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Symphony No. 2 In NITRO by Bill Ott
"A Tribute to Cacklefest"
2001

This is no one night stand
It's a real occasion
Close your eyes and you'll be there
It's everything they say
The end of a perfect day*

Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 1 In C Minor's first public performance was in October of 1876. Symphony No. 1 In C Minor was written to be performed by an orchestra consisting of nine different instruments. If I was to try to list all nine here, I don't know where that might lead to, so trust me, it was written for nine instruments. Look it up, if you want.

While researching 'ol Johannes piece ( 'ya know, you really 'gotta love this stuff to do THIS kind of research!), I found the following notes: ** The music builds to one final great cresting, which subsides into the brief but spacious, perfectly timed coda.** Which translated means: it gets louder than hell, than slowly gets quieter and quieter, with one quick RUPPP!!! at the end. "So What?", you say. Well...........................

Cacklefest No. 1's first public performance was ALSO in October (although a few years later than the Brahms' deal) and was ALSO performed on nine instruments. I could list all nine here, but I know what that would lead to. Look it up, if you want.

And damn if it didn't build to one final great cresting, which subsided into a brief, but, spacious, perfectly timed coda. Or, got louder than hell, then slowly got quieter and quieter, with one quick RUPPP!!! at the end. See what I'm getting at? The parallels here are almost frightening... and man, we ain't done yet! Brahms' Symphony No. 2's first public performance followed - No. 1's almost one year to the day. Again Gibb's Cacklefest No. 2 - almost one year to the day after Cacklefest No.1!  Number of instruments in Brahm's Symphony No. 2 ? Twenty four. Number of participants in Cacklefest No. 2 ? That's right... twenty four!  Among Johannes notes for the opening movement? The term "Allegro non troppo"... Italian (Symphonyspeak) for fast, but not toooo fast. Which is a perfect description for the way this year's Cacklefest was performed.

Enough of this useless trivia -

I've been fortunate enough to be present at both Cacklefest 1 and 2. And I've got to tell you... there's nothing like witnessing the 'ol Famoso Raceway starting line and staging area full of idling Front Motored Fuelers. The sound of the cackling along with the staccato accompaniment of throttles cracking open... the flames that could be seen from some of the headers... the cloud that formed from all the NITRO that was being burned... the smell of that burning NITRO... the colors of the cars... the gleaming chrome. PLUS the Jade Grenade and the Mike Kuhl diggers making short side by side "squirts" downtrack... "BIG" making a "squirt" with the Swamp Rat VI... The Greek piloting the Loukas and Preising Fuel Coupe in street clothes... and Mike Boyd ending the show with an on again, off again, lane swapping pass in the Marcellus and Borsch "Winged Express" (man, you could sense 'ol Willie looking down and smiling after that one!).

All and all, not a bad evenings' entertainment. The following photos give a brief glimpse of the total "Sensory Overload" that is the Cacklefest. Maestro Steve and all of the boys and girls in the band.... 'ya done good.

 


 

For the first time, last year the drag racing took a back seat to a thing we called "Cacklefest". This year "the thing" called Cacklefest was an event unto itself. With 24 CackleCars spread throughout the pits of Famoso, one could only imagine how Steve Gibbs, Greg Sharp and crew were going to pull this deal off. Come Saturday at dusk we found out. What appeared to some as organized chaos, the cars were push started, one after the other, down the historic fire-up road of "The Patch". Here comes a Top Fuel car ... and another - here comes a Top Gas car - woah - here comes a pair of Fuel Altereds! Nitro everywhere! This one's making a burnout! - And so is that one! Sensory overload!

Cacklefest 2000 had 9 vintage fuel dragsters. They came down without a break and all lined up running on the center line of the track. This time starting all the cars at once was out of the question. So, they basically came down in two flights with selected cars actually staging and making short, smoky runs. It was like a three ring circus as you didn't know where to look next. I have no idea how long "the show" actually lasted but when it was over nobody wanted to leave. We just mingled and each, in our own way, relived memories some four decades old. Hopefully the following photos will give those who couldn't make it a small clue as to what happened, and let all of us who were there to relive the excitement.

 

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