Well, I signed off my last blog with huge expectations and, if I am honest, just counting down the days to collect my car from Justin after he did some final preparation on it. This included fitting new belts and applying a number of the team’s sponsors – namely the team’s title sponsor – ‘Cooper Poole Air Conditioning.’
As I pulled up at his house, in what can certainly not be described as one of Italy’s finest exports, (my Fiat), we unstrapped the ramps and rolled out the car before beginning, what we expected to be a fairly simple affair of loading the car…how wrong can you be!
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I decided to go with a recovery van to transport my car to the circuit as it essentially meant I didn’t have to buy a trailer and take a trailer test; something I didn’t have the time to do and quite simply I had not budgeted for! To make things worse the truck I bought was a conversion so it is considerably higher than most recovery vehicles. Anyway back to where we were!
So we attempted to load the car. Justin jumped in to drive the car up the ramps and it would be an understatement to say things didn’t go well.
Run 1 – Started up, and as it got to a certain height the car stopped, paused and then rolled back down the ramps. (We had run out of fuel).
After a quick sprint to the local petrol station….
Run 2, 3 & 4 – Despite several goes the car couldn’t seem to make the final ascent, something appeared to be stopping it.
Fortunately, Justin is a seasoned grinder, so within a few minutes he had worked his magic and removed some pieces of metal which seemed to be preventing the car making the final ascent.
Run 5 – Problem fixed, or so we believed, there was nothing going to get in our way. In stepped Justin, with the look of a Top Gun extra, he shut the door, adjusted himself in the seat, pulled the switch, moved it into gear and prepared for take-off. As he sped up the runway (ramp), gained altitude all was looking good, until a loud crack was heard and the car stopped!
The cars fuel tank had only got in the way and as a result had been torn off! Fortunately no fuel had seeped out, but to say things were not looking good at this stage would be an understatement. Through no fault of Justin, the weekends’ plans looked a long way from reality.
We unloaded the car slowly and Justin very kindly told me to come back on Easter Sunday by which time he will have repaired the damage and got hold of some extra ramps to make loading/unloading a little less stressful!
As I pulled away the reality struck me. I was out of my depth in so many ways and the complexity of racing really started to dawn on me; was this really a good idea?