Saturday, November 11, 2006

Flight of the Norton Vee

Today was kind of a red-letter day for us. Today our second Vee made it to the track. We had hoped there would be four out for this practice session but it just didn’t work out that way. It was time for Mike Norton’s maiden flight.

My car was not ready. Neither was Barry’s and Hugh was out (just for the day) with a broken throttle cable.

Mike had to go to the restaurant first thing to set the days specials so we left about ten thirty to go pick up his car and head out. We got to the track just as they were having a lunch break so the timing was right on.

We talked with Winston and had him do a safety check. After that we put Mike in the beast and had him making slow laps around he paddock area until he knew where all the gears were and was he sure the brakes worked.

It was the first time he had driven the car so it was all learning experience.

We got one of the Spec Miata drivers to take Mike out on the track as a passenger in a practice session. The made about ten semi-fast laps around the track showing Mike the lines through the corners, braking points, etc.

Mike said the guy had this neat head set to head set speaker system in the car so they could talk even at speed. It seemed to be OK while they were going slow but when they got up to speed he could hear him any more. I still haven’t figured out whether he meant it got too noisy or he just couldn’t hear anything when he was going that fast.

After a couple more laps around the paddock area, Winston waved Mike out on the track. Again, the timing was just right. The only other cars on the track were Bill and David Roland’s who are old hands and knew not to scare him too badly.

I had what I thought was going to be a great shot of Mike leading Bill through the last corner but when the picture came up it was just Bills car.

The shutter lag on the digital camera makes it difficult to get action shots at times.
Mike came off the track wearing that same silly grin Hugh had worn on his first day. I think every one of us has borrowed it for our first time out. There is just nothing else like it in the world.

So Mike lost his cherry and we found a couple of things to fix before the next time out.
The cooling system needs some work. There needs to be a better way to direct the air over the cylinders to cool the engine, a duct to the oil cooler, and the mounting for the seat belts needs to be modified to better contain the driver.

Other than that the car worked fine.

Oh, there was one other little thing. There needs to be a better way to attach the bottom clips for the nose. Mike just does not look his best in this position.


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