I always enjoyed the Owen Motor Club Graham Hill Sprint in the Panda, and it’s not just the association with one of my favourite drivers. I like the 8 configuration, the Owen Motor Club always run a great event, and this year the weather was perfect for my first HSA outing of the season. Not bad.
I was hoping to pick up where I’d left off at the MAC Sprint a few weeks back. But motorsport isn’t like that. On my first practice run I tried to pull away after the molehill and depressingly was in neutral. It took a few goes to get it in to gear and by that time any prospect of a decent run was history. The same happened next time out. Cue deep depression. Followed by it dawning on me that I’d fixed this sort of issue before when I couldn’t select 4th.
That was achieved by moving the gear lever forwards. The lower end is held in a ball joint, and the position of this can be altered by screwing it in and out of the threaded boss on the chassis. 2 turns of the bearing increased the travel in the 2nd/4th direction and come the first official run run the gear shift worked perfectly. I actually cheered inside my helmet. Run 1 was timed at 69.04 – not great but much better than the practice pace. I tried to keep it steady for run 2 and was really pleased to take 0.3s off my PB. Today the HSA website shows I scored 13 points and leaped straight into 53rd place in the championship. I’m really looking forward to getting more rounds in this year. Watch out Carol.
In terms of running the car I moved on some more too. I’m getting quite practiced at cutting the engine at the right point to stop it getting too hot and I’ve developed a technique to stop the clutch overheating and dragging at the start. Basically I approach the line and put the car into neutral whilst the start line marshalls do their stuff. When I’m about to go I put my foot on the brake to arrest any movement as I put it into 1st, then off the brake and onto the throttle to go. Might not be optimal but it does seem to work and remove the heat stress/creep etc.
Next outing Prescott. First time on a hill in the FF.