Howdy, without going Texan plain. Very good and a little less good. Happiness level = High with reservations!
Thursday, 28 January. We arrive at Zwartkops Raceway at about 11 something o’clock. Do documentation, find a pit spot, scrutineering …
First opportunity to take to the track and we grab it with both hands. It is our first opportunity to test / practice for a race in a while, a little excited, adrenaline at a high, Fossa behaving rather well. Her temperature a stable 85C, oil pressure good. A few laps in suddenly, her engine cuts out with a hint of octane enhanced fuel in the air. Many things go through your mind, you have spent hours to get your car up to spec, and then this. Like your “life flashes past your eyes” you run through everything done in preparation to pinpoint the possible cause and all of this happens before you exit the car a few seconds later.
I exit to find fuel leaking underneath. Not able to do real inspection with cars passing at speed, I patiently wait for the session to end and the Zwartkops Marshall’s come to my rescue. Back in the pits we find Fossa’s fuel line hanging on the ground. To take things from any type of quick fix, the loose line did some mating ritual with the propshaft and is ripped in multiple places. Off to a spares shop to buy fuel line of which I have meters of stock at home. Back at the track, install the line and make possible further dislodging bulletproof. It is hot with the temperatures at a guessed 32C, then a very welcome light rain. After the heat experienced we really do not mind! We leave Zwartkops Raceway late, tomorrow is another day.
Friday, 29 January. Back at the track, pre six am. Check all vital statistics. Opportunity arrives and Fossa is back on track. In our minds nothing have changed but now I have a new vibration at speed in fourth which results in her jumping out of gear. A new challenge! A few decisions have to be make. Remove and strip gearbox, source and fit different gearbox, at the track, at home or leave it as is and do a best effort. Gary recommends, best effort.
Our turn to qualify arrives. Unfortunately I do not have the time sheet as that is on it’s way to KZN. We are way above our best times, times that are closer to when we started race a few years back, oh well, I did say we would do a best effort? Cameron and Les Mc Leod will check their stocks for a replacement as well.
Saturday, 30 January. Track side pre 6am again. Race 1 is at 07h00. Final checks. Fossa coasts out on track. Her engine feels exceptionally good, the best in a very long time. It is very frustrating having a good power plant but the link to the tar is playing up. We do not lose any places and do not gain any either, completing our first race in over a year.
Race one: Lap times: 1:49.994, 1:30.573, 1:30.129, 1:32.885, 1:35.923, 1:35.631, 1:38.532
Race two, 15h30. We head out knowing our limits, hmm, okay. It very soon becomes reality that a Porsche 356A and a Mini can be lunch and dinner as even with our gearbox limitation Fossa is clearly faster. The Porsche slips up in corner eight and gives a free pass. A lap and a half later the mini becomes history on the uphill to corner five, Fossa’s first race over take on that straight. And then high temp, oil pressure drop, sudden power drop and a bearing noise on the table top have me pulling the plug on the race.
Race two: Lap times: 1:48.200, 1:31.708, 1:29.275, 1:28.827
Despite using a “lesser” grade camshaft, this probably is the most power we have had to date. I feel a 1:26, 1:25 maybe 1:24 average lap time would have been possible with four working gears. Still one of my most exciting race days yet!
We have less than a month and a half to the next schedule race meet at Redstar Raceway. Today was a recovery day, Tomorrow the assessments and repairs will start again. Cheers 😉