The Streamliner "E" engine is started and it is loud, notice all holding their ears

Monday - 03 October

Keith and Tom 4x4 up the mountain to install the two of the needed event repeaters (others were already there and working).  And the rest of the team headed to the salt.  We unloaded the trailers and started the process of setting up the communications network.  The day started warm and sunny, but in the later afternoon there was a thunderstorm that brought lots of wind and some slight rain.  It was blowing so hard that we watched the cones fall over and then scoot across the salt.  In the early evening Rick, Pete and Mark, pulling the streamliner, Dan and Jim, and Lee all showed up.  We had good conversation at the WGB and we then went to Carmen's to dinner.

Sunday - 02 October

John Romero pulling the communication trailer, Mike pulling the White Goose, Greg Waters pulling the roadster trailer and Keith and Tom in Keith�s truck left bright and early from the Drifting Sands Ranch.  The trip was quick as Mike led with a fast past.  Keith & Tom did geocaching on the way up and had a great time but even without pulling a trailer were 2 hours behind the rest of the group.

September - El Mirage

The WGBR Team has decided to not race at El Mirage in September, but rather focus on World Finals in the beginning of October in Bonneville. Since the #369 Roadster engine failure at Speedweek, we have taken apart the engine and found that it will require new bearings, the crank will require some work (or replaced) and the turbo needs major surgery. However, we think all is repairable rather quickly and are focused on getting it running again soon. We have also been going though the #2111 WGBR Truck and think we have some ideas to get +6mph more out of the truck; we want to go +200mph!!!! We are looking at the intercooler, intercooler tank, and electrical improvements. There are several other repair and improvements that we are doing not related to going faster, but related in making sure the truck is 100% for the fast passes. We have also had enough with the rear door in the White Goose and we are working on installing an electrical wench to lower and raise the door. Even though we will not be racing at El Mirage, we will be there to work the race communications and more importantly, share in the fun and friendship with our racing extended family.

August - Bonneville: Speedweek

Friday - 19 August

The remaining team packed up the rest of the pits, loaded the #2111 WGBR Truck into the White Goose and then spent several hours tearing down all of the communication antennas and towers, gathering up time stand printers, and packing SCTA/BNI gear.  At the end of the day, the White Goose and crew started the trip back to the Antelope Valley, getting home early Saturday.  We cannot wait for World Finals!

Thursday - 18 August

The morning started with cleanup of the #2111 WGBR Truck, removing as much salt as possible from everything associated with the truck. We also cleaned additional gear and put away as much as possible.

The WGBR Team had been talking about taking a trip out to Floating Island for some exploring all week long. Earlier in the week John and Sean had taken the Rino off the salt at the 3.25 mile to the mainland and found a route that looked promising for trucks too. So with John leading Rick and Pete in Rick's truck and Keith and Tom in Keith's truck (both 4x4s) we set off for an adventure. We found that the GMC 2500HD Crew Cab that Keith drives sinks much further into the salt/mud than what the Rino did. However, all made it off the salt, but Keith was not excited at all about returning that way as he felt he was very lucky to have not gotten stuck. John and Sean did some quick exploring and then headed back to the pits while the two trucks continued to explore and Geocache. We ventured on a nicely graded road around the mainland beyond Floating Island on the "mainland" and found many interesting historical sites as well as fascinating rocks and crystals. We also marveled at the desert beauty. After searching for a trail to the island from the mainland (we had heard there was a dike road somewhere out there, we backtracked on our trail and found the trail to the island. To our surprise, it was very easy to traverse (no 4x4 was required). We then proceeded to explore the northern side of the island as the road went that way and then to the eastern side. However, the road departs the island to the east on another connecting long dike road. We wanted to see how much further we could get to the island's south side (this side that we see from the pits) and we started off without a much of a trail at all. Along the way we hiked to the Floating Island Indian Cave. While the hike was hot, inside the cave was much cooler and we were not anxious to leave and make the return trek to the trucks. Once accomplished, we worked our way around the island. As Rick's truck does not have as much ground clearance as Keith's so Rick lead the way searching for the best route.  We were now 4x4ing big time. Several times we drove across very soft ground and Keith was concerned about getting stuck, but in the end Rick led a good route all the way around the island. Yes, that is correct; the WGBR Team using just common street 4x4 trucks drove around Floating Island. We then left the island on the eastern dike, a long 12 mile dike that ended at I-80 about 20 miles east of the Bonneville Speedway exit. It was an amazing adventure and all that went were very happy to have been along.

In the late afternoon, Keith headed home pulling the streamliner.

The road on the "mainland" looking toward Floating Island

Keith and Rick's Truck on the backside of Floating Island

Looking out from the Floating Island Indian Cave

Looking from the Floating Island back towards the Speedweek race area

Wednesday - 17 August

Today started with a great sunrise while waiting to take our return run down the long course.  We were the first one down the long course and the course had been moved during the night so we were the first down the new long course... and it was good to us.  The truck was a fast moving brick and Keith drove it down all five miles.  It again fell off of the speed in the last part of the last mile, but the #2111 WGBR Truck did go 193.458mph which averaged with Tuesday's run set the LSR at 194.520mph.  All this with a FOUR cylinder truck; we figured we are making more than 500hp or +125hp per cylinder.  Just incredible; Mike Manghelli can sure build some very powerful engines and give Keith an exciting ride!  After some quick checking the #2111 WGBR Truck is the fast Blown Modified Mini Pickup in the WORLD as well as the fast four cylinder Mini Pickup in the WORLD.  Very exciting and the entire team is very please with our accomplishments.

After breakfast we moved all the three WGBR vehicles out to the salt for a photo shoot.  We took several hundred pictures and even had a few of the professionals come out for a few pictures.  We took vehicle and team pictures in our new WGBR T-shirts and hats.  We said good by to the WGBR #369 Roadster, Greg Waters, and some of the crew as they pulled the trailer off the salt and started the trip home.  We sent several hours cleaning salt off the race truck and gear getting it ready for the return home.

After lunch we thought it might be good for Tom Hanley to have a chance to go down the course in the WGBR truck.  As he is not licensed for anything over 125mph we detuned the engine and give him some restrictions as so he could get his first LSR license.  However, there was an issue with the passenger front tire alignment and as the truck is unfamiliar to Tom, he only went 83mph.  Needless to say, is nickname of "Cupcake" was being updated to "Creampuff".  However, Tom is in good spirits and we will get the truck alignment working again and perhaps he will have another opportunity sometime in the future.

Tuesday - 16 August

We did the early morning prep of the truck and the #2111 WGBR Truck was the second vehicle to leave the long course line.  It sounded good as it left and really accelerated.  And it was amazing!  The truck went 193.488mph in the middle mile, the fastest it has ever been and that was enough when averaged with yesterdays pass to set a new record at 189.177mph (now up ~25mph from where it stood at the beginning of the week).  Needless to say that the WBGR Team is very excited with the results.

After looking at the data from the run, we concluded that what we need is more boost, so we added some more.  At 2pm we charged down the course once more and this was another very fast run.  At the two and a quarter entry lights were were already at 185mph and we were 194.613mph in the middle mile and in the last mile we were 195.582mph.  That is right, I did say the last mile, we have NEVER been down the long course under power the entire five miles, until today.  Unfortunately the truck does not like going that far and started complaining as our exit speed dropped to 193.169mph (meaning that in the beginning of the mile we must have been doing 198mph or so).  Does not look like anything is hurt and as we were faster then the record that we set this morning we towed in back to impound for another run in the morning.  The truck really likes that cool morning air so we are optimistic for another fast pass in the morning.  We are also thinking we are about done as we are not sure that we can do anything more to get the truck to go faster.

Monday - 15 August

The activities on the salt started later then normal as the wind had blown all the signs down and there was a small amount of water on the courses that needed to dry.  But by 10am the racing started.  In fact, the salt seemed even better after the rain. 

We did a morning run of the #2111 WGBR Truck on the Combo course.  The truck handled great, but we made NO real speed (only 164 mph).  We took the truck back to the pits and downloaded the data to find that the truck was not getting truck speed from the wheel sensor and thus the turbo was set to the minimum.  We quickly discovered that the wheel speed sensor was broken and we replaced it with one of our spares.  Late in the afternoon we put the WGBR Truck in line on the Long Course (where the big fast vehicles play) and away Keith went down the course.  This was not only the first time that the truck had been on the Long Course as a long course vehicle, but also the first time Keith had a push truck helping get the truck going.  The truck was MUCH quicker and Keith has to fight the torque steer to keep the truck going straight.  In the middle mile, the truck went a 184.865mph and we were back to impound.  We found a minor but important part had failed and it might have been preventing the truck from going faster so it was replaced.  We are looking forward to the return run on Tuesday morning.

Sunday - 14 August

The day started very early as the return runs happen first thing in the morning. We had to be on the salt just after 0600 to prep the #2111 WGBR truck. We had until 0700 when we all leave impound for the start line. When Keith was being put into the truck we discovered that the cool suit was not going to work and thus Keith was going to be warmer than normal. Thankfully, it was still relativity cool this early in the morning. The truck accelerated fast and was quickly moving down the course. There was no wind and Keith did not experience any of the handling challenges that he had the previous run. The truck was made a faster pass, but not as fast as expected. However, we were fast, 180.208mph and with the average from the qualification run on Saturday, the team bumped the previous record by 12mph setting it now at 177.943mph. The exciting thing is that we set the record above 175mph and thus we now can run the long course! Later in the pits the team found that the on board computer was only set at 18lbs of turbo boost. We set the truck up for a run on Monday with an updated MAP, more turbo boost, and changed to the taller tires (i.e. more gear or a faster truck, but slower to accelerate - we need to the long course for this configuration).

We next focused on the #369 Roadster. With everything set and Greg driving the Roadster was run down the combo course, all five miles. The Roadster was extremely fast. It went 227mph on a 205mph record. However, the engine suffered multiple failures. The turbo is destroyed and the engine does not turn over. Also the transmission is not acting expectedly. Unfortunately this will end the quest with the Roadster for Speedweek 2011.

Tom and Rick also befriended the Monster Girls.  Rick even was able to get them come to the pit and take a few pictures next to the Steamliner.

We also had the USAF from the Academy stop by as ask many questions about our streamliner.  For their capstone project they are going to be building a streamliner.  They also invited us to Colorado Spring to digitally model the streamliner.

After the racing was completed for the day, a monster thunderstorm struck the salt flats dumping large amounts of water all over the courses. It does not look good for running tomorrow so we will have to see what the day holds.

And after the rain the salt was very wet, almost a lake.

Saturday - 13 August

Saturday the racing started! The team works some last minute radio setups, made sure all the systems were working and then waited for the fun to start. At 0900 we attending the drivers meeting and we back to the pits and made the final preparations on the #369 Roadster and the #2111 Truck. We also hosted a large number of visitors, including the USAF Academy Engineering Cadets (they are going to build a streamliner as their capstone project and they were very interested in out #788 Nebulous Theorem III). We ran the Roadster for the first time with the new Supra engine on the Combo course with Greg Waters as the driver. We wanted a data pass so we deceived that we would only take the Roadster to the third mile (first timed mile) and shut it down. Greg did an excellent pass at 178.963 mph on a 205mph record. We took it back to the pits, looked over the data, and made several adjustments. Next we put the #2111 WGBR in line on the combo course. Keith Pedersen drove the truck to 175.679 mph on a 165 mph record and the team celebrated and took the truck to impound. All looks good for an early morning return run.

Friday - 12 August

Seems like a week we've been here setting up camp and the courses. But today is more of the same. This morning we have to get the repeaters up and running so that the two additional courses will have radio communication. So up the mountain we go to make things happen.

In the morning the  #369 Roadster drivers did their  mandatory bailout certification; Greg, John, and Keith are now cleared to race.

Throughout the day we were out and about on the salt, setting up antennas, trailers, printers, and assorted communication goodies. Others were out grooming the course. The salt looks good this year... still a little damp, but the warm temp, beating sunshine and breeze are helping harden the salt with each passing hour.

Tonight we will be testing out the new software for the database and making sure we sort out any glitches before the opening day tomorrow. Like I said the other night... LOTS goes into making this happen. It's not like you just show up, get in a car, and run the course.

Thursday - 11 August

First thing after breakfast we headed to the pits where we set things up.  Glad to be back on the salt!  As much of the team is responsible for the race communications, the day was spent largely setting up the new announcing trailer, setting up the course timing trailers, setting up the microwave towers, setting up the timing stands, and working the radios.  At the end of the day we did find time to start the technical inspection on the WBGR Truck and Roadster as well as renew our landspeed racing friendship with people we had not seen in a while.

Wednesday - 10 August

Mike Manghelli, Keith Pedersen, Tom Hanley, Rick Yacoucci, Pete Belich, Greg Waters, Melissa Waters & Trevor, Dan Warner, Jim Miller, John Romero, and Sean Romero all left the White Goose Ranch at 0500 for Bonneville.   Our first stop was at Peggy Sues just north of Barstow, CA where we meet up with John Bjorkman, and Lee Kennedy for breakfast.  It took us 13 hours but we made it in good spirits with no breakdowns or blown tires.  We arrived in time to drop the trailers on the salt and head back to Wendover for dinner.

July - El Mirage

No racing this month because of a wet "dry" lake.  During the week prior to the meet, there were several days of thunderstorms that provided the desert a much needed drink, but also prevented the use of the lake bed.  This was a big disappointment as we were looking forward to running one more time prior to going to Bonneville.  The #2111 truck has been several additional safety modification in the last month.  Most of the team has been working on the #369 Roadster.  The engine has been started for the first time!  We are working to finish the body work and have the panels painted and get the chassis to the AEM Dyno.  Check out the #369 2011 Racing Plan page to see all of our in progress pictures.