Testing times

August bank holiday and a busy weekend for Loram Racing! After a hectic Saturday and Sunday spent preparing the cars we first had Brian racing the Tigra in the West of England meeting at Mendips on Monday. Since its crash last time out the car is sporting some new panels as well as a new steering column and a few other repairs. We’d also made some adjustments to the rear end in an attempt to find some more traction. So, with practice safely out of the way Brian headed out for heat one in front of the biggest crowd any of us could ever remember seeing at Mendips. (Who knew they had an overflow carpark? Even that was full!!!)

That was about as far as we were to get however as the diff pretty much blew itself to pieces as Brian was warming the tyres on the way to the line. With the back end of the car locked up tight it was time for a tractor ride back to the pits and an early bath. At the time we thought it was the gearbox which had blown, it was only once back at the garage that we discovered it was the diff…at least it’s the slightly cheaper option! As for the rest of the meeting, well, it had an unsurprising result.

So, one day and one car down. It was an early start the following day as we made the longer journey to Llandow in South Wales with Ross’ 206 in tow. With so many changes being made to the car since its one and only hotrod meeting in Ross’ hands we decided a little bit of track time before its circuit racing debut next month would be a good idea! Although not 100% finished to the level we’d like it at for its first race outing it was near enough to test and get an idea of where we are…and if Ross’ driving is even upto the job!

The first few laps of the circuit were certainly an eye opening experience for Ross, not least as the new brakes were still wearing in and proving pretty useless until they’d done so! After a quick trip into the pits to stop a tiny water leak from the overflow off the header tank it was back out on track. With the brakes starting to come in a bit more the 206 was starting to lap a little faster but just after changing into 4th on the main straight there was a definite change in note from the engine (ironically just half a lap after Brian had remarked to Trevor how sweet it was sounding!) Ross killed the engine and coasted back in but all agreed it sounded mighty similar to when the engine first suffered a failure back in April. A quick listen in the pits seemed to confirm the theory so we did exactly what anyone would do in the same situation….went and had a fry-up at the café.

Half an hour later and feeling mighty full we could now take a closer look at the somewhat cooler engine. It was shortly after that we rather embarrassingly realised the fuel pump was only working intermittently. Once fixed and providing enough fuel to the engine all was well once again so it was back out on track for some more practice. Ross was starting to try and push the car a little more now as he got used to the speed but he was having problems getting 2nd gear for the entry into the bus-stop chicane which resulted in a couple leery entries and one trip down the escape road. Apart from that problem though the car seemed to be performing quite well. Quite well that is until the car suddenly filled with smoke going down the back straight. After being pulled back to the pits it was clear all was not well with #26 as there was oil plainly visible right along the length of the car. After a bit of head scratching it appeared that the sump was simply coming loose, very loose in fact and allowing oil to seep out around the gaskets.

With time pressing on we decided to call it a day at that. Once the sump problem is fixed along with the gearbox issue we’ll have the major issues taken care of. There are of course lots of other things to be done before the first race meeting, 36 little things in fact according to the checklist here (everything from cooling to towing eyes) so we’d better get on with those, expect an update soon!

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