Sunday, November 29, 2009

We have some catching up to do!

Yes, we just got back from Thunderhill.
Yes, the car finished the race.

But... we'd be doing a disservice if we told the story out of order. So we'll blast through the next couple of chapters and get all caught up.

After fixing the transmission (hooray for ingenuity and persistence!), the next few work parties addressed various issues with the car. The shocks were easily rebuilt with new seals and fresh oil (lighter weight, as the heavy weight we'd used before was probably the cause of shock failure). We relocated the battery to the trunk to make it easier to work on the engine, a little elbow room under the hood can make up valuable minutes at a LeMons race. Relocation made easy by a BMW 325 battery cable from our local junkyard. We decided we liked the spring performance with the clamps we'd used, so decided to clip the springs to make the change more permanent and prevent clamp failure. Basic maintenance of course, fluids, all that good stuff. During the course of this, we discovered that we'd need new axle nuts. Contacting our source for Peugeot parts, however, proved frustrating. The Turbo S model is, of course, different from your standard 505 in almost every way that matters, very little is interchangeable. Yes, he "could" get us the correct axle nuts, but like so many of the other parts we've asked him about, they would be about the "very last in the country" and Pug enthusiasts cry when they hear it would be going to a race car. This forced Sean to take the cheaper option. Owning your own aerospace machine shop makes it easy to replicate certain types of parts. A little 2" hex bar, some measurements, a couple hours, and only minimal swearing later, a brand new set of replacement nuts for less than we could have bought them.

We installed a more permanent location for our transponder, not that zip ties are a bad thing...

Time began to run short before the race. It was now less than a week to go, and our big ideas for redecorating would just have to be put aside. There's always another race, right? We had a team meeting to discuss trip logistics and strategies, and our youngest Monkey stepped in to ensure that our art theme would happen as planned, if not on the original scale.

We showed off the work we'd done to a tough audience, Doug's dad who was up from Nebraska, a wonderful man with many years of racing expertise under his belt. He was, to say the least, a bit dubious about our choice of a Peugeot.

The meeting was as good as a 6-person meeting can be with 2 people absent. Sadly, one of our drivers was feeling the effects of a cold, and another had been hit earlier in the week with swine flu. It was now Sunday night, and we were hopeful for quick recoveries from both guys. Our hopes turned to worry as Bret's fever continued, and by Tuesday, he was officially not going on the trip. At the last race, going from a 6-man team to a 5-man did not hurt us in anything other than the fun quotient. But even though we knew we'd have less daylight, this time was different. One of Doug's good friends from the Rally circuits was going to be coming up from San Diego to watch and support us in the pits. Would he be interested in taking a turn behind the wheel since he was going to be there anyway? After just a few questions which proved he wasn't completely mental, he agreed. We welcomed temporary Monkey Rick onto the team, and couldn't wait to meet him on Friday.

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