Tuesday, much like Monday
Well after a final spanner check of the new motor installation, the 9th since we started chasing this record, we were in the line for the start around 9.30am. 1h30 later we were up and the Flower pulled away well. A couple of hesitations from the motor though meant, given this is the last motor we have with us, that I opted to switch off and coast to the side of the track to get it looked at. Pushing it onto the trailer though, we realised that we had lost drive as I’d slowed and on return to base it’s obvious that we’ve had an identical output shaft bearing failure to yesterday.
Tuesday morning and back at the start line with motor#9 installed
Flower at first light in the Long Course queue.
After spending 9.5 hours installing the new motor in viciously hot conditions, the team got to see it break before I’d made it out of sight.
It’s very tough to describe how low the whole Speed Scotland crew was at this point. It’s clear this new motor (#9) has taken some significant damage and is irreparable and we simply don’t have any more engines to fit. A cover is thrown over the Flower and tools are packed away. We’ve had a pair of inexplicable failures of tried and trusted components that ran so well in identical conditions last year that weren’t even under any significant load and without understanding what’s caused this fitting a new engine would be virtually pointless even if we had one.
Phone calls are made to airlines about the possibility of bringing flights home forwards. Silence reigns in the camp as in particular the younger lads who had worked so hard to get us back on track this morning take our failure badly. But let’s not lose sight that the guy who holds the record broke 15 engines before he did it. The Speed Demon who ran so quickly earlier in the week have had fires and blown motors or other problems on every run since. The Salt can be a tough mistress.
Broken bearing race from motor #8
Motor #9 is hung and drained to resurrect motor #8
A decision is made to strip the motor we broke yesterday (#8) and see if we can at least understand what’s happening. If only to stop everyone sitting about being miserable! But it quickly becomes clear that the damage to the motor is not extensive and if we replace the main bearing the rest of the engine is basically serviceable if rough. Phone calls are made and a bearing is found in California which can be delivered to a Kawasaki dealers around 140 miles away for first thing tomorrow hopefully... motor #9 is ripped out of the Flower to see if it has any good parts it can donate and a plan is put in place for me to be at the doors of the dealership when it opens tomorrow and bring the parts back to the Salt as quickly as possible. Team Chief Derek Palmer will then rebuild the motor and Andy and Robbie will then fit it. All ideally before the Salt curfew at 8pm, so we can aim to be back and running for first thing on Thursday.
This team simply doesn’t know when to quit. It’s a long shot, but the EFG International supported Flower of Scotland might still be able to show her pace at Speedweek 2013.
Your “gutted but optimistic, down but not beaten” correspondent.