The Monday evening after
it was straight to it with the car. Although a month to get everything done seems like a long time, when you start to break things down you soon realise there isn’t much time at all. The first priority was to get the old tyres cleaned off and drop the car on the scales so we had a reference point to work back to when we put it all back together. Northampton
I had ordered the panels the previous week in the hope that nothing else would get damaged at the last round and with the ‘flying door’ somehow avoiding complete annihilation I was lucky and didn’t need anything else. Terry is quite busy and wanted to get everything painted as soon as possible, so Dad, Ross and I set about getting the panels stripped off. When we had finished all we were left with on the car was half a roof - it seemed silly only doing part of a job so this was removed as well leaving us with just the space frame.
Apart from the roof and the bonnet all the panels are either new or required repairing and the car has pretty much had a full respray now. Once the panels were off you could see just how dirty everything around the car actually was so after another night removing the seat and all the other bits that bolt in easily the car was ready for some serious cleaning.
Those of you who read this regularly will know that I have a bit of a habit of bending wheels and the situation had started to get a bit serious again with only one spare straight one left and the wets all being on odd combinations of mix-matched wheels. We decided we’d best get it sorted so everything was the same for the world final and set about getting all the wheels out and laying them in the workshop to see what we actually have. In the end we counted 35 with over half of them bent and looking pretty sorry for themselves. We found 6 of one style to run the slicks on and 5 of another for the wets - the only problem was that although they all matched, a lot are either damaged or odd colours so a big strip down and rebuild session has to happen now. I honestly can’t think of a worse job!
Once everything was off the car we put it outside and set about cleaning it, it took us a complete afternoon in the end just washing all the dirt and grime from everywhere. The car had all been stripped and cleaned for the NEC and it’s hard to believe it could get so dirty in such a short space of time. After a good few hours, numerous buckets of water and lots of engine cleaner it’s looking nice and clean again. Whilst in the mood for cleaning we gave the dog a bath at the same time – much to his disgust! Normally he can’t wait to get in the garage to make a nuisance of himself but he was nowhere to be seen after his little rinse, choosing instead to hide up the garden sulking!
The car has always been a bit heavier than we really wanted so whilst it had no kit on it was the perfect time to put it on a bit of a diet and see if we could save a few vital kilos. Dad set about drilling holes and trimming brackets whilst I replaced a lot of bolts with shorter ones, in the hope of saving a few grams. The panels are going to have a bit of a trim before they go on too. It’s a hard decision as to what actually should be cut off because you don’t want to compromise on strength, a strong car beats a light one hands down in my book so we’re not going too mad, just anything we’re sure won’t make it any weaker.
With the points now officially finalised we ended the year in fifteenth place. I really am pleased with this. I said I’d be happy with twentieth and I am glad to just be in. It was super-tight right to the end with the final points being so close - just 12 points between the last 5. Qualifying just makes it all seem worthwhile and all the time and money not in vain
You don’t think about how much work the world final will be, as well as the car you have the clothing, the spares, the accommodation and all manner of other things that need to be sorted - along with the poor old dog’s visit to the kennel . . . another reason for him to sulk I’m sure! Everything is coming along really well though and the car will hopefully be re-panelled today ready to go to Jay’s on Thursday for signwriting. I’ve seen some of the designs and it will look awesome by the time he has finished with it. While it’s away we can get all the spares and wheels sorted and just get the car finished off on its return.
I’m sure I’ll see some of you next Saturday at the Thunder 500, it’s going to be a good race I’m sure, and thanks as ever for reading.
Until next time