- Written by webmin
Shortly after completing the repairs on our Hemmings Speedster, we loaded it into the truck for the three day trip to Ponca City, Oklahoma, to participate in the VRCA’s Ruff Neck Rally. The event was not without its fits and starts; on Thursday, the day before the rally began, an adjuster rod on the shift mechanism broke but local rally enthusiasts pitched in and got it fixed for us before the start of the race.
Stage One found the Hemmings Speedster in fifth place with a score of nine seconds off perfect. Over the four legs on day one, the team was within three seconds of perfect for each of the four legs; one leg they were only off by one second from getting their first “ace” of the season.
Stage Two incorporated eight full legs, four before lunch and four after. Although the team performed well in the morning sessions and were only 15 seconds off, they had some problems in the afternoon session and finished the day in 19th place, but still only 51 seconds off for the day and only a minute off perfect for the two stages.
Stage Three included five sessions with only one bad leg for the Hemmings crew, the first leg of the day they were off 15 seconds but rallied to finish with legs of four seconds, three seconds, three seconds and one second for a total time for the day of only 27 seconds off perfect. Not bad, considering the engine oil was dripping into the flywheel cover and getting the clutch disc wet, which caused it to slip badly by days end.
After tallying all scores, throwing out the two worst legs of the event for each entry and factoring the age of each vehicle, the Hemmings Speedster finished 15th in the veteran class and 17th overall.
We realized even before the rally began that we should have gone with a high volume oil pump instead of the high pressure unit we installed. Without a rear main seal, the oil just wants to find a way out faster. After completing the Ruff Neck Rally we had the oil pump replaced with one with less pressure and more volume to try to prevent it from leaking so easily. Veteran rally racer Rex Gardner took the speedster to his shop where he also cleaned the clutch disc and replaced our dual-point distributor with a Pertronix-adapted electronic unit.
On the upside, the car had plenty of horsepower and torque for this type of racing, the refurbished rear end performed flawlessly and the front brake conversion made a big difference in the car’s stopping power.
The speedster will next be racing at our own Hemmings Challenge Vintage Car Rally on July25-30 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Come out and watch the rally or better yet, enter a car in it. The rally is open to antique, classic, muscle and new cars and there are classes for rookies, youth groups, and a time-only tour class. More information is available on our www.hemmings.com website homepage or at www.vintagecarrally.com, the home site for the VCRA.