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 Buckminster Tethered Car Track

SAM Spring Gala

Given the weather over the last few months, it was something of a miracle that the Gala was even able to go ahead as the site was so very soft. Having parked up for the day the car was almost level with the rims where it had sunk in to the soft surface. Luckily with a few days of sun and wind the surface was dry enough so that we were able to get out without any problems, but this was not the case for everyone, meaning that the tractor was in high demand. Mowing had also proved a problem as the mowers sunk in, but thanks to Richard on Thursday and Nigel and Co on Friday, the car circle was trimmed enough to allow running. Not such good news on the flying field as the strong winds limited what could fly, so there was always a good audience around the track.

Always good to see new runners, new cars and new innovations, of which there were these in abundance. What was sadly missing were several of the established competitors, laid low by various ailments, which we hope are soon overcome? New cars included a superb twinshaft, beaten from 3mm sheet aluminium by Ian Harper who is new to the sport, but has several projects on the go. With the help of those present he was soon getting a series of successful runs.

On the table but not yet running was the newly recreated Moore #11 with an enviable paint job from Andy Soars and a 1950s ZN. The ZN presents one of the dilemmas of running retro cars. The tyres are just not safe after seventy years and the repros available are not suitable for running, so like the #11, modern wheels and tyres are required, but they don't sit well with an original car. One set of wheels and tyres for running, original set for the shelf?                        2024 #11 foreground 1954 ZN behind

Over the winter, Mike Francies has been at work on the latest version of his streamliner for the Modern, British class. Instead of a Fora replica with its oddly positioned exhaust, lurking under the bonnet is a rear exhaust Rossi 21 but with full suspension. Mike is also working on an ingenious glow driver that powers the plug, adjust the power to match the plug demand and also switches off the power when the engine is under way. Always intriguing to find what Nigel and Mike have been up to with the production methods they have. CNC wheels and moulded tyres have been added to their repertoire and a gearbox is on the cards along with something really special. Go to www.youtube.com

Ian Harper Mike and Nigel's wheels and tyres Rossi 12 PCB for glow driver

The Redfin speed competition was the featured event of the day, but at the moment everyone seems to have hit a speed plateau. A twinshaft should be good for 90+mph with 100 as an absolute target, but this is proving a tricky prospect at present and will probably never be reached with a semi scale, retro type car. Various set ups have shown promise but have yet to deliver, perhaps why the TS was abandoned in the 50s in favour of gear drive versions? Someone that was well in to the 90s with both an aircar and wheel driven car was Roger Gedge but not a sniff of diesel as they were both electric. Roger has been working on control systems and has now a transmitter free version that ramps up the speed, full power for the run, ramp down and then stop. Worked seamlessly and during the day with prop changes resulting in runs just on 100mph. The wheel driven car was well on the money too and was also just on the 100 mark.
See Roger explain his thinking on Youtube www.youtube.com

Fully automated electronic control system Roger Gedge The proof

He has been busy over the winter and shown us the way forward with electrics. Power limits have been set for wheel driven cars but not yet for aircars. With 100mph now the norm for these is this the time that engine capacity and battery power need to be limited? Life has moved on since the aircar concept came into being in the late 40s, when no one could foresee the performances now being achieved?

A brace of wheel driven electrics from Roger Ian Harper's Redfin powered car

Sunday is effectively given over to the swapmeet, so those turning up to run were going to be disappointed and this is a feature of these events that needs to be addressed. Having waxed lyrical about swapmeets regularly there is not too much that can be added, far far too much stuff and much of it far too expensive. Yes, we are well aware that you may have paid X for it a while ago, but there is not a hope that it will be anywhere near it now. Two examples of engines where the asking price was over £1,000 less than was paid and another just half of what it cost at Gildings.

The rarest Taplin Alan Knight PAW twinshaft Very early Chas Atkins CM

Occasionally there are real rarities and one such was Gerald Smith's own Buzzard, five cylinder radial, last seen at Gilding's sale of his collection and later being run at Old Warden by the late John Scott-Scott. A Rustler Lynx and a Chas Atkins CM owned at one stage by the late Ron Moulton were other rarely seen motors, but as usual, sales were limited.

In just two conversations, collections of over 1300 and one of 2,634 engines precisely were claimed and these are far from the largest. Difficult to believe but just four of our acquaintances can claim over 18,000 engines between them, and with one collection of 300 plus currently for sale, this will give an idea of the impending meltdown when any or all of these hit the market? Sadly, for many of the 'ordinary', massed produced motors, the skip and melting pot loom?

Derek Carter had a number of cars on his stall including this fearsome pulse jet projectile. Jets of any sort are not legal in the UK either in cars or boats. Unfortunately we were camera less when a visitor produced a lovely and original McCoy Railton from his backpack. This still had a Derby Club decal on the side and the body had a wonderful look of age.

Demo runs from Lyndon Bedford Multiple Champions Peter Halman, Paul Eisner Peterborough Racing Team

The retirement of Roy and his burger van has been balanced by Gillian and the new cafe. The volunteers have done an amazing job with a sit-in cafe, outside patio and a serving hatch for when it is busy, no black pudding though. An advantage of this new venture is that those not altogether involved or visitors can sit there and enjoy a mardle in the sun, well done to everyone involved in creating and running this facility.

Single wheel drive Just because you can doesn't mean you should, neither is it legal

Definitely a wind down on Sunday afternoon, lots of chat and a few demo runs from Roger and Lyndon Bedford but nothing organised, again a situation that needs SAM to figure out as it is unfair on those travelling a considerable distance only to find nothing happening. Another issue that needs to be sorted with some urgency is the amount off fuel being deposited on the track. This costs a lot to clean and takes a considerable time as well, so better that it does not happen in the first place. Thanks to Steve Betney for additional photos.

Not strictly part of the report but related to the last paragraph and so that everyone is aware. All five Tether Car Group meetings will be three days.

Friday:     10am to 4pm Track open for all wheel driven cars. Cables, timing etc provided.
Saturday: 10am Track open for practice, then two rounds of competitions either side of a lunch break, details to be announced.
               Track then available until 4pm
Sunday:   10am to 2pm Track open for free running of all wheel driven cars with cables timing etc.