Aging racer still able to school young bloods at the dragway
IN THE pits at Warwick Dragway Sam Campbell is known as 'The Wreka.'
The 75-year-old Grafton drag racing enthusiast races a hotted up XD Falcon that is capable of a whopping 1300 horsepower, powered by two stages of nitrous oxide.
While the man has a life time of racing experience, all that power can get the better of him at times.
"I've put 500 horsepower worth of nitrous into the Falcon,” he said
"I crash here quite regularly because, in that second stage of nitrous, the wheels can start spinning at 160km/h and I lose control.
"A couple of meetings ago at Warwick I went sideways for 200m and then nose first into the fence.”
He was at the Warwick Dragway on Saturday, December 8 for Dragfest.
Campbell bought his XD Falcon car in '79 and first modified it for drag racing about 30 years ago.
"It's had a lot of development since then, as you can imagine,” he said.
The only original components left are the paint job and most of the shell.
It sports 15inch rear tyres, fibreglass panelling, a roll cage, custom engine and two large canisters of nitrous.
But compared to most drag racers Campbell's XD Falcon is a basic creature.
"The young fellas are miles smarter than me, my reaction times are terrible,” he said.
"I have a very powerful car, but that's the only thing I have going for me.
"They have the technology and they tune their vehicles with a computer but I'm from the old school.
"Mine is a carburettor car with nitrous oxide, I run 500HP of nitrous, but no one else does that, when they try it they blow their motors up.
"But I've been doing it for a long, long time, and I have blown plenty of motors up, and that how I know what to do.
"There's a few things you need to know, you have to add fuel to the nitrous, use the highest ration fuel available and timing is very important.
"Nitrous is great stuff, it can make me go one second quicker.”
When the average race time is 5-6 second long that one second makes a big difference.
Campbell reckon he has close to 100 trophies at home, but he doesn't race for the glory.
Rather he is motivated by friendship.
"I don't race the big note meetings, I race at Warwick, Stanthorpe, Roma, Dubbo, Gunnedah and Casino,”
Campbell said the larger racing meetings were full of wild men who can't handle losing to an old bloke.
"They'd sooner stab you after a race than have a beer,” he said with a grin.