After a late arrival at the circuit on the Friday night – I couldn’t get into the Pit garage as it was locked and both key holders had gone for the night so it was up early and in the drizzle I prepared the car outside the caravan.
A clean bill of health through scrutineering apart from having to cover two drain holes above the petrol tank in the floor (they always have to try and find something!). Quali was dry and the car felt good but then disaster as after just one qualifying lap the alternator belt disintegrated then got caught up in the timing belt and that was that – wrecked head.
As it was the last weekend of the season and I am only an hour and a half from home I decided the car was fixable. So withdrawing from race 1 as I knw two hours was too shorter time. I agreed with Andy Green the Clarke of the Course that as I had raced within 12 months at Snett that if I had the car repaired I could start race 2 at the back of the grid.
In the pit garage I removed the head and apart from a few light marks on the pistons they were fine but it looks like every valve has bent. So its off back to my workshop to get a replacement head after borrowing a head gasket off of Ian Boulton. I know I have a head but I need a new alternator belt and oil so a quick call to Essex Motor Factors in Braintree and we have all the parts we need.
I didn’t allow for Saturday lunchtime traffic so it turned into a 3 and half hour round trip. The engine goes back together as it should with the replacement head and by 8:30pm it is all setup for race day.
Sunday morning and a quick chat with the Clarke’s gets me on the grid but its raining, it does ease off by the race but still needs wet tyres. Mine are shot and in the race this shows and the car has no grip but its running perfectly so although trailing at the back the aim is to finish the race. Race completed and the car is in one piece, finishing the season in the best condition its left a race weekend all year!
A few jobs for the winter but hopefully next year will be more successful!