May 2004

Monday 31st May 2004
From the ECU data, I've produced the following graphs for the 1st and 2nd timed runs. They show throttle position, engine revs, and the gear in use. It was down to the exit speed of the first corner really that set me up for the faster speed through the speed trap on the 2nd and fastest timed run.

Forgot to mention that the brakes have definitely improved by using the XR2 pedal, but its taking a while for the Greenstuff pads to bed in, so stopping power was increasing throughout the day.
MIRA 1st timed run MIRA 2nd timed run
Sunday 30th May 2004
Well, yet another superb days motorsport yesterday at the MIRA test track. During the week we'd replaced the two rod ends with stronger M14 items, again made by FLURO, which to be honest we should have fitted first time round. I rebuilt the suspension on Friday afternoon, and was quite looking forwards to MIRA. When we arrived at 07:30 it looked like rain, and sure enough the rain started as we unloaded the car, and throughout the morning we had more than our fair share of water dropped on the track. The first practice run was very slow, with wipers on and very poor visibility. 2nd practice run the track was wet with a dry line appearing, and I went 6 seconds faster. Then the clouds started clearing, and the sun broke through, and gradually the track started drying.

After lunch, on my first timed run, I pushed hard round the first corner in 3rd gear, then changed up in to 4th, then 5th, and just kept the throttle pedal flat to the floor. The track straightens, then bends to the left again in to another constant radius corner, and it really is just a case of keeping your foot in, and holding on. I recorded 101 MPH through the speed trap approaching the control tower. Crossing the line with a new PB of 57.84s (last years PB was 60.30s). I was very pleased. The B&M (part no #45096) gear selector is just amazing. I don't know how I'd coped with the old Ford shifter. Its such an improvement, and a modification I simply cannot praise highly enough. Anyway, on to the second timed run at around 4PM, and I lined up behind Bernard Armitage in his Mk2 Thundersaloon Escort, determined not to be totally outclassed by this awesome piece of machinery, I pushed much harder round the first corner, snatched 4th, then 5th and again, holding full throttle along the straight and all the way round sweeping long left hander, I recorded 105 MPH through the speed trap, and knocked another 0.73 seconds off my time, recording a new PB of 57.13s.

That's almost 3.2 seconds faster than last year, and again its all down to the modifications we've made to the car over the winter. There was an ex-Fiesta Challenge Mk2 XR2 at the event, with a 1900 CVH engine, that the owner said was producing around 160BHP, and he claimed it weighed 650KG, which is 100KG lighter than mine. Anyway, it was going to be interesting to see how our two Fiesta XR2's compared. His Mk2 was prepared using a dipped and blasted shell, and had additional roll cage tubing throughout the car, to increase rigidity, and was running 13" slicks. So you can imagine my delight when, on his 2nd and fasted timed run, he recorded 96MPH through the speed trap, with an ET of 58.01s. This little old Fiesta of mine is starting to disgrace supposedly quicker machinery, on road tyres. Thats an awesome achievement.

No photographs I'm afraid. It's a test venue with a strict no camera policy, and there's supposedly lots of cars circulating the test track that are top secret, though all we saw was a fast yellow Porsche on the banked oval, and a big Triumph motorcycle riding round and round one of the inner loops. Shame, as the view of me approaching the control tower at 105 MPH was quite impressive according to my helpers.

I'm going to get some slicks in the next few weeks. I cannot afford not to. I was only 3.4 seconds slower than Bernards immaculate 2600cc Thundersaloon Escort, and he was only 4 MPH quicker than me through the speed trap. The Escort could go a lot faster, but Bernard I believe is still learning how it handles. But with 12" wide slicks he should have been a lot faster than me around the MIRA track. So I need to take advantage of these opportunities of beating him, and slicks are the only way to level the playing field. Bernard is already ahead of me in the Midland Speed Championship, and it'd be excellent if I could beat him this year. I compete against Mallocks and other exotica too, but they're not in my championship, so it's vital that at venues where Bernard and I both compete, I need to start beating him to earn more points and regain the lead. The Escort is quite a machine, and may be featured soon in Performance Ford magazine. It once ran a 700 BHP Cosworth Turbo engine, but it now runs a 2600cc Millington Diamond engine, with throttle bodies and Weber-Alpha ignition system. It weighs 850KG, and with 12" wide tyres looks awesome as it shoots away from the line. The chassis has been setup by Allan Staniforth, and it certainly looks very stable on the corners. Apparently the car used to be in red/white/blue livery, and was raced originally in the 1980s Thundersaloon series, possibly against Jim Mensley's Honda Legend, in which case I may have some photographs of it, as we used to follow Jim's Honda so I'll dig through my old photographs and see what I can find.
Monday 24th May 2004
Been thinking about how to improve the stopping power of the Fiesta over the weekend and I decided to move the linkage position on the brake pedal closer to the pedals pivot point ie from 70mm to 50mm. This would increase the leverage from 3.571:1 to 5:1, which inturn increases the fluid pressure at the front calipers (assuming the bias is set to 50:50) from 872psi for 150lb pedal pressure, to 1222psi, a whopping 40% increase in stopping power from quite a simple modification. So I removed the pedal assembly from the car, and dismantled the brake pedal, and then I decided to compare it against the spare pedal assembly hanging on the garage wall. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the spare pedal had the linkage hole drilled at a different position to the pedal taken from the car. And where was the hole? 50mm from the pivot point. Hmm? When I built the car up in 2002, I'd used the pedal assembly from the 1300 Ghia spares that I had lying around at the time (I don't remember why). From my comparison between the two pedals, the original XR2 assembly is designed to generate a higher braking force than the one from the 1300 Ghia, and I'd not noticed the difference before, and no one had ever pointed this out to me. You learn something new every day. I've now swapped the pedals over, and the XR2 pedal is back on the car. So on Saturday, at MIRA, the car should stop on a sixpence! I may have to play with the bias adjuster again to get the balance right, we'll see on the day. So my Demon Tweek for this week is: If you want to improve the braking of your Fiesta, make sure you fit the XR2 brake pedal, as it generates 40% more braking pressure for the same effort.

I've now connected and aligned the new B&M gear shifter on the car. The new gear lever mechanism gives a solid, short throw, with a really satisfying clunk when the car goes in to gear. I need to fine tune the linkage, and I'll do this on Friday so long as the modified track control arms are back from RPV. I first saw the B&M shifter on Dave Moore's Mk2, and its been a long time coming, but I've finally sourced one and fitted it. After some fine tuning, this should mark the end of my gear change problems.

Bill Davidson from the USA called me tonight. He has a theory on why my rod ends are bending, and is going to send me some pictures of his new suspension, which after 2 years of development, he has finally cured a related problem on his Mk1 Fiesta.
Both pedals side by side. The XR2 pedal (bottom) has the linkage hole nearer the pivot point at the end of the pedal. The XR2 pedal gives a leverage ratio of 5:1 (250mm/50mm) and the other pedal gives 3.571:1 (250mm/70mm).
1300 Ghia (top) and XR2 brake pedals side by side
Sunday 23rd May 2004
Pictures from the Fiesta in the Park show, last weekend.
Fiesta in the Park 2004 Fiesta in the Park 2004 Fiesta in the Park 2004 Fiesta in the Park 2004 Fiesta in the Park 2004 Fiesta in the Park 2004 Fiesta in the Park 2004 Fiesta in the Park 2004 Fiesta in the Park 2004 Fiesta in the Park 2004
Saturday 22nd May 2004
I'm not going to Loton today. I've had to withdraw my entry from the hillclimb, as I discovered a problem with the suspension at the 11th hour. Both the Fluro GAXSW10 rod ends, where the Track Control Arms mount inboard, have deformed. It looks like the loads generated from hard cornering are higher than we expected, and the threaded portion of the rod ends have bent. I tried obtaining two spare rod ends, and I could then have driven up the hill at Loton, but to be honest, I wasn't comfortable with the thought that the replacements may also go the same way. So I've taken the TCA's back to RPV, and they're looking at either using M12/10 rod ends, or M12/12's or even M14's with sleeves. The next event is MIRA on the 29th May, and as this is a much faster course, with very long bends where I'm going to be putting tremendous loads on the rod ends again, I'd rather wait for the problem to be fixed before venturing out. I'm up against Bernard Armitage next weekend. He's entered in the Sports Libre class in the Midland Speed Championship, and will by the main competition on the day, so I need to attack the course 100% to stay with his ex-Thundersaloons 2600cc Ford Escort. I probably have a weight advantage, but he is running a Millington Diamond race engine, so heaven knows how much power it's producing.

I've consoled myself for the loss of the entry fee, with fitting the new B&M shifter to the car. Its a doddle to fit, and I'm just left with the problem of aligning the gear selector now it's on the car, and I'll suss this out over the weekend.
One of the bent rod ends
Wednesday 19th May 2004
FiTP was a very healthy turn out of around 1200 cars this year. I've never seen the park so full in the three years I've attended. Another very busy day with loads of questions about my Mk1, but looking around at all the other highly modified cars at the event, I'm starting to get itchy feet. I wish I had the space and time to build something else now. My favourite was a replica of my XR2. A stunning Mk1 Fiesta, in red, with the white wheels and the same body kit as mine. I asked if he'd sell it, as I'd love to have run it as a road car replica, but the owner had only had the car on the road for 2 months, and wouldn't part with it. Photo's to follow.

Event number 3, Loton Park, beckons on Saturday, then its MIRA the weekend after. I'm going to raise the front tyre pressures a few pounds for Loton, and stiffen the rear ARB to try to see how much body roll can be cancelled out. Chris Taylor has suggested adding a soft front ARB, which I may consider. We're both trying to persuade Performance Ford magazine to hire Curborough for the day, so we can tweak mine and Dave Moore's cars to see what improvements can be made to the chassis on the day. Curborough is a better venue than Bruntingthorpe for testing, as although top speed is low (around 85MPH), with so many corners and it being a short track, we can quickly see what can be gained.
Wednesday 12th May 2004
The bullet camera mount has arrived from Demon Tweeks. The new rollcage padding using conform form has arrived from Safety Devices. I'll fit these, and the new B&M gear selector for this weekends Fiesta in the Park show at Wicksteed Park, Kettering on Sunday.