Ashton’s President’s Prattle for February, 2021

Club Lotus Australia November Tyre Kick South

Happy New Year to you all!

Well, let’s get the first order of business out of the way – I very much hope that we have started to see a general move in the right direction away from pandemic-related restrictions. Certainly here in Australia anyway, even if not yet in some of the countries where a lot of us have friends and families.

Mrs R and I have had a couple of weeks down in Kangaroo Valley, which has been wonderfully restorative. I hope you have managed something similar. It was amazing to witness the recovery of the fire-ravaged countryside down there. Already there is an amazing understory growing, an amazing insect population blooming, bird life recovering fantastically, and we saw several wombats, a LOT of roos, and even a young echidna and a year-or-so old goanna.

It’s looking quite likely that there will continue to be restrictions on travel outside Australia, which means this year is going to be the year of exploring our own back yard.

Personally, the bookend at the end of the year that I am looking forward to enormously is the rerun of the Perth to Sydney Marathon Rally (late October, early November). The event is organised by the wonderful Laurie Mason and a crowd of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers. We will cover over 6000km in 10 days, with over 70% of the route on dirt, and over 90% on the original route of the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon. If you’d like to know more, there is a Faceplant page for the event here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/222527455709017 

If anyone has any good ideas for weekend runs and would like to either organise or be involved in them, please get in touch and we will see what we can get on the cards. One that needs urgent attention is the planned replacement for our biennial gathering, in the form of a country run around NSW in (probably) late April/early May.

On the motorsport front, the deferring of the Grand Prix to November means that the weekend in March (20th-21st) has freed up for the HSRCA Autumn Festival, and the following weekend (on 28th March), we have the CLA round of the CSCA Sprints to look forward to.

Tyre Kick and Coffee gets into gear for certain from February (George Villyani and I turned up at Carrs Park in early January and were all alone) with the Carrs Park event on Valentines Day (bring the bride) and the Kokoda Cafe event the following weekend on the 21st.

Down in the garage (and in various others dotted around), things are gradually coming back to life after the long holidays.

The Elite needs a bit of attention to the diff and a slightly alarming split in the floorpan under the driver’s seat (I hadn’t realised I had put on that many COVID kilos).

Lotus Eleven Fraime

The Eleven has been completely stripped prior to the frame being re-welded, sandblasted, crack-tested and then repainted. When we took the bodywork off as part of the repairs, it became apparent that the frame was a bit the worse for wear, and the rear subframe holding the back of the car together was misaligned. This included emptying about 3kg of rivet tailings and assorted dust, metal filings etc out of the tubes

Cleaning out the Eleven Frame

The Elan is going like a rocket still, and I just need to replace whichever of the discs is slightly warped, put some new tyres on the mags, and she’ll be good as new

The Elise is in desperate need of some use, so next weekend I plan to head over there and pick her up, give her a full fluids service and take her for a drive

The Healey is due to go off to Garth for the remedial work to be done to the chassis (damaged during P2P) and a bit of fettling prior to the winter rally season and then the Perth to Sydney rally mentioned above.

And finally the Landy, which has been giving me a headache for months, may be seeing the light of day shortly. The diagnosis of the rough running (having replaced literally every part of the electrical system) came down to the carburettor running too rich. I knew I shouldn’t have taken it off and cleaned it – I obviously dislodged that critical grain of sand that was jetting it correctly, and when it went back on, the main jet was too rich.

So, the carburettor is with Tim Howarth at Carburettor Services in Burwood for a full service (the bushes on the spindle also had some play) and the fitting of an adjustable main jet. The standard main jet on the Stromberg Bendix is a bit like Webers, it has to be replaced with the correct size to tune it, and let’s face it, the Landy is never going to be a performance vehicle.

I hope your projects have made better progress, and please, if you have time, drop us a line with a few pictures of the progress (or otherwise) for inclusion in the magazine and website.

I’d better get this off to Tom, and organise the first Committee meeting of the year so we have something to report next month. Meanwhile, keep safe, upright and on the blackstuff (mostly).

Pip pip,
Ashton

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