Test Day at Homestead

The weather forecast was for a rainy weekend and, this time, the weatherman was right.  We offloaded from the trailer and switched to our rain tires.  On the bright side, it was a good opportunity to get some track time in wet conditions, which we hadn’t done in all of last year.

Our first session was cut short, probably because the organizers were running behind schedule, but it was enough to get warmed up and to determine that a small correction to our Webers’ jetting was needed.

Before our second session, in addition to the fuel mixture adjustment and the usual routine checks, additional checks were carried out to ensure everything was normal with our new engine.

We started our second session still in very wet conditions.  While the Moya Motorsports’ crew and friends watched from pit row,  Alex commented over the radio that the car felt good and all the gauges were normal.  In the second or third lap, we saw our Datsun coming into the front straight under acceleration and suddenly a loud BANG was heard.  We all watched in disbelief as Alex reported: “Failure, failure, failure.”  He could tell that the trail of mist the car was producing was more than water being lifted from the track, and quickly de-clutched, switched the power off and coasted to a stop at the edge of the track just before the pit lane exit.

The track emergency crew brought our injured 510 to our pit, where a hole on the side of the block was immediately discovered.  It cannot be said that this was a “racing” incident, since the new engine had only run well under its design capabilities.  Our engine builder has been notified and our frustration, due to this totally unacceptable incident, made clear.

The failure cut short our day and the day of friends who, in such bad weather, came out to support our effort.  But much, much worse is the disappointment after all the long hours Moya Motorsports put into getting the car ready just in time for testing; only to see our racing season cut short again.

To top off our misfortunes, on the way home from the track, one of the trailer’s four hubs failed and we barely made it home.  The trailer had never given us problems and its hubs were always greased before long trips, but, for peace of mind, they had just been inspected and serviced by a “specialist” and new brand-name bearings had been installed.  They lasted 40 miles!  The old bearings probably had over 10,000 miles.

Moya Motorsports has the experience for tackling successfully almost any job our Team requires, but our regular day jobs get in the way, requiring subcontracting some services.  These outside services have, by far, caused our biggest problems.

We can’t say at this time how long we will be out of action, but we will be back and, hopefully, soon reporting on our progress to get back on track.

The image was captured by Ivan Armengol at the moment of failure.  A piece of the connecting rod, or a piece of the side of the block, can be seen approximately five feet behind the car, just above trunk lid height.

Engine Failure

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