Practice 12: Engine test

I picked up the engine from the builders on Friday: he had had good look at the electrical side and could find no issues – the thing sparked every time. The crank misalignment had been resolved and some bearings replaced. My wallet was £138 lighter but more concerning was the uncertainty this left us with over the state of the engine and it left me with a decision: practice this weekend so that I could check the engine out or next weekend on the practice Saturday before we race. No really a choice, huh? It meant that the kart, which I’m a little bit ashamed to say had gone untouched since Dunks (I know… but you know I am usually *very* prompt at cleaning up), was going to need a fair bit of work done to get it ready. In the evening. In my dingy garage. With minimal lighting (even the street light outside my garage was broken!). Fours hours later and we were pretty much good to go – it was bedtime and I had barely seen the family although that seems to happen a lot since we bought this thing 🙁

Saturday – we were two miles from Clay when I realised I hadn’t actually checked to see if the track was open for practice!!! *Never* do this! Luckily, they were only two vans there when we arrived: there definitely was no event on 🙂 The track was bathed in the kind of glorious sunshine for which Clay is renowned:

If view when arriving at Clay October through April!

The view when arriving at Clay anytime from October through April!

There were two problems to begin with: when you are wanting to test a motor that has a suspected electrical issue, you really want to be able to test the spark. And for that, your starter really needs it’s battery, which I had left the battery at home on charge! Next problem was the flat tyre on our trolley: I hadn’t sorted it out which meant I’d be spending the day pumping up the trolley tyre between sessions. Ho hum – on with engine testing…

The kart started first time and we kept the kart to below 12,000rpm for the first session. That went smoothly and I pulled Junior in after ten minutes to let the engine cool and make sure all was well. The second session was hampered by a ‘feeling’. Junior has these from time to time and will drive straight into the pits and report them! Sometimes I really wish he’d just spend another lap trying to identify these ‘feelings’ although there are times when I wish he would just STOP THE KART IMMEDIATELY!!! You can’t have it both ways I guess 😉 It was time for slicks anyway so we took the kart off to check it out. I couldn’t find any real issues although the chainguard was knocking on the finger guard and he has objected to his side pods being too loose before so I tightened those a little. Typically, by the time our next session started it was starting to rain. Junior stuck in a handful of laps before coming in complaining about revs again. This was becoming a pretty big issue – he had reported it at Dunks last week and I really could have done without it becoming a persistent issue. It was raining pretty heavily now so we covered up the kart and sat in the car for an early lunch (scoff all you like – I bet you have an awning! ;)). Keen not miss two session, I got my waterproofs on an got the kart set up for the wet. The sun was shining by the time I had finished :-]

Anyway….we looked a little off the pace in the wet. I think fundamentally Junior doesn’t have the confidence to push as hard as he needs to. It’s one of things that comes practice I guess. It was a pretty windy day so, once the rain stopped, the track dried quite quickly. Junior was never going to be setting any PBs today and his revs never really got much above 15,000rpm but his lines *really* improved over the course of the afternoon – he clearly had a lot more confidence when the grip was there and I couldn’t really fault what he was doing (consistency excepted!). He looked pretty quick, which was really encouraging to see. I’ll be doing a Sun Dance on Saturday evening in a bid to keep the rain away – I am quite keen to see where were are in the overall scheme of things (I’ll be going by how many seconds off the penultimate finisher we are!). We had the odd problem – Junior came straight back in complaining something wasn’t right and, when we looked at it on the trolley, the engine mount bolts were loose and the chain had much more slack than it should. I think I may have only hand tightened the engine restraining bolt – I should be above this now 🙁 but at least I didn’t lose the mount brackets and bolts. The revs issue also raised it’s ugly head again although I think we might have solved this one – after changing the carb, he said it was fine for 15 laps before it happened again and he came in. At this point I noticed that the fuel was pretty low and, running a 3l tank, I am wondering if the fuel is moving from side to side around bends and we are starting to get air into the system. We kept the tank topped up and had no problems thereafter. Consider this a tip 😉

Of course it had to rain when we were 20 minutes from home, just to ensure I spend three hours rather than one tomorrow cleaning up :/

Cost of day: £12 petrol, £9 fuel for the kart, £35 practice fee

Costs since last post: £138 engine repairs

Total spent so far: £4,140 (Ouch – we’ve broken £4k!!! If you see my missus, don’t mention this blog!)

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