Well, that is what some would say.
September to April. Birthdays, Christmas, race meetings and matters of import to attend. Dog washed, Ollie shaved, Children paid. Done! Time to go and play again, but first, a recap.
I got home from the trip of a lifetime in September 2015, to the happy home and hearth with my wonderful wife Kim and big hairy beastie (son Zac) , not to mention wee hairy beastie Biskit (Brusselois Griffin/Maltese terrier cross) and then the surprise when our beautiful Sophie came back from Germany to visit for my birthday.
Quite frankly, it was so very special and more appreciated for having been away so long.
I declined to race at the Ice-Breaker meeting the weekend after I arrived (given my 5 months away) and got stuck in instead to odds and sods around the house and of course a few jobs in the workshop! I had to get on and organise my 60th birthday as well and had the MOST fun at a birthday party anyone could expect to have. Brilliant fun, especially with good friends coming from all over, including Michele and Marty Bullock, all the way from Perth WA.
My mob; Sophie, moi, Zachary and my gorgeous and generous Kim celebrating my 60th. Danced my ‘ol feet off all night. Loved it.
Back to racing, I got the AlfaSud ready for a run in January 2016 .
New oils, clutch, tyres and lets have some fun. What could go wrong? She had been running so sweetly for the last 4 meetings and surely she isn’t jealous of the Elfin FJ.
Well,…. the bottom pulley decided it would prefer to race on its own.
The cam gears and belts all left with it. A bit like a walkout by the miners really and the engine stopped (really quickly). 1x head, 16 valves and a near new block can now leave the workshop!
For the next event, the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing (NZ Festival of Motor Racing) I thought I’d get the Brabham out for a play.
Did I mention that as soon as I got back, a Brabham BT21 called out to me in my sleep and I had to go and rescue it (from 5 years of hibernation?)
Our friend Michael Parakowhai trying the Brabham out for size.
Well,….. pulling out for the first lap of practice, the gear selector broke. OK. Fixed that!
Next session, the welch plug in the head ‘popped out’ and 6 litres of water also left (without a leave pass). A new head gasket, welch plug and help from the irrepressibly cheerful Peter Boel saw me start the motor up at about 10pm Thurs prior to qualifying/racing on Friday.
Head gasket didn’t like me/us and tried to leave (everything is trying to leave!!) but only got halfway out of the back of the block before all the water went with it (again) and for once, Ollie conceded defeat!
Yes fans, the bastard got me down!
But only for a few minutes and then I had a cup of tea and went to play with other folks cars and problems.
February rolls in. The weather is sunny and warm, pool is nice, wine plentiful cool and rich, attitudes good. (It IS a great place to live here). AlfaSud in bits.
Shall I ‘give it a crack’. Suppose a man should eh?
Got stuck into the spare parts and old bits and bobs bin to look for race AlfaSud parts.
Hmmm,… some half racing heads, a used high compression piston, a couple sets of used rings, and a used but serviceable block.
Hahahaha. Yes tax dodgers, we can do this. Give it a crack indeed.
A week and a day later, we are fired up and running with the cobbled together but sweetly running AlfaSud, albeit using standard Alfa valves, springs and hydraulic camshaft. To the track and with the limiter set at 7200 instead of the usual 8400rpm, we had a splendid weekend, the White Witch running in 2 grids for 2 qualifying and 6 races over the weekend and not a single part tried to depart or otherwise leave the car or me for the whole time.
Perfect!! Good car! Go to bed now!
(She is parked up on the hoist to await my return from Season II Europe).
The Jubilee Season 2016.
I leave on 24th April to prepare the ‘Wee Warrior’ for Monaco Historic.
What an opportunity! Seven Kiwis are on the trip to Europe this year, all with Formula Juniors. Five will be at Monaco and six at Pau and Dijon! Keep an eye out for us, the Union Jack with 4 red stars is our flag, in the pits and on the cars. Come and say Hi. We love to chat with you, especially if you are a reader of this rambling missive.
For now, I need to go and pack that bag; spare main and big end bearings, wheel nuts and bearings, head gaskets and timing light. All manner of things so much more important than an extra pair of jeans or loafers. Priorities people, its just a matter of priorities!
See you soon, ciao for now.