Latest News

21Sep

Wirelocking

In order to lock wire the CV bolts, I need to accurately drill each M8 socket head bolt with four holes. And to do this, I needed to use my trusty pillar drill. However, the chuck in my pillar drill doesn't grip the 1.5mm drill bits. So the answer is to get a small drill chuck, that accepts the smaller drill bits, and it can then be fitted in the pillar drill chuck. So I ordered one from RSWWW (Part 600-745). Last night, armed with a set of 1.5mm drill bits, and a bag of M8 bolts, I then drilled 4 holes in each of the socket heads. The next job was to degrease the threads in the wheel hubs, with a quick shot of solvent cleaner, and screw the new bolts in with Loctite on the threads. Over the weekend I'll try my hand at lock wiring, which having seen a few video's on youtube, looks very straight forwards. (Famous last words)

20Sep

FTD Video

Here is my FTD winning run at a very wet Blyton.


17Sep

Mods

The nearside rear wheel speed sensor has been replaced, after it took damage at Blyton on Sunday when the CV bolts sheared allowing the CV joint to drop and hit the sensor. A pair of lockwire pliers and 30M of wire have arrived, I shall drill the heads of the M8 bolts on the CV joints to allow them to be lockwired to prevent them from coming undone again. I'm getting some 1.5mm drill bits and a small chuck from RSWWW to allow the drill bits to be fitted in the Clarke pillar drill.

Speaking of Anglesey, the graph below shows the possible final scores for the current Top 13, based on the best 9 scores for each driver, and a pair of perfect 14 point scores for the two last run offs. As you can see, Heather and Colin are so far ahead, that no one can catch them. But all the other positions are all up for grabs.
Possible final scores

These are what remained of the six bolts that sheared at Blyton. Very unusual for them to fail. All I can put it down to is that they were all loose. When I checked the six bolts on the opposite CV, they were all finger tight. Quite how they could have become loose, is my fault for not checking them.
Sheared bolts

13Sep

The BSC is under new management

The MSA and Hillclimb and Sprint Association (HSA) are pleased to announce that the HSA will be taking over the organisation of the British Sprint Championship from 2019. Paul Parker has successfully run the series for 20 years, but is retiring at the end of the 2018 season and the HSA, already set to run the revived Sprint Leaders Series in 2019, will take over the British Sprint Championship, ensuring the continuation of this important series. A full calendar will be published as soon as available. Sporting Regulations and Scoring System are currently under development. The HSA Speed Championship will continue in its present guise, with SBD as sponsors of this, the British Sprint Championship & Sprint Leaders Championships. If you would like to be kept up to date with details please look on the HSA's website www.hillclimbandsprint.co.uk

12Sep

Uprated bolts

The six outer CV bolts that all sheared on the startline, must have worked loose, and the tell tale sign I chose to ignore was that the car was pulling hard to the left in the starts prior to the run off where it failed. I removed the hub in the garage last night, and unscrewed the remnants of the bolts that were sat in the hub, and looking at the way the bolts all broke, its clear they were overloaded. The question is, how they could have worked loose, as I had regularly checked them, on the events prior to Blyton. The plan is to replace the bolts with 15mm longer versions, so there is more thread in contact with the holes in the hub, and I'm going to look at using lockwire to prevent them from working loose again.

The footage from the 2nd practice run, using the Kodak 4KVR360 camera is now on youtube, and being 360° you can view it on a phone and tilt the phone to change the view point, or use the mouse to drag the video to change the view point. I had some challenges working out how to process the video, prior to uploading to Youtube. I had to install the PIXPRO 360 VR Suite on to the computer, in order to edit the footage, and once I'd saved it to the hard drive, Youtube was then able to understand the format. The PIXPRO software embeds Metadata in to the video, so Youtube can understand that it is 360° video, and the experience for the viewer is then changed to allow them to view the footage in 360° mode.

11Sep

Britannia Trophy

I've won the BSC Britannia Trophy. This is the trophy for the competitor scoring the highest total at all events. I won it with two rounds left to go, with a score of 928.41 points. I just missed out on the Saxon trophy, for the English events, by 2.78 points, which were lost when I couldnt change in to 5th gear on my 1st timed run on Sunday at Blyton, and I was unable to beat the class record on that run, but did on the second run. That was an expensive missed gear!

I'm now 9th in the championship with 9 scores, and the best 9 count, so two good performances at Anglesey should see me retain 9th or even better, move up to 8th or even 7th. I really really hope it rains both days :D

It has been a good year, and Pete and I do realise that beating our 1600 Forced Induction records set in 2017 is what has helped us secure the Britannia and Saxon trophies. Next year will be a much tougher year for us both, as the records we set in 2018 will be even harder to beat, particularly if the weather isnt in our favour. Thats the position all the other classes are in. But we'll both be improving, and trying harder than ever to set fast times, and there are some ideas to re-jig the scoring for next year anyway, so who knows how it'll pan out?

10Sep

EcoBoost takes FTD at a wet Blyton

15 competitors made the trip to Blyton for the weekends sprinting, and Saturday was wet, very wet indeed, with showers most of the day, and loads of standing water on most parts of the track. The challenging Eastern circuit was not popular amongst competitors, the tight twisty section after the start, followed by the infamous Curve Grande, was not well received by most, but I was up for the challenge.

I've never been very confident in the wet, its not like driving to the shops and having a bit of a play, this is full on, high pressure, driving as fast as you can and the rain is a great leveller. I'd done a lot of reading on how to drive in the wet, its all theory, but there were some car setup changes that were supposed to make the car more compliant. I detuned the engine, selecting the 275bhp map rather than the 320+bhp map, as 275bhp was more than enough in the wet conditions. I changed the damper settings to soften them off, disconnected the front anti-roll bar, turned the brake bias to give more rear bias to help prevent the fronts from locking, and put the 2nd hand Formula 3 wets I bought earlier in the year, on the car. These were Michelin circuit racing tyres, but they were cheap so I had to snap them up, and what a good decision that turned out to be.

First practice, I was quite surprised how much grip there was, and gained confidence on the wet track. Second practice, I improved by 4seconds, and really started to learn how late I could brake for the tighter corners. First timed run, after yet more rain, I ran a 78s time, to put me fastest overall. Ahead of all the V8's and the smaller engined single seaters. And then on my second timed run, I tried a bit harder, and recorded a low 78s, expecting to have been overhauled by the champion Heather Calder, or one of the other V8's, but no, they were literally seconds slower.

Somehow, I'd managed to win the fastest time of the day award, finishing 1st in class in the process. I could not believe it. The car was so easy to drive, and there was so much more available, if I wanted to try, so I got the car ready for the two Top 12 run offs, and sat and waited to go out last as the fastest qualifier.

My first run, I made an awful start, there was far too much wheelspin, and I lost 2-3 seconds just getting to the first corner. I'd recorded a slow 81s run, which placed me 3rd. Not good. So I waited for my second and final run, and made a fantastic start, the car was flying, I was braking later than before, and confidence was growing all the time. Alas, this all came undone, when the rear end stepped out on the 2nd from last corner, and I couldnt catch the spin, and piroutted off the track, stopping facing the right way on the run off area. I drove back to the paddock realising I'd missed my opportunity to win a run off, and collected my first FTD award at the prize giving, finishing 4th in the run offs, scoring 9 points, moving me up to 7th in the championship.

Then on to Sunday. A different layout, using the outer circuit, which suited the more powerful cars, with the very long back straight, split by a chicane, and some very demanding high speed curves to take. My first two practices, the track was still drying out, and on slicks it took a few goes to get up to speed. I really struggled on the badly worn slicks on the front wheels, they've been on the car since Castle Combe and were well beyond their best. On my first timed run, I pulled 5th gear halfway around the circuit, and found I had no drive, so I pulled 4th then 5th again, and carried on, but that cost me a couple of seconds. I found that my 62s run wasnt even fast enough to qualify for the Top 12 run off! So I stuck the new run off tyres on the front, and focused, as the 2nd timed run was my only chance to qualify. I made a perfect start, absolutely flew around, and went 3s faster to post a high 59s, to qualify 11th! That was how close it was, with the big V8's finally starting to stretch their legs on the high speed straights.

So on the the first Top 12 run off, I fitted the fresh rear tyres on, gave the fronts a scrub, refilled the fuel tank, topped up the air bottle and even increased the air pressure to the actuator to try and prevent any more gear change problems. I lined up on the start line, floored the throttle, dropped the clutch, and bang, no drive! I pulled away, lighting up just one rear tyre, and the car was trying to turn left. I lifted off, pulled 2nd gear, tried again, and the car again lurched to the left, and wasnt accelerating very well. I lifted off, tried again, and again, it lurched. So I realised something had broken, possibly suspension, and as the car wasnt making any horrible noises, I limped around to the pits in 2nd gear.

Everyone jumped in to help, we quickly lifted the rear wheels suspecting it was the diff that had blown, and when I rotated one of the raised wheels, the other didnt rotate, and we then spotted that all 6 bolts that hold the outer CV to the nearside rear wheel, had sheared!

All six! That was unheard off. Such was the grip from the new tyres, that the bolts cried enough, and that meant I was out. The remains of the threaded bolts were in the hub, and I had no way of removing them and replacing the bolts. So sadly no points today!

The only consolation is that its a few quid for the repair, whereas it could have been hundreds had the differential failed. So I'm going to fix the car this week, replace the bolts on the offside wheel too, and check the bolts more often, as it may well be that they could have worked loose, or some of the bolts may already have failed at previous events and I hadnt noticed.

Who knows. Anyway, I won FTD, at a National A event, beating the current champion and all the other former champions present, and that can never be taken away.

My next and final outing is the Anglesey sprint weekend, in October. Where it usually rains ;)

7Sep

Aero mods

I've attached the Kodak VR camera to the top of the car, its not the most aerodynamic of places to put it, but with it taking a 360° view, I dont have much choice. I'll try it in practice, and probably remove it for the timed runs. I found a '1/4" thread Go Pro' adaptor on Amazon, which screws in to the base of the camera, and this allowed me to stick a Go Pro mount to the bodywork. I've also added a tether to retain the camera if it does decide to part company with the body work.

The Aero mods for this weekend are a pair of carbon inner wheel covers. Hansell Composites supplied them cut as circular blanks, and I then cut a few areas out to allow them to fit over the suspension pickups on the hubs. They've certainly tidied up the back of the wheels, hiding the front hub and electronic wheel speed sensor, so they've got to make a bit of a difference to lower drag and turbulence from the front wheels. For Blyton, SBD have fitted a pair of barge boards for their Dallara, which divert the turbulent air from the front wheels, around the sides of the car to help seal the floor. Again, it'll be interesting to see how much difference they make to their times over the weekend.

5Sep

For Sale: EcoBoost FF200

What an opportunity, for someone to buy the ex-Ashley Sutton & Jamun Racing Formula Ford EcoBoost FF200, that has just resurfaced after falling off the radar for the last 18 months. Alan Cornock is asking for £15000 for the car, which is a really good deal considering our car's have had MSA ROPS Certificates since 2017, and for £2500 can be upgraded to make over 300BHP. SJ01/08 had been sold at the start of 2017 to a buyer from Scotland, but as we'd not seen or heard about the car for a year and a half, I'd assumed it'd been sold on, so its great to see the FF200 back on the scene. It would be even greater to see it being sprinted again in the UK. I wonder if anyone would take the plunge and join me and Pete in the BSC?

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On my car, the new skirts are now painted and completed, and everything has been refitted. I've lowered and reattached the two diffuser vertical end plates, to give an equal gap all round, and hopefully a more efficient floor for Blyton. Its all a little heath robinson still, as the diffuser was retrofitted, but as long as it contributes to the overall grip levels, I'm happy.

3Sep

Blyton running order

I'm car #18 at Blyton this coming weekend, and I'll be following John Graham around the track on both days. There are 8 of us in the above 2.0 Class, with Colin and Heather, Stewart Robb, Terry and Graham, Pete, John and myself all fighting for class honours. I've reviewed my video footage and data from last year at Blyton, and there is plenty of time I can gain this year with the new aero. I'm hoping to again improve by 5 to 6 seconds, as I've done so far on all the other tracks this year. That'd take me below 60s on the Eastern circuit, which is where I need to be. My PB on the outer is 61.49 so again, a big reduction in time should be possible on Sunday.

The weather forecast isnt looking too good for Saturday, with light rain supposed to be falling all day, in which case the record I set in 2017 might be out of reach, but with the right preparation and mind set, I'm sure we'll still have a very competitive days racing.

The front wing angle, at 29° worked really well at Rockingham, and with Blyton having lower speed corners, I'll leave it at 29° and see how it goes. All the Avon slick tyres are now cleaned, the fuel has arrived, there's just a couple of minor jobs remaining. One of which is to attach a Kodak Pixpro 4kVR360 camera to the engine cover, for some 360° footage. I cant wait to see how that turns out. No one else is running 360° cameras, and it should give a good perspective, with it sat above the drivers head for maximum visibility.

30Aug

Blyton preparations

I've just bought another 50 litres of 102 octane fuel, following the engine's renewed appetite since it was tuned again in July. She now has quite a thirst. And I've started replacing the damaged side skirts, and will have these finished for the Blyton weekend. The tyres still need cleaning, which is a couple of hours work, and there's a couple of other 'secret' aero mods I've added, more will be revealed at Blyton (if anyone spots them). I've also reviewed the footage from Matt Hillam's 2nd place drive at Rockingham (on youtube), and I now know where I went wrong, because Matt catches me up half way round the course, on one particular corner, Yentwood, and drives past me, despite my >1s lead up until that point. So now I know I need to trust the downforce more. Mind you, the aero package on the SBD Dallara is very highly developed, so to be 0.8s behind Matt at the finish is something to be proud of. I just wish I hadn't lost as much time as I did, as I could have been 2nd and Matt 3rd. I'll work on my cornering speeds at Blyton.

I've also realised that the Anglesey weekend in October takes place the same weekend that the WRC are competing on the Wales Rally GB, so I hope we dont get too much traffic on the way down on Friday afternoon, or back on the Sunday.

This is my 3rd place run from Rockingham.

21Aug

BSC Rockingham report, EcoBoost gets a podium finish in the BSC

Fourteen of the regular BSC contingent travelled to Rockingham on Sunday, with a new track layout for everyone to learn. The National circuit took in the infield section, with no banked track to play on, but nevertheless, the infield proved just as quick, with some exceptional speeds reached during the event.

On arrival I found an empty garage, number 11, and unloaded the car and the wheels and tyres, and fitted the front wing and slicks, and headed out for a track walk with Graham Porrett and Terry Holmes. 30 minutes later, I was ready for scrutineering, but signing on wasnt until 9:30 so there was plenty of time to finish preparing the car and socialise.

With a dry forecast, and a strong breeze for most of the day, for the first couple of practice runs, I found myself unusually in the top 3, with Pete Goulding, and Colin Calder in the Gould V8 topping the charts. I suffered fuel surge on the final left hander on the first practice run, with 4L of fuel in the tank at the start, so for the 2nd practice I added a further 4L of fuel to ensure that the level didnt drop again, and during the rest of the day, maintaned that buffer. [I'll have to look at getting a smaller tank fabricated for 2019, as I've had to carry additional fuel at several events now to avoid fuel surge.]

During practice I noticed that the car was getting a lot of wheelspin off the line, and Chris Robinson from Northampton Motorsport, who was present and supporting both EcoBoosts, suggested a lower start RPM. So I dropped the setting from 3500rpm to 3250, and sure enough it cured the issue. Chris also regularly took samples of data from both cars, and checked our traction settings, but we decided not to make any changes on the day.

For the first timed run before the break for lunch, I was placed 3rd overall with Matt Hillam and Colin Calder both ahead of me, and for the second timed run 90 minutes later, I improved again, but dropped to 4th, this time behind Steve Broughton, Matt and Colin. But I was still ahead of Pete who was sat in 5th place, so the signs were good for the Top 12 run-offs, that followed.

As soon as the second timed run was over, I drove back in to the garage and set about preparing for the two back to back Top 12 run-off runs, that I'd qualfied in 4th place for. That would mean I was the 9th car out on the track.

I fitted the gold rims with the newest run-off Avon tyres I'd bought in July, added another 4L of petrol, downed a quick drink of water, and pushed the car down to the assembly area, and before I knew it I was joining the queue for the Top 12 run-offs.

The slower cars went first, and it was unusual for me to watch the more experienced and usually quicker guys going out ahead of me. But my turn soon came around, and on my first run-off run, I posted a banker time of 54.51s, on the fresh tyres, which always took a lap to start working after they'd been cleaned with the heat gun. The car was a little loose, but I was sure they'd perform a lot better on the 2nd run. And so they did!

Pete had recorded a 54.18s run, also on fresh tyres, but I was determined to set the class record for the National circuit, and overtake him in the championship. So on to the second run offs, and I lined up again behind Pete, and watched the clock as he left the line, and waited eagerly to see what time he'd record. It was a quicker 53.46s time. I knew what I had to do. I selected first gear, drove up to the start line, lowered my visor, and waited for the green light and I drove as quickly as I dare. I braked later than before, and drove as smooth as possible, and I was totally committed for the final left hander leading to the finish line, almost running out of track. But had I gone quicker?

When I drove back towards the paddock, a thumbs up from a friend on the pit lane said it all. When I checked the time I'd done a 52.74s, to place me 3rd, my highest ever finishing position, only 2s slower than the winner Colin Calder (Gould V8), and 0.8s behind 2nd place Matt Hillam in the 2.0 Dallara. (My 52s run earned applause from those stood on the pitlane too!) Not only had I scored 10 pts for coming 3rd, but I'd also earned a bonus point for setting my fastest time of the day on my final run! 11 points moves me up to 8th in the championship, with four more rounds left to go. I've only scored on 8 rounds so far this year, and it is the best 9 scores that count, so I can still gain extra places in the Top 12, simply by continuing to improve.

BSC Results Rockingham 2018

The next event is the Blyton Speed weekend, on September 8/9th. No major modifications are planned, but I've a couple of minor aero tweaks up my sleeve to aid the top speeds.

Racing to the finish line

20Aug

EcoBoost scores a 3rd place at Rockingham

A fantastic result at Rockingham, with a 3rd place in the Top 12 Run Off, which moves me up to 8th overall in the #britishsprintchampionship. The car was perfect, the weather stayed dry, and the National Circuit at Rockingham was extremely fast, and that rewarded the big power cars. I ran a 52.74s on my final run, and earned a bonus point for going quicker than I had on my previous run off and timed runs. So that netted me 11 points, which gives me a total of 50. Perfect.

15Aug

Car #66 at Rockingham

I'm running car #66 on Sunday, at round 12 of the BSC at Rockingham Circuit. We're not using the international circuit layout though, which is a shame as when I was there in March, I had the standard Mygale front wing fitted, and I never took Turn 1 flat, and suffered chronic understeer in to Pif Paf. Now I'll have to wait until 2019 before I get to have another go.

Instead, we're on the National circuit, which still looks very quick. The layout is similar to the Snetterton 100 track in both the corner speeds and downforce requirements, so I shall see if I can cure the power understeer that I suffered at Palmers (Snetterton). Since then I have modified the front wing mounting plate to allow a far steeper front wing flap angle, so Rockingham will be the first track I can see what difference it makes. Hopefully I can get around Pif Paf, and carry good speed in to Gracelands, I can set a quick enough time to qualify midfield and score some good points. There are no bonus points for breaking records at Rockingham as there are no records, so I'll only get 100 Britannia Trophy points, but 100 points will put me back at the top of the tables with 926pts :D. My objective for Sunday is to #beatpete for a fifth time,

3Aug

Ford approves my changes to the ECU

After all my badgering, Ford UK have agreed to allow the relaxations I asked for on my ECU. I've passed the approved list of changes on to NMS, and I'm waiting to see if they can implement them, in time for Rockingham. Chris will be attending the next BSC sprint meeting anyway, to make a few changes to Pete's traction control settings, and I'll see if we can open the access up there.

I've removed all of the new pushrods, and have sprayed them in gloss black paint, ready to be refitted to the car. Although I'd protected them with oil, they were starting to look tatty. And we cant have that! I'll get the car back on its wheels before the weekend, and the next step is to replace the side skirts, with deeper ones, to reduce the gap to the ground. The photos from Knockhill show a lot of daylight beneath the car, and now it no longer drags its arse on the floor (the uprated springs have settled and it no longer grounds out over the bumps) I can try and seal the gap around the floor to give me even more ground effect. There has to be a 40mm gap between the skirt and the ground, when the car is static, but as the car drops when the speed builds, the gap can reduce to zero, or at least a safe level so they dont drag on the ground and create drag. Knockhill 2018