Wednesday, June 3, 2009

keith’s cross-holes

Just a funny track story.
by Pierre Martins

HPIM0722 At the start of the 2006 season I tested a 380hp pre-73 Porsche 911 RSR replica for initial shakedown and track setup.

The car was built from the ground up by Mario at M&R Motors and belonged to Keith Rose, a movie producer from Cape Town. Mario told me that Keith was renowned for his work in the film industry. That may be so, but in my experience he turned out to be a laugh a minute as a weekend racer. Not a bad driver at all, just a naturally funny character with no mechanical sense whatsoever.

Anyway, I agreed to help out at his first race meet when his lovely white RSR was ready for action. We were at Wesbank Raceway, a track that no longer exists. During Friday practice we were looking at a track map and discussing some areas where Keith was struggling. The track had two very tight connected ess-bends right on top of each other, almost like a kart track.

He kept running out of track and over the grass on the exit of the second ess, so my advice was to steer it on throttle after he apexed the second ess to bring the ass around…

HPIM0717 I don’t think he understood any of that. He just looked at me, disappeared and came back with a drum of race fuel. That became his modus operandi for the weekend. Every time someone said something that Keith had never heard of before, or didn’t understand, he’d disappear to buy more race fuel. By the end of the weekend we had a wall of drums of unused race fuel stacked in our pit area! He-he-he…

But the funniest bit of the weekend happened when we were bleeding the brakes. The car developed some braking issues during Saturday morning warm-up, so we got the thing up on trestles and all of us pitched in for a quick maintenance session of the brake system. Mario dished out orders and put Keith at the right front to clean the cross-holes in the disc and me in the driver’s seat to pump the brake pedal whilst he bled the system, starting at the right rear.

The usual sequence ensued – “Okay pump, pump, pump…, okay hold…”

“…Pump, pump, pump…, okay hold…” And there I was with my foot pressing down on the brake pedal, with Mario at the right rear and Keith right front, trying to figure out why the hell he couldn’t get the disc to turn so he could get to the area covered by the calliper.

So what did he do? – He wedged the jack-handle between the wheel studs and pushed down with all his might. Now, that’s definitely not something you wanna be doing with someone with an evil sense of humour like Mario watching your every move. You know what’s coming, right?

Well, Mario timed it perfectly and opened the bleeding nipple just at the right moment when Keith had all his weight pushing down. Poor fella did a three-sixty sideways summersault and hit the deck pretty hard, jumped straight back up and disappeared into nowhere without further ado.

We were still laughing when he sheepishly returned a short while later with yet another drum of fuel! He-he-he…

HPIM0721 What a laugh. It was one of those funny track moments that stays with you forever. Anyway, Keith went on to win that weekend in the Historic class against a bunch of local competitors and other invitational drivers from Cape Town in some serious cars. I was happy for him, but I must admit I was even more happy about the drums of free race fuel that Keith donated to us at the end of the weekend, he-he-he...


No comments: