Another long day of 580kms and two regularity sections one on unsealed roads the other on Tarmac.
We are beginning to dread these now as the fuel issues continue to plague us now. It’s become so much worse in the extreme heat of the Nevada desert. With the top down today to keep cooler under the desert sun it was soon so hot as we headed westward across country that was not barren but with features of scrubby growth, salt flats , mountains, sand hills and roads that ran straight for up to 30kms in a stretch. The wind was hot!
Betty got going early and purred along in the cooler part of the day, but in an apparent mood of objection she began playing up just short of the start line of the first regularity. She coughed and spluttered, then died just after the start. Fuel starvation. It was as if we had run out of fuel, even though we had sufficient fuel for the flight.
At the side of the road the doctors tools came out and Steve began checking for causes. Sucking the fuel lines checking the filters, running the pump. The fuel was evaporating before getting to the pump even. Steve with the assistance of the mechanical support team fastened another fuel pump on which delivered more fuel to the carburettor and this worked for a short distance but as we headed for the next regularity on a Tarmac surface the same issue arose at the start. The heat of the day and the surface temperature of the road along with any incline or steeper roads with engine under pressure the fuel just boils and it doesn’t get through to the pump. The pump just cavitates.
Another bigger pump is attached at Fallon in the time check car park where we stalled, straddled in the middle of the parking area. It delivers the fuel at a really great rate but it’s too much and the original car fuel pump was reconnected into the line in an effort to stem the flow. It works.
Steve is now very stressed, hot and sweating profusely. He’s at the limit of endurance so before getting back on the road we waited inside the cafe with a cold drink.
We got in on time, though we did attract the max penalty and because we did not clock in at the regularity time checks we lost points here too. Don’t know how many but we will be demoted in placings. We think.
Steve booted Betty on the unofficial last leg of 133kms to the hotel in Reno arriving @ 7.30pm. A shower, a couple of well deserved beers at this fabulous hotel casino. We listened to live band music, then dinner with a couple of competitors who also had car problems and bed.
It’s been a shit of a day and we are tired.
It’s a rest day tomorrow but Steve has a list of things to buy and do. It’ll be a big day to get on top of what’s necessary to do.
Thanks to all of you who contributed ideas to resolve our fuel problems. We have taken it on board.