Not exactly the perfect start to the year!

The track basked in glorious sunshine, it was the first day of the school half-term and yet there wasn’t even a cadet in site, never mind a Bambino! It was an open track at Llandow, what could possibly go wrong?

It was the first time out on our droopy bumper and, as I pushed the kart up to the dummy grid, I turned to manoeuvre the gap between the office and the garages and merely tapped the metal gate… instantly knocking back one side of the bumper!?! The brackets do not appear to be very compatible with the pre-2015 OTK bumper bars at all; I wonder if I’ll get any sympathy from the MSA?

We had two goals for the day: 1. Run in the race motor 2. Run in the practice motor. Junior was pottering around in his first session when one of the other dads commented that someone had lost a wheel! Don’t ever get distracted by somebody talking to you whilst you are checking that your lad has properly tightened the wheel nuts :/ Worse, he realised something was wrong but thought he’d try to make it back to the pits! Guess what shape the mount holes on that rim are now?

It was even pleasantly warm!

It was even pleasantly warm!

With that little hiccup behind us, Junior progressed to run the engine in. It was a beautiful day to the point I was actually having to remove layers and, with only a few junior and seniors and no younger drivers, we could come and go as we pleased. It gave us the luxury of letting the engine cool between sessions and we’d achieved our first goal by early afternoon. Then things took a backward step: we were under a little pressure to get out before an arrive/drive group went out so I hadn’t checked the spark or started the engine on the stand. Of course the kart didn’t start: it was clear that there was no spark. We took the kart back to our pit area and true enough: there was nothing. Replacing the spark plug did not help. I checked the spade connectors on the PVL which seemed to be seated ok and then snipped a little off of the HT lead and re-seated the spark plug. At this point I wondered if the spade connectors had been seated the right way around. I couldn’t be certain they hadn’t been but I re-seated them as per my other engine; the motor started straight away! Back to business then? Not quite: the kart started but Junior could get the engine to pick up beyond 5,000 rpm and pulled over. I wondered if a spade connector had come loose since, although I’d firmly seated them, I didn’t have any wire to tie them on. Things looked ok and we tried again with the same result: Junior did another 150m and then stopped once again. After a spot of physical exercise that involved lifting the trolley over several fences to avoid having to push the trolley around the track through the what was effectively swampland, we got back to work. Another carb showed the same behaviour: the engine fired but ran running really poorly. By the time I had swapped over the finger guard/ignition coil from the ‘good’ engine and still not made any progress, we had reached the point where we could either put the race motor back on (to ensure that it was ok after I’d removed the ignition more than anything else!) or pack up and go home. It was 4pm and we had a lot of packing up to do, none of which can really be done in the dark so our day was done.

Having spent the day getting in my first sunburn of the season, we got back, had some tea and I took the engine over to my trusted karting dad advisor 😉 who also happens to own a torque wrench (it *really* is about time I got myself one of those). His verdict was that the engine would be flooded and the engine just hadn’t been able to burn off the fuel that had accumulated during my attempts to start it on the stand. Sure enough, with the head and barrel removed (I could have just removed the spark plug but I like to check the head and barrel over) we turned it upside and down and a fair amount of fuel drained out. There could still be an ignition problem but I am really hoping the engine does not have to go back to the builder and we can use it this coming race weekend.

And that, as they say, was that. We’ll be hoping for better luck when we visit at the weekend!

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