Mallory Park, 4 September 2005
Following on from our last report, the new Pace radiator was fitted by Auto Integrale, along with a new head gasket, the head being lightly skimmed. Also new for this month were a new header tank, a nice alloy one and a decent strength radiator cap, while the thermostat will now be absent for future races. Time and finances conspired against us, and a planned pre-Mallory test at Millbrook didn't happen. Mallory has never been a kind circuit to Nyssa Racing, so we took the view of treating this race as a test.
A leisurely trip up to Mallory Park on the Saturday afternoon prevented any problems accessing the paddock on Sunday as we've suffered in the past, and thanks to the hospitality of Simon and Fiona Jackson, I found myself being fed and getting a great night's sleep in their caravan - thanks for that.
Coming down the start-finish straight I could see something small and red approaching fast. Thought I knew most of the cars in the series, but couldn't work this one out - as it went past it turned out to be new boy in Class D Andy McLennan in his Suzuki ever-so-Swift, that little thing was flying. Did another lap or two by which time I'd figured that the boost gauge was only showing 1 bar instead of 1.2 bar (although it felt like no bars at all) and the fuel pressure gauge was only showing 2.5 bar when I was sure it should be more like 4 bar. Decided to call a halt to proceedings and came back into the paddock. The last lap I did was my fastest, but still a full 2 seconds slower than I did here last year with the V6 and mis-matched tyres.
Back in the paddock (after many volunteers pushed the kappa back in) I had no idea what might be wrong. With bonnet off, nothing seemed particularly obvious. Luckily for me, help was at hand. Julian Brown is supported this season by Wolf Direct Racing, and Richard of WDR came over to offer assistance (and many thanks for the help). The inability to restart the kappa suggested fuel starvation of some kind, and this was backed up by the lower than usual fuel pressure. Richard removed the fuel pump from the tank to check it over (easy to say in a sentence, but removal was an awkward job that seemed to take an age). The design is similar to many of the Fiat/Lancia/Alfa Romeo range in that the pump sits in a swirl pot submersed in the tank. It was possible that petrol wasn't flowing over the top of the swirl pot to get to the pump so Richard drilled some holes in the casing to give the fuel another route. About this time Tony Soper came over, commented he had a similar problem with the Alfa GTV the week before, and did the same but it didn't really work!
All this work by Richard did at least improve the fuel pressure up to 3 bar so it was decided to give the race a go and see what happened.
There was much early attrition in the race, while rounding Gerrards I passed the Suzuki Swift crawling round, race done and we lost Drummond Bone's Maserati Barchetta to an accident on lap 3. Up front Joss Ronchetti was harrying his little Sunbeam round climbing all over Mark Taylor's Honda Accord, after 5 laps there was still less than half a second between them before the Honda slowly pulled a small gap as it went through the traffic lapping the backmarkers. The Honda expired after 18 laps leaving the Sunbeam to take the race win from Tony Soper some 40 seconds behind - the only two finishers in Class A.
So no points again, Joss played his joker to get in front of us in the standings. We really needed 4 good finishes to ensure 3rd in class, but now as its not going to happen, we will not be running at Snetterton to give us a chance to see what is wrong. We hope to be up and running again for the final race of the season at Rockingham.
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