European Top Methanol Championship (Round 1) -Santa Pod (May 2002)
Bad Times at Santa Pod
After finally making it to the track despite many "spanners being thrown in the works" I think we may have been better staying at home .............
As we were hopefully going to try out some new parts/combinations at this event (to make up from the time lost earlier in the season) we made sure everything was ok for the first qualifying session. Unfortunately things did not go according to plan - everything was ok as we left the line but we started to shake the tyres and got well out of shape just before 1/2 track - I was told if we had a sponsor you would have been able to read the name on the side of the car from the startline! - needless to say I got out of it at that point - Interestingly enough Rob Turner alongside us in the other lane had a similar experience - and coincidentally our incremental times were almost Identical (to within 0.01seconds).
The car appeared ok - how wrong we were after carrying out our routine checks - something was not right in the valve train - we could not find a lash cap on #6 intake valve. The reason soon became apparent - the roller lifter had collapsed sending shrapnel and needle rollers all around the engine - severely marking the cam and destroying the conrods.
Fortunately we had a spare set of rods and the camshaft was "dressed" to a serviceable condition - ie it would probably last the race.
We spent most of the day completing the engine rebuild and trying to balance the new slicks - Although we could have made another qualifying run we decided to opt out as the cupboard was now bare and if any other engine mishaps occurred we may not have been able to make eliminations.
As we were the last qualifier (a position we have never been in before) - we were paired up with Peter Schoefer (D) with his new car that was giving outstanding performance "out of the box" - we had an uphill task.
I knew we were going to be in trouble when the after the burnout I could see that the replacement battery (the original shook itself to destruction on Saturday's run) powering the Tach/Shiftlite/data gatherer was failing therefore no engine rpm indicators.
We got away first but then big trouble - at about 60' the rear axle appeared to lock up and we went into a skid - race over!
On returning to the pits we examined everything closely and the explanation at the the time of posting this report would appear to be that although the car was obviously in a forward gear as it left the line - due to some excessive float in the reverser mechanism the gearbox (Lenco) shifted into reverse - we were doing over 100mph at the time!
The float was corrected and the car restarted and the gears appear to work correctly - the Lenco will be stripped down and examined later this week.
Needless to say we are all very disappointed to have our first outing this year be such a disaster for the crowd and ourselves - at the time of writing I am not sure when we will return to the track as we are not sure what the final damage report will be - delivery of parts from the USA and when we will have a wing of our own!
Now would be a good time to win the Lottery!
Click on image to see more photos from the race ..................
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