Monday 27th September 2004
Another good days motorsport at Curborough yesterday. I turned up with the Audi A6 tow car, and tried to run it in Sports Libre, but I was bumped in to class 1C, which is for road going cars. I asked to be moved back to Sports Libre but the organisers weren't too sure why I couldn't run in that class, so stuck me in with a Ferrari F355, Mitsubishi EVO5, Renault Alpine Turno, TVR, and a Lancia Delta Integrale. Just my luck. My Audi A6 is standard, so I could run it in Sports Libre, but they thought otherwise (and I really needed the 20 points for coming second) And Les Proctor turned up with his MG and was allowed to run in Sports Libre. Strange goings on indeed. I discussed this with one of the comittee members, who said I'd still get my 2nd place in Sports Libre, so I eagerly await the results. If I was to be moved classes, I should have really been in SC, which is for standard road cars over 2000cc, but because I have four wheel drive, I am disallowed from running in SC, and dropped in to 1C (against much faster machinery). Anyway, I set about chasing the pack, and eventually brought my time down to 41.12 seconds, to finish last in class. The Audi has tremendous grip in the dry, and I ate all the kerbs on my way round. Each run I improved, first by a second, then a quarter of a second, and finally just by two tenths, and my quickest start was 2.61 seconds for the 60 foot time. Thats the advantage of 4WD, you just hold it at 3000 rpm and let the clutch out. My quickest start in the Fiesta is a 2.54second 60 foot time, but the Audi felt a lot faster. Maybe its because of the extra weight that it just feels that much more impressive off the line.
Bernard Armitage and his posse were in attendance. The new car is stunning, and although he started slowly, he worked his way down to a 33.33s run, and I'd say its more than capable of an FTD given the right conditions. The 2.6L engine sounded wonderful as the car took off around the small circuit.
I'm going to take the engine and gearbox out of the Fiesta in the next two weeks, to start the rebuild. I've big plans for the increasing the power, and the final drive ratio to make the Fiesta even quicker in 2005.
I'm competing on the Motorcycle Club of Gt Britain Edinburgh Trial this coming weekend, starting from the M42/A5 services at Tamworth on Saturday morning (02:20hrs). In my Fathers Liege kit car, we have to drive North in to Derbyshire and navigate hills and several hundred road miles in order to reach the finish. Its my third Edinburgh Trial (and my fourth trial this year), and I'm really looking forwards to it. I did the Exeter Trial and the Lands End trial (also this year) and this is the last event in what is known as the Triple. The Liege has a new stainless steel exhaust, which we're hoping will give the Reble Racing 850cc engine some more torque and more top end power too. What you need for climbing some of the near vertical muddy hills in Derbyshire.
Friday 24th September 2004
I've had all the suspension off this afternoon, rebuilt everything, replaced the M10 rod ends, checked the tri-lobe joints on the drive shafts, gone over everything, and I just cannot find what is causing the vibration at full throttle. However, I did drain the oil from the gearbox, and it had a decidedly gold sheen to the film, which suggest maybe a brass bush has worn. I'll take the engine and gearbox out in the next couple of weeks, and I'll send the box to Quaife for a rebuild.
I'm at Curborough in the A6 Quattro on Sunday. I'll be running in the Road Going class (1c), over 2000cc, as I need a fourth signature on my license so I can run the larger 2.1 litre engine in the Fiesta next year. So I just need a finish, no heroics, but I will try to finish as well as I can. I can't see the Audi beating my 37.29s PB at Curborough, but it'd be nice to lap under 40 seconds. The Audi has permanent four wheel drive, and 2.8 litres, so it is quick, but is very tail happy, particularly in the wet, so I'm now hoping its dry tomorrow.
Its a shame not to complete the season with the Fiesta, but its better to quit before something fails catastrophically (and costs me a fortune to repair)
Wednesday 21st September 2004
Unfortunately, Sunday didn't quite work out as well as I'd hoped for. During the 1st practice run, the transmission developed a very bad vibration, which I ignored until I neared the finish line, and I coasted across the line in neutral to knock 1.2 seconds off my PB from 2003. Returning to the paddock, I took every wheel off, checked everything, and other than a bent rod end on one of the tie bars, couldn't find anything wrong. So I waited for 2nd practice run and had another go, but the vibration was just as bad so I aborted at Triangle and went back to the paddock again. Much head scratching later, we decided not to risk causing a more serious problem by ignoring the vibration, and set off for home. So no points, and my hopes of retaining my Sports Libre title for this year are now over. Shame as 2nd place was in the bag as I was quicker than the MG Midget, so I'd have scored an easy 20 points. Not to worry, the car is still intact, I've ordered a pair of new rod ends for Curborough this weekend, and hopefully this will cure the vibration. One of the rose joints/rod ends was worn, and I think that the off side front wheel had enough side to side play in it to allow it to oscillate at speed, which is then transmitted through the steering rack to the other wheel, and the car then begins to shake and shudder quite violently. Coming off the power, the vibration disappeared, but again, back on the gas and the vibration reappeared. The new rod ends should arrive tomorrow, and I'll fit them on Friday and test drive the car prior to Sunday to see if the problem has been cured.
Saturday 18th September 2004
All ready for tomorrows outing to Loton Park. Washed and polished the Fiesta, and I'm looking to set a new PB if it stays dry. The forecast isn't too good though, which I don't mind as I enjoy driving in the wet.
My rival in the Mid Speed championship, seems to think that I've sneaked a late entry in for Loton, just to upset the apple cart, but the reality is that I sent my entry form off in February! So the fact that I'm doing 10 events this year, shows I always planned to do that number. He's tried getting a late entry himself for Loton, but Hagley & District Car Club have said that entries are closed, but I've a feeling he may still have sneaked in. We'll see tomorrow. If I do well, and score 20 points, its then down to the last event on the 26th as to who takes the 2004 title. And at the last event, my rival has everything to lose, and I have everything to gain. Can my 21 year of Fiesta retain her Sports Libre title? Watch this space for news tomorrow.
Saturday 11th September 2004
The Final Instructions have come through for Curborough on the 26th of September (the last event of 2004). I'm up against Les and Bernard in the Sports Libre class. In preparation for Loton next weekend, I've made a modification to both front brake calipers, to try to retain some of the heat that is generated. In sprints/hillclimbs the brakes are seldom used, so it's very difficult to get the pads up to their operating temperature. I've fitted Ferodo DS2500 pads, which are certainly better than the Greenstuff boy racer pads I had in before, but they still need to get up to temperature. Anyway, when I went to watch the ETCC at Donington in June, we spotted that one of the teams had a rather neat approach to keeping the disk brakes up to temperature, so inspired by what I saw, I've modified both calipers, and we'll see if the tweak works after Loton. More will be revealed at the end of the season.
Saturday 4th September 2004
It doesnt appear as though the video camera appreciated me fitting stiffer springs to the front suspension. It looks like I've shaken it to bits. The footage from the 3rd run onwards suffers from image stabilisation problems, due I think to the innards of the camera working loose. I'll strip it down this weekend to see if I can salvage it. I finished 63rd overall on Sunday, from 145 finishers. I was as high as 38th overall after the 1st timed run, following the rain at lunch time. I should probably pray for more wet events in that case, the conditions certainly seem to suit my car better than others.
Final instructions for Loton Park on the 19th September have arrived in the post this morning. I'm car 104, up against a 998cc MG Midget and a 1047cc Mallock Mk14. I'll concentrate on beating the Midget, for a 2nd in class. I really need the points at the moment. Realistically I can't beat Bernard Armitage for overall honours in Sports Libre as I'd need two 1sts in class, so I'm now concentrating on finishing higher in the championship overall. I'm lying 29th overall at the moment and last year I finished 46th, so the suspension changes made over the winter have definitely paid off.
Video clip from Harewood on Sunday is available for download (3.7MB). Apologies for the jittery image, but at least the sound is working properly now.
2nd timed run, 68.45s (3.7MB)
Below are some new pictures from 3 Sisters on August the 14th. These were taken by www.dsimages.co.uk. It's becoming more common now for companies to turn up at sprints, and take photo's which is good news for competitors, as its often very hard to put across to sponsors what the sport is all about.