Championship win for Afterburner 2
All the plans and preparation for the NZDRA Nationals at Taupo International Dragway paid off big time for the Afterburner 2 dragbike team. In fact this season has been the most successful we have ever had, with multiple records and great performance from the bike and team.
One thing proven beyond doubt this season by the Afterburner 2 team and Robbie Ward in the RIPs front engined dragster has been the total dominance of the Link G4 Xtreme ECU over everything else out there this season. Both vehicles run this ECU and have broken record after record, and we shared success at the NZDRA Nationals with RIPs as we also wrapped up the NZDRA points championship, securing enough points overall by the second elimination round of the Nationals to win the #1 plate for the season.
We started the Nationals with a day off due to weather conditions. Rather than leaving the track, the team stayed and went over the bike carefully from front to back, and spent some time on the phone to Dave from Dtech Motorsport as he tapped into the Link Xtreme via the internet and made some adjustments to the ECU, while looking through some log downloads and discussing the information with us. Now how cool is that - to be able to talk to the Link from anywhere via the internet! Dave does this through Team Viewer software, and taps into our laptop to communicate with the Link via the standard cable.
We dealt with tricky track conditions at this meeting with cold weather not doing much to assist the well prepped track surface. We had difficulty getting the bike to behave at the launch as we struggled with the ever changing track which resulted in a couple of wild runs with either tyre shake or wheel spin making for a very busy time for me on board the bike regaining control and making the most of each pass.
We were the fastest bike by a fair margin in qualifying and eliminations, and the only bike running in the 7's as has been the case all season. We made it to the final where we were to face Steve Whitham on the rotary powered turbo dragbike. Unfortunately Steve failed to fire, handing me the win. Rather than take it easy I decided to treat the run as normal and upon leaving the line the bike went hard left due to tyre shake. I flicked the throttle off and back on quickly to eliminate the tyre shake and spent the whole run hanging off one side or the other of the bike to steer it down what had become a slippery track making the bike move around a lot, and finished up with a messy but satisfying 7.81@173mph (278kmh ) and a Nationals win to add to the championship title we had won.
Let's just clarify one more point about the ECU and the Afterburner bike . . . we were meant to have dyno tuned the bike at Dtech, but several technical issues have prevented each attempt at that so far. Dave has been able to set up enough of the ECU to run the bike off his tuning knowledge and the data gathered during runs so far.
You would have thought this would have limited the performance of the bike, however our results prove the opposite as the bike ran within 2/10ths of a second of the record on it's 6th pass after debuting last season, then came out at the first meeting this season and immediately broke the national record, continuing to rebreak it at every meeting so far this season. The RIPs front engined dragster has performed in a similar manner. I believe there are two main factors in this - the ease of use for the tuner of the G4 Xtreme and it's brilliant datalogging which assists the tuner in easily analysing and adjusting where needed, and the accuracy and reliability of the ECU in these harsh environments. This ECU walks all over everything out there as far as I am concerned . . . and it's made in NZ! Of course we cannot ignore the undeniable abilities of Dave Heerdegin from Dtech Motorsport who has done a stunning job so far on tuning and setup of the Link Xtreme on Afterburner 2. Dave is clearly a very clever man with world leading tuning skills and advanced knowledge of the Link ECU, and the Afterburner 2 team owe all our success to his fine work
This weekend sees the final outing for Afterburner 2 this season with the IHRA Nationals at Fram Autolite Dragway Meremere. The goal this weekend is the same as the previous meetings-charge hard, break records, win and take no prisoners!