Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Between Hampton Downs races

Now that the first Hampton Downs weekend is done, time to put the new clutch parts into the race box (and see if the new bits work with the engine). Since I decided not to do the last wet race, I started teardown on Sunday afternoon. Travis suggested a time-lapse video would be interesting, so I mounted my Activeon camera on a broomstick sitting on the bench. Wires and hoses were disconnected by dinner time.
We were in the garage nice and early on Monday. Me to continue the gearbox update, the GMT guys to do maintenance on the other race cars. We have done 4 race weekends at this point so maintenance is required. I continued the time lapse until the gearbox was out of the car (needed the bench space so the broom had to go).
With the new input shaft and support in the gearbox, I did a trial fit to the engine without the pressure plate and disk. I found no free end-play because a chamfer on the input shaft was interfering slightly with the pilot bushing. So a chamfer was added on the bushing ID to give clearance. Adding the disk and pressure plate showed insufficient release free play. I found there was some interference between the release bearing spring retainer and the case. A little bending, a little filing, all good. By 5:30, it was pretty much back together with the help of the GMT guys (JR, Josh and Andreas). Security wanted to lock up, so we left for the day.
Ready to put it all back together
I was in by myself the next morning to finish off the installation. Mainly wiring and check of all bolts. Now to see if the clutch works properly. It won't quite disengage enough with the desired free-play at the release bearing. The clutch pedal was hitting the front bulkhead only at the bottom (near the pivot). A bit of filing on the pedal gave enough extra travel to get the clutch to release fully. I will have to take a look at this in the future. I think I need an offset key to move the starting position back. All done.

Wednesday was my only tourist day as I knew we probably would have to change garages on Thursday. First stop was the Hakarimata Scenic Reserve in Ngaruawahia, halfway between Huntly and Hamilton. Just a quick hike up to the old dam on the Waterworks Walk.
On the Waterworks Walk The 1922 dam was almost completely silted up
Small waterfall along the trail
Now it was time for the main event, the Hobbiton movie set tour and some nice twisty roads to get there. The original Hobbiton set for the Lord of the Rings trilogy was not made to last so that it was easy to return the Alexander sheep and cattle farm to it's original state. When The Hobbit movies were made, they had to re-create the set, this time with the intent of becoming an attraction (based on the popularity of the Lord of the Rings movies). The set takes up 12 acres of the 1250 acre farm with 13,000 sheep and 400 cattle. A shuttle bus takes you from the Shire's Rest visitors centre through the farm to the set.
Welcome to Hobbiton! A Hobbit hole
There are 2 sizes of Hobbit holes, big and small. If they wanted an actor to look small like a Hobbit, they filmed in front of big Hobbit hole. Likewise if  they want the actor to look big like a human, they would film in front of a small Hobbit hole.
And another Flowers in the garden
There are 44 Hobbit holes Complete with washing on the line
Minimal inside Overlooking Hobbiton
None of the holes had much inside. All the interior shots were done on a soundstage.
The tree over Bilbo Baggins' hole Bilbo Baggins' Hobbit hole
The tree above Bilbo Baggins' house is the only artificial tree on the set. They had to duplicate the tree since it had to exactly match the scenes from the Lord of the Rings, even though the production of The Hobbit movies was years later. The tree is made from foam on a steel framework. The leaves are all from Taiwan. A pretty cool place all in all.

Next stop was the Bridal Veil Falls near Makomako. A short hike at the top of the 55 metre falls, followed by 261 stairs to the bottom. The wind was moving the impact point around a lot.
View from mid way Bottom of falls with wind
The town of Raglan was nearby, which I had read was a surfing mecca. The local museum showed the history of surfing in the area. Back in the 70's, most surfers in Hamilton had to drive an hour just to see if the surf was up. That led to the local university successfully developing wave prediction algorithms that are still in use today. The museum also showed the history of the Maori in this area and their interaction with the European settlers. Outside was a 1902 Pelton water wheel that was used until 1925 to drive flax strippers. Flax was a major export from the area in those days.
1902 Pelton water wheel
It is interesting to see the different colours of sand in the area. The volcanic rock makes the sand more black. There were a number of waka ama near the harbour. Waka means canoe, ama means outrigger.
Dark beach sand in Raglan Waka Ama
South from Raglan is Ngarunui beach. The beach was a considerable way down from the car park. The rising land was handy for the parasailers. They could pretty well stay stationary using the updraft.
Surfers going down to the beach Parasailers using the cliffs
There was a class learning surfing just finishing when I arrived.
Above Ngarunui Beach Surf class in bottom right
Manu Bay and Whale Bay are the big surf spots. They are similar in that the beach is not sand, but boulders.
Manu Bay You have to work before you play at Manu Bay

Surfing at Manu Bay
At Whale Bay the beach was similar. Both gave good progressive breaking waves. Who needs a car when you have a scooter?
Whale Bay break Scooter with board holder
That's enough looking around. Back to race preparations on Thursday. There is no chance we will get the same garage as the first Hampton Downs event.

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