Being off on Friday I haul Fossa to the track. Our Cortina’s power being much better, I pull away with confidence at an intersection and the next moment, SNAP, bye bye accelerator cable. Quickly jump out , raise the rpm’s with the idle adjustment screw pull over the intersection and replace the cable.
I arrive at Zwartkops Raceway shortly before 10:00. Of the pit allocated to the Little Giants there are none left. Complete documentation, receive a bottle of Frankies Old Fashioned Cream Soda and take Fossa for scrutineering. I quickly settle in a space next to the pits, unpack and get Fossa to the track. Fossa’s engine feels excellent, brake pedal feels fine but she keeps running forward making it a challenge to slow down. I simply can not guarantee safe stopping and with extreme tin tops running around at breakneck speeds I pull back into my “pit” slot. Wheels off, I start looking for the reasons. Her brake pads look glazed. I remove some of the glazing by rubbing the pads on a paving brick. Fix a loose regulator on her alternator, head down to the track to find the session closed. Call it quits and home for home via motor spares looking for brake pads finding none.
Saturday morning we leave home at five and arrive at Zwartkops Raceway shortly before 06:00. We add a gazebo to make our pit spot cosy and ready Fossa while Annalie makes us some hot coffee. At 07:00 we try to start Fossa and all we get is a spinning starter motor. If it is broken, it is broken, we do not have a spare at the track, run start is the motion. She also struggles to run start as her carburettor is dry and the lever for the accelerator pump is missing. A few manual pumps and we are away.
Slowly at first feeling the brakes. Still not as they should be we run a best time of 1:28.713 landing us in 23 of 27.
Back in our pit, the wheels come off, brake disks are cleaned, pads scuffed again and the system bled …….
Race 1, in front of us, Paul Pereira – BMW700, behind us, Mel Spurr – Ford Anglia. Mentally I am set to try and stay as close to Paul as possible. This could possibly help in finding variations of race lines and help improve our lap times. Being used to Ishmael Baloyi race the Anglia always running way ahead of us, now in the hands of Mel, I am very surprised. Mel is a very accomplished racing driver with many a trophy on her shelf. Me, very surprised and shocked almost. Despite that I am SO FOCUSED on that BMW and also expecting the following Anglia to pass soon after crossing the start line. Things are different from the start though. The tail end is pretty scattered, can not say exactly why. Coming around corner seven Paul suddenly start disappearing and I think, goodbye Paul. Meanwhile Mel and Greg racing a Renault R10 are busy entertaining themselves. I do all I can do race as good as I can and somehow I start hauling in Paul eventually in close quarters for a few laps. Paul is racing like crazy on his threaded tires with his BMW doing strange things in corners.
Before we continue, feedback on the brakes. Fossa now has no immediate brakes, I have to give a short pump and then reapply. This takes more time but is perfectly effective is slowing down Fossa a touch.
I manage to catch up to Paul where I can consider a passing manoeuvre. I am still seriously lacking the skill of race craft and sit behind Paul sussing out where I can take him, once so concentrating on planning a move coming down to the ninety degree left corner eight I have to hurriedly apply the now practised double brake to avoid t-boning the silver BMW. Shortly after there is some smoke emitted from Paul’s BMW signalling the end of our combat. I cruise to the finish line as quickly as possible with Mel and Greg somewhere behind me. Our best lap, no three at 01:27.75.
In between races we have a few visitors, Jacques Baartman racing an Alfa GT Junior make an offer that will change Fossa’s behaviour. Philip Pritchard arrives with another offer and Johan De Kock with yet another. A collection of which can make a lot of difference. Then there are family of racers and spectators that come to harvest information, the future of Historic Racing in SA looks exceptionally bright, bring on the welding helmets, this is not an eclipse!
Race two find me without my preprogrammed BMW. I seem to often lack the focus in my second races, why I can not yet pin point. Very soon some of the unfortunate non finishers of race one pass me and they are followed by Mel and Greg in close combat. I manage to keep them in sight and at one time feel as if I am catching them. It is purely a fun race just loving lifting a tire on some corners and the scream of rubber on corners five and six. The chequered flag waves without any incidents. Finishing off with our cool down lap, corner six, a engine noise ….. again. I take a very easy trip to our pit. Our best lap, no seven at 01:26.89.
Later we run start Fossa again and load her on the trailer. At home I get into Fossa and Annalie and Chris try to run start Fossa every time coming short running into a SOLID Fossa, both of them looking like Shar Pei / Pug mixes chasing a still standing bus.
Well, the engine is out, the number one inlet valve broken off at the slots for the collets. We have three weekends, six days before our next race …… still playing with what to replace. We will be running the birthday present cylinder head given to us by Gary Stacey ………. Cheers!