So We Did This Race

OK, it's the new year and we're excited about the new racing season and new projects. Dusting off the blog I realize there's a bit of a back log of posts to work on, namely the September 2012, 24 Hours Of Lemons at Thunderhill.

Mostly I needed an excuse to post this photo.
We hadn't been to Thunderhill since 2010. Personally it's a favorite track where I've had a lot of seat time, and I usually have few driving errors there. I was looking forward to seeing the MRolla perform there with the long fast front straight and several other high speed sections.

The only significant change to the car was the spiffy little kick-down lever we rigged up for the rear automatic transmission. Readers may recall that combined manual and automatic shifting dynamics are one of the more complex, interesting problems with the twin-engine MRolla. After too much thought and not enough testing we had settled on a static kick-down cable position that left us wanting more RPM on some steep track sections. For this race we rigged a simple bicycle brake lever mounted to the manual shift lever, and connected to the automatic kick-down cable, allowing us to grab another thousand RPM when we felt a little greedy. On track this worked great and gave us noticeably improved acceleration and climbing.

Unfortunately the rear engine was not up to the task of the additional RPMs. It puked oil and coolant from the seals and head gasket before the two hour mark. We opted to finish the day on the front engine only. We were out of any serious competition, but the car was handling great and front engine running like a top. At the end of day one we decided to just finish the race on one engine and start drinking rather than attempt any overnight mechanical heroics.

Image from

There were no other mechanical problems during the race and we placed a surprising 56 out of 166. I was impressed with how stable the MRolla was as a front wheel drive. I think much of the stability I had attributed to the all-wheel-drive is actually a characteristic of the nearly even weight distribution.

And Will did this. Image from

Oh yeah, and Joe/Bow/Randal ran the Snowspeeder. Finished 11th. Really it was the Snowspeeder's best finish ever, given the large, competitive field of cars. It placed 9th at ORP 2011, but that was against only 37 cars.

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