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2016 Season

El Mirage – May 2016  Coming Home to Roost, Divine Intervention
By Mike Manghelli

El Mirage Dry Lake May 13, 2016 a day like all others in the high desert… Windy and dusty!

The day got off to an earlier than normal start heading to El Mirage for the season opener, which is good since there was lots to do.  It all started by setting up the WGB pits, with plenty of room for the WGB truck, the Waters, Manghelli, Romero Roadster, Wayne Yeats’ tank, and an old car coming back home, the once upon a time Manchen, Kennedy, Manghelli Alfa Romero. During the setup it was so windy that my favorite VW hat blew off my head and disappeared across the desert, more to come later about that. With this many vehicles and many old and new friends planning on coming, it is going to be a great weekend of racing and comradery.
Lee Kennedy reacquired the Alfa over a year ago and has spent countless hours rebuilding the car into a master piece. Helping with the rebuild are a couple old friends, Gerard Collier and Terry Kilbourne. Gerard was teamed with me for many years running a VW Karman Ghia and then our VW powered Lakester as C&M Racing. Terry spent many years with the Kilbourne, Kennedy, Musil (KKM) team building motors and driving the Monza. Both have brought incredible talent to the reconstruction of the car.  Lee has returned the car as the KKM Racing entry to carry on the name and success from before. It is great to have the car and old friends come back to roost in the WGB pits!
Friday afternoon was a whirl wind of activity setting up the pits, getting the cars inspected, getting the cars prepped, completing communications for time slips and finally the course walk. It had been decided that the group was going to have soft tacos for dinner and Chef Gerard went to work with Carne Asada and marinated chicken that Spark Plug Gary provided. The rest of the group pitched in with condiments, rice and beans and some great deserts. Libations by the camp fire completed the evening.
Saturday morning we were met with more wind, but this morning it had changed direction and was blowing down the track for some “El Mirage Horsepower”. Both the WGB truck and the Roadster were readied for a pass down the track. The Roadster was the first in line and I had to run back from my Sargent at Arms patrol check duties to push it off. The “over the winter” tuning on the roadster paid off with a 214.484 on our 210.690 record. Greg was a little disappointed after running almost 220 mph last November, but the team decided to take the record and save some for a different day. The truck ran next with Tom Hanley at the wheel and Keith Pedersen getting him buckled in and chasing him down the course. The gremlins from last were still present as it roared off the line, but then slowed to a disappointing 79 mph pass. The good news was the data gave us a clue to the cause of the issues and changes were made for the second pass. With the large number of entries, the second run would have to wait until Sunday morning. Wayne was next to run with the tank and a fogging problem kept him to a 130 mph pass. Thirty years after leaving the driver’s seat, Gerard took the KKM Alfa down El Mirage for a shakedown pass at a safe 120 mph. Saturday completed with a spaghetti dinner and sauce cook off. About 40 of our friends enjoyed 6 different sauces and after the voting was done everyone was a winner. Prizes were distributed for each participant and more libations by the fire completed the evening.  

Sunday morning Mother Nature did not disappoint us… Yes, more wind. At least it was still blowing the right direction, down the course. Tom got back into the WGB truck and was able to bump the 130.727 mph record to 131.352. The data showed we had zeroed into the issues with the engine and it was decided that a little on the record is good enough. Wayne made another pass with the tank and hit a wall at 4500 rpm, but good enough for 134.851 mph. A review of the data later showed more tuning was needed. Gerard slipped back into the Alfa for another shakedown run, this time at 167.334 mph. A little seat time and some coaching paid off; there is a lot more to come with this combination!
The rest of Sunday afternoon was spent packing up in the wind. All in all it was a great weekend with two records set, one successful vehicle shake down and one gathering data for more promising passes. There were lots of good food and many friends we had not seen in years. Many thanks to all that contributed to the fun, food and the bar over the weekend. Then there was that VW hat that disappeared Friday in the wind. After several trips around the Goose packing things up and no sign of the hat, on the final walk around, there it was next to the trailer. Was this divine intervention or just coming home to roost? You decide, we will see you in June.

 


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El Mirage June 2016 - COMING SOON
By: Mike Manghelli