The trip to this years Speedweek actually started seven years ago back in 2009; the first time that I visited Lake Gairdner. Myself and a mate had tried to get out there a few years before in 2007, but rain and bad track conditions had meant that the event was cancelled in both 2007 and 2008. In 2009 we rented a cottage in Kimba and commuted the 2 hours or so out to the lake every day. From the first moment on the lake I was hooked, it's completely inspiring to be there, stuck in the middle of nowhere, in one of the most surreal places you'll ever visit. Real grass roots stuff, not a corporate cash cow, but blokes like you and me, making stuff in their sheds that they drag from wherever on a journey that includes two or three hours over unsealed roads. Even as a spectator the commitment required to get there is immense.
Its been a quiet couple of months, the oval went onto the back burner whilst we led up to the xmas break - its a really busy time for me at work and with the bit of time that i did get off over the xmas break I found myself building a pond int he back garden. Not that I'm complaining as the garden was missing a little tranquility, the pond provides a great place to sit and contemplate whilst having a cuppa...
I recently attended a local SATA meeting. The SATA (or South Australian Timing Association as they are also known) are a small group of racers who have got together to promote and create South Australian land speed racing events. They have successfully held a few test and tune days both at Tailem Bend and at Waikerie Airstrip and have planned another next month. The next Test and Tune event is on November 8th at Waikerie. Only three weeks away.
Whilst there is absolutely no way that I will get the engine finished in time, there is a chance that I could get the car finished and install another engine in it. at least this would allow me to do a shakedown and make sure that the gearbox is working properly.
Speedweek 2016 is at the end of February which is not really too far away. Whilst there's not too much to do on the Oval there's still heaps when I take into account how little time I actually get to concentrate on one project. In addition to Speedweek it looks like the SATA are putting together a speed trial at Waikerie. This will be open to SATA members and SATA / SCTA compatible cars and bikes. This is great news and is exactly what I was hoping for except that the meet is to be held on November 18th which leaves just a shade over a month to get everything together. Now of course I'm not going to kid myself that I can make it happen, but if I put another engine in that I happen to have already built and laying around the garage I recon I might be in with a chance of at least doing some shakedown testing on the car itself.
Its been a fair while since I've had the time to sit down and put a progress report together, in fact the last post I made was back in January. This is mostly due to being flat out working on the car getting it ready for Speedweek. Well Speedweek has come and gone and despite putting in the hard yards in I did not get to compete. I had set myself the goal of getting everything together with engine in and running by no later than the end of February. I figured that this way I would still be able to do some tuning and get out to the lake with a relatively good chance of making it through the week with no major dramas. Unfortunately, I did not get it together by the deadline. I was very close and could have pushed to get it done but this was the exact situation I sought to avoid when I set myself the February deadline. There's nothing like a rushed build to promote silly mistakes and expensive failures.
Progress over the past week has been a little slower than I had hoped. I've still managed to get stuff done but work has been massively busy so by the time I get home I've not felt up to much. But whilst my actual progress might not have been as good as I would have liked the ordered parts have been arriving at a steady rate, its almost like Christmas has come early
After last weekends progress and also receiving my 74mm DPR crank in the post this week I was amped to get back out into the man cave and spend a little more spanner time on the oval. The DPR crank is an awesome bit of work. It's a stock 36hp crank that is welded and offset ground to give the extra stroke. It also has counterweights added and is heat treated to stress relieve the crank after the welding process. The end result is a very affordable 74mm crank.
A short time ago I posted about changing direction with the oval and entering into the K36 class of the 36hp challenge with a blown 36hp engine. Since that time I've been carefully planning the build and collecting the necessary parts.
A chance meeting has netted me with a bunch of 36 horse parts. I popped out to buy a number plate bracket for the Type 34 and ended up coming home with a bunch of 36 horse stuff. This has nudged me to change direction with my plans for speed week and look to build a 36hp power plant instead of the planned 50 horse - literally a change in heart. Having been an avid follower and support of the 36 Horsepower Challenge for a number of years its probably fitting that I enter at least once. So with a selection of 36HP parts now at my disposal it has given me a chance to take a look at whats possible with these early engines.
Those of you who know me will also know that I sell supercharger kits under the moniker 'Joe Blow'. A while back I decided that to promote the kits I would put together a logo'd rat panel van - with nice Joe Blow powered motor. Orignally I was after a lowlight panel but somehow ended up with a '55 panel instead. So today I decided to start work on eliminating the tin worm. I recently cleared a load of projects from my schedule and so figuring the bus wasn't going to fix itself I decided to get stuck in.