Monday, January 28, 2019

Fernandina Beach Autocross

It had been two and a half years since I last ran an Autocross.

That experience was shared here and it wasn't good.

I was away from home for over 12 hours, almost died in the heat of September and only got in 4 not-so-good runs.  It was enough that I called it my last autocross.

But one reason I laid off was that the trusty Miata wasn't running well and the tires were in need of replacement with the latest rubber.

So, in the meantime I took the car to Pablo Zapata to have it repaired.  It now runs so much better and doesn't leak oil.  One of the repairs was new bushings in the shifter, making it much easier to find third gear in the heat of a run.

I headed out into the cold of a January morning at 7:00.  Stopped for some lunch food and drinks along the way, arriving at the Fernandina Beach Airport at 8:00.

The course was set up and I headed that way to check it out when I saw Adam, a fine young driver who has become a good friend over the years.  He was doing the tech inspections so I pointed him to my car and he checked it out.  It passed.

The drivers meeting was a little long but informative.  The guys running the show these days gave me my favorite work assignment, starter, so I enjoyed the work time as I could talk to the drivers for a few seconds before sending them off.

My run group came up next and I had a clean, relatively fast run on the first try.  I checked the results and found that I had the fastest raw time of that group so far.  On the second run I was a second faster at 38.6 seconds.  I was pleased.

Then we ran 5 more and none were as fast as the second.  The faster drivers caught and passed me as I was stuck.

The new Bridgestone RE71 tires were fantastic.  The shifter fix made the two shifts from second to third each run a piece of cake.  The Miata ran great!

It was fun.  I ended up third of seven in my class, E Street.  24th out of 52 in raw time and 15th in the handicapped PAX results.

A little disappointing after the good start but I was pleased to not embarrass myself.

I think I might try again next month.

Miata ready to go.

Fast Phil greeted me when I arrived.  He is a good friend and a fast driver.

Kyle Younger was there with his LS-1 Kart.  This is a stripped Corvette.

At speed on an early run.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Old Vespas

My three Vespa GTs are now 11, 12 and 13 years old.

Their mileages are 16,500, 88,200 and 28,300.

Max, the new Yamaha Xmax is three months old with 5300 miles already.

The difference is great.

Rocket, the 2006 GT has been making funny noises that I determined to be a water pump bearing.  I bought a rebuild kit months ago but haven't needed it so taken time to find a slot in the ACE Vintage Motorcycle Specialist's schedule.  I am taking it in tomorrow.

But in getting it loaded onto the truck to carry it over there, I found the battery nearly dead, so I went home to get jumper cables and a jump start battery.  Neither could I get onto the little battery and when I finally did, it didn't work.  Then, I disconnected everything and tried one more time.  It started.  I also noticed some coolant on the floorboard a few weeks ago.  I wiped it off.  Today there was more.  So the coolant issues now probably include a need to replace the coolant tank behind the legshield.  The rear brake caliper has been making funny noises, so I am replacing that too.  It is old and feels it, but I took it out for a ride to charge the battery and the ride was still sweet.

Vanessa, the blue 2007 GT has always given me trouble.  It's current problems have been discussed here, mostly running with very low oil, probably burning out a crankshaft bearing.  It runs but knocks badly and would probably destroy itself if ridden very far.  It has broken and damaged parts everywhere but still has value to me.  I will probably be taking it in to ACE soon to get the engine repaired.

Razzo, the 2005 GT is beautiful but has a nasty steering wobble.  It also smells of gasoline often and makes terrible noises when starting, even after installing a new bendix.

I love all three but they are old.

Max is new and so easy to hop on and ride.  No problems.  No tools or spare parts needed to be carried on the rides.  Twice the storage and other advantages.  Not much personality and much bigger, but a fine scooter.

I am not sure what to do at the moment.  Probably fix all of them and keep them.  Maybe sell Razzo if the other two are good after the repairs.  We'll see.


Rocket loaded and ready to head to ACE for repairs.