Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Grand Day Out

Take three off-road race cars, a bunch of assorted petrolheads, add friends and family to taste and sprinkle liberally with sand, and what do you get?  A Grand Day Out, that's what, and if there's Wensleydale in the packed lunch, so much the better.

Some call it a shakedown, some call it testing, but let's face it, we're actually out for a blat. Mark Powell in the white Predator Buggy, Monish in the black one and myself in the Beast met up at Awir, zipped across to Fossil Rock, zoomed along to Big Red, had an icecream and then retraced our tracks to Awir.  Sounds like a quick one, but as we had to wait for the camp followers at various points it actually took most of the day.  But as it was a nice day for hanging around, that was no great hardship.

Particular thanks to Craig McAteer for providing photographic support, he's the one in the rather fetching pink shirt, seen here getting a much-needed sunshine fix in between stints in the frozen north of Canada, where it's about -40c at the moment.

So apart from having a Grand Day Out, what did we achieve?  Well, I was able to more accurately document the loss of power at around 5000rpm, which I now think may be due to lack of air rather than fuel.  Sometimes easing off the throttle will cause the engine to pick up again, and there is a lot of backfire on the over-run.  I await Mark Adams' opinion on this, but meanwhile I'll take out the FIA restrictor and throw in a new air filter and see if that changes anything.  The alternator, which curiously seems to output more volts on tickeover than at high revs, behaved itself and seems unlikely to be the culprit.

And believe it or not, we have a rally to look forward to on Thursday!  Allegedly, this will consist of eight laps of a 27km offroad circuit somewhere in Umm Al Quwain, with a service stop halfway through. If that is indeed the case, we're looking at over 200km, which is close to the length of a Desert Challenge stage, and far longer than any other local rally.  As usual in UAQ (cue for a song) I heard it through the grapevine and the precise details are shrouded in mystery.  Do we need co-drivers?  Are there any rules?  When's it starting?  Will there be cake?  These questions, dear reader, and many others besides, remain unanswerable.  If I find out anything at all before then, I'll let you know - otherwise you could just pop along to the Motorplex in UAQ on Thursday and see what's happening.... 

....because that's probably what we'll end up doing.

No comments: