I thought maybe an update is in order as some of you may have seen the recent Cheval article. After the slipping clutch at Wiscombe stronger clutch springs were fitted for the steeper Shelsley Walsh hill and changing to a smaller final sprocket to the back axle reduced the overall ratio. As a first timer I continued to impress and frighten myself on the hill and wear out my band of trusty pushers in the pits. Despite the still slipping clutch I achieved top gear briefly on the long straight at the top of the climb, at the same time I learned that the car has no directional stability or self centering action at speed, I had to ease off as the the finish line approached because I didn't think that I could even keep it on the track, another driver suggested it was the most terrifyng finish they had seen and perhaps one needs more than half a turn lock to lock on the steering, this of course being one of the many disadvantages of four wheels over two!
Following this I replaced the oily clutch friction plates for nice new ones and altered the front axle caster to give more self centering. Also John Mitchell visited the 'Shed' to inspect matters and gather up some more picture for his archives, I didn't think I was writing a magazine article about the car though, I thought I was just giving John the bare bones so he could write one!
The last outing was Prescott, a full on showy VSCC event, where I was delighted to be approached by two AOMCC members, unfortunately my mind was on other matters and my attention span, always akin to that of a toddler, was even further reduced and I have forgotten their names. The cockiness bred by the confidence of having achieved 8 out of 8 runs to date was shaken when the new clutch wouldn't bite enough to turn the engine over when bump starting. Gearbox out, clutch apart and it was discovered that the new friction plates were thinner than the old, so one of the old oily friction plates and a warped plain one were added to give more thickness to the nice new mix, it seemed to take all morning. For the first time I left two black streaks of rubber in the pitlane, this to much spectator cheering, before I completed my first two practice runs. These were not very quick as I cautiously approached the first bend and discovered that it now took all of my pathetic muscle power to get the car to deviate from a straight line and enter a corner, then it jumped out of gear when I floored it for the first steep part, I didn't think I was going to make it up at all as a misfire developed and the power briefly died, when it came back on to 8 cylinders it catapulted me across the track, onwards and upwards grasping for more gears and wondering how long I could keep it going in the right direction. luckily a squirt of power would push the back out to keep matters nearly together. The second practice was 9 seconds faster and I was still shaking when I returned.
Then it rained; exploring the limits of adhesion for the first time is a fine balance between 'bottle' and needing a change of underwear. I didn't cover myself with glory (or anything worse!) but I did manage another full set of completed runs which may suggest to some that I am not trying hard enough yet, and now I have only one more event in the pipeline this season to get my act together.
Apologies if I have gone on a bit but the whole adventure is quite engaging and I do want to share my excitement especially I have in mind those in the further reaches of the Empire who are so regretfully unable to take a closer participation, yet!