Robinson Race Cars at Gardermoen Summer Nationals 2006
Pictures and text by Bob Roberts

See below for photo gallery.

One of the first things we noticed about Gardermoen is that there was not a lot of space. We had to move a funny car body every time we left our pit area (Pic 5). The exceptional number of entries in all the FIA classes packed the space to its limits.

How not to start a ProMod car: the starter problems that first showed themselves the previous weekend in Mantorp visited us again in first qualifying. Here (Pic 9) we see Luke desperately trying to squirt fuel into the butterflies while the rest of the crew and most of Gordon Appleton's crew push. The car started but on the run the car went quickly into tyre shake so Andy shut off early.

The rest of Friday was spent finding various faults with the starter and its mounting, fixing the fault but not the underlying problem. We had borrowed three starters from other teams, reworked parts and adapted them to fit but at the end of the day we did not have a working starter.

The key failing component was the three lobed dog clutch which engaged on a similar fitting on the front of the crankshaft (Pic 15). The final one (Pic 14) is just battered, the earlier ones (Pic 15) include one broken in three pieces, one which only made one start and then sheared and one which wouldn't turn correctly because of the crack in it.

At a late stage on Friday, the team decided to convert to a conventional starter arrangement rather than the front mount. The problems were that we didn't have a conventional starter, we didn't have a ring gear on the flywheel for the starter to engage, we didn't have a mounting on the motor plate for the starter or a hole for the starter pinion to go through and no pocket on the bell housing to cover the starter pinion.

We borrowed a starter motor from Gordon Appleton, a ring gear from Mats Ericksson and tools from just about everybody in the FIA pits. Some welding was required on the ring gear which Andy did followed by Bowser dressing off the welds with an angle grinder (Pic 16). You can see Andy drilling mounting holes in the motor plate with Jerry and Bowser providing light and checking alignment (Pic 17). Luke and Tom checked the inside (Pic 18). Then Andy made a trial fit (Pic 19).

And by next morning it was done and we were in the staging lanes once more (Pic 20). Notice the low flying aircraft in several pictures, Gardermoen is right next to Oslo airport so no complaints about noise there.

Will it or won't it start with the new arrangement? Well it did and the 6.26 time set on Saturday morning was good enough for number one spot One of the hazards of qualifying number one is the TV interview. In a couple of the pictures you can we see the main commentator at Gardermoen recording a piece for Norwegian television (Pic 26 & 27).

Race day provided quite a number of dramas but also an opportunity to take some different pictures including a trip down the narrow but scenic return road (Pic 31) and the outdoors weighbridge (Pic 32).

After two rounds of racing, the jury rigged ring gear gave up so another one had to be fitted, this time borrowed from Sverre Kahrs. In one of the pictures you can see Bowser, Andy and Luke struggling to fit a cold ring gear on a hot flywheel while Tom and Stefani look on (Pic 33).

And then suddenly it was the finals. Well not exactly, checks following the semis showed that several valve springs were in poor shape so the decision was made to change both cylinder heads. The turn round time was tight anyway so it was all hands to the pump, hence no pictures. The changeover only took 35 minutes which is a testimony to the skills of the crew and the team work involved.

The final was good news and bad news, a new European speed record, a 6.24 personal best elapsed time but a red light (which you can just see) meant the win went to an old adversary - Micke Gullqvist.

The trip home involved crossing the Malmo Bridge which later featured in a Scandi Noir TV series (Pic 38 & 39).

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