How quickly it happens
By Andrew Row. Photos by Trapnell Creations and Bride Moran.
There were plenty of weekends where I would have joked about burning the bastard, but this weekend was different.
All issues solved with the car running cool and not a single misfire. Seems the car had other ideas on Bride’s second last run of the day.
With so many dropping out due to the rain the organisers were consolidating groups, so Bride and I were swapping in pit lane to get her lined up straight after my run with none of the usual looks over the car. Hindsight would show some oil (clean and new) on the ground that went unnoticed due to all the water puddles still in pit lane. A couple of laps in the engine blew up going into gumtree, one assumes a loss of oil pressure. The car has a full undertray which was probably holding plenty of oil, and an oil fire began. Bride was safely out of the car before the fire really took hold, but it was big enough that reaching back into the passenger footwell for the fire extinguisher seemed unwise with the wind and flame direction. Unsure how much impact a 1kg fire extinguisher was going to have on a tray full of oil. A more accessible fire extinguisher or plumbed system is perhaps a good idea.
Back at the pits we waited and watched the group all file back in from the red flag, with Bride not with them. Fortunately the Alpha lads came and let us know they saw the engine blow and she was safely out of the car, but the car was on fire. At least we knew she was safe.
The oil fire quickly burnt through fuel lines etc, and it very quickly became a fuel fire. There was a full blown fuel fire engulfing the car within the couple of minutes it took the fire marshals to arrive. Unfortunately fibreglass burns rapidly, and aluminium melts in a fuel fire. The car burnt to a bare chassis very quickly due to the unfortunate wind direction. Certainly makes me think about my Exige given it has a disturbingly similar fuel tank location etc.
Big thanks to all the Morgan Park staff and volunteers who fought the fire, help recover the car and go well above the call of duty in washing it down ready to be collected the following weekend.
Car is now stripped to a bare chassis, and the load of burnt and melted parts taken to the dump. Ready for a respray and a rebuild. Donor bike has been bought from Pickles auctions, Honda CBR1000RR with 8000km on the clock and 177hp.