View Full Version : First Race-2006

04-21-2006, 05:56 AM
I'm off around mid-day to Summit Point, WV.
I'll be camping at the track over the weekend, so no internet.

Our littele three-man Brit-car team consists of:

1). Bruce's '62 1275 Mini (a five year+ project...this is his first time out with it and it's all ready to go. It looks great and sounds good but has four year old tires, so it may be pretty skate-like. This is just a shake down. It runs 200 F with the electric fan OFF and 165 with it ON (165 F thermo). No time to figure out why....he'll just run with the fan on.
2). My 1500 Spridget. Filled with Sunoco GT 100 ($6.10 per gallon this week).
3). Pete's '62 1275 Sprite, in bits as of last night when I stopped by. As always for Pete, SNAFU . I'm sure he pulled and "all-nighter" last night and I'll see him at Summit tonight.

Our old pal, Tim will bring the '65 Mini that he used to win First Overall in out first Summit Point 4-hour enduro over 20 years ago. It's a street car now, but it's always great to see this car (Tim bought it new). He'll will drive Pete's Sprite on Saturday (and the three of us will be flagging). On Sunday, we'll all run the small-bore race, staying close with Bruce (at the back of the pack, undoubtedly). Lot of times, we don't actually "race" with each other....more like "fooling around". Great fun.

I've got our photog pal (Dave Z) wrned that we need lots of "Brit-car shots". He should be able to get some good ones.
See you all next week.

04-21-2006, 08:34 AM
I'm off to Nelson Ledges tonight.

A friend of mine (Cpt. Sparkles) has his 2nd driver's school & wants me to crew for him.

I'd rather do F&C........But WTH.......It's nice to be back at the track for anything.

04-23-2006, 02:44 PM
Lucky sod.

And Nial Wrote:

2). My 1500 Spridget. Filled with Sunoco GT 100 ($6.10 per gallon this week).

[/ QUOTE ]

To hades with the GOLD prices, Sunoco racing fuel is the thing to watch! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

04-23-2006, 04:35 PM
Cpt. Sparkles in the <font color="#666666"> "Silver Cloud Machine" </font>

04-23-2006, 06:26 PM
From the bridge at the Ledges?

04-24-2006, 05:35 AM
Yep....There are many good places to spectate, but that is one of my favorite.
Oak tree is also entertaining on account of all the carnage.

Cpt. Sparkles turned a 1:25.....Not bad for an ITB car in driver's school.

04-24-2006, 01:22 PM
Does Captain Sparkle race a Mercury Bobcat? Just who is this sparkly captain? Inquiring minds want to know!

I had the best race of my life at the new Shenandoah track at Summit Point.

On the Saturday Time Trial, I flagged and got soaked. It was horrible for all the flaggers and interesting for the drivers. I did take some pictures on the cool-down laps and we had a good meal in town that evening.

On Sunday, during qualifying, it was pouring.

Somehow, I qualified within 1/2 second of the lead Miatas in the small bore race (a mix of 4 classes...I'm in the slowest). Oddly I was running new Hoosier radial slicks on the rear of the car.

For the actual race, it dried up (just after I put on the rain tires, natch).
Our pal Bruce had done OK in the wet, but he fell away in the dry. Still, Bruce's Mini ran fine and will get better as it is developed.

Pete's 1275 Sprite got by me at the lead when I got blocked by a slower Honda. A few laps later, I caught him and passed him. The next 20 laps had us swapping the lead (in our class) at least 5 times. We were never more than a few feet apart.
On the last lap, while I was leading, we caught a Golf that had flubbed the last high-speed "kink". I was in fourth gear at around 5500 RPM. I moved out to pass the Golf just as he was re-gaining steam. Pete tucked in behind the VW and drafted him as we raced towards the checkered flag. As we passed the start/finish line, he nosed me out by about a foot thanks to the clever (or lucky) drafting maneuver. I never has so much fun losing.

Later, we discovered that he had beat me by 0.04 seconds (this does not really square with the "1 foot" that we both observed until we realized that my transponder was more "forward" in the car than his).

Anyway, the gang feted us as "best race of the day". We'll have action pictures of the race later on. For now here's the Mini during the Time Trial plus some static shots.

Our friend Tim driving Bruce's Mini in the Time Trial on Saturday. He won his class. Tim also won our first ever EMRA 4-Hour Night Enduro over 20 years ago in the rhd Mini he bought new in '65 (he still has it...it's now a flawless street car). Tim's real Claim-To-Fame is that he worked at Spreens in the '60s.

Three Brits parked out of the rain at the overhang of the Shenandoah main building.

On the way home, stopped at the The Cozy Restaurant (near Camp David)

Following Bruce's Mini near the Potomac River.

04-24-2006, 04:45 PM
Nice job, Nial. I was stuck doing the classroom sessions of our Drivers School. Next weekend is the track portion, with the forecast calling for one day of rain and one of dry. Perfect school weather.
How did the new trailer pull?

04-24-2006, 08:05 PM
This is a pic of a Miata dive bombing Cpt Sparkles at oak tree.
We started calling him Cpt. Loose Marbles after observing his preferred, outside line.
The corner workers kept shaking their heads in disbelief.
Saying "He's not going to live long doing that!"....
The Miatas couldn't get past him......And after a few metal to metal incidents, they stopped trying............GO BOBCAT!
In defense of our friend.......He didn't know that SM was faster than ITB
In fact he didn't know what an apex was before his first school.

04-24-2006, 10:36 PM
Great racing Nial, wish I could have made it. Where is there a "town" near the point with a place to eat???? All I ever saw was farmland. And Thurmont and the Cozy isn't that close (is it?)

04-25-2006, 05:11 AM

We ate at Brothers Pizza; a place in a strip mall fairly near the track (there's a Wal-Mart near it). It was OK. I'm not that fussy, especially after a long day in the rain. The Cozy Restaurant in Thurmont is not that close to SP......it was still early and we figured we'd put some miles down before stopping. We were actually shooting for the Mountain Gate restaurant in Thurmont, but it was too crowded. The Cozy was neat with it's little museum.


The trailer towed excellent. And the Freestar mini-van towed it with no problem. The other two guys had full-size Ford vans and I was easily keeping up with them. I ran my van in "non-OD" ("3") most of the way and we stayed around 60--65 mph. The trailer still had a temporary license tag which was made from cardboard. It blew off on the way home but I never got stopped. Lucky.
I would rather teach race-driving in a classroom than sit in the right seat of a race school student's car any day of the week! I'm a big chicken! The rain is useful for teaching, but in our case, it kept people away. We got maybe 25 people on Saturday and 30 or so on Sunday. We probably lost around $10,000 this weekend.


I *knew* that was a Bobcat! I'm good!
We have had a few "creative-style" drivers in EMRA too. We are tough on metal-to-metal contact, but it's hard with the Miata crowd (they think it is "OK"). We don't have a 13-13 rule yet, but we are talking about it.
We had similar Pinto to your Bobcat until last year when it rolled at the Watkins Glen "boot" and was totaled (driver was OK). Presently, we have our buddy Gary in a Mustang II (very similar to your Bobcat). It runs a strong 2.3 engine and is great fun to race. Gary was about 3 seconds ahead of me at this last race. He has a racing Factory Five Cobra as well, but he likes running the Mustang II in the Small-Bore races with us....more fun!

EMRA Mustang II

04-25-2006, 02:26 PM
From what I have seen, the Miata guys seem to be a bit overly optimistic about their inside line.

We (the 3 of us) get hit by more Miatas than everything else combined.

Seems like they are skidding into us at track out or we always have to close the door on them.

They just can't seem to keep their noses out of other peoples corners.

I guess they just don't like Pintos. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nonod.gif

04-25-2006, 03:30 PM
....We (the 3 of us) get hit by more Miatas than everything else combined......I guess they just don't like Pintos. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nonod.gif

[/ QUOTE ]

Believe me, it's not just Pintos. Go ~HERE~ (https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v170/aeronca65t/EMRA_05/sprite-miata-bash.jpg) to see them "nurfing" off me at the Jefferson Circuit at Summit last year.

04-25-2006, 04:07 PM
GOR! Those things are HUGE in comparison to the Spridget! That's a bit frightening. I think you NEED a 13-13 rule. NOW!

And thanks ALL for giving me a bit of vicarious fun!!

I really miss futzin' with race cars. I'd even consider playin' with somethin' wot has FENDERS. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/jester.gif

...geez I must be slippin'

04-25-2006, 04:55 PM
If I can jump in-here's a pic of me doing Solo2; no wheel to wheel for me. I just started this year and did pretty good the last time I went out. Need new tires real bad, though.

Matthew E. Herd
04-25-2006, 05:10 PM
Maybe a front swaybar too! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

04-25-2006, 08:32 PM
Gessh.....Er, put some out-riggers on it.

So ya don't flip over! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

04-25-2006, 08:58 PM
Funny thing is, I PUT A SWAY BAR ON IT!! I went with the 5/8" size, not thinking I would ever auto-x it. A little larger than the stock size but not too big I thought. Now I can see the value in the larger sizes! Oh yeah, I also put on new springs in front, rally springs in back, heavy duty shock valving all around, and poly bushes everywhere.

Even funnier, those pictures are of turns obviously, but I'm not turning, I'm still moving straight and tearing up my all season tires BAD!

Oh well, next year, bigger sway bar, better tires and maybe better brake pads, maybe. I have another pic where my inside front tire is nearly off the ground. It was fun, though.

Here you go...

Matthew E. Herd
04-25-2006, 09:45 PM
Just remember, don't go too crazy on the bar. If you do, it'll tend to understeer like mine does. :-P

04-26-2006, 12:00 AM
What's the 13/13 Rule?

- Doug

04-26-2006, 03:17 AM
Doug, any metal to metal contact results in a 13 race / 13 month probation, or outright ban from competition for the same period.

04-26-2006, 05:59 AM
It's an attempt to keep vintage racing from becoming a high speed demo-derby like the SCCA.

Keeps a moron from repeatedly bouncing his Crosley HotShot off your EX182. (MGA) /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

04-26-2006, 07:16 AM
Funny thing is, I PUT A SWAY BAR ON IT!! I went with the 5/8" size, not thinking I would ever auto-x it. A little larger than the stock size but not too big I thought. Now I can see the value in the larger sizes! Oh yeah, I also put on new springs in front, rally springs in back, heavy duty shock valving all around, and poly bushes everywhere.

Even funnier, those pictures are of turns obviously, but I'm not turning, I'm still moving straight and tearing up my all season tires BAD!

[/ QUOTE ]
Sway bars are best used for final/fine adjustments.

Got to get it close w/ springs first.

My suggestion....Go with a good road racing set up first.

Then tighten it down a bit with adjustable (front?) shocks (at the Auto-X)

Consult someone who has experience setting up your car. It will save you $$$
(Where is Tony Barnhill?......He knows MGB-GTs)

Simon TR4a
04-26-2006, 09:15 AM
Enjoyed the race report, Nial, and the pictures. Great colour scheme on the Mini!
Are you doing Shannonville this year? Or Cayuga? Or Mosport?

04-26-2006, 12:13 PM
Even funnier, those pictures are of turns obviously, but I'm not turning, I'm still moving straight and tearing up my all season tires BAD!

[/ QUOTE ]

Well, if you've initiated the turn and the car is still traveling straight forwards, then you're "understeering". You're bar _might_ be too big already, or you could be braking way too late for the turns. Judging from the car's pitch in the pictures, I'd guess you're braking a bit too late for the turns. The front tires only have so much traction. If you're braking as you start turning, it's easy to excede the traction limits of the front tires.

If I'm not mistaken, best practice for turn execution is to brake in the straight before the turn, initiate the turn, sustain a constant speed approaching the apex, start accelorating at the apex, and continue accelorating out of the turn. Of course, car balance and tire traction will change the characteristics of the car in turns and naturally the speed in which you can take the turns.

Matthew E. Herd
04-26-2006, 12:17 PM
That's a good point. I'm pretty sure you're right, in that the brakes might still be on hard at this point. You're supposed to ease off the brakes as you ease into the turn (gradually). The more classical approach is to finish braking completely, then turn in, but that's not using the traction circle to its full potential.

04-26-2006, 07:06 PM
Doesn't matter what part of the turn you are in or how badly you were screwing up during the picture.
You have to get rid of that roll in order to keep your camber under control.

You can't tell by the sig. but, I am drifting left to right (driver's) around a cone that is not in the photo. yet the roll is not extreme.

BTW, there is no sway bar on the Elva, front or rear. ( nor will there ever be )

I have tie down shocks that are not adjustable.
Valved properly, you can run them on a bumpy road to the Auto-X &amp; not have to make any adjustments.
Use a bump travel indicator to make sure you have it right.
I have gone through absolute he11 trying to get the springs/valving correct.

Don't reinvent the wheel, talk to someone like Tony B.

Matthew E. Herd
04-27-2006, 09:45 AM
Keep in mind that your body is dramatically lighter and lower than our stock B's and Midgets. A front bar is somewhat necessary for my midget, at least.

04-27-2006, 11:22 AM
I REALLY,really.....really.. hate to admit this BUT,........

My 2600 lb Pinto handles about as well as the 1300 lb Elva. (all things considered)

The Pinto has #700 springs &amp; a 1" sway-bar up front.(&amp; corners flat)
The Elva has #250 springs &amp; no sway-bar up front.(&amp; rolls a bit)

It's all in the set up.........
I got the Pinto nailed down on the 1st try because someone told me how to do it.
(except for playing with tires, camber, caster &amp; toe)

Yes the Pinto is a fat pig on a Auto-X course, but I would NEVER go 120 mph in the Elva. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif

04-27-2006, 12:37 PM
I don't want to add any springs that may lower my car any, as I drive it all the time on the roads and its plenty low. Other than the rally springs in the rear, I can't find any springs that are firmer without being lower as well. Am I looking in the wrong place?

04-29-2006, 09:46 AM
You have a wide variety of choices in spring diameters, lengths &amp; rates.

Also, the adjustable perch shocks allow you to adjust ride height to some degree.

You have to measure everything at your preferred ride height. ( shock eye to shock eye as well as compressed spring length)

Then measure uncompressed spring length and have your spring dynoed for a base line.

After all that you find a company that sells the setup you need and then comes the part you will probably get wrong a few times...........Guess your new spring weights.

Tie down single adjustable shocks allow you to set your rebound rate via a little knob.

You can drive your car loose to the track then simply turn the knob and have a instant track weapon. ( that you can otherwise drive on the road over bumps)