10 January 1998, Waikaraka Park
Issue No: Supplementary
Saturday the 10th of January saw the NLW Racing Team head to the big smoke for the NZ Ltd Saloon Nationals.
This was my first visit to Auckland's Waikaraka Park. After an initial shock of having to pay to enter, we were greeted by tar-sealed pits and a pretty slick looking organisation all geared up for a big influx of Ltd Saloon Cars and other supporting classes.
Scrutinizing was from 12.00pm until 2.45pm. Unfortunately this is where my day started to go sour. The scrutineers were not happy with a shock mount on my fifth arm coil. I had never noticed or considered that a rose joint was there and would be illegal, accordingly. They also picked up a problem with my carb and a couple of my rim's. The carb had holes drilled in the bottom plates to allow easier idling. Again, illegal. As a beginner I had no idea these things were illegal as I rely on 'experts' to get things right. The rims just needed welding 'fully' on both sides. This was done with assistance from Ross Olsen. Thanks and very much appreciated mate!!!
After fixing the carb with a couple of small rivet's, welding the wheels and an hour and a half trying to get the shock mount out, I decided to go and see the SNZ Steward and ask for a dispensation, as I couldn't repair/replace the shock, and I was hardly likely to be a threat to all the big gun's out there because of it!! Thankfully he agreed and we were finally ready to race.
There were 43 cars entered, split into two groups of 15 and one of 13. I was in the Blue (2nd) Group with Barry Tidd in the Red (1st) Group. The top 5 per group plus the highest point scorer from any group qualifies for the Final's. The others will go into two repercharge heats where the first 2 placegetters from each heat also qualify.
Barry went out in Red Group's first race and finished a credible 9th. I went out in my first heat, after drawing pole on the grid, very nervous, but also very excited. I got a great start and led the field for the first couple of laps and was actually pulling away. Man the car was going awesome!!! At this time I remembered my earlier plea's with the stewards saying I would be no threat, oop's!!! Unfortunately after 4 laps I was brought back down to earth with a huge wallop, the car started breaking down, losing power in the corners and then coming right at the end of the straight. It broke my heart to have to pull infield.
After scrambling around in the pit's before our next heat, looking for a new coil, we hoped we had fixed our "breaking down" problem. In the meantime Barry had gone out for his second heat, coming home with the chequered flag. I'm pissed off I missed it, but well done mate!!
Our second heat came up and, unfortunately the same thing happened. Being at the back of the field this time, because of the reverse grid draw, I was able to safely pull to the infield. This effectively put me out of the champ's, with no hope of qualifying now.
I trailered the car and wondered what the hell was going wrong.
Barry duly qualified 5th in his group and had a good night's racing, finishing 18th overall.
Next big event will be the Waikato Ltd Champ's, hopefully I will have fixed my car and have a good night there.
9H LTD SALOON
P.S. Located and fixed problem. Believe it or not, all it was, was the fuel line twisting where it exits the tank and cutting off the fuel supply to the carb. This was happening due to the extra twist in the chassis now that I was going so much harder & faster in the corners. It has been fixed by simply putting in an 'elbow fitting' out of the tank, so the fuel line is now straight and cannot twist. Bloody Basic!!!!