What a shocker of a weekend!!
For the first real time this season it seemed we destined to have a night off. The weather was crap all day and it seemed it would only be a matter of time until we received the confirmation phone call advising us the meeting was canned. It never came.
We arrived at the track just after 5pm to the sight of a reasonably full pits, but all cars still loaded up. The powers that be said a final decision was to be made at 5:30. Everybody stood around in limbo waiting for the final call. The weather was crap: wet, dull and none to tropical temperature wise. The track looked waterlogged.
Just after 5:30 it was decided it was all go so guys reluctantly started unloading and getting ready. After what seemed like an age, the saloon guys headed out to the track to try and do some wheel packing. What a mess! Finally the big mother of a grader was called upon to head out and in effect take the top of the track and drop it in the infield, even then it was obvious the track was going to be difficult all night. This ended up being the case and the fact that most competitors got through the night unscathed is somewhat of a miracle.
I applaud the promotion team for persevering with the meeting and I think this was done mainly down to the fact that there were a few out of town competitors in the saloon car classes and superstocks. They had made the haul up so all endeavors had too be made to allow them to have a run. If no visitors had been in the pits I have no doubt the meeting would never have got underway. With more people in the pits than in the grandstands you could have easily forgiven them for knocking it on the head but they didn’t. I think the out of town guys appreciated the commitment from the club to continue on regardless.
Mods numbered 6. We expected 7 but one didn’t front on the night and you could hardly blame him! Guys in attendance were 3nz, 29a, 36a, 64a, 81a and 105a. It was obvious the handicapping situation we have found ourselves in so far this season would have to continue to try and put on a show. Accordingly Foxy was down to leave ½ lap behind everyone else. Our first race was race 4 and the track was still marginal, at best. Passing wasn’t going to be easy. Grant Harris in the 64a machine made quick work of the guys in front of him and built up a healthy lead before Foxy caught and passed all the rest. At about half distance Foxy was into 2nd and giving chase to Grant. With about 3 to go Foxy came through pit-bend and the engine seemed to have a bad miss. Although he was still catching the 64a machine the car looked sluggish and sounded terrible. At the flag Foxy had done enough to finish on the bumper of the 64 machine but had to settle for 2nd.
It took pretty much the whole time in between races to get all the mud off the car. With Foxy strapped in to head out for heat 2 the car started but then stopped. After a few minutes of trying to get the old girl running it became obvious there was something not right so Foxy jumped out of the car meaning race 2 was a non event for us. Everything was checked; we swapped over the mag box, swapped over the mag chip, tried to check the timing and even tried to start it on petrol. When nothing worked we realized that was it for us on the night and a more thorough checking job would be required in the light of day. This was the first time in a long time that we have missed a race when at a meeting, let alone 2 races! One thing we learned is that none of us are good spectators and we need to be watching our own car on the track to keep us interested (not a nice thing to say I know but at least I am honest!)
After cleaning the car on Sunday it took Foxy no more than 5 minutes to find the cause of the problem. It wasn’t the fuel, it wasn’t the mag box. What happened is the pin holding the gear on the bottom of the magneto itself broke and the engine retarded itself to the point where the engine would not run. Luckily we only did one race with the engine retarded otherwise we may have got engine damage but as far as we can tell it didn’t break fully until we started it up in the pits before race 2 and then cut out. We estimate the engine was approx 7-10 degrees retarded in heat 1 which would explain the engine miss and the sluggishness in performance in this first race. Marsh Motorsport has come up with a way to ensure this issue never happens again and a slight modification will be made to the gear assembly. We will likely be back in action again by the weekend and we will run it for a while to make sure we are home and hosed. All going to plan we will be back in action at our next scheduled meeting which is Waikaraka on December 3rd.
See you at the track!