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Around The World In 80 Days Motor Challenge

Link to Official Around The World web site 30 June 2000

Duluth, Minnesota

Today was a "Rest" day, but very few teams actually got much rest. Most were up at the usual time, but instead of loading the car for another day on the road, they were off to repair shops, tire stores, glass shops, parts stores, seeking the means to keep thier battered machines running for the final 20 days and 5,000 miles of the 80 Day Motor Challenge. Yes, there are nearly three more weeks of rallying for this group of adventurers, and many cars desperately need the attention.

The Secrests were up early for a live TV interview.
Kelly and Bill Secrest were interviewed live on the ABC affiliate WDIO/WIRT-TV early morning news program.
Most teams had arranged to have what they needed ready for them when they arrived, but some were hoping to find a local shop that isn't already occupied. The Arrowhead Sports Car Club of Duluth had arranged with many shop owners to reserve space in case it was needed, and over 30 have obliged. In particular, Archer Motorsports, Foreign Affairs and That Old Car Place have taken in several cars for work.

The Clemens/Rinkel M-B 220S on the hoist. - TW
The Clemens/Rinkel 220S on the hoist at Foreign Affairs.
Ray Carr's 1939 Ford V8 went up on the hoist at Foreign Affairs for a starter replacement and general checkover, then was quickly out the door. Kevin Clemens had booked space at the same shop long before the event had started, and his Mercedes needed plenty of attention: starter rebuilt, transmission replaced, camshaft towers and cam (after pushing a bit too hard on yesterday's test section), and new tires. Technician Greg Peabody spent the full day and into the evening making sure all was right with the U.S. Meercedes Team entry.

The Moraults' Peugeot 404 Berline Coupe also went to Foreign Affairs, where the diagnosis was not so good, a cracked head. Peugeot parts are difficult to come by in the U.S. (except in the garage of ProRallyist "Mad" Mike Halley, but he's halfway across the country in Oklahoma), so all that can be done is band-aid fixes and hope it holds. Several techs and shop owner Jeff Hofslund stay very late on Friday, in what they had hoped would be the start of the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Archer Motorsports Race Shop.
The race shop at Archer Motorsports was a beehive of activity.
Over at Archer Motorsports, the scene is a mechanical version of M*A*S*H, with seven cars filling the bays of the race shop. It's "meatball surgery" on some of the cars because they only have three techs available, and have even called in a couple of other specialists for the day. Ed Holfeld's Mustang gets much needed suspension work done by a local Ford enthusiast; the Dyke-Price/Onyett Healey is getting attention to an ongoing brake problem; the hood is off the Weir/Brons DB2 for replacement of a broken timing chain cover; the 1942 Pontiac - known as the Penguin Car - has the transmission out. Although shop owner Tommy Archer is not on hand, his brother John and shop foreman Louie are busily assisting with diagnoses and locating parts.

Stripped to the gunwales, the Weir/Brons DB2/4. - TW
Barry Weir's Aston Martin DB2/4, under a poster of Tommy Archer driving one of the Team Oreca Chrysler Vipers.
(For those who may not know, Tommy Archer is a many time racing champion, with wins in ice racing, sports cars, the SCCA Trans Am, and more recently as a driver for the Oreca Chrysler Viper Team of France. Just weeks ago he was one of the drivers who helped the team to another class win at LeMans.)

The Facel Vega awaits its engine transplant. - TW
The engine replacement on the Facel Vega 6 in progress.
A call had gone out to Austin Healey owners in North America earlier in the week to locate a replacement engine for the Facel Vega 6. One was located in Ontario, and hauled 17 hours one way to meet the car in Duluth for the transplant. Archer Motorsports had a technician waiting for the car on Thursday evening, but the team didn't show up until mid-morning on Friday. By then the shop was already full, so the engine transplant had to wait until a technician became available. That didn't happen until the afternoon. As a result, the job will have to be finished on Saturday while the other cars are enroute to Marquette.

Transmission Work on the "Penguin Car". - TW
The 1942 Pontiac gets transmission work at Archer Motorsports.
A relatively simple problem nearly turned major for rally leader Freddie Giles. While servicing his amazingly reliable Hillman Hunter, he discovered a rear wheel bearing that was questionable. He and ATW troubleshooter Andy Inskip took the Hillman to Auto Medics, a shop owned by Mike Archer (another brother of Tommy who also used to be crew chief on the racing efforts). Mike thought the bearing would survive until a suitable replacement could be flown in at Niagara Falls or some other location, but Andy thought it best to remove the bearing from the shaft for a closer inspection. It would not budge, however, even after the assembly was taken to a machine shop with a higher capacity hydraulic press. With all that force on the bearing, Andy decided that if it hadn't been in need of replacement before, it defintiely was now, so cut the bearing off the shaft to see the part number in order to find a replacement bearing, figuring it was a fairly standard item. Finding Hillman parts in the U.S., it turned out, is even more difficult than locating Peugeot parts, and Freddie feared he would be stranded awaiting a proper replacement. A suitable bearing was eventually located, though it was a bit narrower than spec. It was pressed into service and shimmed to fill the vacant area. It will have to do until new parts arrive.

Photos © 2000 by Randy Jokela (RJ) or Tim Winker (TW).

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