Thursday night saw us working away in the garage again and by 9pm the car was running and back on its wheels, ready to load up.
Driving it on to the trailer i noticed the brake servo wasnt working. We realised we hadnt connected the vaccum hose. With the bonnet off it soon be came apparent why. There was no fitting for it!! There is normally a sandwich plate between the carb and the manifold with a take off plate. mmm deciding that was a problem for the morning we loaded up and put every thing back in the garage ready for a 6am start.
With Pops being closer to the unit he drags the car over with the transit and I go directly from home in the discovery, and we both arrived at Rockingham for 8am.
The testing was split into 3 groups with each group getting 2 sessions in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. We were in group 3 not going out untill 10:40 for our first session. THis gave us plenty of time to take the carb back off and drill and tap the manifold for a vaccum take off, reassemble everything and then do the wheel alignment check we didnt have time for during the week.
Session 1 : The track was cold but dry as we headed out. the car didnt feel quite right and iI had a big sideways moment on the 2nd corner. The car was also venting oil smoke from the bonnet and vibrating under braking, so after 1 lap i was back in the pit lane. A quick inspection under the bonnet showed a leaking valley gasket so it was straight back to the paddock. Oil on the rear wheels had prompted the interesting handling.
So carb off manifold off new valley gasket all back on an a dash of oil, together with a check of the brakes and a spot of weld on a chassis braket and we were ready to go.
Session 2: W ith the time taken for the repairs we only managed 6 laps, learning the circuit really, but the car didnt seem very powerfull andthe logger was showing very low readings.
Lunch time was spent checking jet s and re-timing the car. Richard Moore from Moore racing also thought we had a tight tappet that needed looking at.
Session 3: At last a full session, with everything working. the car felt nice and stable , hitting the apexes and drifting nicely to the exits. The times were only a few seconds off the turbo cars which was a good result. I still felt that the car was down on power and loosing a lot of time on the run around the banking. Power is very important at Rockingham, and our main class competitor is right on the class limit.
Session 4: After only two laps the car started to feel slower. it felt like a miss-fire but didnt sound like one, just a little flat. The same as the car felt when it snapped the rocker shaft and became a five cylinder engine the year before. Worried about the engine I pulled off.
Pops and Richard Moore had a look at the car and agreed somthing was sick. I had to leave so left them to it. Pops also left soon after leaving the diagnosis to Moore Racing. At about 9pm i got a phone call telling me that the valve collet on one of the valves was pushing past the retainer and about to drop the valve into the engine. Yikes good job i came in.
As we were not racing until Sunday we had saturday and saturday night to sort the engine. Unfortunetly Moore Racing were at Snetterton running their BMW M5 in the Wilhire on saturday so they wouldnt be there, but the fully equiped truck and awning would be. All we had to do was source all possible bits and repair the engine on saturday.