Naecost - Culzean Autoclassica 2007
This is where it started for us. Our car club (Scottish Kit Car Club) were booked to have a stand at the inaugral Culzean Autoclassica and browsing through some of the literature we had been given, there was a mention of a soapbox demonstration with a view to racing at future events.
This was enough for me to contact the organisers and secure a place at the event.
The only downside to us getting there and completing any runs, was we had less than 2 weeks to design and build something more substantial than the rope and planks bogies which were also going to be there.
Fortunately, I had some spare 19m and 25mm square section left over from my sports car build http://www.freewebs.com/ilu-azuma and a couple of bikes, abandoned in the garage. A couple of hours "designing" we had a plan and a timeframe.
Needless to say, the angry grinder and mig welder were working full tilt, to get the first incarnation of "Nae Cost" ready.
The chassis was scratch built, from the spare and scrap steel in the garage. A flat true base to start from was half of a fire door and a couple of G clamps.
From the bikes we managed to use:
Rear wheel supports Starting to get there now
In time honoured fashion were were cutting it extremely close and only got it "ready" the night before we were due to run and this was after having to modify the steering as it was working in reverse - DOH!
Finally we were at the event making the necassary tweaks and blagging a couple of bolts, as we had managed to "lose" some on the way there????
Having not seen the course before getting to the venue, we found it was going to be hard going. Not that fast at about 25mph, but it had a very tight hairpin and a narrow potholed path leading to a tight squeeze under the bridge.
Iain, took the cart for its first run and succesfully got the cart through unscathed, but reported that the the potholed path was bouncing the cart around.
I went next and all was going fine until I got to the hairpin. An Army Cadet marshall, was on the course and I had to take a tighter line into the corner, putting strain on the front axles. Nothing broke and I continued on and completed my first run.
Iain went for the last and final run of the day and with a video camera mounted to provide footage, for an Autoclassica event DVD, all was going well, until the hairpin when one of the front axles gave way and ended the day.
A good day was had and if nothing else, ensured we had some modifications to do, to make the front end stronger.
Naecost 1.2 - Culzean Autoclassica 2008
NaeCost 1.2 was modified heavily for our next race, again at the Culzean Autoclassica.
To provide strength for the 10mm axles boxes were created to allow the fron t axles to be mounted on both sides of the wheel, rather than mounting them on one side. This then led onto to the design of the wheel covers, more for aestethic reasons than aerodynic advantage.
A new seat was fitted - a broken plastic "school chair" with the metal legs removed.
The most obvious change was the addition of bodywork. All of the panels were cut from a scrapped caravan roof. The photograph (above left) is the mock up in cardboard, with only the wing sections over the steering not transferred to the final design (above right).
Below is a photograph taken from the bridge we were about to pass under. There is not much room for error as the road narrows due to the straw bales lining the wall for protection
In the photo below the cart is displaying severe camber. This was not intentional, but was the front axle bending, due to the potholed track we were running down. The axle tube was 2.5mm wall 19mm diameter CDS tube. An area to be modified for our next race.
We had a busy weekend as there were only three carts in the competition. Unfortunately, we didnt win anything due to a timing error in the final race, handing the 1st place trophy to the Mazda MX5 club.
Naecost 1.3 - Border Bogies, Denholm 2009
Our first real competition against some seaoned carts. This is an excellent time trial event set in the borders.
Again the cart was modified, this time a mandatory roll bar had to be fitted and the front axle was strengthed with some bracing back into the chassis. Also some new tyres were purchased as the original tyres which came with the wheels had seen better days.
The above photos are courtesy of
|George Carrick Photography www.photoboxgallery.com/3004518|
Around this time the furore regarding rear diffusers was rife in Formula 1 and above is the diffuser we added as more of a feature than as an aerodynamic aid. Did it do any good - who knows we never really had the chance to test with and without it and it was dropped when we next modified the cart.
Overall, we had an excellent day, but with our first experience at around the 40mph mark it highlighted some of the steering issues we had, with the steering being light and twitchy. We were also experiencing some wind buffetting due to the low bonnet line.
A third place overall after three runs (due to the quickest cart crashing out in its second run) and the fourth fastest time, we went home happy, especially as we had been up against some established carts.
Naecost 1.4 - Cairngorm SoapBox Extreme 2009
The ultimate cartie event in the UK - The Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme - a 60mph+ 2mile challenge which is both a time trial (individual qualifying) and a group racing event. If you have any interest in gravity racing come to this event, for racers or spectators, it does not dissapoint.
Due to other commitments, we only just got the cartie ready, but it was one race we were determined to do, even though we had a number of changes to make:
For safety the seat position was changed to be reclined rather upright, an improved rollbar was fitted and a full harness seatbelt was installed.
The steering was modified and a new steering wheel fitted.
The braking system was changed to operate on the front brakes, via mountain bike calipers
A clear lexan "bonnet" was added and the height increased to reduce the drag caused by the driver.
At the start line and carrying out last minute checks.
Into the hairpin
And the run down to the finish.
Unfortunately, on the first race of the second day, I lost control of the cart going into the hairpin.
And after bending it back into shape for what turned out to be our last run of the weekend.
Naecost 1.5 - Cadwell Park 2009
Our last outing of 2009 was to be at Cadwell Park, but after the accident, at the Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme event, a few modifications and safety checks were required. A full stripdown was not initially planned, but to do all of the mods we wanted all of the existing panels needed to be be romoved. This allowed us to check that the integrity of the structure was not compromised. Even after the heavy shunt the chassis remained true and there we no weld fractures.
The list of the modifications included new front and rear axles, with new uprights. The fronts being fully rose jointed and adjustable (Toe, camber and caster). Both axles are removeable for transportation and storage.
Change of wheels from 16" to 20". We are now running Alex Supra E wheels. These are a triple wall design, 48 hole rims with sealed bearing hubs. These were shod with Maxxis Hookworm tyres, capable of running at 110psi. Not the lightest combination, but light weight is not always the best policy in gravity racing.
New roll bar and steering column supports and mounts.
Seat base lowered, disc brakes on rear with brake control now via levers on the steering wheel rather a foot pedal.
A new nose cone was hastily made as the old one was allowing too much air into the cart. Not the best looking, ut with only a day or two to go before travelling to the event, it wasn't a bad affort.
The pictures below were taken 1 week before the event
At the start line, in position for our second race.
Naecost 1.6 - Border Bogies 2010
Managed to get a cracking start on 1.6 this weekend (11-04-10). Still got a couple of jobs to do, though.
And just for those who have been waiting for a 1.6 to be revealed, see the picture below which was taken 13-04-10.
25/04/10 - Finally got 1.6 back on its wheels today. Forward roll bar still has to be lowered.
And quite literally, got the coloured pens out!
Modifications so far:
New narrower axles, giving us the option to set up with a narrow or wide track.
Rear axle now fitted with new adjustable, rose-jointed, rear uprights.
Revised rear structure, including substantial roll cage and additional bracing.
Revised mid roll bar and steering wheel support.
Additional chassis bracing.
Changed seat position, increased rake and lowered.
Next job brakes! New 203mm discs have arrived. Just got to make caliper mounts on new rear uprights.
Then onto the bodywork.
Freshly painted chassis and the mainbody going on.
Single sheet of galvanised steel with formers to create rounded sides and fixing points. Single sheet reduces number of rivets and fixings and sharp edges.
Bodywork now fitted
Iain at work fitting rear floor section. The gap between the floor and the rear panel is deliberate, to allow airflow through the bogie.
Lower rear panels fitted and the rear axle bolted up.
and with new adjustable uprights, incorporating brake caliper bracket.
Front and rear axles bolted up and steering column fitted.
Back on its wheels again, with trimming and setting up still to do.
New steering wheel....
and installed in cart with the quick release mechanism attached.
At Border Bogies 2010
We just got the cart ready and loaded onto the trailer at midnight, which unfortunately meant we had no time for testing or setting up. We managed to get a quick set up on the green after unloading, but was never going to be good enough. Unfortunately we managed to get a puncture just before leaving the green to head to the start. This meant a hurried tube change and between sorting the tube and getting to the start line, the main steering arm had got bent and induced a significant amount of toe in, which affected the handling. Even so Iain bettered his time of the previous year and with the visual adjustment the 2nd and 3rd runs (1 by each of us), we were quicker again. We also noted that we would need to resolve the access issues on the uprights, to ensure easy accessibility to nuts and bolts in the event of any problems.
Naecost 1.6 - Catterline Carties 2010
After a week off, it was back to work on the cart and modifying the uprights and changing the Akerman angle. In the rush to get ready for Denholm I had forgotten to modify the steering arms, on the uprights, since we had used our new narrower axles, instead of the wider track axle which was used on Naecost1.5. Even pusing it back to the garage, with the changed Akerman angle, the difference was noticable.
Just got to get some testing done before Catterline - now that would make a change!
13/05/10 - Catterline 2010
Another early start for us, on the road at 5am for the travel upto Catterline. For once no major panic/rush to get the cart ready for an event and with minimum work to do once we arrived we were soon "volunteered" to assist with getting the course ready. Iain got to work moving straw bales into position and I got to strim the grass at the start line. Petrol strimmer beats straw bales anyday.
A good look over the course and lines chosen, it was now down to me to get suited and strapped in and negotiate the tricky route down to the bottom. The course was a gravel/grass start, then onto tarmac with a couple of cones before the first 90 degree right hander, through a couple more cones and position the cart for "slammer" corner. Once through "slammer" it was a straightforward run to the finish, with only a tricky section which had a coating of scraped wet mud on the surface, about 50m from the finish line. I had a good start, clearing all the cones through the tricky top section and it was a good fast run down to the finish, through the muddy section. All was going well until I crossed the finish line. I pulled on the brakes, but they showed no indication of slowing me until, they locked up and put the cart into a rearward slide, slamming the cart into the grass verge. Bummer I had stuffed it again!
With points in the championship at stake it was a haul back upto the finish line and adjusting the rose joints to dial out some of the damage to the geometry. Iain went next and all went well, other than clipping two cones, he posted a very quick time in the process. Knowing that the mud was affecting the brakes, Iain adopted a different approach to braking being as gentle as possible, using all of the road and then the grass after it, to bring the cart to a stop. A bit rough, but saved the cart from any further damage. I got to take the third run and went for a cautious approach, to maximise our chances of taking as many championship poits as possible. Again our third run was fairly uneventful, with me only being to cautious and braking hard for the first right hander. I had a clear run and although the time was the slowest of the three, it guaranteed us fourth place for the aggregate time. We also picked up 6th fastet time for the day, we were joint second for the best engineered cart and secured maximum points in the championship. A bit of work to do for our next race, the biggie, Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme 2010.
Naecost 1.6 - Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme 2010
Not much time to slack, its busy at work, I have to empty and demolish my shed and then erect the new one and Iain is on his holidays. The only bonus is the new shed is bigger than the last and it will be somewhere to rebuild the cart before CSE2010, especially if it rains.
First job is to remove the uprights off the cart and get them "dressed" back into shape and then add extra plates added for strength. The rear body section is revorked and the big hole filled. It wouldn't be us if we didnt change something. We also decide to get some new DMR Revover disc hubs instead of using the existing hub and brake disc adapters we have been using, but there is only a week to CSE. They arrive in very quickly, but it means I am now under pressure to rebuild the rear wheels. At 3am Wednesday morning I call it a day and head to bed. Back up at 6.30am for work, but at least the wheels have been done and only need final truing, before installing on the cart. Two final nights and its the usual mad rush. With only a couple of minor jobs to do and set up, we pack up and get ready for an early run the next morning so we have plenty of time to get sorted before scrutineering.
Naecost 1.6 - Dalby Forest Soapbox Derby 2010