Saturday 24th September 2017, the weather wasn’t too bad for Simon Goff and his pro gas challenge.
Friday 23rd September was the practise day, it was hampered with situations that were out of Simon’s control. A big motorbike accident meant that the Santa Pod ambulance had to take the motorbike rider to hospital. If the ambulance is not on site then no racing can take place. Thank goodness the rider was not too badly hurt. When the ambulance eventually returned to the track it then had to go to a spectator who became ill and needed to be transported to hospital.
All in all there wasn’t much time that day for the practise sessions to take place. Simon did manage one practise session that looked promising, this boosted his confidence and he was looking forward to going into the qualifying on the Saturday.
On Saturday Simon won his round with a 9.86 seconds which he was over the moon with. The second qualifying round got even better with a 9.9 dead, this was unheard of knowing how long Simon had been competing in the super Gas class.
With two rounds now under his belt he was up for the third qualifying round. He ran the third round and won again with a flat 10 second run, this was the last run for today. This meant that he was through to Sundays qualifying, it was a nice surprise and he was thrilled.
Shortly after the last 10 second run the judges came to see Simon, they informed him that something under the car had affected the timing lights and the last 10 second run would not count.
Off came the front of the car and the inspection began. It transpired that two cable ties had not been cut off correctly and they were the culprits that were affecting the timing lights. With the bonnet removed the decision was taken to change the engine oil and check the tightness of the all-important bolt. Whilst checking the tightness of the bellhousing bolts a crack was noticed. After further investigation and a lot of discussion the decision was made not to run the car. The crack was too bad and the potential of the gearbox breaking up was a real possibility.
The engine in the car does not use conventional engine mountings, the engine is held in at the front using a plate attached to the engine timing cover and the rear has a plate bolted to the rear of the engine block. The rear of the gearbox is held in by a solid mounting under the tail shaft of the gearbox. As well as a new gearbox housing a flexible mounting under the rear tail shaft of the gearbox is required, just enough to give enough flex from the twist of the body as the car bolts away from the line.
At least Simon will have something to do during the cold, dark, winter nights.
Simon and the car will be returning to Santa Pod next year to have another go at getting the Super Gas title.