Posing - race 1

Posing – race 1

Well, we at least got to do more laps than last year! We arrived on Friday afternoon, and got through scrutineering without any major issues. I did have to get Edwin to buy me a fire extinguisher since the Swedish regs dictate that all cars must be fitted with one. In Norway, this is an option – but our plan has always been to fit proper fire eater systems to the cars. One can never be too safe…

To our joy, there were more Imps! Two Danish cars were present, courtesy of Flemming Hansen (lovely Hartwell colors) and Gert Jensen (neat black/red finish). We made it out on track for the last free practice session, but the fun lasted only a couple of laps before the heavens opened monsoon-style.

While working on the cars, we discovered a problem with the throttle setup on our blue Imp, George, which we thought we fixed, but in fact made worse….and Doc’s car was still not rid of it’s misfire at high revs. Everything electric had been changed; points, condenser, cap, rotor, coil, plugs, plug leads. So we fitted an Aldon Ignintor electronic unit just to see. The rest of the evening was classic gossip, barbeque and socializing.

Imps receiving attention in the paddock at Velodromloppet

Imps receiving attention in the paddock at Velodromloppet

Saturday started with qualifying. As soon as I hit the track, I felt the car was not performing like it should. It was just so slooooow. I could see from the timing that I was over 3 secs off the times I set during the test-pre-engine-problems here last year, and suspected our throttle-fix had made things worse.
Doc had an even worse session: the misfire was still present, and he was black-flagged for having a small opening on the drivers side window. Bummed, he quit practice, and set to work on the car.

We found issues with the throttle cable setup and carb linkage on my car, and Edwin discovered it had never run at full throttle – and in qually it had been at 50% max.
Edwin and Doc attacked the problem, and we were soon ready for race one. Doc’s car was still being worked on to try and find a cure, but there were more. His new engine was smoky; white/blue, which isn’t what you want really. Atle Ramberg worked the carburettors to make the motor stop misfiring, with success. But – with the smoke, and after a brief discussion with Flemming who blew his primary engine during practice – we decided not to risk the engine, and parked Doc’s car.

During the throttle fix on my car, we set the engine idle higher. This created a problem we hadn’t thought of. With the still not up-to-par clutch, selecting first gear was very difficult from a standstill, so on the line up I asked to be moved to somewhere at the back, rather than risk getting stuck/torpedoed from behind. After all, this was going to be a test session. We fitted the fat Avon tires to try and make up for lost straightline speed (gearing too short), and in general, to see how they performed.

And this is how the race went…

Well, it almost made it to the end! lacking about 300m….It was good fun, and the lap times were more respectable. I didn’t really get to push it, as I was fighting Morten yet again for most of the race. The car was very understeered with cold tires, but otherwise it was flying even though I kept it safe at 8000 RPM. I’m confident that I’ll manage to drop the lap time a far bit more with some car adjustments, but most of all by just driving better!

I was initially quite p***ed off, but when I was towed past the main grandstand, the crowd gave me a standing ovation, and with all the positive comments we got post-race, everything felt good! It means so much to us to put up a good show for those coming from far away to watch us toy around with these old cars…

George looking sad after yet another broken rotor..

George looking sad after yet another broken rotor..

The reason for the cable snap was found – the linkage for the carbs twisted under operation, making the pedal go very hard, and in the heat of the moment(s) I guess I just pushed it in harder. We attacked the problem with the usual enthusiasm, and before the BBQ was lit, everything was working nicely with a new cable and mods to the linkage. We once again had a fab evening, joined by Kjetil (Fiat Abarth) and Vidar (Lotus Cortina), Edwin, Ole and a gang of passers by. The Imps were quite popular with the crowds it seems, and we had lots of chit-chat going until the wee hours.

Morning came, and we decided to borrow the wheels from Doc’s car to compare them to the larger ones on mine. But on firing up the engine, it was misfiring quite a bit. Again, Atle Ramberg checked over the carbs, and set the idle lower so I would manage to select 1st gear on the grid. During the checking, the engine stopped, and we found yet another broken rotor, this time a proper one from Swiftune. We stuffed in a new one and changed the cap – and thought that would be the end of the story.

For race two I started 4th based on lap times from race 1, but made a right mess of the start. Morten in his rapid Cooper S got past, and I took up the chase as per the norm. Things were going fine, and we were even catching one of the Escort GTs in front when the car just died after 4,5 laps. I spent the loooong race watching from a spot of grass where I parked a sad-looking little Imp. As soon as the flag fell, I pulled the dizzy cap, and – you guessed it – another dead rotor. With even the high quality Swiftune ones breaking, we suspect something wrong with the distributor itself – perhaps a bent axle. I fitted a new £2 rotor, and drove from Parc Ferme without problems.

Our next race is not until August 24, at our local track, Rudskogen. A few things to do….first of all, Doc’s engine will be off to our local Guru Finn Åge Pettersen who’s done a pristine job on the engine I’m using. We suspect a bad batch of piston rings are leaky. The engine will be checked/repaired, and then set up in the dyno. If it’s not done before Rudskogen, we’ll fit one of the spare engines.

For George the blue Imp – he’ll get a completely new distributor/ignition system, and we’ll do some work on the small things we found – front anti roll bar needs to go softer, rear shocks, gear ratios, clutch needs yelling at, and other small stuff. At least we’ve got the speed!

See you at Rudskogen!