That wasnít much Fun

VIR Regional October 07


Well, we needed to test Seanís new FB car and I needed one more race to get my license renewed without having to appeal for dispensation. So the final race of the season was on our dance card.The summerís drought ended before the race weekend with 3 days of heavy rain.There goes the test day.As it turns out we ran into an assembly hurdle with the FB and would not be taking it out.Sean got to stay home after a bit of a new engine install thrash.Kathy had a NASA open house over the weekend and would stay home also.


I went.Drove the 200 miles Friday in varying degrees of downpours.Not Fun.With the evening hours promising some major thunder boomers, I just left the unloaded trailer and headed off to the motel.


Entries for the weekend were relatively huge with the region running two enduros.Even the standard racing classes were well subscribed.When is the last time anyone on the east coast has seen 5 DSRs and 4 CSRs for a regional?There were some new faces, like Bill Chapman in the yellow ex-Shelton Stohr.It could be interesting.


I got to the track early Saturday morning to unload and make an early (2nd group) practice session.With the rain only ending an hour or so earlier, everything was wet AND it was a bit chilly.With a totally wet track, it was tiptoe around on slicks.With the session being only 10 minutes, only 3 laps were possible.Hardly worth putting on the Nomex.


Geez, my wristwatch had ceased to function as well as the trailer electric clock.My sinuses werenít too happy with all the moisture either.Tried to download the data after the session only to find that my laptop had died also.Things were not looking positive. At least the car battery was still working.


The sole qualifying session got off just after lunch.I was entertained for the first couple of laps with a red Radical CSR.I passed him at the end of the straight going into the ďroller coaster.ĒMy exit of the left-hander carried a bit wider than usual or expected and I put two right wheels in the dirt (I wish) /mud.†† The right side of the nose section came ajar.(Cheetah weakness, easy to knock the nose ajar!).Being near the pits, I dove in and looked for some friendly faces.I gestured wildly to a couple of complete strangers for help.They finally came over, but were of course clueless on reattaching the nose fasteners.Much more gesturing and they did get the top clip redone.I speed back on course.Hadnít done a total lap at speed yet. Time was getting short.


Going into Oak Tree, the nose came adrift on both sides.With fiberglass bits getting under the tires, the car went wide and visited the mud.Didnít spin, but the nose was now still on, but barely.I drove slowly to the pits and retired.†† Not much fun.I would be starting dead last (22 nd) for the race.Pete Frost, who was having ignition/?? problems would be joining me in the cheap seats. Passing so many cars in the race would be just like my video game (but potentially much more expensive!).


I spent the remainder of the day, fitting the spare nose.The other one was a bit worse for wear.


I signed up for the Sunday morning hardship session.Meant another early morning.It wasnít damp, but at 40 degrees, it was cold.I was surprised at the traction available, but with only 3 laps, not much was accomplished except the knowledge that all seemed OK.Without a functioning laptop, data was not gonna help.


I waited around from 0845 to 3 PM for my race.I endured an hour of quiet time, lunch, and an hour and half enduro.Other than adding a couple of gallons of gas, there wasnít much entertainment.Not much Fun.


Time to race, at last.My plan was to drive carefully and make my way thru the field as best I could.The start was normal.I passed a few going into turn one.At turn one there was a cloud of tire smoke at the turn in point.The pack parted around a FM sitting in the middle of the turn with his cheek to the on coming traffic.We all slowed to a crawl and managed to clear him.The race resumed.I assumed that the spinner would be gone when we came back around.Wrong.Not a very actively waved yellow at the starterís stand.In turn one was the unfortunate FM, now with lot of body pieces scattered about.Appears that someone had hit him.I had to come to a complete stop this time.Whatís going on, the clutch is not working properly.It is not totally disengaging drive.I stall the motor, but bump start the motor and get off.Now it is hard to shift everywhere.I canít get out of 4th gear.Back around to turn one.†† Complete stop for everyone.They black flag the race.I canít get my car rolling for a long time.I am begging for a push. The workers act like zombies and ignore me.There are 5 or 6 of them standing around just staring at me.After a while I get the car bump started.I drive back to the paddock to my trailer and start to pack up. Not much fun this day.


I get packed up pretty quickly and drive down to the impound to talk with the more successful.There were cars, but no drivers were to be found.They had been taken out behind the wood shed by the Stewards.I waited 15 minutes or so before heading out (it was already 35 minutes after the race was done).I hope those guys got out before dark. At least I got home in time for dinner.Thanks Kathy for waiting it for me.


Post Mortem.The plate that holds the clutch slave cylinder came unbolted and got twisted.Slave got cocked and lost all fluid. A first time failure mode for the Cheetah, and I have owned one for more than ten years.No Fun.