The Road to Mandalay

February 1 to February 24, 2015

Day 9 - Khao Lak Rest Day

Everyone is enjoying balmy sunshine, there is a refreshing sea breeze through the coconut palms, some are out in the car park carrying out general servicing and check-overs, and a few are nursing a headache which has nothing to do with last night.

The most serious problem is faced by Caroline Greenhalgh, in the big Alvis Tourer, car 12, which has lost a tooth from the differential, the car proceeds slowly with terrible grinding noises, and the verdict of the sweep-mechanics is that it won’t last long without an entire differential replacement. Caroline is laughing at the challenge of all this and reckons its ‘all part of the adventure’. The other all-female crew in the Classics division also has severe mechanical problems. The Volvo Amazon that has been driven with great gusto in the hands of Heather Worth and her mother,  Jo, has cried enough. The engine was revved extra-hard when the throttle stuck open, and this caused a valve to break, falling into the engine, putting a hole in a piston, and possibly damaged the con-rod underneath, which then damaged the cylinder-head.  Heather is looking for a new piston, con-rod, and replacement cylinder head.  The sweep mechanics have worked on the engine this morning, and disconnected a push-rod, so that the engine now runs on three cylinders.  It runs surprisingly well – it’s still got more power than quite a few other cars. Can it be repaired? How far can a three-cylinder Volvo run for? Heather seems to be taking the crisis surprisingly calmly.

However, the black Amazon is not the only car in the car park with a hole in a piston. The Jaguar XK150 driven by the all Malaysian crew of Syed Jamalullail, has a hole in piston number five and this morning there were various debates about how best to proceed – the car has been blowing out blue smoke for the past couple of days. The car was acquired only a couple of months before the event and had not benefited from an engine strip-down.

The Ford Model A of car 5, Roger and Carolyn Anderson, report all is going well now having replaced the engine timing-gear; Philip Lunnon and Michael Draper in the Jaguar SS100 have repaired a leaky fuel-tank, Martin Egli’s Lagonda has replaced a broken leaf-spring; the VW Beetle of Garrick Staples was looking for the kind of bolts that hold the steering column to the dashboard this morning, which was testing the supply in the box of bits carried by Tony Jones, and others like the Datsun of Grant Tromans was having attention to the senders of the Monit trip meter.  Lots of small service jobs kept most crews occupied for a few hours this morning, but the sun-loungers under the palm trees and a few beers soon tempted everyone back to what rest-days are supposed to be all about.

Syd Stelvio



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