Saturday, 10 December 2016

Racing at Sydney Motorsport Park

The Alpha Hotel is just across the street from the track. Unfortunately they did not open the gate there and we had to drive around to the other side.
Back of the front straight grandstands from the hotel
We had to wait until 5:30pm on Thursday before we could get at the container. The paddock was still being used by an Audi track day event.

The car came out clean since I had put a tarp over the car when we packed up at Sandown. No 'Cooper'ing on it this time. All the car checks were good.

Friday we had 3 practice sessions scheduled. Boy was it hot. The forecast was for 34C and it got at least that hot. Another interesting track to learn. We were using the Gardiner (GP) layout at 2.44 miles long. A long front straight mostly slight downhill (was a drag strip before they build a dedicated strip) to a sweeping Turn1. I had to feather the throttle to keep the revs in a reasonable range. Turn1 is quite quick. For those familiar with Mosport, think of Turn8 leading to another straight. Turn2 was tricky as you are coming off close to top revs into a low 3rd gear corner that goes uphill before the apex. There are a number of downhill braking areas into hairpin corners. Easy to brake too late and understeer wide.
The Junior side of the garage
Practice was not without some dramas, just not for me. The Waggott-motored Brabham travelling with us had battery problems, a broken motor mount, and a broken wing support. The Ralt got a new ignition system (to solve the module blowing problem) and found a broken wire for the tach. JR's Lotus 18 was running fine. My only issue was the Sony on-board camera is acting up (stopping in the middle of a session with a damaged file). I replaced the toasted rear brake shoes after practice to see if the fade going into Turn2 would get better. The higher engine temperatures were attributed to the high ambient temperature. If the engine doesn't run cooler on Saturday we might have to look at the head gasket again.
Brabham with Waggott motor
Saturday qualifying had steady improvement. Close to a second quicker each lap, ending with 2:00.2. Engine temps were back to normal so it is a bit marginal with high ambient temps.
Qualifying results
Started 21th out of 33 for the race. Had my usual start and lost a number of positions. Close to the end of the first lap, there was a big cloud of dust in the distance. Jamie Larner's Cooper T67 had his rear brakes lock on hard going into the second last corner. Lots of dirt on the track but stopped before hitting anything. A stone had got into the brake linkage jamming the rears full on. I had a good battle with Michael Rowe in the ex-Roger Ealand Koala (Australian built FJr). Michael was having trouble keeping the engine on the cam so he often would bog down on exit. He would pass me on the straight and I'd get him back in the corners. The one time I kept my foot in it down the front straight saw 7800 on entry to Turn1. I was starting to get more comfortable with my turn-in point for Turn1, just a tap on the brakes. There was a bit of attrition in the last couple of laps that got me back to 21th at the finish.
Race1 results
Sunday dawned cooler from the overnight rain. The first group out was a 45 minute enduro so the track was dry for our races. A racer came by to see my car and I was surprised to see a Mosport patch on his driving suit. Turned out to be Peter Mohacsi who had traded rides with Andrew Celovsky. Peter came to Canada to race Andrew's Fiat, and Andrew came to Australia to race Peter's Midget. Peter was racing his FVee this weekend and had seen the Canadian flag on our garage.

Race 2 was our trophy race with just Formula Juniors on the grid. The Lola Mk2, the Golford and John Rowe's Lotus 18 got me on the start. I got back around the 18 by the second lap. The rest of the race was chasing the other two. I found I could carry more speed through Turn1 than the Golford but kept getting the timing wrong (either too far back at entry, or too close and have to feather) until the last lap. So up the inside going into Turn2 and the car won't stop!! Used all the track including the concrete apron but never went off the hard stuff. Had to settle for 20th with my best lap down to 1:59.41.
Race2 results

Michael and Valerie with the 1963 Koala Robert Buckley's 1963 Golford
There was an optional Tasman Trophy race with a mixed grid that I decided to skip to save wear and tear. Probably should have done it as I could have placed well. I wandered around an looked at some of the other interesting cars there.
1977 Alfa GTV Always liked the Renault Alpine

1971 Mawer Clubman
The final race of the series was late in the afternoon. Only 22 starters. Usual start, but got back both the Lola and John's Lotus 18 by Turn2. Started chasing the Golford and Erik Justesen in the 1960 U2 Mk2 but could never quite bridge the gap. The high ambient was back so I had to watch the engine temps. Finished 16th with my fastest lap of 1:59.64, a little off the morning's race.
Race3 results
The awards followed this last race. Once again JR got 2nd in the rear engine drum brake class. Margaret Ealand presented all the class awards. This was also the last race for the Australian leg of the Formula Junior World Series. The overall award, The Ron Tauranac Trophy, went to Martin Bullock as the top points for the 3 race meetings combined. The award was presented by Ron, a plaque he received for the 1964 Temperado F3 Series in Argentina. A well deserved award not only for the racing, but also Marty's contribution to the running of the Australian leg.
Ron Tauranac, Martin Bullock, Margaret Ealand
Now it was time to load the container for shipping to New Zealand. All the tires were scraped and wrapped in plastic to reduce any biological contamination concerns. We had it all loaded by 6:30pm this time. Practice makes perfect (and starting some loading on Saturday helped). Next stop Hampton Downs New Zealand in January 2017.

Ready for New Zealand in 2017

Friday, 9 December 2016

Around Sydney Part1

The flight from the Gold Coast airport to Sydney did have a window for me this time.
Sydney harbour from the air
Sydney has a nice integrated public transit system. Apparently this is just a recent thing as I saw signs announcing the discontinuation of paper tickets in August this year. You now use an 'Opal' card (a smartcard using near-field communication technology) for all buses, light rail, trains, and ferries. When entering a train station, you tap the card on the reader and it shows you what your balance is on the card. It will warn you if the balance is not sufficient for the most expensive journey. When you leave the train system, no matter how many trains you transferred, you tap the card again and it shows what the fare was and debits the card. The system figures out what the route would be between the start-end and calculates the fare. So to get to Manly Beach, I would take the train to downtown, then a ferry to Manley. Transfers between modes gets a discount for the trip. There is a great smartphone app that lets you put in start and end points, with start or end times, and it gives  you all the choices of how to get there. It even handles service interruptions like track maintenance with alternative bus routes. It's integrated with Google maps and your smartphone GPS so it can do a route from where you are.
Sydney trains (double decker) Sydney ferry with Movember moustache
I did the Hidden Sydney's Little Laneways historical walking tour to get acquainted with the downtown area. It leads you through all the back alleys and hidden old buildings. It also is a bit of a tour of smoking areas. Office workers use these back alleys to feed their habit.
Still old buildings in downtown Some have cafes

Hinchcliffs Woolstore  Obelisk of Distances
(all roads were measured from this spot)
Lots of great architecture, both old and new.
Burns Philp & Co building
one of Sydney’s old shipping firms
Glass blocks in sidewalk for light
Note the St. Pancras Ironworks manufacturer
General Post Office reflected across Martin Place
The Rocks area is full of art galleries and shops. Some Christmas themed 'sculpture' as well.
Santa made from milk crates
I did not do the Bridge Climb. Way too high up in the air. I settled for the view from on top of the south pylon with a good view of the city.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Opera House from the bridge Cruise ship dock from the bridge
The bridge was built from each end supported with tension cables. When the two half arches were complete, the cables were relaxed until the centre pin engaged. Construction took from 1923 to 1932.
Half scale plywood model of Centre Pin
Next was a tour of the Sydney Opera House. No interior pictures of the actual stages as copyrighted sets or acoustic technicians were present. The largest stage is actually the Concert Hall for symphonies and other musical performers. There was LOTS of controversy about who got the bigger space. Original budget was 3 years and $7 million in 1959 when construction started. Opened in 1973 (just a couple of years late!!) costing $102 million. It has become the symbol of Sydney known around the world.
Interior hallway Opera House tiled roof
(2 different colours and finishes)
It can't be all culture and such so I took the train to the Gosford Classic Car Museum. The train takes you right through the middle of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
Along the way to Gosford 
The collection is an eclectic mix of old and new. The museum is housed in an old Bunnings store building (local version of Home Depot) so there is lots of space.

Porsches and Ferraris Porsche 356 to 911 progression

From behind the Iron Curtain Twiggy's Lambo Miura
(she didn't own it, just photographed with it)
Triumphs Jack Brabham's BT7A from '64 Tasman Series
From the beautiful to the odd.
1955 Swallow Doretti 1957 Dart by Bill Buckle
based on Goggomobil components
The last tour before racing resumed was of Cockatoo Island. It's modern name should be Seagull Island. Nary a cockatoo did I see, but lots and lots of seagulls. Noisy too since it is nesting season here. It's a place of 2 times, initially as a convict establishment (1839 to 1869), becoming a major shipbuilding facility (1857 to 1991).
Convict side
Shipbuilding side
You could rent a tent and stay here.
Convict building were build from local sandstone.
Yard and cookhouse Guard house
The initial Fitzroy graving dock (dry dock) was dug by the convicts from 1847 to 1857. The part at the bottom of the photo is the floating caisson that would close off the end of the dock before pumping out the water. The dock was lengthened several times to accommodate larger ships.
Fitzroy Graving dock
A second dock was built between 1882 and 1890. Also enlarged several times to handle Navy ships. There are several slipways as well for ship building and/or repair.
Sutherland Dock
I saw a crew working on something at the edge of the cliff. They were disassembling a jib crane to get at the rotation mechanism at the base. The 2 winches were in the way so they were jacking them up (and putting supports underneath) to get at the bottom. This crane had an 11 metre wooden boom and was used to bring things up and down the cliff to the workshops. They have a picture from 1933 bringing a speedboat up for repair. Later, it was used to bring light aircraft up and down for work as well.
Jib crane Jacking up the winch base
The 'Submarine Crane' was used to refit the Oberon class submarines. Although physically large, it only had a 5 ton rating. Contrastly, the Dock Crane was physically small but had a 10 ton capacity for loading and unloading supplies for the island.
Submarine crane (5T) Mort's Dock Crane installed 1891 (10T)
Crane 226, and sister crane 227 were part of a 'Floating Dock' used in Iceland in 1942 for ship repair. The 2750 ton dock was towed all the way to Cockatoo Island in 1945. The dock was scrapped in 1964 and the cranes were transferred to land use.
Crane 226 from Iceland (electric) Sister Iceland crane 227
Volunteers have been restoring a number of the cranes. The two below are steam powered. The first is functioning all but the travel mechanism which soon will be working. The second has just started restoration. It's a challenge to find/make boilers.
Almost finished restoration of steam crane
(travel mechanism still to get working)
Starting restoration of a similar crane
Another wooden-boomed jib crane was under restoration in the shop.
Foundry jib crane restoration
The convicts dug storage chambers into the sandstone to store grain. The chambers were cut into during the expansion of the shipbuilding operations. There are 2 tunnels through the plateau. The straight one was primarily to make access to the other side of the island faster. The dog-leg tunnel was also used as a air raid shelter during WW2.
Grain storage in the rock
(cut open when docks were expanded)
Straight tunnel
There are quite extensive shops that were used for building parts for the ships. There is not many 'small' parts of a ship.
Turbine hall
Electricity, hydraulic power and compressed air was initially produced on site in the Powerhouse from coal. There were three 1000 kW turbo-generators for electricity. Also two 10,000 ton/hour centrifugal pumps for emptying the dry docks. A submarine cable supplied power to the island starting in the 1950s.
Brick powerhouse stack
The ferry stopped at a number of places on the way back to Darling Harbour.
Ferry stop
One of the deckhands on the ferry was obviously used to tourists, and offered to take pictures of passengers with appropriate backdrops.
Harbour Bridge Opera House
Enough of the touring around. Time for more racing, this time at Sydney Motorsport Park in Eastern Creek.