Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Straight back into it...

With the first meeting been and gone, and the second rapidly approaching, it already seems like the winter break is a distant memory.  Add the better weather coming, lots to do at work and the Tigra to keep going, it looks like it’s going to be a jam-packed few months for sure!
After luckily avoiding too much damage at Northampton, we unloaded the car on Monday and pushed it into the workshop ready to have a closer look at it.   Although it was looking pretty sorry for itself it was all superficial - a few chips out of the panels and some paint missing, along with a nice slippery coating of oil covering the front end!    We had picked up a bit of damage underneath and the rear quarter was all hanging down and broken, along with the bent wheel I mentioned last week. 
I put my best body-working skills into action and cut a plate to put inside the quarter panel, then riveted it up through from the outside to put some strength back into it all.   You would have to lie on the floor and look underneath to even notice it.  This is pretty lucky really, as my repairs are not renowned for being very pretty.
As the weather was so nice over the weekend I pushed the car outside and gave it a wash, then rubbed all the marks off with some thinners before going round it all and touching up the paint.  It’s not perfect, but it looks much tidier!
For some reason unknown to me we didn’t have a diff built up for Ipswich, so dad spent an evening building one as this is definitely too technical for me.   I can fit it into the car, but putting it together is a big no! 
Having spent the last few years taking all the tyres to work to fit them, I’ve splashed out and bought a new tyre machine for the workshop at home.   Although loading them in the van and taking them to work was no major hardship, this just makes life so much easier - you can just fit them on in an evening between other jobs and you don’t lose any time waiting for them.   It also means we can swap them about whenever we want so we get them on the right place on the car.
We found ourselves doing quite a lot more work on the workshop, and although I said it was done before, we have quite a list of bits we want to do it there again now.    Although after a couple of nights working on it, the list is getting much shorter again.   It’s definitely much better having somewhere to works that’s tidy and properly laid out.   Just hope it lasts, and things don’t revert back to the old way!
All the other work on the car is just the normal between-meeting stuff; checking all the oil levels, running round everything with a spanner, that sort of thing.  All jobs you take for granted, but really need to do to keep the car reliable.    There is nothing more annoying than a breakdown that could have been prevented.   It only takes ten minutes to take the transmission tunnel out and check the gear oil for example, and as well as reliability it can end up saving you money.    Parts for Hot Rods, as we all know, can be very expensive…
We had a nice surprise when the points came out to find we have climbed up to 17th place after what was really a pretty bad last meeting.   We had been expecting to have dropped several places, not climbed up one.  Saying that, the points are all so close and one race can change so many things for so many drivers - and there is a long way to go yet!    In my opinion this can only be a good thing as it makes it all the more exciting for everyone.   I’m sure a lot of people won’t agree with this, and say that the “good old days” were the best years of Hot Rod racing, but I personally think that now - with the massive grids and so many really good cars and top drivers seemingly getting more professional with every meeting - that the sport really is the best it ever has been!   Maybe there was a bit of carnage last meeting but nothing in life is perfect.
I’m sorry there’s nothing more exciting to write about this week, but looking at the entry list for Ipswich I’m sure that next week I’ll have much more to tell you!   It’s looking more like International Hot Rods at the moment!   As ever, I can’t wait to race, and am counting down the days until it all happens.  I look forward to seeing you all there.
Thanks for reading.

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