Saturday, June 27, 2020

The new MPM Seaside Affair

The MPM Seaside Affair Pulling Team around the Kramer family from Castricum, in the Netherlands is currently building a completely new Hemi powered multi modified tractor for the 2.5t / 5500lbs Light Modified and 3.5t / 7700lbs Modified class.
First, we start with a little bit of history of the team: The roots of the team go back to 1977 where Hans and Rex Kramer took part at the first pulling event at the Flevohof, the Netherlands together with the Zuurbier Bros as Blue Angel Team. In 87/88, the team splitted up and the Whispering Giant Pulling Team and the Seaside Affair Pulling Team were born. In 1988 the first Seaside Affair was shown to spectators at the German Championship pull in Oldendorf.
This tractor had 4 naturally aspirated Ford 460 engines in de 3,4t class and 5 in 4,4t class. For 1992, the tractor was rebuild and 5 Ford engines were built up on the tractor for 3,4t class, resulted in their 1st Dutch Championship in 3,4t class. In 1994, the guys managed that another time.
In 2002, the Dutch team built their first blown Ford engine on the tractor. For the 2003 season, they build a new tractor with a second blown Ford engine and a year later they transformed from 2 blown and 3 naturally aspirated engines to 4 blown engines in 3,5t / 7700lbs mod class.
From 2007 MPM became the main sponsor and was added to their team name, MPM Seaside Affair. In 2010 the team had a terrible crash in Stroe, the Netherlands. The rear axle broke in 2 pieces and damaged the frame. In all these years, the Seaside Affair Pulling Team managed to keep on fighting for podium places. 
In 2002, the Dutch team built their first blown Ford engine on the tractor. For the 2003 season, they build a new tractor with a second blown Ford engine and a year later they transformed from 2 blown and 3 naturally aspirated engines to 4 blown engines in 3,5t / 7700lbs mod class.
But why did the Dutch team decided to build a new tractor for the 2.5t light mod and 3.5t mod class?
The guys decided to build a new light mod/mod because the engine configuration they ran in mod/unl was not allowed by the ETPC, despite they've been promised in 2012 it would be allowed. Therefore the Seaside Affair Team had to swap to an engine configuration with 14-71 blowers. The main problem was they didn't had the budget for rebuilding 4 engines and buy 4 new blowers from the US. That's the main reason why the team have decided to build a new tractor for the 2.5t light Mod and 3.5t mod class.   
The new MPM Seaside Affair gets a completely new homemade Strenx 700 wedge frame with newly constructed homemade 2 bar chrome-moly roll cage, a Kirkey Racing driver seat with a 5 point safety harness, a homemade rack and pinion steering, new homemade engine and weight brackets, new homemade aluminum wheelie bars and a Rockwell rearend.
The new SSAB Strenx 700 frame rails were purchased from the Screamin' Bobcat Team in Ijsselmuiden, the Netherlands. 
The new 2 bar roll cage was designed himself by the Seaside Affair Pulling Team. The tubes for the cage were bent by ''Buigstaal Tube Bending'' from Alkmaar in the Netherlands. After all single parts were bent, the team welded the cage together in their workshop in Castricum.
The new fenders of the Mod machine are made off carbon-fiber on an aluminum frame, like the old ones on the old tractor. The design of the new fenders is a bit different and a little bit lighter compared to the old carbon-fiber fenders. All the carbon-fiber work was done by Let's Try Pulling Team crew member Gertie Leusink from Dronten in the Netherlands.
The new vinyl graphics for the fenders will be taken care of by Jorgen Al, employee of their main sponsor ''MPM International Oil Company B.V.'' in Delft, the Netherlands.  
The only thing which was taken over from the old tractor is the Rockwell rearend. The Rockwell rearend was shortened and has a Humpco Rockwell center section with a Humpco billet aluminum diff, a custom built ring and pinion gear set, magnesium planetary housings from Eder Motorsports in the USA with CAT C966 gears, in a 4 idler gear setup, custom made by Bennie Vreeman of Vampire Gears from Neede in the Netherlands and Engler Machine & Tool billet aluminum brake calipers with laser cut Strenx 700 brake rotors. The Rockwell rearend actually came from the double turbine powered modified tractor called ''Double Down'' of the Roberts Pulling Team from Willmington, Ohio in the USA. During all these years the rearend was improved and received new better parts.
To have an optimum grip on the dutch pulling tracks, the team has a couple of sets of Firestone 30.5-32 Puller 2000HP tires on polished Northern Sheen aluminum rims from Canada.
The new Firestone Puller 2000 HP tires were cut by CM Pulling tires in Reynolds, the USA, and were later re-cut by the Dutch farm stock competitor Hans Heesakkers.
Also completely new will be almost the whole drivetrain on the new tractor.
The tractor has a SCS reverser, a new billet steel driveshaft between the crossbox and the reverser and a completely new crossbox with new custom built gears. The new crossbox for the tractor was developed by Berrie Boer of the Screamin' Bobcat Team and all the calculations for the whole drivetrain were done by Bennie Vreemann of Vampire Gears from Neede, in the Netherlands. The aluminum housing of the new crossbox was CNC-machined by Duwako Precision Engineering from Alkmaar in the Netherlands. All the new custom built gears and shafts for the new crossbox were manufactured Bennie Vreeman too. 
On the new crossbox they can change quickly on the events the gear ratio for both classes and the different conditions. The advantage compared to the old SCS crossbox on the old 5 engine powered tractor is that they have more ratios to choose. The 3rd Hemi motor will be attached in the middle with a dropbox on the top of the crossbox.
The Screamin' Bobcat Team using almost the same crossbox on their light mod called ''Wicked Screamer'' successfully since 2015. 
Each engine will have an 11 inch Molinari centrifugal clutch with 3 discs and a Molinari billet aluminum flywheel. The Molinari clutches are covered by a Browell aluminum bell housing which saves the driver and the spectators for flying debris if the clutch should explode. 
The new MPM Seaside Affair will have 2 blown AJPE TFX V8 Hemi engines with a displacement of 552cui in the 2.5t / 5500lbs light mod class and 3 AJPE TFX V8 Hemis in the 3.5t / 7700lbs mod class on methanol fuel.
All 2 respectively 3 AJPE engines come from the old tractor, were overhauled and received a bigger blower during the last winter for the upcoming season.
About AJPE: AJPE is the abbreviation for ''Alan Johnson Performance Engineering'' and was founded by the Johnson family (Johnson Racing) in 1985. Company owner Alan Johnson started his career as drag racing driver in the NHRA Top Alcohol class. After 3 seasons, he decided to stop as driver and became the crew chief to his younger brother Blaine Johnson. Alan, together with his brother Blaine won 4 NHRA top alcohol dragster Championships in a row from 1990-1993. In those 3 years, the Johnson brothers won 26 NHRA rounds in this class. 1994 brought several changes to Johnson Racing and AJPE. Alan and Blaine moved up to NHRA’s professional class of Top Fuel and AJPE purchased their first 5-Axis CNC machine, which allowed them to eliminate the inconsistencies of hand porting while keeping up with the volume of Hemi heads needed to campaign a competitive Top Fuel Dragster. By now AJPE was supplying several teams with Stage 1 Top Fuel heads along with a full-scale repair department to service damaged cylinder heads.
In 1996, Blaine seemed on his way to claiming the championship in just his third year in Top Fuel.
But on the 31st of August 1996, everything changed. Blaine died after a horrific crash during the US Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. After the tragic death of his brother, Alan continued with his Johnson drag racing team in the sport and hired Gary Scelzi to replace his late brother Blaine in his Winston sponsored top fuel dragster. Alan wasn't only the owner of the Johnson Racing Team, he also was Gary Scelzi's crew chief in his team from 1997 until 2001. It was a successful partnership during that time. Gary won 3 times the NHRA top fuel title in 1997, 1998, and 2000.  But at the end of the 2001 season, Alan Johnson's Team lost its Winston sponsorship because of the Master Settlement Agreement, he and his driver Gary Selzi switched to the NHRA top fuel funny car class with new sponsorship and a Toyota Celica bodyshell in 2002. But that year for Johnson and Scelzi wasn't so successful, the results were a disaster, and Scelzi resigned from his ride midway through the season.
After that year, Johnson pulled out his team from the sport and he concentrated more on his engine business AJPE. During the year of 2003, Alan returned as crew chief on the NHRA drag strips in the US.
He became crew chief of the 1999 top fuel champ Tony Schumacher (son of former drag racing driver Don Schumacher) of the Don Schumacher Racing Team from Brownsburg, Indiana. Johnson was hired by Tony Schumacher because Tony had bad results with his Army-sponsored top fuel dragster at the beginning of the 2003 season. Alan Johnson brought his know-how into the team and the DSR squad and their Army dragster were quickly back on their winning ways. With all his experience, Alan brought Tony to win 5 NHRA top fuel titles in a row from 2004-2008.
This was one of the most successful collaborations in NHRA history. The collaboration between Tony Schumacher and Alan Johnson ended at the end of the 2008 season because he went on to form his own team, Al-Anabi Racing. The two-car Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel team was owned by Alan Johnson and Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani from Qatar. Alan presided over and tuned the team to three championships. The first title being in 2010 with driver and 2 times champ Larry Dixon, then in 2011 with driver Del Worsham, and again in 2013 with driver Shawn Langdon. Before the 2015 season really began the successful team ran into financial troubles due to the Qatar Racing Club had terminated funding for all motorsports activities in North America. This decision included the two-car Al-Anabi Racing Team operated by Alan Johnson. During September of 2015, Alan Johnson decided to pull out his AJR Team due to a lack of funding by the sponsors.
Only a couple of months later Alan was back as crew chief in drag racing, this time for Brittany Force's top fuel dragster at John Force Racing. Brittany is the daughter of 16 times NHRA top fuel funny car champ, John Force. Like at Don Schumacher Racing many years ago, Johnson brought again his know-how into the John Force Racing Team and helped Brittany Force to the top of the top fuel rankings. Finally, she won her first NHRA top fuel title at the of the 2017 season.
Currently, Alan Johnson is working as a consultant and tuner for Mark Salinas's top fuel dragster in 2020. Enough about the history of Alan Johnson and his years in drag racing and back to the engines of the new MPM Seaside Affair.
Each of the power plants have an AJPE TFX billet aluminum engine block with AJPE billet steel sleeves, a Bryant billet steel crankshaft with AJPE billet aluminum rods and pistons, Noonan NRX-1 Hemi billet aluminum cylinder heads with Manton rocker arms and Noonan aluminum valve covers, a Bullet billet steel camshaft, homemade stainless steel exhaust headers, a Fowler F12 14-71 blower with a carbon fiber Bohr Hammer injector scoop, an Enderle methanol fuel system with a Waterman Lil' Bertha fuel pump, a homemade aluminum fuel tank, a dry sump lubrication with a System 1 oil pump, an aluminum oil tank and a full Racepak data logger system.
With this setup each of these 3 blown AJPE Hemi engines should make around 2500hp.
Their plans with the new tractor are quite clear, the guys will compete in the NTTO Dutch Grand National Championship and their goals are to keep on doing what they did, especially fighting for the podium places and the top 3 places in the Dutch Championship.
Usually, the maiden voyage of the new MPM Seaside Affair was planned for the 9th of May 2020 at the Dutch Championship opener in Langedijk, the Netherlands. Due to the current COVID-19 situation in the Netherlands, the pull was cancelled and also the rest of the pulls until the 1st of September too. So currently it's not sure when the tractor will have his maiden run.

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