Mad June 2016

Had 3 events: Hacketts, Rother valley and Towcester stacked on top of each other.

With only a weekend between each event and a lot of repairs, it was a punishing month! Overall we did well with 4th, 3rd, 3rd places and the craft is just about hanging together for the worlds.

Hacketts lake, Nottingham May 28-30th, 4 place overall out of 6 races

I had two unplanned swims at this event, both caused by specific reasons; one when a 6″ access hatch popped off on the transition one lap, and spat me out next time round. Another was due to planing surface damage due to going sideways at the land hairpin. On the second swim which happened near the beginning of the race, i almost sunk the engine, just managing to pull the craft to land as water was coming upto the airbox…

It was the same story, my craft got away well off the start, but during the race i got picked off due to making mistakes, and some of the other guys higher top speeds (or more cojones?). I had a few massive impacts on the hull when i had popped the access hatch off and essentially lost all cushion pressure- and one of these bent the thrust fan shaft.

So i decided to rebuild the thrust fan frame (for the first time since new) and machine a new fan shaft which is made from a 30mm go kart axle. This part has threads for locknuts on each end M30x1.5 and the guy at work that normally helps me out for this was on holiday- so i had to buy a tool and learn how to screw-cut amongst the hundred other things including significant amount of fibreglassing on the planing surface. Late on Friday night before Rother, Hannah and I had it back together and ready to race, then a few hours sleep and up early to drive to Sheffield!

Rother Valley, Sheffield June 11-12th, 3rd overall (And just missed out on first race win of the season)

Was plenty of tough racing at this event often getting into 2nd or sometimes 1st off the grid. For an 80% water course, I stayed remarkably dry, not going swimming once… I did come close at one point though, when the lift belt threw itself off just before hopping onto the land section. I only realised the lift fan stopped halfway along and had to continue back onto the water with full throttle to carry momentum. I managed not to fall out and got the craft on the plane and boated back to land. Now I know that the lift belt must be replaced every 7 races… ah well i still use no 2 stroke oil and about half the amount of fuel compared to the snowmobile boys…

I was having issues with the lower fan frame mounting, which was now tearing itself out of the hull after rebuilding the fan frame (eventually found it was due to rubber coupling failure). I went through 3 different bodges thought the weekend, another thing on the list to be done properly before Towcester.

In the final race I was leading until the last lap when I only saw a back-marker broken down at the last minute and had to go around the outside, leaving the door open for George to go through and take 2nd for the weekend.

I was a little distracted in those last laps because oil temp was off the gauge and i was being blinked at. Another job for Towcester is a bigger oil cooler then… And there is still a slow oil leak on the sump, so engine out job before Towcester. And re-aligning the engine properly, and rebuilding the thrust driveshaft etc. etc.

Towcester race course, June 24-25th, 3rd overall

The racing was much more exciting than the results show (Dan 4x 1st, Ricky 4x 2nd and me 4x 3rd). In all of the races i got off the start in second or first place, Dan normally got past in a lap or two, but i managed to hold Ricky off until the last lap board in one race. Basically i didnt react quick enough a few times when the craft decided to do unscheduled sideflips, giving away places.

Also after the jump at the end of the long lake, the craft was getting a lot of air and didnt want to come down, again slowing me down. At one point Ricky and myself went up the jump side by side, at full speed which i guess is the closest you get to formation flying in a hovercraft.

In other news, the larger oil cooler is doing its thing, since the temp never went above 100degC. Also the transmission seemed to be behaving itself after all of the mucking about, I didnt even get my socket set out of the car!

Overall this was a crazy few weeks and so a few days off before getting ready for the worlds at the end of July! Im not going to be twiddling my thumbs though, I am so close to having my new thrust fan blades ready so will be grafting on these and getting the required tests done to certify them for racing…

Photo credits: Clive Mason, Tim and Rebecca

Posted in: Beast, General, Pintail F2, Racing Diary on July 10th by admin

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