Looking forward to Kyalami since mid September, completing a successful race at Zwartkops Raceway ….. Did an oil and filter change. No obvious problems …
Annalie and myself take leave from the 21st with the intention to sus out the track, the available pit space and facilities. A late decision have us take Fossa to the track to find the impressive secondary pits already filling. It would have been a lot easier had fellow event competitors adhere to the spirit and keep their service vehicles out of allocated pit bays.
Somethings I would have banned, “pitbikes” and skateboards.The guys with the pitbikes race in and out with no consideration for the pedestrians. Skateboards / snakeboards, it is a dangerous area, it is not a playground. Testing of race cars in the parking area.
Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, the venue. Sure there are things that can be improved on, I would like to see a few more covered pavilions. The African sun can be quite vicious. The embankments will look very inviting once the dry spell passes and they start to green up. The toilet facilities is very welcome for a venue that had to provide portable toilets at past events. It is obvious that a lot of money has been spent and it is probably not the end.
The security will have to be beefed up with regards to training. I understand some people can be difficult, but no pit access = no pit access. Here I am not referring to pedestrians. I refer to unauthorized vehicles that enter an already congested area. On Sunday there seemed to be a swing in the complete opposite direction. Unluckily for us Fossa broke in practice on Sunday morning. A call to The Roach to bring the Cortina to be used as recovery vehicle, have the bright sparks refuse me access to the secondary pits to collect our remaining items despite ticket arm bands and a pit sticker applied to the windscreen.
The events seemed to be spaced to boredom. It felt as if there was an incredible quantity of races red flagged. Probably over enthusiastic participants?
We were scheduled to have a practice session 17H50 Saturday afternoon. We arrived very early to ensure a worry free parking for our service vehicle as the previous day vehicles were triple parked. I knew it was going to be a close call with the program at one stage about an hour and a half behind schedule. Very looking forward to the session to enable a first hand reconnaissance of the track, feel out the spectacular looking track surface and verify Fossa’s mechanics which have held up well for the last few races.
We were losing light fast and at 18H30 were advised we will have a ten minute practice session …. The Legends, all prepped, Thomas Falkiner’s Mustang even fitted with lights, line up. It is now dark. A different level of adrenaline flowing. This is going to be like starting out on night shift of an endurance race. I knew this was going to be a different challenge but I am so mentally prepared and up to it ……. and then it is called off, eish.
The Sunday morning’s menu has been changed. Third morning in row we are up early. With the winds we experienced during the night and home only 14.3Km from Kyalami as the crow flies wondering how the secondary pits held up. Luckily they did not turn into a new world record sized kite. We will have a practice session included in the early morning. 07H15, We are lined up again. This time it is a go!
The track surface seems tricky with offering a change in traction. Firstly just a warm up lap, accessing Fossa, then time to cruise. I take it easy feeling the corners, take mental notes. Fossa should be able to sail through this course nicely. I think I have the long main “straight” figured. Corner one, a corner to be wary off, already has Fossa’s tires chatting. Crowthorne done. Go though Jukskei Sweep and line Fossa up for the changed Barbeque. Here the change of traction can be felt and with the hint of squeal from the Yokohama rubber I have this corner in the coming race 6-D in-printed in my mind. Go past our secondary pits Fossa feels good, heading down through Sunset corner, this is a corner I have not got the full feel for … Clubhouse and the Esses sorted.
Leeukop, I have to find a brake marker, prior to the revamp there was a join in the surface that was my guide to braking. Down the Mineshaft, with the changes to track width, pending available clean under wear, I think I can pilot Fossa round at full tap. This will however leave me with a very tricky Crocodiles braking point and style. The Crocodiles have been widened and seems to make available a few possibilities as as far as line is concerned. The squeal from Fossa’s rubber and the feeling of a slight drift make me long to see Ol Blue Racing Capri and some of the big Merc’s go through here! I go through Cheetah corner still storing data. And then just before the primary pit entrance, a whiff of smoke, a glance in the mirror indicates some critical oil burning taking place. With the actions of a trained professional the engine is killed and Fossa has only enough momentum to safely enter the pits. Two and a half laps end all expectations! All the anticipation destroyed. I can not describe the disappointment.
Who knows when, if ever the next opportunity to race this track will present itself. Will we be able to afford the entry fee? Questions to which only the future has the answers.
The cause: No 3 Exhaust valve decided it is time to leave the party.
The reason: It appears one of its neighbours have been tapping it’s piston, very slight, but that is all it takes at a few thousand rpm ….. ? Normally this does make a noise … Maybe it did, and us too caught up in the moment.
Fossa still the first Ford Anglia to take to the revamped Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. Pity we did not set a lap time.
Stripping the damaged engine ——- There is NO SIGN OF THE REST OFF THE VALVE! The aliens took it!
Replacement engine build is in progress with a starting target before the coming weekend. She should be ready for Redstar Raceway 19 November. This decision will only be made pending available funds and sufficient PRE66 Legends entries to have a field for a competitive Legends only race. Other than that I will try to fit in some extreme trackday at Zwartkops Raceway prior the year end.
Thanks to TOTAL SA and Petrus Motsoko for your assistance, unfortunately analysing this batch will be rather fruitless, I trust our next attempt with oil no3 will more successful!
The joys of racing, because RACECAR, cheers, 😉