August 2004

Monday 30th August 2004
New personal best at Harewood Hillclimb yesterday. Changeable conditions meant the track was dry for one run, then wet for the next. But the last timed run of the day was my quickest, and I beat my PB set in July by 0.14seconds, recording a 68.45s run. Using the video footage and split times from the 3 previous runs, I set myself a target for the last run, of faster exit speeds, to use 3rd gear through the Esses, and lift at the lights on the Quarry Corner (must not brake) and it worked. During the day I recorded 76.06s (damp), 70.38s (dry), 72.11s (damp), and finally a 68.45s (dry). There would have been a 3rd timed run, but for a competitors engine spilling its sump contents on the Farmhouse Bend, and at 5:15pm, I'd decided that enough was enough, so we headed home. The marshals had quite a job on their hands to clean the oil off the track, and with rain clouds on the horizon, I didn't fancy another run on an oil covered track. It was quite an incident packed day, with people spinning off in the slippery conditions, and during the morning practice sessions a Mini also rolled at the Farmhouse Bend. The Harewood Hillclimb web site

No problems with the Fiesta, but the video signal seems to be suffering from interference, so I'll make a voltage regulator for the camera for the next event, and try to add some more suppression to the engine. The footage is still very good for the last run, though the picture jumps about a small amount. I'll edit the footage and post it up this week.

Luckily for me John Beardmore was also present with his Sports Libre Morris Minor, so I had someone to compare my split and overall times with. It was John that spurred me on really. We walked the course in the morning too, as John has been to the drivers school at Harewood and imparted some useful advice regarding lines, braking points etc, which I concentrated on during the day. His car is rear wheel drive though, so the technique on some corners is still different to mine, but the walk was still useful, and certainly helped (Thanks John). I beat John by almost 2 seconds on the last run of the day, but I should be quicker, I'm on race slicks and Johns on road tyres.

Les Proctor had problems during the day. On his 1st timed run, he recorded a slower time than me in the damp, and complained about the car sliding around in 4th gear up the hill. It turned out to be a loose rear wheel nut. Luckily a split pin kept the wheel nut in place, preventing the wheel from parting company with the axle, but the wheel was quite loose. Once repaired, Les set a 63 second run. Graham Smith was also out in his Radical Tracksport, setting the pace in the afternoon with a low 58 second run. I'm in the same class as these guys, due to the Fiesta running in the Sports Libre class. I'm getting closer to them at each event, but I realise I'll never beat them. Doesn't stop me from trying though.
Harewood Hillclimb, August 29th 2004

Saturday 28th August 2004
I'm trying to establish the quickest time a Fiesta has ever been round the Curborough circuit. I'm lead to believe that its around the 36 second marque, but if you know different please email me and let me know.

The Fiesta is now loaded back on to the trailer, and is ready for tomorrows visit to Harewood. Its a non-championship round, so I'm going to spend the day making adjustments to the suspension to see if I can get her any quicker up the hill. A 67 second run is my target, and from the video footage of my last visit, I've seen a few places where I'm going to try a few changes to my gear changes, approaches to corners etc.

Quaife are after pictures of me in action, as they are looking for suitable photos for next years Quaife catalogue. If you have a photo of me throwing the Fiesta round a track, and you fancy seeing your work in print, please email me the picture, and I'll send it off to Quaife for them to consider.

I have a spare Mustek PVR-A1 for sale at the moment. It is brand new, and the box is unopened. I'd take £120 for it (ono). Get in touch if you're interested. Its what I use for recording the video footage from the Fiesta.
Saturday 21th August 2004
Fitted the 300lb springs to the front shock absorbers this morning. That'll stop the car pitching so much when I throw her in to corners. I've checked the car over too and she's looking fine for next weekend at Harewood. I'm going to try to get under 68seconds if I can.

Results from last weekends sprint have been published, and I came 40th overall, from 95 finishers, and I had the sixth quickest time for a saloon car which I'm very pleased with. I even beat Allan Staniforth in his single seater. That must say something for the setup of the XR2. Les Proctor finished 9th overall, so you can see how the competition in my class is sometimes a little unfair. Both the Vauxhall Corsa's also finished well down the field. I was 3 to 4 seconds quicker than both cars. Shame they weren't in Sports Libre.
Saturday 14th August 2004
2nd in class today at 3 Sisters, behind Les Proctor. The 2.0 Corsa jumped ship in to Mod Prod, as he didn't feel it fair that he had to run in Sports Libre. He should have been in Sports Libre, but no one protested as it was his first sprint, and he was a few seconds off the pace. I had a great day, and set a new PB of 50.79s. I'll fit the stiffer front springs for the next event, as photos of the car shows the front diving under sudden direction changes/braking.

Here's the video footage from the quickest timed lap. The sound is now working properly, the electret microphone does a much better job of recording sound than the mic supplied with the camera. The gearing of the Fiesta isn't quite right for the circuit. I go round most of the track from the start, in second gear, and its not until I round Lunar that I go up through the box in to 5th, so I take the engine to the rev limiter in 2nd in a few places. Now you can hear the sound better, listen out for all the noises. She's hardly refined, but she is quick, which is the main thing.

3 Sisters video clip 1st timed run, 50.79s (2.84MB)
Thursday 12th August 2004
I'm at 3 Sisters on Saturday, competing in the Midland Speed Championship. I'm up against Les Proctor in the OMS, and a 2.0 Vauxhall Corsa.

I've written a new page on how to install on-board video. And I'm selling a Mustek PVR-A1 recorder on Ebay.

Tuesday 3rd August 2004
Fordfair was massive. I've never been to a busier show. The were thousands of cars there. And some of them were stunning, especially the cars entered in the concours competitions. I watched some of the track action too, and the 0-60 tests, and witnessed a Ford RS200 run a 3.1 second 0-60. I think next year I should take my driving license and helmet, and get some track action sorted out. And I'll write to the organisers to see if they can set out a sprint circuit, open to all comers, so I can show what the Fiesta is capable of.
Ford Fair, Silverstone, 1st August 2004