Attacking on 3 wheels

I did a quick setup of the car, loaded the trailer, and crossed my fingers all the way to Karlskoga and Velodromloppet. Thankfully it all went beyond the battle plan. Both Doc and I loaded the trailers on Thursday evening. Doc had to stay behind on friday since he can’t offer a good enough excuse to his patients :)

I met up with Vidar Østbråthen and his perfect Alan Mann Lotus Cortina in Ørje, and we made good time to get to the track around 11 in the evening. After a few beers I used the Citroen as my hotel, an interesting experience..

Friday came, and I went out to do a bit of testing. The track was changed a bit since my last visit, but still a super little circuit. The car was good, but the brakes were apparently a bit on the airy side. So with some assistance from Vidar we bled them (though we of course refilled fluid to the clutch and bled the system dry). After Vidar pointed out my brain fade we got the brakes ok.
Out again, and the car felt horrible. It plowed everywhere and did not want to turn. Desperately I blamed my front positive camber, and asked around for advise. I removed the wheels and started mucking about with shocks etc and found that a bolt on the rear ARB had snapped. Oh Relief!

I sat out the rest of the evening due to some rather nasty showers, and I felt I needed to save the car a bit, poor thing had to rev 7000 rpm a bit too often!

Doc arrived in the evening, we got the tent set up, a quick BBQ and beer, and a decent nights sleep.

Saturday was sunny and bright, and qualifying went well for the both of us – if only the Imp had another gear! It turned out that Doc’s gearing was way short (or the Imp was more powerful than he imagined) leading to him going all the straight doing 9000RPM in 5th. The mini at least made it halfway down before I had to cruise at 7000.

I was beaten by one of the other (beautiful) Minis, but only by 2 tenths, and was happy with the car.

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We did a standing start – my first in 13 years – and I got lucky; I got it just right. The Cooper took off like a bullet, and I quickly made my way past a couple of cars – including the faster mini, had a tussle with a few others, then tried to hang on to the quick Volvos. I thought I had a good shot, but fumbled a gear change, and had to give up. I won the 1300cc class, and got an 8th overall. The car was performing way past my expectations, and was on par with the other minis. <br />

Doc ran a safe race with the up to 81 class, and the Imp ran faultlessly for the entire race. With better gearing it should be a serious contenter in sub 1300 G. (Doc also syas he needs some “Yoda” time)

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the other races, good food and drink, and the event was very enjoyable indeed.

Sunday arrived with dodgy weather – I crossed my fingers and hoped for rain. turns out I didn’t need it. I did discover that the clucth throw-out nuts had disappeared – and after some sprinting around the paddock begging I managed to find replacements from team Bengtsson and Jana (Thanks!!)

I didn’t repeat the quick start, but got rather too much wheelspin, and lost a couple of positions. The first laps were frantic, I managed to repass the lost positions, and had a super fight with Vidar in the Cortina. I found a small available space and went for it, Vidar gave me about 1mm of space, and I got past. Down the straight I held the inside line knowing that he’d go for it given 1% chance, he came up side by side, but I just held on. Unfortunately he got rear-ended by Bengt in another mini (he locked up on dumped fuel from a Falcon), but both were able to continue with fairly heavy damage. I set off after the fastest Volvo, and after a few laps I managed to set him up for a pass going into the Eje’s corner, and using a lot of kerb I muscled past.

A few intense laps followed, and I managed to stretch a couple of seconds. At the end after 16 long laps, I was overjoyed to finish 4th overall out of 16, and notch up another class win. Way past my expectations! I’m so happy with the mini now – it deserves some new hot parts and a long hug.

Hopefully there’ll be some action shots available soon.