Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tether Car Racers

Push Starting A Car

A Vintage 1940's Dooling

60 Meter Track

While I realize that this is not motorcycle related, it is interesting from the mechanical point of view.  I first heard of this sport from a gentleman who purchased a Triumph T100 from me.  He was telling me that he raced tether cars, I had never heard of them before and he proceeded to explain the whole deal to me.  These little cars that are not much longer than 12" can go in speeds in excess of 200 mph !

I didn't think much about it until I can across another very cool old er guy who has more off the chart motorcycles than I would have expected.  He was telling me he was selling some motorcycles to buy a tether car, these things are not cheap and can go well over $3000 for a vintage car such as a 1940's Dooling.

He invited me to check out the cars race as they are holding the National Races here in SOCAL at Wittier Narrows Park.  I went over and watched for a while and I have to say I was impressed.  These guys are building cars with what amounts to model airplane motors and I saw a couple go well over 200 mph and some of the vintage cars from the 40's went over 100 mph with one going 135.  

The car is run on a fixed concrete track and is tethered to a center pole so the car is stable.  The car is then started by the pusher who uses a stick to get the car going.  At the pole end of the tether cable another man controls the cable to give the car a good start and to keep the tether off the ground until it gets up to speed.  When the car gets going the man in the center hops up onto a little step and the car can run unimpeded around the track.  When the run is over, the car is shut off with a broom which trips a switch shutting off the fuel.

It was pretty amazing to watch these cars go.  Incidentally I met a man who had traveled fro Switzerland to watch the races.