Servicing and Repairs
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Season final at Gurston Down Hill Climb 2009
Following an evening of chilli and Becks with good company, Sunday arrived with a blaze of glorious sun and the
sound of busy people preparing their cars for the final meeting.
We set about the few tasks that we had left to do on the car, signed on, had the scrutineers check the car and
then wait for the call to the line for first practice. Following her consistant times in August, Dee was on good
form and apart from a missed gear change down the hill,( I think that we still have some slight issues with the
gearbox) she put up 2 very good runs.
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The first afternoon timed run again was good with a stunning finish speed of 89mph.
My practice runs were both uneventful and I used them to try some ways of being quicker round Hollow and into
the Karousel with reasonable success.
Sat on the line for my first timed run I saw Steve's time come up on the screen as a mid 36 second run so knew that
I had to put in a good time to put him under pressure for the next run. I spun the rear wheels in the tyre warming
area and rolled forward to be staged on the line. Building the revs up to launch speed I got a really good drive
and set off down the hill, into 2nd then 3rd and then had 2 attempts at getting 4th and finally 5th. Cursing myself
for the missed gear change I feathered the throttle into hollow and then back on all round the long Hollow bend.
Onto the brakes and into the bottom of Karousel, charging up to the top and deciding that I would use 1st gear to
get a good drive out. As I hit the throttle to the floor there was an almighty metallic bang from the rear of the
car but as there was no vibration or loss of drive I grabbed 2nd gear and pushed on as hard as I could for the
finish. As I was slowing down to go into the top paddock all hell broke loose at the rear of the car and I realised
that I had broken a drive shaft. I had still done a 35.8 run so was really pleased.
With the assistance of other drivers in the class, including Steve, we set about a way of supporting the broken
drive shaft so I could get the car back to the paddock. Despite our best efforts with baler twine and pieces of
wood from the hedgerows we were not successful and it was time for the batch to return to the bottom paddock. I had
no option other than to drive the car slowly back with the broken shaft flaying around hoping that it would not do
any damage. It was a slow painful drive back down the hill and then towed back up to the paddock but we made
News had got back to Dee what the problem was and I was greeted by many offers of help and the tools, jack and
spare shaft were all out ready and waiting. 20 minutes later and the scrutineers were happy that the car was safe
to race again and we had time to refuel and then watch the final batch of racing cars complete their run.
The second run for Dee was the one we had been waiting for since June with another personal best of 40.17 and
again going through the finish at 89mph. I knew she would be happy with the time but also being so close to a sub
40 second run there would be some frustration at having to wait until next year to try again. Last season she would
have been very cautious taking the car out following repairs, but she drove a very brave second run, putting the
repairs to the back of her mind and getting on with the job in hand. Growing confidence in herself and cars braking
and handling will allow Dee to be quicker through the Karousel complex and therefore get into the 39s. Her closest
rivals in the class, Dave and Phil in the V8 MGB both recorded mid 39 second runs so there really is going to be a
close battle next season
My second run was a bonus and it was with some trepidation that I took the car to the line. I knew that I had
refurbished the drive shafts at the same time years ago so had in the back of my mind that if one had broken then
the other one could be weakened and go at any time. I did not warm the tyres (and got an even quicker start) and
again set of down the hill. Hard on the throttle all round Hollow bend I was somewhat disturbed that I was noticing
the marks in the track where one of the single seater's had left the course in a somewhat marked manner, but I also
was looking out into the field and thinking he went a long way off.
Dragging my attention back to what I should be focusing on, I was into and then out of Karousel and ashes and
off to the finish. 35.4 was an improvement but not quite enough to overhaul a very good friend of ours in his
supercharged Exige. He beat me by 9 hundredths of a second.
I had beaten Steve in the TVR and won the class overall for the season. More importantly I had won the pink Hat
challenge by 5 to 1.
Once again this has been a season that has finished far too soon. The friendly ( I assume that it is still
friendly) rivalry between Steve and myself in our own private contest has added huge amounts of fun and banter and
I think has pushed us both on to achieve quicker times. The evening BBQ s have always been very enjoyable. The
chocolate sausage being one of the many high lights. We have a new game to play with our times slips, Top Trumps.
We have a class that other competitors watch and comment on as being a good class to be part of.
On a personal note I would like to extend a massive thank you to Mark and Elaine of Tisbury Motors Ltd for their
continued support and belief in us and the car. Also to a new sponsor who approached us earlier in the year with
offers of support, Martin Jones of Superstart. Your help and support is really appreciated and hopefully this
seasons results for both Dee, Me and the car go some way to re-assuring you that your belief has not been
With a few tweaks planned for the closed season we are now already looking forward to April next year when the
fun starts again.