It’s a fact I’ve never really been a fan of drag racing. Hang on though and stick with me, because I am now – and I hope that you will be too after reading this. Drag racing is not something I’ve just discovered either: I’ve been regularly visiting dragstrips for over 15 years. From Santa Pod in the UK to the National Trails in Ohio, Bakersfield in California, the Perth Motorplex and now Willowbank Raceway near Brisbane. The Mazfix Mazda 6 is what made me a believer, and this is why.
One of the first things I do when I’m planning a trip is to scan the internet and see what I can find along my route. The immediacy of the available information and the level of connection I can feel from a simple web search never ceases to excite me. So it was late one evening in January that I found the video above, only recently posted by the guys at Mazfix in Brisbane. Watching it I realised that prior to 1 minute 40 second point in that video I could take or leave drag racing. After that it all changed… Watch it now and come back with the same buzz I got.The incredible sensation I got in the pit of my stomach when I saw the 6 launch from inside the cockpit, it just pulled me in. I wanted to know how that felt, how you did it and who was doing it. The ‘why’ part had disappeared… That infectious celebration at the end? I wanted know who those guys were. Four weeks and 12,000 miles in cattle class later I saw the 6 in person, and the header photo was taken by me at the dragstrip I’d seen in the film. This is Speedhunting.Realising that I’m now a drag racing fan, it makes me wonder why I’d never really previously connected with it as a sport. I’ve ridden in really quick drag cars, but never on a strip; I have friends who race down into the sevens, but I’ve never crewed for them – instead occasionally watching from the sidelines. Then I think again about the times I’ve driven the quarter mile and felt like ripping the back seats out for weight saving as I crossed the line, or got excited about commentating on a jet car run – and suddenly it’s clear: I’ve just been in massive denial.Archie Kajewski (pronounced kai-eski) was the first person in the world to go over 200mph on the dragstrip using a rotary; he was also the first in Australia to run a six-second quarter using one. He’s the man behind Mazfix, the Brisbane-based rotary tuner. Although he’s quick to point out it’s not just rotaries – but we’ll talk about that another time. As I stood at the strip, it was the definition of frustration as the rain started coming and racing was called for the day. The guys got one run earlier on in the morning and that was it… Game over. You see those speckles on the rear window? Their millions of friends arrived minutes later. Take another look at the rear profile of the body and you see just how it’s formed to flow air – not obvious from a cursory inspection.So what was I going to do? No racing meant everybody was going home, so I made a plan with Archie to visit the Mazfix HQ and get under the composite skin of this drag car. It’s odd, but I was really gripped with the need to know more, as though my sense of guilt at not having paid more attention before at countless strips had fully kicked in. The Mazfix Racing 6 was just the thing to satisfy my need for knowledge: gorgeous details abound, even though purpose is paramount.A few days later and I was in a spacious and busy workshop, and hidden in a back corner behind its large trailer was the 6. Partially stripped and raised on air jacks it sat like a sedated panther, allowing me access to analyse and understand. That table is where the guys have their breaks, lunch and chew the fat on a daily basis. The other side of the car is the microwave and water taps, so the 6 really is part of the fabric here and constantly under discussion.It’s here I could take a look around and try to understand just what it takes to go that quick. As I said, Archie is a seasoned drag racer with masses of experience and previous six-second runs – he’s been at it for years. So the first step was to start with a proven chassis and body package (albeit originally intended to have V8 power) bought in from the States, fabricated by Jerry Bickel Race Cars Inc.For a start this gives you an idea of safety measures in place: the carbon in-fill panels acting as a barrier if the door falls off. The tapered chassis is designed to distribute the force of an impact through the frame as that force moves rearward, whilst obviously allowing the body to be as slippery as possible. As I moved around the car Archie tells me everything is chromoly aside from the front suspension arms; they’re titanium, he tells me with a smile.Wheels are obviously small at the front: they need to provide minimal steering and as little wind resistance as possible. You can see here how few runs they’ve done with the bobbles still present on the Goodyear Eagles. Spindle-mounted wheels are so simple in design, and I really like the machined details on these forged Weld items.source : speedhunters.com