Thursday, July 15, 2010


The back of the seat with the purple disc brake and sliced seat.

The red and purple disc assembly and the back of the seat.

This original pic is how we got the car at the very start of the season, it changed quite a lot over the year.

I crew for a Speedway racing team here in Oz, last year was our first in Formula 500 and we managed 5th nationally in our class. The first year with a new car is all about surviving and learning…we did both.
We run a highly modified 850cc four cylinder Yamaha race engine on Methanol. Weighing in at just 260kg wet, the car has three speeds and 135 horsepower at the wheels which means of course that it goes like you would not believe. It wheelstands from one end of the track to the other only touching down briefly as the driver gets off the power to make the corner, and it couldn’t even manage that without those big wings. It eats custom built race gearboxes at around one every eight to ten meetings, and $1,200 worth of race tires every race… but apparently it needs more power.
A new larger Kawasaki motor is being built which promises around 160 horsepower plus, and that’s with lots of development still to come. We’re experimenting with a new custom belt drive which will give us a few extra horses IF it holds together.
The real reason behind the final drive change is because we had a bad thing happen at the end of last season. Our car got hit and slammed into the wall going sideways at over 60mph. He kept the power on and continued the last half a lap till the end of the race, but it all went wrong just before the line. Damaged tie rods gave way under the load and the entire drive train was slammed forward into the driver by the chain drive. Sparks engulfed the car and the driver said he could feel great heat on his back. Harnessed in, he couldn’t move at all and just had to ride it out. The car was deemed un-repairable on site and was loaded back into the truck.
When it arrived back home I pulled it apart to find the disc brake had sawed right through the alloy race seat, right through the seat insert, right through the padding and burned the inner face of the race seat. That’s just 3mm (1/8in) from the drivers back right over his kidney.
It’s the off season here at the moment so the car is totally stripped, the engine is away being rebuilt, all the parts are stripped, washed and are being crack checked before being repainted and rebuilt. I’ve made enough new alloy panels and new wings for the start of the new season, and everything is coming together just fine.
Last season we ran in Saloon category as well and I had to remake three full front ends in the other car after it hit the fence several times during the season. That’s not to mention a full set of new panels every single time it raced.

I don’t travel all over the country with the racers, I wait home and hope there are no calls to start building new parts or prepare chassis tube.
I’m starting to feel tired just thinking about the upcoming season which starts in early September…

PS: Latest news is the Kawasaki motor will come with a new American made chassis, the latest of everything (all imported from the USA) and everything else we will need to run TWO Formula 500 cars for next season.

I’m just going to have a little lie down……………………….



Adorabibble said...

Wow it sounds like you have YOUR hands full!
good to be busy!

Jen said...

The only part of that I understood was the driver came very close to serious injury. I'm glad he's ok. Good luck with the new engine.