Read about Valve Cover Races


Hal Kramer #3094

The event of Valve Cover racing was held at GOF MK94 where the new NEMG”T”R Valve Cover race track was introduced for the first time. During the afternoon of the event scheduled for that evening, time was spent making adjustments to the track, testing the start gate, checking out the “IR (Infrared) Winning Car Detection System”, and making a trip to the local Tractor Supply store. After a few test runs, with valve cover (VC) cars, everything was ready (or so we thought) for the inaugural event.

Being satisfied with the track, we set off to find a nice restaurant and had a fine meal. After we returned, I set up a registration table to check in the owner/drivers with their VC race car and assigned a few “volunteers” who were standing around to do various jobs. Joan had the job of registration and assigning a racing number if the car did not have one. A note here: once a racing number is assigned to a car, it is permanent, unique (no two cars will have the same number), and is registered in my records (if you are building a car or intend to build a car and want a specific number(s), e-mail me at HKramer [AT] nycap [DOT] rr [DOT] com to request the number). Other assigned jobs were: car specification compliance inspection; track starter and assistant; IR Detection System controller; and pit area supervisor.

For this racing event, time for preparation ran out and a weight scale was not available. Therefore, the weight limit of 12 pounds was not enforced. Also, there was a misprint in the August 2013 TSO for the VC Racer Specifications which read “Maximum number wheels contacting track surface   4” instead of “MINIMUM number of wheels…….4”. One car came to register and it had three wheels. The owner politely showed the article with the misprint to me. He was allowed to run in the “Conformist” class. The car was not the winner, however. Since this was the maiden operation for the new track with car specifications and racing rules, they were not strictly enforced. This will not be the case in the future, however. Please note the latest revision for VC Racer Specifications in this article and be sure your car meets these. But your racer can run in the Outlaw class if you do not want to meet the Conformist class rules. There are bound to be other rule changes as we have more races and learn more in the future. These will always be published in TSO to keep all VC race car owners up to date.

The GOF MK94 races for each heat ran smoothly – the cars stayed in their own lane with the aid of the guard rails and the IR detection system worked flawlessly which prevented a lot of “discussion” at the finish line for several of the races. The two cars in the final race, which was conducted as a “best out of three runs with lane changes for each run”, were very closely matched. I went to the finish line for the second run of this set and could not eye ball the winner. It was a true photo finish. But the detection system did its job to identify the winning car.

One problem did occur during one of the races, however. A heavier car was up against the center guard rail near the end of the run. The axle of the car hit the center post of the IR detection system bent it and pulled it from the mounting location. A quick repair using clear tape allowed racing to continue without any more problems with the track and detection system which continued to work accurately! A track design change is now being made to prevent this problem in the future.

The results of the races are shown in the diagram. Car number 42 owned by Bob Faria was the winner of the VC racing event with Bob Satava as runner-up. Notice how the ‘double elimination without racing against the same car twice’ system worked. It gives a car that loses a race due to wheel misalignment, for example, the opportunity to have an adjustment made in the pit area and to be able to race again. But, two loses and the car is eliminated. This system, the track guard rails and the IR detection system provide good racing to truly select the fastest VC race car. In addition to the racing, there was also a competition for all attendees to vote for the best looking/decorated race car. Car number 22 (Buttons and Bows Special) owned by Joan Kramer won this award. All racer owner/drivers and spectators appeared to enjoy the event.

Although only six racer cars were entered for this event, e-mails and phone calls to me indicate there are many racers under construction with some very innovated concepts (still within the car specifications) being employed. Future races will surely show an increase in the number of cars. If you have not yet found a valve cover to build a racer, I’m sure that a few well placed e-mails or phone calls will turn up a valve cover for you. Don’t forget, the valve cover does not need to be from a “T” series MG. Any valve cover from a four cylinder British car qualifies for this event.