Almost ready to load the car up tomorrow for the trip to Blyton this weekend. Stickers are on, petrol is bought, getting excited, and the weather forecast doesnt seem too bad, with just a chance of a few showers. Pete is out in the sister car (#185), and John Graham (#184) is out in his Gould GR55 so we both have quite a fight on our hands to catch John.
Alex Tsao from Canada has now joined our Facebook group, he's just imported the Richardson Racing Mygale to Vancouver and will be racing it hopefully this year.
Over the last few weeks I've fabricated a pair of replacement rear wing supports, primarily to move the rear wing rearwards, so that it sits above the rear diffuser rather than ahead of it. I started by creating a drawing in Powerpoint, and then transferred it to a sheet of 6082T6 5mm aluminium I bought off eBay, and I then set about cutting it out by hand. Before I did that, I'd made a couple of protoype brackets from 3mm advertising board, to see how the wing looked, and it seemed to be in a better location than before. I'm pleased with the end result, and I've placed all my weight on the wing, and it seems to be pretty stable. Time will tell.
I've also made a pair of longer front wing end plates, which will help keep the turbulent air from around the nose from spoiling the air passing over the front winglets. These are also made from advertising board and I'll transfer them on to carbon sheet just as soon as I've got some the right thickness.
I've changed my tow car, the silver 330D has been replaced by a black one, same spec, another X-Drive, an M-Sport this time, with Harmon Kardon sound system, and I've transferred the Westfalia tow bar over, including the wiring. All I need is a new number plate now for the rear of the trailer to match the plates on the car.
Another change for Snetterton, was the replacement of the gear position sensor. At Croft and Rockingham I was experiencing difficulty selecting gears when changing up, and the data from the ECU showed unusual spikes on the Gear channel, which suggested that all wasnt well with the sensor. The one I ordered, a direct replacement, I soldered to the existing cable, and checked with the ECU, and low and behold, at Snetterton I had no issues with gear changes, and the spikes on the Gear channel have completeley disappeared. OK so it cost me £90, but it did remove one more thing that had been causing me stress, and I can rule out the gearbox itself as the source of the problem.
The green trace shows the data after the sensor was changed, and the red trace is the sensor with the fault present.
We’re all so preoccupied with dates on safety equipment, that it’s very easy to overlook the obvious. Making the transition from a saloon to a single seater was one I was finding pretty challenging. Travelling and competing on your own, with a single seater, is possible, many people are in the same boat. But for the first few events, I was finding the transition especially hard and quite stressful. One area I was really struggling in was that of strapping myself in.
In the Fiesta, I had a six point harness, so I was well versed in belting up. But the belts in the Formula Ford, I really struggled with. First of all, to aid getting in, the two crotch straps hang from the steering column with the steering wheel removed. To get in, I stand on the floor inside the car, lower myself down and I slide in to the seat with a leg either side of the crotch straps, and lower myself down on to the car floor.
Next, seated, I take the two lap belts, and fasten then rotary buckle. Next I take the crotch straps one at a time, from the steering column, and thread them through the buckles in the lap strap, and a shoulder strap at a time, secure the crotch straps through the shoulder straps, in to the rotary buckle.
But try as I might, I couldn’t do this with ease. There was something preventing me from getting the latch strap to lock in to the buckle, and it turned out to be the belts supplied with the car. Even with a spot of WD40 in the rotary buckle, I just couldn’t get the belts to latch. Frustratingly, I’d be almost done, when I’d accidentally twist the rotary buckle and all the straps would release, and often, I had to call on a helper to lean in and click them all together.
Although the belts were lifed until the end of 2017, I looked around for a replacement set, and found some not too expensive Sabelt 6pt harnesses, that I ordered, waited a couple of days for them to arrive, and then set about installing them. The new belts are lifed until end of 2022, so I’ve potentially lots of use to get out of them before they need replacing.
At the next BSC round at Snetterton I found them a joy to use. The shoulder and lap straps snapped in to the buckle with a loud click, and I could belt myself in first time, every time. Getting in to the car, with the engine running, and the battery discharging, was far less stressful than before. And as the lap straps featured adjusters I could get comfortable far more quickly. So if you have a piece of kit that you’re watching the dates on, don’t put up with something that may require replacement.
I’ve also fitted a pair of countersunk 20mm neodymium ring magnets (rswww.com 792-4565), to the inside of the car, so I can stick the lap straps safely out of the way, so I don’t end up sitting on them when I climb in. This also works brilliantly, and I can now say that getting in is one less thing to worry about.