Well, that was a bit damp round the edges, wasn’t it? Then, to cap it off, I was at Lydd for 8am on Sunday morning, spent the day in shorts and now resemble a lobster!
There was a lot of very good driving going on last Saturday, and I think everyone needs to be congratulated for coping so well with the difficult and changing conditions. Inevitably, in those very wet conditions, we had a few waterlogged engines, and I did manage to help get some of them back into working condition. There is really only one quick solution if your right-hand engine goes down in the wet. Change the engine, or at least the carb. If you don’t have the luxury of such spares, then it really is a quick strip down, removing the main and pilot jets as well as the emulsion tube, and blowing everything through with an airline or carb cleaner.
If you still have the foam element in place, you can give that a wring-out as well, you’d be surprised how wet that can get. It’s worth giving the plug and cap a spray with water repellent too while you’re at it. Some engine preparers run the spark plugs with a pretty large gap, which does improve things in the dry, but in a situation like we had on Saturday it is worth closing that gap up to a more moderate 0.025” – 0.030”, (and that tip comes from top engine man Richard at UFO).
Of course, better still if you try to stop the water getting in to the engine in the first place. You’ll notice that, in the Honda regulations, there is a standard Honda part that you can add under the air box, and that is quite useful for keeping the wet stuff at bay. There are certain no-no’s if you want to keep those pesky scrutineers of your back. No tape or pretty much any type of fixing onto the red covers. No tape around the carb or airbox area (and in all honesty, that doesn’t work; if you’ve got enough tape around the base of the airbox to stop water getting in, then there’s enough to stop air getting in too). No holes or fixings onto the air cleaner cover.
The best solution really is to create a still air box that surrounds, but doesn’t stifle, the complete carb and air filter assembly. PGS Racing had a really good solution in place from first thing on Saturday, and I’m sure it proved it’s worth. But a good idea is soon copied and a quick trip to Sainsbury’s saw ABA fix a couple of Tupperware-type containers in a similar fashion. They seemed to work just as well.
I can offer no reason as to why some of you suffered from water ingress, while others didn’t. I’ve been at lots of these meetings over the years and seen on many of these occasions that one team will fall foul of the water, another team will sail sublimely through with no ill effects. The fact is, a bit of water can ruin your race, so perhaps a little creative activity in the shed before the next event will see some novel new takes on the fitments we saw last Saturday. Keep dry!