February '20

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FEBRUARY 2020 THE SHOP 23 The race car is allowed into the U.S. on a one-year carnet and in 2018 WBR managed seven races. The car is based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with Scooter Vester of Get'M Garage, and the team flies from Heathrow, London to Nashville. (With Virgin, it's a direct flight that takes only about seven hours.) At first, they rented transport, but even- tually found it more cost-effective to buy a truck and trailer. I caught up with them at the 2019 Gatornationals, where they'd made the field—an achievement in itself— but unfortunately lost in the first round. Nevertheless, the brothers were having a great time. "It's a dream come true to race in the U.S.," said Nic Williams "The weather is invariably good, everybody has been really good to us and it's highly competitive, which I like." They later went on to race at the presti- gious U.S. Nationals in Indy. Dan lost in Round 3 after qualifying 82 out of a field of more than 155 racers. Making it to the last 32 at Indy was a fantastic achievement, leading the team to expect bigger things in 2020. "Indy was just epic!" Dan reports "It was incredible to be lined up with like-minded people, alongside the best cars and racers in the world. The racing really got the adrenaline going—so, too, did the Indy teardown. An opportunity to get under the bonnet (hood) and show off the engine was exhilarating. "Whilst we didn't bring any silverware back to the UK, we were thrilled with our U.S. performance," he adds "The car was smooth and, more importantly, fast, thanks to an engine build by Brian Tilburg. Just a few more improvements and tweaks to make and then hopefully we can get that evasive U.S. asphalt win" A BRIT ON THE SALT Another Brit looking west is Geoff Stilwell of BUA Motorsport, who fielded his own Modified Roadster at last year's Bonneville Speed Week. Stilwell got the salt bug in 2016 when he went to Bonneville for the first time with Ron Hope and Hope's son Brian, who let Stilwell drive his Modified Roadster. Stilwell returned in 2017, but the team struggled to get Brian's car running. Meanwhile, Stilwell purchased his own rear-engine modified roadster. Built by Harry Hoffman and raced most recently by the famous drag racing duo of Mike Kuhl and Carl Olson, #7707 holds the B/ Blown Fuel Rear Engine Modified Roadster record at 268.240 mph. With a great deal of help from drag racers Bob Muravez, Bill Schultz and Sparky Perry, Stilwell set a new A/BFRMR record at 258.569 mph. Unfortunately, on the record return run, a rod exited the block and precluded any more runs. Nevertheless, Stilwell had a record, but apparently not the coveted Bonneville 200 MPH Club red hat. Even though it was an open record, the 2Club deemed that the minimum speed for the hat was 290 mph. Hooked on salt, Stilwell decided to rebuild the car and go for 300 mph. For the rebuild he turned to fellow Brit Mick Jenkins of Mick's Paint in Pomona, California. Jenkins and his team of fabrica- tors—Pauly Rivera, Robin Silky Silk and Kiwi Steve Davies, who all worked on the GM/SO-CAL Bonneville team from the mid-2000s—have extensive race car fabrica- tion experience and Davies is the head of the SCTA tech team. Unexpectedly, #7707 had a few more issues than were first apparent and needed a lot more work than anticipated. Despite an They shipped the car to Houston and ran it out of Rat Trap Racing's facility in Franklin, Ten- nessee. The Havoc team went on to win the Fuel Altered Challenge at the California Hot Rod Reunion. American muscle car enthusiasts Dan and Nic Williams operate OCS Paint and Williams Bros. Racing (WBR) and hop across the pond whenever possible to participate in U.S. drag racing events.

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