G'day. SpeedWeek, March 5th to the 9th 2007, is the next "must do before I die" event. With the Dry Lakes Racers Association's (DLRA) membership topping 600, it's promising to be another great event - better start planning! This month I want to tell you about one of Australia's Hot Rod legends, Ray Charlton.
Ray has owned every 32 body style ever made. Even his tractor has a 32 grill shell! Ray is an avid racer covering everything from dirt track and drag racing to salt lake racing.
When salt lake racing started in Australia, it was a challenge he couldn't resist. First racing in 1994 in Mark Hadfield's Mustang, Ray managed a very respectable 163.17 mph and like the rest of us, became addicted to Salt Lake Racing. Ray has competed at every DLRA SpeedWeek since.
In 1996, Ray was building a 32 street rod and had the chassis at the powder coaters. The chassis happened to be delivered back to him just before the salt lake racing was about to start at Lake Gairdner. He thought 'what the hell, I might as well race it!'. He only had one and a half weeks to prepare. After a day and night effort Ray managed a 153.01 mph pass which set a new record in his class. Every year the roadster improves.
One year Ray decided to take the roadster to both the Salt and the Nationals. After salt lake racing and with only a few days before the Nationals, Ray only had time to screw the number plates back on. Ray drove the 32 to the Nationals in full race trim.
On the way, with the 32 in full flight, a cop stopped Ray for a breath test and asked him to shut the motor down so they could hear each other over the exhausts. Ray yelled "no worries, but only if you give me a push to start it again!" The Policeman gave up and sent Ray on his way.
In 2005 the 32 earned Ray the fastest roadster trophy with a 189.294 mph pass.
Ray helps out with scrutineering at SpeedWeek and is always ready to give helpful advice to newcomers at the Salt. But beware! Ray has a sly sense of humour. Good on ya Ray.
See you at the Lake, Norm Hardinge.