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Exclusive Feature on Top Fuel Team Switzerland
This time we headed (electronically) into the heart of Europe, to Switzerland where we caught up with Peter Beck and Regula Stucki of Top Fuel Team Switzerland. Since their move from the Top Methanol ranks to Top Fuel at the beginning of the 2000 season Peter and the team have been a crowd favourite where ever they have competed and have shown that despite not having all the latest parts on the car they can race and beat anybody in Europe. The team finished 3rd in the FIA championship in their rookie year and won the Top Fuel shoot out at Hockenheim last year.
Current plans for the team in 2002 are yet to be finalised, we will let you know them as soon as we do and of course all the information you need can be found on the teams website at www.topfuel.ch
Thanks to Regula and Peter for taking the time to complete the feature and to Andrea Brügger for arranging it all for us.
Eurodragster: Tell us a little about yourself away from the track?
Peter: For many years now I have been living together with Regula in Oberönz. I am trained as a toolmaker, but now I'm assembling High Speed Spindles.
Earlier, Regula and I used to be on the road with our Harley's. We made trips to Spain, France and Hungary, but since I'm so involved in Drag Racing, I don't have much time for other hobbies. Most of my time I'm in the garage and work on the Dragster and repair or improve things or I'm working out new ideas; for example I designed our trailer, or our own fuel system which we used on our Dragster. When I do get so spare time I go to movies, read all kind of books, newspapers and magazines.
Eurodragster: When did you first go to a drag race?
Regula: In autumn 1987 we visited a small Drag Race in Mulhouse (France) and Peter said "this is great, let's do Drag Racing!" We went home and Peter started to built up a Competition Bike.
Eurodragster: When did you first take part in a drag race?
Regula: And 6 months later, in spring 1988, we were again in Mulhouse and Peter started for the first time with his Competition Bike.
Peter: I knew about Drag Racing from Magazines. In 1987, I saw the first Drag Race live and I was absolutely fascinated. The sound, the noise and the smell of fuel was impressive and I said to Regula: "That's it". The Top Fuel Cars especially were fascinating but that was too far away for us. So I bought a Street Bike and during wintertime I modified and tuned it. 6 months later, Regula gave me the sign to stage for the first time! The launch was good and the feeling was great while I was going down the quarter mile. This was the place to be! The Beck Drag Race Team was born.
In the next 4 years, we took part in a lot of races and we met people who had the connections and knowledge about Top Methanol Racing. In 1993, I was on tour with a Swiss Top Methanol Team and I learned how to handle these big block V8 engines. This gave us the kick to take the big step into Top Methanol. We ordered a chassis in USA and a used engine and in Summer 1994 we started for the first time.
The following 2 years were pretty tough and we worked very hard to get things going. Then in summer 1996, all our dreams came true. The place was Gardermoen. In the first round of qualification, I launched very hard and it went down the track like hell. I felt that something had happened and when I saw the faces of my crew I knew, we had made it. This was my first 5 second pass! The best was, all the runs on this weekend were under 6 seconds and we won our first race with a new European Record!! A little bit later, I got the nickname "Mr Five". With a lot of work, a very good crew and with the passion for this sport, we became FIA European Champion in 1997 and 1998.
During these years, we were always watching the big guy's: Top Fuel, but we didn't have the budget to move up. And then, after the Finals in 1999, Rico Anthes called and said, you can drive my second Top Fuel Dragster. A few weeks later, this Dragster stood in our garage and the whole crew was here to see it. After all these years I was very excited again. I had to learn a lot, but the long experience with Top Methanol and my very motivated crew were helping me to handle it and we started our new adventure called Top Fuel pretty well. Top Fuel Racing is very hard work, but when I go into stage and the lights go green I forget everything and I enjoy the smell of Nitro and the tremendous acceleration: Top Fuel Racing is adrenaline pure and it's my life!
Eurodragster: What is your current car?
Regula: Rico Anthes second Top Fuel Dragster "Black Devil".
Eurodragster: When did you acquire your current car?
Regula: In winter 1999 / 2000.
Eurodragster: Who built the car originally?
Regula: Its a Swindahl chassis from the USA.
Eurodragster: What is the powerplant and who built it?
Regula: Keith Black block, BAE heads, Kobelco blower and MSD ignition.
Eurodragster: Approximate BHP?
Regula: approx 5000 bhp.
Eurodragster: What drivetrain does the car employ?
Regula: Direct Drive; AFT clutch and Strange rear end
Eurodragster: What is the car's race weight?
Eurodragster: Best elapsed time / terminal speed?
Regula: Best ET 5.21 sec and 267mph (429kph)
Eurodragster: Who is your current crew?
Eurodragster: What plans do you have for the future?
Regula: The Dragster is in Brazil at the moment and we haven't made any plans yet for 2002.
Eurodragster: What is your favourite story/moment involving the car?
Regula: At the Euro Finals 2000 we won the semi final with a new personal best ET 5.2 and this brought us the 3rd place in the FIA Top Fuel Championship 2000. And the Thunderball 2000, when Peter made his very first launch in the Top Fuel Dragster. I was so amazed about the flames and my first thought was "wow, just like a Top Fueler". And the first night run in Hockenheim: 2 huge flames going down the track and disappearing in the darkness. You stand there, nailed to the ground, can't believe what you see, hear and feel.
Eurodragster: What is your favourite story from the pits?
Regula: In Hockenheim, all the Top Fuel Teams are side by side in the pit boxes. For the warm up, the Top Fuelers have to be pulled out of the box. Because of the crowd you can only see the 6 huge wings and one by one each is making his warm up. The view and the sound is just great!
Eurodragster: What do like most about the sport?
Regula: For Peter it is the kick of the acceleration and for the rest of us the smell of nitro and the team spirit.
Eurodragster: If you could award a medal to someone in Drag Racing, who would it be and why?
Peter: To Regula, because of her support and patience. Without her, I wouldn't have reached this level of success.
Eurodragster: Any people you would like to thank?
Regula: To our crew for being beside us in good and bad times!
And Rico for giving us his Top Fuel Dragster.
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