"Race" reports

At Snetterton, we ran the new tuned engine for the first time. Unfortunately
it didn’t have the race cams fitted, as they weren’t ready in time. On the
rolling road it developed 0.5bhp less than the standard engine. So that was
2 grand well spent then 🙂 The new close ration gearbox was great though –
although the engine still had a large hole in power curve, the new gearbox
allowed me to drive around it. We very quickly discovered that the engine
was still suffering from fuel surge though – it wouldn’t pull cleanly
through Coram (a very long, fast, right-hander), turning into a kangaroo
about 3/4 of the way through the corner 😦

The first race turned out to be very short – after turning in to the first
corner I heard a banging noise from the rear of the car and pulled off.
Embarrassingly, it turned out that I’d failed to tighten the bolts holding
the rear sprocket on, and they had failed. We managed to patch things up for
the second race, and tried fitting a new fuel pump in an attempt to cure the
fuel surge problem. This didn’t work, and although I managed to finish the
race I was well down the field.

This event was notable for one other thing – it was the first race where we
used our new support vehicle. We are now the proud owners of a “Fleetwood
Tioga” American motorhome, with a 5.7 litre V8 engine 🙂

The car had to go back to Jedi to have the damage caused by the rear
sprocket failure fixed, which meant that we missed the next race. We
*should* have gone to the following race at Brands Hatch, however when
coupling the trailer to the motorhome, I noticed that the towball dropped
when under load. I looked underneath and it was clear that the welds on the
towbar were failing 😦 It wasn’t safe to drive, so we had to cancel the
event. Apologies to my father and Sallie who were halfway to Brands when
they found out!

The next event was Cadwell Park. For this event, the engine was sporting
both the race cams which should have been in from the start, and a brand-new
set of Keihin Flat-slide carburettors. This combination resulted in an
approx 12bhp increase in power, which is about what we were expecting 🙂

Qualifying did not, however, go well. I only managed a couple of laps before
the wheels came off (and unfortunately, I don’t mean that as a euphemism).
It turns out that Jedi had given the car back to me without any nuts on the
bolts holding the two rear top-links on. It’s my fault – I prepare the car
and should have noticed. But red faces all round.

Luckily we could repair the damage before the race, and the clerk of the
course was kind to me and allowed me to start even though I hadn’t completed
the requisite 3 laps in qualifying. From the back of the grid, I made up a
few places before the race was red-flagged. In the second race, I made up a
few more. My times weren’t great, but the encouraging thing was that the
engine ran perfectly in both races – the first time it’s behaved itself this
year 🙂 This means that, hopefully, we now have a platform we can start to
develop from and extract the performance that the car really should be
capable of.

As a final insult to injury – we managed to lock ourselves out of the
motorhome and therefore spent a happy 2 hours waiting for the RAC to come
and break in for us. Hey ho…

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