Race 2.

To start, a shot of me being carried home with a broken rear leg. A bit regal? Usually have to cop $10 to get a ride over bumpy ground like I had here.

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Then, a bit of dissemble, a bit of paint scraping and grinding and filing, then welding and brazing a nice brace piece over the break and we are ready for action.

So was the weather! But we work with what we have or what we get, not what we want, and a wet day above ground surely kicks off better than a dry day below it. 1529229813307_image1-1431197102.jpeg

Onward Wee Warrior, to the battle. Grid position 8th now due to no clear lap in R1. 10th or 11th into T1 but took a bit too long to make the passes in the wet. Ended up chasing down Magnus in the Stanguellini and thought I had a lap to go and would have had a crack, but the chequered flag beat me and a happy 4th place is where we finished. Back in the van (after dancing with downpours for 5 or 7hrs) and a check of the dead gearbox (4th gear seized on the shaft) meant I’m ready to ride. Onward to Denmark and a flight home to spend time with my cherished Kim. Oh hell yes, ….   She got a shape I love to squeeze,…  lips that bring me to my knees,. . oh please, let it roll tonight! (thanks to Littlefeat) .

Wet? Lake Watkins encroached then broached the scant defences of Fort Ollie img_20180617_145539505401192853.jpg

Then on the road to Denmark. THIS is a bridge, and halfway, the bugger disappears into the sea, just like into a James Bond villains hideaway.

And on into Denmark. Lovely place. Both Sweden and Denmark are a lot like NZ. Lots of animals in the fields, small farmlets and farm village towns.

Found the coolest laundromat ever.

The Laundromat Cafe. Wash and Dryers in the back, great coffee in the front, wonderful staff and even got to chat and have a laugh with Kim from California. If you can’t gossip and debate in a laundromat, where can you? Got all my smellies even my race suit clean and dry so I can travel back home nice and light. Anyone reading this this that needs laundry done in Copenhagen, I can’t recommend this place highly enough. And only NZ$1 for the wash and 50 cents got my race suit, jeans and 2 towels bone dry. Coffee was perfect.

A little bit of Cats Cradle above my friend Jacs place in Bigerod

Thanks for listening to /reading the ramblings of a silly old bugger on the run. Cheers and ciao

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Karlskoga R1.

Things were looking ok. Car feeling snappy (not exactly pirahna snappy, but good) got a bit of slide and dance in the warmup, but 1st gear had decided it wasn’t staying for the game, so a 2nd gear start dropped me 6th to 10th or so by turn 1.

Got by a couple but was being baulked by the rear engine Emeryson until finally got a good run through the esses and an inside line for the tight left. Game on, as there is now a bit of a gap to the Nota (which has a Swift engine and it a bit fast now) but within a half lap, have made good gain and flying over the start finish. Yes  siree, we have a fun time coming.

This track has several sections like Taupo. It’s basically a flat track, fast swooping double apex, left right left right stuff and two hairpins but with nice camber that you can really attack, so I did. Go in fast, turn in and let the bum run wide and ‘stay in it’. Three quarters of a lap and I’m closing and this feels like a fast one. Woo Hoo, all is well with the world! Well,…… would you believe…. Right rear lower suspension control arm called it quits where it was repaired at Croft in 2016.and parking in the middle if the big green patch was a bit disappointing.

However, as ever, we can fix it so where the TIG weld had made it brittle, we brazed and made up a racing strip and brazed that around the repair and we’ll be back on track in about an hour from now, Sunday morning. Has rained overnight but seems to be clearing. Be good to have a decent drop fall for us and set the cat among the pigeons.

Lats-Goran and some of his mates put on a herring sample, complete with about 10 varieties of aquavite. A dangerous evening transpired. I’d best go check I put the suspension in the right way up.

Fastest lap in the race sets grid for R2 today, so never did complete a fast one across the line so now 8th off the line. Will let you know how it goes.

Another beautiful sunset at around 10.30pm.img_20180613_232236125-1773336079.jpg

Karlskoga, Sweden

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This is the tent, which houses about half the Formula Juniors. Several of the rear engine cars are already out, preparing for their qualifying. 20 cars in here and it was the scene of much (MUCH?) activity since Wednesday afternoon.

We got here early and started by pulling t he dead engine from Dave Watkins (Watto) Elfin. Then fit the engine that got the new cam and woo Hoo, we have a runner. 9:38am Thurs we got 1st session of free practice. The schedules are very precise here! Free practice 22 was scheduled at 16:47 and that is exactly when they went out.

Last lap off my session 1 and Ollies gearbox got stuck in 3rd or 4th but coasted home OK. Turned out to be properly jammed but can still select all other gears (which of course locks the box) so,……img_20180615_145835919_hdr640875299.jpg

Out comes the gearbox again, and in goes the one from Zolder that wasn’t holding 1st gear. img_20180615_163606684_hdr-1563935040.jpg

At around 7pm, with the help of world class Good Bastard (again) Watto. Then we retired for a beer and fantastic Spanish Omelette by Kathy, with the Wee Warrior ready to race.

Yes, getting it done DID give him a chubby (me too). Mind you, dusk here was at 23:51 hrs. Linkages redone as well as another cracked braze joint on chassis for which I found a piece of steel and beat it into a shape for a brace to go over the joint, then brazed it up. Magic from Iain Rowley (another Good Bastard)  and its all beautiful (got to get myself a portable gas set!).  And after a good qualifying session where I got the old girl dancing g a bit again. img_20180616_100107459-535822615.jpg

Yes, she is in one piece and only issue is to put a couple of nappies on for oil leak.. Here’s looking for a good race this afternoon! P6 but lots of cars that will swamp me into turn 1, so will be interesting.

Welcome to Sweden

Just a real quick one while I try to get my head down. It’s 11.30pm, but 00.30 am in Latvia where we came from. img_20180613_232236125-1773336079.jpg

I can read the number plate of the trailer across the car park, 100metres away. Mist across all the grassy areas. Be magic when the sun comes up.  Suppose that’ll be about 2am?

Cheers n ciao all, Ollie

A few pics for ya

Just before we get off the ferry into Stockholm and I lose WiFi.

Kaunas and Riga ring.

Yes, there IS. a workshop at the track. Just get down the south east corner, look for the Ollie Trolley (big yella) and the Winnedavo. We’ll be there, up to elbows in oils and spanners. Dave Watkins is pulling the motor from his delectable Elfin; the new engine we fitted after Kaunas lasted 3 laps of Riga before melting one piston at least, so we’ll fit his prev engine with a new cam to replace that broken one from last week. Heartbreak hotel? Or Optimist Motel? You choose it every day on this trip. Bill Hemming could only look on in awe and wonder as spandex clad legs and legs and legs and butt’s crossed the threshold of belief and caressed the upholstery of the Tojiero. The Emeryson had a new box fitted at Zolder and I brazed up all LG suspension mounts and a couple of chassis cracks after the bingle. Had to pull that box out again at Riga when we couldn’t get 1st to hold in the Kaunas races. A new slider (Hahahaha, … a replacement 1st/2nd gear slider off another old cluster) fitted but still pops out, so,…. maybe some tinkering to be done there or, it’ll be 2nd gear starts at Karlskoga too.

A recap of the tracks quickly;

Zolder. Fantastic flow, fast to the point where confidence gets you 4 – 6 seconds a lap.

Kaunas. Oh my goodness. A long track with huge rise and fall and corners that could be so, very, VERY fast. But,…. bumpy. Did I say bumpy or BUMPY? The Emeryson is pretty hard in the suspension and the shocks are piss poor in the one click for wet tracks and 2 for dry are the only settings I can use. On top of the bingle at Zolder, it just shook to literal guts out of the Wee Warrior. A few more chassis cracks discovered after the event. Absolutely fabulous track layout though and be so sweet to have been able to run it as at Mosport where flat through turns 1, 2, 3 and 4 would have Benn possible if I wasn’t scared to death a swish one or ball joint was going to ask for a leave of absence. Back story is that 3 million euro was found by govt or EU to resurface the whole track (about 4kms) and a contract let, only for the contractor to transfer all the money to a Russian bank and reappear some time later is Lenin grad. Such a shame.

Riga ring. Another wonderful layout and much smoother than Kaunas. Which in the Emeryson is a bit like saying getting smacked in the arse for half a lap with a 3×2 is much better than getting slapped in the arse for 3/4ths of a lap by a 4×2.

In free practice got a great run going with cold air and OK grip for a 1.43. In qualifying got a decent lap 2 as we warmed up for 1.44 then several baulked laps before an apparent huge clutch slip developed. Bollocks says I, well see if we can drive around it with some short shift and corner speed. Got three more laps but 1.45 and 1.46 seemed OK.

Back to pits and getting g ready to pull the box again (not a happy face Ollie in that moment) to discover that the LG hub was broken and slippage was all due to one wheel drive. Along with finding another bunch of accident (Zolder) or bump (hahaha) related damage, 7hrs later we were ready to race. 6th place qualifying saw me launch to 10th at turn 1 then scrap back up to 6th for a most enjoyable race. Expecting the same for R2, decided to put the beastie back in the van without further damage so we’ll be ready to rumble at Karlskoga.. Just called to cars for unloading off ferry at Stockholm, so….. ciao for now.

 

On, to Alaska, go north the rush is on

Not quite, but Lithuania and Latvia.
Evening starts at 9 and if you wait for dark to go to bed, its late! Around 11:45.
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Berlin. The story behind this one is;
Frederick the Great (yep,… apparently a HUGE swinging dick) said to his architect (who was building the palace here) that he had the BIGGEST dog. “It weighs a tonne”
So Wolfgang (or Willy to his mates) thinks a dog bowl for Frederick’s big mutt would be a good idea!
Engineers and literal instructions eh!
Anyway, not here to play silly buggers (errrr, actually I think I probably am).

Berlin is a fantastic place. Just terrific and so glad I stopped there.
Quite by chance, ended up outside the NZ embassy where my beautiful (and very smart) first born worked for 3 months.
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Monument to the innocent and holocaust.    Should have got so stoned?

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The toe-in had to be seen to be believed!
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Lithuania.
Steve Cowie made the most amazing flying visit to see a bit of the Baltic run, flying into Vilnius and then cutting across to Kaunas, a spectacularly beautiful place.

Got himself into a hot spot with some local girls.
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And from where we had a most delightful lunch, a house that rather “gives you the eye”.

Couple of contrasting images of old Kaunas Castle, and more recent Soviet era construction.

Vilnius LT

My very dear friends Kath and Dave (Watto).. “Lost with maps”. Wheres the palace?And an interesting and well placed “bird” (?) in the bush.

Feel like you are being watched? You probably are, and not just by Google and Facebook.Only action to take,…. track em right back

The Baltic Tour.

Where to start?
Maybe first with the pic I missed in prev post.
Yep,….. looks like it was hit square on by a Scud missile, but no.

Actually have needed to remove the gearbox twice on this trip.,…. so this ugly picture (and a unseen cloud of cussing) has been a little ‘testing’.
However, eternal optimism prevails even though the removed, stripped, repaired (1st gear slider and pinion shaft bearing) box is again jumping out of 1st on power takeoff. Hell, whats wrong with using a 120kph 2nd gear for race starts?

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Ok, so a little catchup,…….
Donington Historic. Great weekend and a great run after an average qualifying.

Zolder in Belgium. Cracking track, however,…. in practice I over-ran the chicane and thought safer to take the kerb than spun.
Bad call!.
Not so much a kerb as a judder bar worthy of the most sever you’d find in a hospital car park. If that was a “sleeping” policeman, the bastard is in a coma now!
Cleaned up the gearbox casing, rear main plate got bent unto the sump and sump crushed back into the crank and launched the whole car about 1.5 metres into the air.
Managed to bang the plate enough to get sump off, fitted spare and good to go.
Qualifying was going good and getting the hang of a quite technical track with several chicanes, each of which is critical to carrying speed for the entire next sector.
Then the right front lower ball joint popped apart in the second chicane. Sounds more exciting than it was, but a moment all the same.
Race 1 good and thoroughly enjoyed some duck and dicing.
Race 2 was a cracking good time.. From my rearward qualifying spot (and 2nd gear start), made good ground and was having a fine old time throwing and dancing the Wee Warrior through the chicanes and having the very best fun.
But wait,…. theres more.
A desperate (and very unneccesary) late braking attempt into an acute right hander ended with him locked up and sliding into me on the outside racing line and punted me into the armco.
Broken nose, punctured lung, several cracked ribs (no, not me,… the car!) and a highly pissed off Ollie. Nose cone almost ripped in half, new radiator ripped apart at the welds (like an opened sardine can) and mounts for radiator and oil cooler all munted. 5 or 6 cracks/tears in chassis joints. Muppets!

So, added to the need for a gearbox change came a number of other tasks to be attended before the next three weekends of Baltic racing. Anyone for open air vehicle servicing?