The first National Hovercrafting Race Meeting of 2003
Off to Jakeís Place (near Hinkley, Leicestershire) to near see my first hovercraft race.
The first person I talked to there was Race Director Gayle Spedding Ė now thatís weird - I had heard her voice so many times - she narrates the Hovercraft Clubís "Flying without Wings" video! Also had a chat with Richard Wiles about his single engined F2 craft.
The races were exciting and not without incident - quite a few collisions. The Jakes Place visit gave me a good idea of what hovercraft racing is all about Ė but only from a spectatorís point of view. And what a noise! Hearing protection is recommended.
The next weekend I removed the engine from one of the TZRs, stripped the bike of its useful pieces, then took some pictures of the unwanted parts, to email to the chap from the Isle of Wight, who was interested in the remains. On dismantling the engine I find itís missing its alternator. Well if thatís the only problem Iíll be pleased.
Off to my 2nd hovercraft race meeting - Gang Warily near Southampton, where the first thing I did was to meet up with the chap from the Isle of Wight. He inspected the TZR frame for squareness, liked it, and suddenly I was £180 pounds better off! I had a chat with Tony Broad for the first time. I had seen him on the HCGB website bulletin board, and he given me plenty of friendly advice, so it was nice to put a face to a name. He is an engineering lecturer at Wigan College and his hovercraft was built by his students. Once it was finished, he liked it so much, he decided to buy it from the college. Tony has an interesting website, and has built is own 2-stoke exhaust system. I also met Ken Rigley from K&M. Surprisingly, after all the money I had spent with him he wasn't driving around in a Ferarri!
I realised that the window hole in the end of the garage was a bit of a security problem, (no point building a hovercraft if someone nicks it) so I made a window frame for it by bending two lengths of 1" square steel tubing into semicircles (back on the pipe bender again) and welding the two semicircles into a ring. A nice job, which certainly made the garage more secure, but it didnít help to get the hovercraft done.
Back to reality
Have you noticed how much real hovercraft building I have done in the last few months? Iíve acquired three motor bikes, built a winching system, installed a lifting beam, seen two hovercraft races (and spent a week on holidays in mid-Wales), but havenít actually done much construction. Anyone would think I didnít want to tackle the next stage - aluminium welding.
Well I can't do the welding yet, because I haven't got a big enough power cable to the garage...
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