Testing times at Elvington
July 4th Elvington Runway the very first test day
Following a two and a half hour drive north to York ,me and long time mechanic and friend Steve Allen finally arrived at elvington runway to join the Straightliners club for the very first shakedown of the car
Immediately the car drew a large crowd with cameras and lots of questions as we unloaded it from the trailer and set up for the day ahead ,as with any racing the first order was to sign on and get a race number assigned before heading to scrutaneering and the dreaded noise decibel test ,which we passed ,having previously fitted the baffles to quieten the thunder
Suited up helmet on and we were directed down the left side of the runway the 50 mph speed limit here made me glance at the gps speedo already 72 mph and the car was just ticking over
And smile came to my worried face ,at the start of the runaway I positioned the car and with a thumbs up from the marshal I set off for a steady run
Nervous is not a big enough word ,will it drive straight ,will it blow up ,will it even stop at the end ,up to 84 mph just off idle constantly looking at the gauges and listening for any little noises and phew we made it
Back to the pits and a good check over then back out for another run
A little more confident this time up to 100 mph as iam still running the engine in ,I can feel the rear suspension bottom out ,runways are not that smooth ,back to the pits for some adjustment and lunch
Then ready for next run ,heading down through the pits a man in blue overalls and bobble hat ( guy Martin ) waved us down we stopped for a chat as he eagerly inspected the engine and approved its engineering
A few more runs slowly creeping up the revs ,and it’s not blown up yet
Final run number 7, I wanted to get half way at 113 mph just to see if the numbers would add up .. and they did
At 2200 rpm the gps speedo reading 127 mph pushing the go pedal further and nothing the engine would not rev past this point ,back at the pits we checked everything and pulled the spark plugs and diagnosed the problem the thirsty engine had sucked the carbs dry at less than half throttle we needed bigger fuel pumps
But I didn’t care at this point .the engine proved to be reliable ,what a fantastic day we had
Loading the car back on the trailer ,we met Malcolm the editor of the British land speed record club magazine we arranged an interview and with a date agreed we set of for home with smiling faces and stories to tell .
The quest continues
Elvington testing take two
After sitting in the truck for most of the day waiting for the rain to stop ,The runway finally dried up enough to run safely
The engine still proving its self to be reliable and with the previous fuelling problems now sorted , we now have issues with ignition timing and a serious misfire and with no time left to diagnose these problems it all led to a disappointing day
However the car still ran 108 mph at only 2000 rpm
We are Still on a learning curve with this engine and hopefully with new ignition system next time we can release its full potential
Custom made distributor
Following on from the elvington test runs
Alfred is now fitted with the new distributor and is sounding a lot happier, but just to be sure the decision was made to test the car on a rolling road dyno , it was absolutely deafening to hear the engine pull under load ,under my instructions only taking the engine to 4000 rpm the resinance noise and vibrations played havoc with the dyno,s computers and shut them down
No BHP or torque figures were obtained I guess if Alfred doesn’t want anyone to know ,that’s fine with me
So iam busy working away and the phone keeps ringing.I answer bloody insurance sales ,on the fourth call I answer with WHAT and A voice replyed it’s Anthony from bbc news are you planning to to run at pendine this year
Oh crap er yes erm I don’t think iam ready for TV
Anyway they are coming to interview me with Alfred.
And I am bloody petrified
So Pendine is booked and iam looking forward to playing in the sand
The runs will be totally dependent on the tides and the sands and of course me and a jag called Alfred
Pendine sands 2021
How did we get on at pendine ?
After a 7 hour drive we finally reached pendine beach in South Wales ,the home of British speed record racing
Reversing into the car park (top job Steve )we were greeted by a small crowd of people taking pictures and admiring Alfred , with a car cover fitted Alfred was left overlooking the most famous beach in the uk ,and we checked in to the springwell pub for some great food and a few beers
7.00 am and a great view from the upstairs pub window looking down the 7 mile beach ,Mist and high tide started the day along with a full welsh breakfast and something in a mug they called tea
With Alfred’s bonnet open more and more people gathered eager to take pictures and ask questions , our small team of helpers now sporting Alfred clothing stepped in to talk to the public
All riders and drivers gathered for a briefing to be told the sand conditions were not ideal but a 1 mile stretch of beach had been found suitable and set up , we needed 4 to 5 miles of beach at this point all the hopes and excitement of driving Alfred to the limits were gone , we decided to tow Alfred 1 and 1/2 miles along the beach to avoid deep wet patches of sand called porridge by the locals
Arriving at the start line we were told this was a 1 mile standing start - apparently I was a bit annoyed , but having never driven on sand at speed before this would give me some experience and show the officials we could handle the car and the conditions
Alfred was never built for Standing starts this was going to be real messy , 1 mile wheelspin coming up , slowly building up speed to about 70 mph and something strange starts to happen the car starts to float around like aqua planing but on sand , apparently this is normal and definitely not for the faint hearted and gets no better or no worse pushing a little bit harder still spinning the wheels and floating along at 100mph feels really odd but bloody brilliant.
A few more runs and I thought and they’ll open up the beach and let me go ,unfortunately sand conditions did not improve and the tides were on there way back.
Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
Sunday’s got to be better the sun is out , and talking to the locals a rough tide can lead to a really smooth compact beach
Yeah right ,the beach is strewn with rocks, driftwood , jellyfish and then rain , the officials drove off down the beach to find a suitable surface of just 3/4 mile this was a huge disappointment , and we loaded up.
We knew the weather / sands and tides are unpredictable but we were there ready and we will be again
Plans B and C are already well underway for the next part of this incredible journey
I wish to thank everyone who helped us , supported and followed us , old friends , new friends / officials who kept me safe (sorry I was bit grumpy) the locals and all who came cheered and waved.
It was very much appreciated.