August 2012


The ECU is configured for launch control. I had to calculate the distance travelled per engine revolution, which I reckon is around 113mm. I've also had to plug in values for start line rpm etc, so its all a bit hit and miss, hopefully I'll get a chance to iron the settings out on Saturday. I've swapped the front/rear wheels around again to keep the wear balanced. All I need to do is load the car on the trailer.


Wired in both the rear wheel speed sensors last night, and connected them up to the wiring loom. I now need to set the ECU up for launch control. I need a USB to Serial adaptor so I can use the new laptop for running the DTAWin software, because the screens are difficult to navigate on the old one due to the screen resolution. I've ordered the door numbers for Aintree on Saturday, and I'm still waiting for the replacement gearbox position sensor from Geartronics which was promised last week to be with me this week.


Sunday August 26th 2012
Harewood Summer National hillclimb, organised by the BARC Yorkshire Centre
Class entered: 4B Sports Libre
958 Ben Johnson (1.7 Mallock Mk20X)
157 Graham Blackwell (2.0 Fiesta)
158 Kim Johnson (1.7 Mallock Mk20X)
160 Les Proctor (1.6 OMS SC4 CF)

I really enjoy my trips to Harewood, and Sundays outing was not a disappointment. I've found the confidence to try gearchanges without the clutch, and its such a revelation. Pull the gearlever, lift off the throttle, and the next gear just slides straight in. Childs play, and a technique I should have tried at least a year ago. I sliced 1.13s off my PB set last year, to record a 67.20s on my first competitive timed run, and combined with the gear shifts and new tyres, was going to knock at least another couple of seconds off on my second run, when it started to rain. And once it starts raining at Harewood, it sets in, and the track rapidly deteriorates. So I decided, like most others, not to try running in the wet, and loaded the car on to the trailer for the 2hour journey home. I'll put a full report together in the next couple of days, and I've some more terrific footage to add, hopefully with some meaningful data logger data too.
1st Les Proctor (1.6 OMS SC4 CF) 59.29s
2nd Ben Johnson (1.7 Mallock Mk20X) 60.31s
3rd Kim Johnson (1.7 Mallock Mk20X) 62.51s
4th Graham Blackwell (2.0 Fiesta) 67.20s


Two pieces of bad news. First of all, Neil from Geartronics contacted me late in the afternoon to tell me that the dual channel Penny & Giles gearbox sensor hadn't been programmed for a 359° sweep. Instead his supplier had programmed it for 100° which would be used to measure throttle position, and therefore no use for the gearbox. He discovered this during testing, and the whole batch would need to be returned for reprogramming. What this means is that although Neil saved me the hassle of fitting it, I wont get the replacement until next week, and it sounds highly unlikely I'll even have it plumbed in for the Aintree Sprint on Sep 1st.

The second piece of bad news is that MAC has refunded my entry fee for the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb on Sep 22nd, with the reason of 'over subscribed'. Thats twice I've had my entries returned by MAC. They dont run a first come first served system, but instead go through the entries received and pick and choose the drivers/cars that they want on their hill. Disappointing as its a round of the Midland Speed Championship, and counts towards my points tally. The entry for the event comprises of 105 cars and 25 motorbikes, which considering its the end of the season for most people, prevents 25 Midland Speed Championship contenders from scoring any points.

So I fitted the first rear wheel speed sensor instead last night, and rotated the wheels front to back. If I get time tomorrow night I'll wire the speed sensor in and set the ECU up for launch control for Sunday at Harewood. Here is a link to the 235-5706 wheel speed sensors that I've used. Simple enough to connect up, and the wiring loom already has all the sensors wired in, I just need to connect them. The intention is to have one on each wheel.
Sensor fitted Torque limiter bracket fitted


I've fitted the new torque limiter bracket back on the car, using the original re-inforced mounts that the engine cradle would have bolted up to, so this time the bracket shouldn't work loose. I've also refitted the manifold and system, and changed a couple of bolts on the gearbox top mount, for hex head ones in place of socket heads, so now I can torque them up properly to stop them from working loose again. The gearbox clears the front suspension, and hopefully nothing will allow it to hit the tie bar from now on. I'll still insulate the tie bar with some self adhesive heat shrink, which will at least protect the end of the box from metal on metal contact should it move that far again. The gearbox sensor will be swapped tomorrow evening, and wired in to the Ana3 input on the DTA ECU.


I'm car 157 at Harewood this Sunday, so I'll get the door numbers ordered today. I've finished fabing the C bracket, it just needs bolting on and a bit of paint. The gear sensor arrived from Geartronics on Friday and as it uses the +5V supply from the gear position indicator I simply need to feed the 2nd output channel from the sensor direct to the ECU and it should work. Neil reckons only one other person has tried the DTA flat shift software, so I'll be the 2nd this weekend should I get it wired in and setup in time.


The C bracket I made for the torque limiter mount between the rear of the gearbox and the chassis has bent. I'm now building a stronger one from 4mm as 3mm isn't up to the job. The reason why it bent is because it worked loose on the two mounting bolts and over a short space of time, the push pull from the gearbox when changing gear has distorted it so much that the gearbox is now banging on the front tie bar again. This explains the mechanical backlash I was feeling at 3 Sisters when I changed gear.

I've ordered the dual channel hall effect P&G sensor from Geartronics, it should be arriving in a day or so. Not made any firm plans to go to the Retro Rides Gathering at Prescott this Sunday. If the car is finished I may take it along. Its not looking likely at the moment though as the priority is to get it ready for Harewood on the 26th. Race Technology (Kieren) has been in touch and has invited me to take the Fiesta over to Nottingham for Kieren to investigate the issues I'm getting with the DL1-Mk2 data logger and the CAN adaptor. As the car is in bits I'll have to arrange for something next week. I also need to take the car to Bruntingthorpe to have a play with the flat shift feature once I've fitted the dual channel sensor.


Dropped the XR2 off the trailer last night. It is still suffering from clearance issues between the end of the gearbox and the front tie bar. The casing on the box is taking quite battering where it rubs on the bar, and I'm really concerned its going to crack or wear through. So the plan is to lower the engine and gearbox another 10mm and use the rear steady bar to pull the box further away from the tie bar. I'll also place several layers of adhesive heat shrink on the tie bar, so if it does hit the box, its not going to be metal on metal. I'm also ordering the dual channel hall effect sensor from Geartronics on Monday, and I'll fit that next week and wire the gearbox in for full throttle gear shifts. I just need to find somewhere where I can test it. I may end up going to Bruntingthorpe for a few hours later in the week.

I've also been in conversation with Dr Andrew Durrant at Race Technology concerning the issues I've had with the DL1-Mk2 datalogger. If you remember I tried using the auto start/stop feature last weekend, and it resulted in a corrupted memory card, and a run of around a few seconds. I then resorted to pressing the red button after writing a new setup.bin on the CF card. Andrew confirmed that the auto start/stop facility was withdrawn in v28 of their firmware, and yet the Configuration tool for the DL1 still allows this method to be selected.

Whats even odder is that if you look at the diagnostics header in a file captured by my previous firmware, v11, it shows ", using firmware version11-6. Data logged on11/09/2011 @ 08:52. Logging started by button press. Logging stopped by button press.Logger serial number:3093.Run Contains36533 individual data samples, and0 data formatting errors. Accelerometers were auto-zeroed at the beginning of the run." which clearly says 'Logging started by button press. Logging stopped by button press'.

However, the header from the run recorded by the latest firmware, V43, doesn't say anything at all regarding the capture mechanism.
", using firmware version43-6. Data logged on05/08/2012 @ 13:26. Logger serial number:3093.Run Contains209131 individual data samples, and36 data formatting errors. Accelerometers were auto-zeroed at the beginning of the run."

Anyway, Race Technology has invited me to take the XR2 over to their offices in Nottingham, and they'll have a look at the issues I've had. I've also asked if they can at the same time, get the CAN adaptor to talk to the ECU, as its still my intention to get the link working, even though I've taken the cable off the car at the moment. RT's theory for the corrupted data is electrical interference. However, the dashboard is run off the same supply as the DL1, and the Stack instruments never show any sign of interference.


Sunday August 5th 2012
Three Sisters sprint, organised by the Chester MC
Class entered: 4B Sports Libre
14 Mike Smith (Radical)
75 Dave Higgs (Austin Metro 6R4 R 320BHP S/C)
76 Marshal Rowland (Lotus Elise S1)
77 Stephen Davies (Lotus Exige 330BHP)
78 Graham Blackwell (Fiesta Mk1 200BHP)

New Kumho C03 K11 tyres, and eight years since my last visit. Not too much to ask then. Setting off at 5:10am, I arrived nice and early, around 7:10am, and parked up alongside Stephen's beautiful Lotus Exige. He revealed he'd spent £1400 on new slicks for the event, having just gained his National A license, meant he could finally run his >2000cc Supercharged Exige in Sports Libre, having previously ran it in a lesser class in roadgoing condition whilst he gained all his signature to have the license upgraded. The 6R4 turned up after we'd all passed scrutineering, and quickly set about changing the tyres for slicks. I had a good look at the car, and soon twigged it wasn't original. It was a Z-cars conversion, whereby you supply them with a Metro bodyshell, and for £20,000 they turn it in to a space framed shell, with false floors, suspension and the basics of a 6R4 replica. You then have the job of installing engine/gearbox etc, and the owner, Dave Higgs had done an incredible job. The car used an S2000 engine, supercharged, driving the rear wheels, and the engine even with 67,000 miles on it, was more than capable of running at high boost with apparently no issues. The owner also fitted the 6R4 body kit and for all intents and purposes, it looked genuine, though it lacked one thing. Well two actually. 4WD and the synonymous sound of the 6 cylinder engine. Shame.

The first practice run was soon on us, and I struggled for grip whilst the tyres rid themselves of release agent. Second practice followed a heavy though brief downpour, and I had fun chucking the car around the even slippier track. Three sisters tends to build up a layer of 2 stroke oil during the Kart meetings, and the slightest rain on the surface brings the oil to the top. Nothing like a challenge when you've got FWD and only 200BHP to call upon.

First timed runs were pretty exciting. Ranked the slowest, I started at the end of the class, and set the 3rd quickest time to take 3rd in class. Only bettered by the Radical and the Exige, my Fiesta slotted itself in front of the 6R4 replica, and the Elise of Marshal, and I was beginning to find the limits on the new rubber. Off the line she just span the wheels, but once the tyres started to heat up I found I could really lean on them around the corners, and despite the fact they weren't full slicks, I was enjoying the fresh rubber on each corner.

Second competitive timed run, I had a big slide, and lost a couple of seconds to record a slower time. But the 6R4 hadn't improved so I was left 3rd in class from 5 starters, and very pleased with my performance and the performance of the Fiesta. No damage done to the front spoiler, I loaded the car up and left around 4:30pm, heading home and towards dark skies. The journey was briefly in heavy rain, though that soon cleared and the majority of the trip was in sunshine, whilst I tailgated a coach at 60mph to conserve fuel.

The GoPro Hero2 HD camera was really easy to use, and the footage is superb. There's a bit of flare on the lense and I put that down to the plastic box that houses the camera. The bullet camera faces rearwards and the resultant video clip features picture-in-picture, using the Race Render video editing software (Free for clips < 3minutes long). The datalogger was a nightmare again. I used the auto start stop feature for the first time, to save me having to press the record button at the start of the run. However the DL1 corrupted the first CF card, and on the 2nd run I tried it again and it recorded a run of ~2 seconds. I removed the auto start stop feature, and went back to pressing the red log button on the front of the DL1, and luckily it recorded the first timed run. The second timed run I wasn't so lucky and it recorded nothing. I dont know what caused the corruption of the first CF card. Both the cards were used at Blyton, and I'd removed the DL1 to fit the new mounting bracket during the week, so I just dont know what made it so unhappy. I'll live with it and will continue to use the more reliable button-press to commence and end the data capture.

1st Mike Smith (Radical)
2nd Stephen Davies (Lotus Exige 330BHP)
3rd Graham Blackwell (Fiesta Mk1 200BHP)
4th Dave Higgs (Austin Metro 6R4 R 320BHP S/C)
5th Marshal Rowland (Lotus Elise S1)

First timed run, new PB and my 3rd in class effort

Second timed run, and my catch of the day. No datalogger data.

My pictures
3 Sisters Sprint, 5th Aug 2012

Here's a G-circle from my fastest timed run. New tyres and a slippery track may explain the lack of longitudinal G.


Stuck the numbers on the doors for Sunday (#78). Reversed the bullet camera so it faces rearwards, removed the microphone from the car as the GoPro will be recording the sound from now on. Fitted the DL1 back in the car on the new mount.