July 2002

Wednesday 31st July 2002
I hope it stops raining soon. We've had two days of almost non-stop thunder, lightning, torrential rain, and if it doesn't stop for Sunday the event will probably be cancelled!

Although I'll be at Silverstone on Sunday, I won't be at the Ford Fair event. The sprint is on Stowe circuit, which is a circuit within Silverstone, but may be isolated from the car show. I don't know yet. As soon as I find out, I'll post the information here.

I will be at InterFord at Gaydon on August the 11th though, on the Fiesta Turbo stand. Merchandise etc will be on sale at that event.
Saturday 27th July 2002
Fitted a Mocal oil breather tank, bought this week from Burtons . Capacity is 1.0 litre, and theres even a level indicator on the side. Also fitted the timing beam splitter for next weekends sprint, and some foam padding on the roll cage, to protect my head and legs in case of contact with the cage.

Oil catch tank
Sunday 21st July 2002
Posted some stickers to Japan yesterday. My first order from that part of the world. I've sent some there before, as free samples, but this is the first real order. I guess there are Focus owners in Japan too!

Took the car off the trailer, and removed all the wheels, to inspect the suspension etc. Found nothing untoward, so it shows that the suspension and drivetrain will withstand the BHP that we're putting through the front wheels. The gearbox oil level hasn't moved, and the only oil I found underneath was what was blown out the catch-bottle from the 2nd session at Mallory park. Each wheel was very dirty, including the rears, from all the brake dust that these EBC Greenstuff pads produce. Its particularly pleasing to see that the rear wheels were very dusty. This means that the rear disk brake conversion is working, contrary to what I've been told. "You won't need disks on the rear, the rear brakes on a Fiesta don't do anything!". Judging by the state of the rims and the disks, the disk brake conversion IS working, and pretty hard too. I'm very happy with the Fiesta Centre conversion kit. My handbrake mechanism still needs some tweaking, as the Mk1 Fiesta handbrake lever doesn't seem to have enough leverage to pull the brakes on properly, but the hydraulic side is working perfectly. Definitely worth the money.

As far as the HiSpec calipers at the front goes, I've fitted the blue Hawk Ferro-Carbon pads. These are an American product, and are highly rated by everyone Stateside who I've spoken to. We'll see at Silverstone if they're any good or not.

No other problems with the car. One of the rear fibre glass arch extensions took a battering at the test session. Looks like it was struck by a stone, and the arch is cracked. They're not going to last forever, but I'd like them to stay on for more than one event! I'm very pleased from the results of the test session. And now I've reloaded the car on to the trailer, she's all ready to go for the first event. Lets hope the weather stays reasonable, that its a warm dry day, so I can get some comparitive times with the other 2.0 cars in attendance.

One thing I've realised that I have yet to test, is my technique for launching the car off the line. I've yet to spend any time practising, though with the limited slip differential, it should prove quick at getting moving. I'll just have to wait for the practice runs in the morning at Silverstone to see what the right revs's are etc for getting away quickly. Although the ECU has a launch control facility, I still haven't fitted the sensor to the rear wheel. A project for the coming months.
Sunday 14th July 2002
Video clips from Mallory Park are now on youtube. I've used a Pinnacle TV Capture card, which allows video capture from a non-digital camcorder. For Silverstone, we'll have some more professional video shots, and some photographs of all the action.

PDF fileAnd finally, heres an Adobe Acrobat format file of my magazine article from July 2002's Performance Ford magazine.

Friday 12th July 2002
My entry to the CCC/BARC sprint at Silverstone on August the 4th, has been accepted  which is fantastic news. It does of course mean that I cannot attend Ford Fair at Silverstone on the same day, but I know I'd rather be zooming round the South Circuit than showing the car off! She is built for racing after all, and I can't keep her in immaculate condition for ever.

So whats left to do? I need to fit a 1 litre capacity catch tank, for the oil breather system, which I'll work on over the next few weeks. Apart from that, a quick inspection of the front and rear suspension wouldn't go amiss, after the test session on Wednesday. Oh, and I'll change the front brake pads for the Hawk hillclimb-spec pads too.
Thursday 11th July 2002
Well, Mallory Park was absolutely fantastic yesterday. I completed about 40 laps over two 30 minute sessions. Taking care not to rush in to things, I started off gradually increasing the speed, lapping the 1.35 mile circuit in 1m15's, and after coming back in and checking oil and water levels, I set off again on the 2nd session, consistently lapping in the 1m05's, chasing two 1300 Mini's round and round the circuit. The mini's were awesome, 3 wheeling round the bends, right on the limit. I don't have the commitment yet to stay with them. After I've checked the suspension for signs of stress, I'll have a bit more confidence about hanging on in the corners. Two cars crashed in the first 30 minute session, resulting in two red flags. Both were pretty badly smashed up, and this just reminds you that you're never that far away from making a mess of your car, and it is only a test session after all.

The Fiesta isn't exactly geared for circuit racing, and I was pulling 7000 rpm in 5th along the main straight after Gerards, and man, does she fly! I was being overtaken all the time by much faster machinery, ie TVR's, Morgan V8's, BMW M3's etc, but it was such good fun. I managed to fill the oil-breather bottle with collected oil on the second run (I was trying much harder this time). This was caused by oil collecting at the end of the rocker cover under the very long flat right hand corner (Gerards), which lasted about 10 seconds each lap. So I need to relocate the breather hose to prevent oil from draining out the rocker cover under hard cornering. But apart from that, no faults on the car occured, the gearbox is an absolute delight, and the LSD makes the car just pull and pull, with no wheelspin out the corners. Tremendous fun. I'm sooo glad I fitted mirrors to the car. If you've never raced on a circuit, you just wont realise how quickly traffic comes up on you, so you really need to keep your whits about you so they have room to pass safely.

The front brakes weren't very confidence inspiring. Either the HiSpec 4pot calipers were a complete waste of money, or the EBC Greenstuff pads are not up to the job. Apart from covering the front wheels in brake dust, the front brakes really didn't operate that well. I'll fit the Hawk Ferro-Carbon pads for the next event. These are allegedly much better from cold, so I'll soon see when I'm next out and about.

No action photo's from yesterday I'm afraid, but we did manage to capture my exploits on video, and I'll soon have them digitised and available for download.

The first event should be the CCC Sprint at Silverstone South circuit on August 4th, if my entry is accepted. Its a round of the Midland Speed Championships, and will be my first event.

The Fiesta now has her RAC Logbook. Local scrutineer Bob Tudor came round to inspect the car last night, and he passed it with flying colours. I can now legally compete with the Fiesta, as she is deemed to be built to the specific regulations for Sports Libre class in Hillclimbs and Sprints, so she's legal for use in RAC sanctioned events in this country.
Testing at Mallory Park Testing at Mallory Park
Thursday 4th July 2002
My home PC died 3 weeks ago, hence the lack of updates. I've built a new Athlon XP 1900+ which I can only get running at 1214MHz at the moment, but a bit of tweaking and I'm sure she'll be running at 1600MHz reliably. If I set the FSB frequency to 266MHz, the machine resets with no warning. If I run it at 200MHz, she's fine, but the overall clock speed x12 is slower than it would be if it were running at 266. The RAM is PC2100 spec, so it should run at the higher speed.

So if you've emailed me please bear with me whilst I reload this machine, and get to grips with the backlog of mail thats built up. I will answer all emails in the next few days.

An MSA Scrutineer is due to check the car over next Wednesday evening. I'm at Mallory Park next Wednesday morning for testing, and I get 3.5 hours of the circuit for £80 including VAT and liability insurance. Not bad value. I've had to buy some racing boots, and nomex underwear for the session, as you must have full flameproof protection when driving round the circuit just in case. Fingers crossed I keep her on the black stuff and no bits fall off whilst I'm driving round and round in circles 8)