It's all over at Bonneville
After what has been a hugely tough week on the Salt at Bonneville for many of the crews, not least the Speed Scotland one the final full day dawned calm and bright.
The EFG Flower of Scotland was ready to run early and we made a great start on the improved Salt surface and were quickly up to 200mph. However the Flower was only on 3 cylinders as a spark plug had failed by splitting in half something very rarely seen by our engine guy in over 30yrs.
The crew checked the car over, changed the plugs and by lunchtime we were ready to go again.
Shirt change to try and change luck
Parachutes packed to run again
Another perfect start off the push truck, I’ve certainly had a bit of practice this week and this time she pulled hard to 240mph when suddenly the traditional cacophony from behind my head, and the rev’s flared as the car lost drive. A gearbox failure now would mean we would be over and done and for the 3rd time this week I have to record the “it’s all over” interview with the BBC. But in fact the intermediate sprocket set has broken free and it’s a quick fix.
So come 5pm and I’m climbing back into the fire suit for one last shot at this record. It truly is now or never.
Damage from push truck assault
Broken spark plug
First gear pulling hard, second gear... 150mph and the car steering began to feel a bit odd... BUT I wasn't stopping for anything or anyone on this pass.
Into third and I ripped all the studs out of the rear axle. No drive. The roughness of the Salt that has broken so many team this year had struck again.
So I coasted to a halt and returned to pit.
Where we discovered that in addition to the damage to the rear end, the roughness of the track had damaged the steering a little and while our systems had ensured it wasn’t an issue on track, for safety reason there is no quick fix.
So it didn't happen in 2012.
The team are extremely disappointed because with the support of EFG we’d finally solved our gearbox issues that had plagued us in previous years. But the one error from the external engine builder that caused the failure on Sunday afternoon has put us on the back foot for the rest of the week: losing Monday to the engine change, the fire on Tuesday due to a split union that would probably have been fine if not changed etc. which then left us with damaged electronics for the rest of the week.
But myself and the car are in 1 piece after being smoked, on fire, on 2 wheels and directionless so there is plenty to be thankful for.
Tough week. But the Salt has been rough and many teams have suffered. Sometime Bonneville is like that.
All our thanks to EFG International, without whom we wouldn’t have been on the Salt this year.
Your battered/bruised/smoked/roasted/shaken and a bit stirred correspondent.