Mumbo Racing visited Melbourne's Calder Park last weekend, and came away a little disappointed.
Problems began almost on arrival. Neil Byers' Mitsubishi 380 hit the circuit briefly on Friday, and was flying. It didn't last though, part way into the session the engine appeared to go into limp home mode - enough to get Neil back to the pits, but no further. Despite valiant efforts by the team, the problem could not be corrected. Something in the engine was: broken.
Sam Dale fired up the Reynard 94D for the mid-day session in Oz BOSS, he trundled to the dummy grid, and was told to shut down because a car from the previous session was going to take a long time to retrieve. When the signal was given to start engines, Sam went for the starter but achieved only a click. The car refused to start with or without the jump battery. The team attempted to push start the car, but the rear wheels would simply lock up when the clutch was released. Closer inspection revealed that the starter motor was stuck in the engaged position. The team pushed the car back to the garage for repairs, but on the way, Sam managed to get his right foot under the left-rear wheel of the car. Sam's foot lifted the rear of the car about 8 inches off the ground. The car had rolled over the top of his heel, and forced his foot over on itself. Sam hobbled back to the garage, and the rest of the team pushed the car.
The starter motor was easily fixed. Sam's foot on the other hand appeared to be: broken.
Strapping and race tape was applied to Sam's foot to make it fit inside his race boot, and he proceeded to teach himself how to left-foot brake, and downshift without the clutch. The biggest problem was that the swollen, purple right foot was very bad at providing feedback, making it hard to modulate the throttle application when exiting corners. Nevertheless, Sam qualified 3rd outright, and 2nd Oz BOSS car.
Raceday came, and it had rained heavily overnight - the circuit was still damp for the first race, and conditions were extremely slippery - calling for a delicate touch on the throttle... Sam took the rolling start gingerly, and gradually found a rhythm. Until 8 laps in, when the car lost all drive as Sam shifted into 5th gear on the main straight. He coasted to a stop, and retired from the race. A quick inspection revealed that no gears would engage, and there appeared to be terminal damage, with minimal gearbox spares carried, the car was loaded into the trailer: broken.
From a competitive standpoint it was a disappointing weekend for the team, with no races finished. But there are always positives, and they are what we prefer to focus on when there are problems. We all made it to and from the track safely (except for Sam's foot), we debuted a brand new trailer for the Reynard 94D, built by Roger Perkins from Ty Hanger's team - it performed faultlessly and is expected to serve the team well into the future. And most of all we got to enjoy the camaraderie that we look forward to leading into every race meeting. Everything else can be fixed for next time...