UK Top Alcohol Championship (Round 3) — Avon Park Fallnationals 2002
Testing Times Part 2!
We were going into this race not knowing what to expect - after our exciting run out at Avon Park - 2 weeks earlier!
We were (and are still) trying to get to grips with developing a new fuel system and hopefully improve on last year's performance............
Things started out reasonably well - nothing untoward on the warm up but as has become the norm lately the first pass didn't really go to plan ........
After suffering complete brain fade on the start line - I left the from idle (we normally leave about 5000rpm) the car then shook a bit and also felt lethargic but I kept going - when I pulled the chutes they hit with a real bang and lifted the entire back end off the floor bringing me to a real abrupt stop! - all the more strange as our terminal speed was only 207mph.
On returning to the pits and after surveying the situation a few problems became apparent - forgetting about driver error (it won't happen again honest!) #7 cylinder had failed to fire for the entire run and another cylinder failed part way into the run - this can be seen on Sharkman's excellent photo taken towards the top end of the track (I should have saved all that money I paid for the dodgy computer and bought Sharkman a roll of film!)
After making a few minor adjustments to hopefully correct the failed cylinders and continue to refine the fuel system we were ready for our next qualifying pass .........
No mistakes this time - left the line at 5000rpm - shook again - #7 dead from the start and other cylinder out after 4 seconds ????
More serious however was the fact that we discovered that the valve train had failed on #1 cylinder (which did not go out) causing a lot of engine damage which resulted in missing Sunday's next qualifying session and having to work until 1am to be ready for Final's Day.
The motor was fired as soon as the track curfew would allow and although everything appeared ok we still had problems with a lack of pressure in #1 cylinder, however we were happy enough that it would survive at least one round.......
Despite all our troubles we had qualified #3 with a sub par 6.2 @ 217mph and our first round opponent was Doug Ripley making a welcome comeback in his good looking CC Racing Funny Car. The run was more or less a repeat of previous runs that weekend but our adjustment had brought back #7 cylinder (which accounted for our better speed - 217mph) but we were still down to 7 cylinders firing on a run.
Back in the pits we had no major engine damage but there there was now almost no cylinder pressure whatsoever in #1 cylinder - as we were to race Dave Wison in the semi final (the quickest Methanol car outside the USA) not the sort of opponent you want when you have a 6 or 7 cylinder car! but we decided to give it a shot and hope that luck would be on our side (there's got to be a first time) - unfortunately for us Dave ran a 5.6! - for those of you that were there, that is the reason for the real short burnout and why I shut off as soon as it was obvious that Dave was on a good run.
Anyway we live to fight another day and hopefully those Lottery numbers will come up.
Click on image to see more photos from the race ..................
So its now back into the garage to tear everything down and get things turned around for the European Finals at Santa Pod in 2 weeks - where the opposition will be even more intense - hope to see you there.
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