July 2012

Tuesday 31st July 2012
I've made a new bracket for the DL1 datalogger, to position it horizontally instead of at 22° as the angle it was sat at reduced the accuracy of the G-meters. So for 3 Sisters I should have more meaningful data from the logger. I've also set it up now to automatically record after I reach 30kph (with the previous 60seconds of data), and stop when I slow to <5kph. I've also flashed the firmware in the GoPro and set it to record when it is switched on, so I dont need to worry about hitting the record button. I just need to make a bracket for it so I get some decent filming from inside the car. I'm going to point the bullet camera rearwards, so that'll record the view out the rear window. I've sprayed the front valance red and the spoiler is now ready to be re-attached to the car.
Monday 30th July 2012
New tyres. And a repaired and re-sprayed front spoiler after the off at Blyton.

Speaking of Sunday, there's a 6R4 entered in Sports Libre, though all is not how it seems. It has a 2000cc engine, and I reckon its a RWD 2.0 conversion, like the one I saw at Retro Rides Gathering at Prescott last year. IIRC it has a Honda S2000 in the rear. I'll get some pictures on Sunday.

New tyres. Sprayed. Sprayed.

Friday 27rd July 2012
Another hectic week mostly travelling around the Midlands, I've managed to squeeze in a bit of spending on the car. First thing is I've bought a new set of tyres. I've gone for a set of Kumho C03's, 200/580R15 in Super Soft compound. These are treaded slicks, similar tread pattern to the Michelins on the car at the moment. But after chatting to a few drivers at the weekend, the concensus was that I needed new tyres for 3 Sisters, and that the Kumho's represented very good value for money. The set of four cost me £640 incl delivery, from DT, and they're the softest compound that Kumho makes. Should be perfect for sprints and hillclimbs.

I've also bought a GoPro Hero2 HD camera for the car, so gone will be the bullet camera, microphone, wiring and solid state recorder, and in comes reliable, high def video from my runs at the next event. If I remember to switch it on of course.

My acceptance for Aintree on September 1st has come through, and I've also entered Harewood on 26th August and Loton Park on 9th September, which will make a total of six events if I'm accepted. [ By that I mean that some of the more popular events are oversubscribed, and the organisers can therefore decide who gets to compete. An Acceptance is the organiser saying 'Yes' ] I cant really justify doing much more this year, and I'm hoping that Graham Millar can make it out to the remaining events, to give me somone to battle against for points in the Midland Speed Championship. The front spoiler is now being repaired following my off at Blyton. The two parts of the spoiler seperated on the drivers side, so I've fastened them back together. I need to repair the lower front edge too, as that took quite a battering. Nothing too serious.
Monday 23rd July 2012
Saturday and Sunday July 21st and 22nd 2012
Blyton Park sprint weekend, organised by the Westfield Sports Car Club
Class entered: 4B (Series derived saloons)
70 Paul Horrox (Lotus Exige 240BHP)
71 Graham Blackwell (Fiesta Mk1 200BHP)
72 Graham Millar (SBD Vauxhall Escort Mk2 240BHP)
73 Fred Horrox (Lotus Exige 240BHP)


Departed from Leicester at around 5:30am, packed up with sleeping bag, pillow, and all of the other paraphernalia that you need to sleep in the car. With this being the first weekend event I'd ever done, I'd probably packed too much. But check lists were drawn up and we made sure I'd covered all bases. I even had sun tan lotion with me, just in case the sun shone. The forecast for the weekend was actually pretty encouraging, and none of us enjoy puddle jumping at sprints, it really puts a downer on things. Fog was the biggest obstacle on my trip up the newly completed A46 extension, and as I turned North towards Gainsborough the fog came and went, in ever thickening patches. I found the Blyton track quite easily, and drove the mile or so inside the airfield around the old perimeter roads, until I found a space next to Graham Millar's Mk2 Escort. After parking up, unloading the Fiesta, and giving it a quick wash, I went through the usual checks. Things like wheel nuts, tyre pressures, that kind of thing. I ran 22psi in the fronts, and 23.5psi in the rears of my now eight year old Michelin track tyres. Although they're old, they do develop lots of grip once warmed up, and this track was going to be one of those where you could really lean on them, and generate some decent heat.

Signed on, and the Drivers briefing done, first practice soon came around, and the normal pre-event nerves kicked in. I needn't have worried, as having not even walked the track, I set out on a very mediocre reconnaissance lap. When I returned it was clear that Graham had benefitted from his cycle around the track, and so after 2nd practice, I borrowed the bike to have a little look for myself. It certainly was proving to be a very technically demanding circuit, one which rewarded precision and a little bravery.

The first timed runs soon came and went, and after a conversation with Angus Buchan and Graham, I decided to blank off the two brake ducts that were in the front of the new Berg Cup style front splitter that I'd fitted the previous week. I'd also fashioned an under tray, using some 3mm laminate board sourced from my local sign maker. And the two brake ducts were simply allowing air to flow through the spoiler instead of creating a low pressure area underneath the front of the car. I scrounged some tank tape, made a couple of cardboard blanking plugs for the holes, and taped them both over. With nothing to lose, I set out on my next timed run, with scepticism for any real improvement, and found myself almost 2 seconds faster! Strewth, maybe there was method in my madness in fitting an under tray and splitter after all. The third and final timed runs found even more grip and confidence, but on the last chicane the car suffered fuel starvation and I lost a bit of speed, which resulted in a slightly slower time than the previous run. The new fuel tank needs to be kept at least a 1/4 full (5 litres) from my experience in order not to suffer from fuel surge.

With the first day's runs over, the victory in the Midland Speed Championship fell to Graham with his Escort, a full 1.4 seconds faster than me. We packed the cars back up on to the trailers, changed out of the race suits, and I emptied the contents of my Jerry can in to the Fiesta tank. I then set off to find the local MURCO fuel station to fill the Jerry can up with some fresh Super Unleaded, and when I returned I brimmed the tank in the Fiesta, and then had a good long chat with many of the sprinting regulars whilst the WSCC held an outdoor AGM next to the club house. I spotted the Pizza Man busily creating custom pizzas, and chatted with Jim Bolt and Kurt Ramsden about their experiences of the weekend. Jim didn't bring his Juno with him, but he still turned up in the ex-Carl Foggarty Petronas motorhome, which he normally uses to tow his race car with. Myself and Graham plus a couple of his mates, headed off in to Blyton to find some more food at 8:30pm (something a little more hearty), and we chatted away for another hour or so on Duratec conversions etc. Then back to the airfield before the gates were closed, and I made myself as comfortable as I could in my Subaru, bedding down for a good nights kip. That's not exactly how it panned out though. Modern cars simply aren't designed for sleeping in, not surprisingly, and I didn't have the best night's sleep.


I was up and changed by 6am, and took a stroll around the track. I was soon joined by Graham on his bike again, and Richard Vaughan, who was examining video from his timed runs recorded the previous day, looking for braking and gear change points, and comparing our thoughts on just where we could make up more time.

Once back to the paddock, there was time to kill, so I removed the front wheels and altered the tracking, to reduce the toe out which was still present from the shock absorber change at Loton in September 2011. Once the wheels were pointing parallel again, I put the tools away, and had breakfast as the catering van was up and running, dishing out great tasting bacon sandwiches and steaming hot coffee.

A second drivers briefing was held, with a couple of notable changes. The speed trap had been brought further back on the back straight, as it was used as an indicator to the officials that the next car could be released. Moving it back theoretically allowed the event to put two cars out on the track at closer intervals, which would increase the throughput. Good theory.

First practice runs soon came up, and I posted a time similar to my fastest time from the Saturday, which I was pleased about. I had really awful hay fever, which meant endless nose blowing, and sneezing, but I was determined not to let that spoil the day. There were no more practice runs. Instead we went straight in to timed runs, and mindful that for the Midland Speed, only the first two runs counted, I tried very hard on my next run to get closer to Graham Millar. I whipped round, using all the turn in points we'd decided on from the track walk, and went round quicker than ever, only to cross the white line on the outside of the finishing corner, which meant the time was disqualified. I knew instantly I'd crossed it with my near side tyre, so I lifted off and coasted across the line with a 75.something run. It was of no surprise when the printer results were pinned up, that my time said NTR. Graham had gone quicker! What to do? I had to give an almighty push on my 2nd timed run, which the organisers squeezed in before a late lunch.

Looking at the YouTube video recording of my 2nd timed run, the lines are almost perfect. I'm on the gas, pushing, letting the car run wide, being tidy, no sudden braking or hanging the tail out. And as I crossed the line I recorded a 1.5second improvement on the first practice run, to record a 73.55s run. Only to find that Graham had gone quicker again, with a storming 73.36s run. Drat!

One more timed run after lunch, one more time to see if I could get 2nd in class behind the Lotus Exige. I set off with a really good start, made a mess of the first chicane, and pushed very hard along the back straight. Thinking I could claw a bit more time back at the chicane, I braked, dropped down a gear, back on the brakes, and wham! The rear of the Fiesta snapped away at around 40mph, and I applied opposite lock and held on tight. The car turned left, and I wiped out the chicane, scattering aggregate and cones all over the track. Looking out the driver's window as I pirouetted I had one thought and only one thought. Please don't dig in! And luckily she didn't. After stopping, and getting the gearbox back in to neutral, the kind marshals confirmed that there was no damage, and I was able to drive back to the paddock. I parked up, and walked across to Windy, sat on the start line waiting for the mess to be cleared. "You looked like you meant business" were his words. I told him what happened, that the track just needed a quick sweep, and when the action resumed, he sped round to set exactly the same time he'd set on his previous run. It looked very fast watching from the paddock, and you just don't appreciate the speed sitting in the car. You don't have time to really, the corners come up so fast, you have no time to think about the consequences. Graham said he must have found the limit, and couldn't go any quicker, and my time of 73.55s placed me again, 2nd in the Midland Speed championship, and 3rd overall in our class at Blyton, and Graham in 51st overall, with myself 52nd overall.

I've got gravel rash on both of the offside wheels, the front spoiler has parted from the section I bonded it to, and the bottom of the spoiler looks very second hand. But that's what happens sometimes. Sometimes competition forces you to try harder, and that's just what the sport needs at the moment. More Libre or Supermodified saloons, in an equal class, with closer and exciting racing.

My thanks to WSCC for presenting me with the Best Prepared Car award, as judged by the scrutineers. It was gladly received, and shows that the Fiesta is not just for show and shine. I really want to be pushed, so I can improve as a driver, and the car can continue to be developed. There's little point in me continuing if the Sports Libre classes aren't relaxed. I can't compete against space framed cars, and it's not in anyone's best interest to keep us segregated from the rest of the pack. Three events have been cancelled that I know of, this year already, and we need new blood to come and join us. My congratulations to the WSCC for an excellent event, and my thanks to all those who made it possible.

1st Paul Horrox (Lotus Exige 240BHP)
2nd Graham Millar (SBD Vauxhall Escort Mk2 240BHP)
3rd Graham Blackwell (Fiesta Mk1 200BHP)
4th Fred Horrox (Lotus Exige 240BHP)

Blyton Park Sprint, WSCC, July 2012

Here are the G-circle plots from the final two runs on Sunday. The first plot is from my FTD, and the second plot is from when I span the car.

They both appear to show similar lateral G forces, but the longtitudinal G force on the one where I found the limit shows > -1.2G, which is greater deceleration than the previous run, so I definitely hit the brake pedal harder, which induced the spin.

I also recorded a 0-60 of just 5.63s on my last run, so had I not spun, I'm sure that would have been my fastest run of the day.

Wednesday 18th July 2012
After carefully rubbing down the grey primer with the 2000 grit paper, the spoiler now has its first coat of red plastic primer. I've also stuck the new door numbers on ready for Saturday. I've a lot to do to get her finished off, and I've taken Friday off to allow me to do all the small jobs that are remaining. I just need to trim a couple of bits off the GRP first, where it butts up to against front valance, and then I can apply the sunburst red aerosol paint. My 7yr old is under the weather with Chicken Pox at the moment, and he's more than happy when I present him with another glass marble from an empty rattle can. The more the merrier infact.

I've learnt that the Midland Automobile Club MIRA sprint on August 5th has also been cancelled (The NSCC MIRA sprint on the 11th went the same way). And that Chester MC are allowing late entries without fee for their 5th August 2 lap sprint at 3 Sisters. I'm hoping the entry list isn't also down on that event given their willingness to accept late entries.
Sprayed. Door numbers applied.
Tuesday 17th July 2012
Front spoiler now has its first coat of grey plastic primer. I've sanded down the filler and the surfaces to make it look acceptable. Its not perfect, but I'll have opportunity to continue working on it after the weekend. Did you know that Blyton is an anticlockwise circuit, one of only a handfull in the UK? And I learnt yesterday that John Beardmore has sold his Minor, to a fellow enthusiast, so maybe one day we'll be seeing it out on the circuits again.
Sunday 15th July 2012
I had an unexpected day off on Friday. This meant, with the kids at school, I had the garage to myself for the day. So my aim has always been to extend the front wheelarches downwards, particularly now that the ends of the arches left on the car look a mess following the removal of the MCR splitter. A few years ago I bagged a set of spare MCR arches on ebay, and these had sat in the garage roof gathering dust. An idea I had was to cannibalise the two front arches, to cut the ends off, and fix them to arches on the Fiesta, therefore extending the arches. With the front spoiler now being removable, it seemed an ideal opportunity to do this. So I took a hacksaw to the MCR arches on the car, and cut the ends off on both sides. I then cut the ends off the two spare arches, and set about trimming them so that they sat properly below the arches on the car. After a few minutes, I had both sides trimmed and ready, and the next job was to bond the extensions to the front spoiler, using Isopon P40. These were fairly easy modifications to make, and looking at the various pictures of Berg cup races, seems to be the right thing to do, certainly where removable front spoilers are concerned.

I've since refitted the front wheels, and lowered the car to the ground, and theres finally (after 10 years) a level of ground clearance at the front that certainly looks a lot better. Time will tell if the modifications and undertray make any difference to the grip. I'm now filling the gaps in the spoiler with P38 and over the next few evenings will rub everything down and spray with primer and Ford Sunburst Red. I'm using rattle cans for now, but will get it sprayed profesionally later in the year.

Some bad news I received this weekend is that the MIRA Sprint on August 11th has had to be cancelled due to lack of entries. NSCC only had 21 entries for the event, and needed 60 to break even. Such a shame. So the alternative in August is to travel up North to do the 3 Sisters 2 lap event on August 5th, and I've made enquiries already to see if there are any spaces left (Closing date is 21st July).

Regarding next weekends Blyton Sprint, the organising club WSCC, are proposing to split Sports Libre in to two classes. One for Series Production Car based cars, and the other for true Sports Libre and SuperSports cars. I've agreed, so I'm hopefully going to be up against Graham Millar's Mk2 Escort, and the Lotus Exige I last came up against at Aintree last September. But it needs all 10 runners to agree to the sub-class being run on the day, so if everyone is in agreement, we'll have some really tight racing at Blyton, rather than being also-rans amongst the space framed racing cars. The organisers are laying on a bar and fresh Pizza on Saturday night, so if the weather is OK we'll have a pleasant evening. And if it rains, we'll be sat in our cars watching the rain come down. ;(
Spoiler progress. Spoiler progress. Spoiler progress.
Tuesday 10th July 2012
Removed the G-clamps from the new spoiler and the adhesive appears to have taken a firm grip on the undertray, which should keep the two together nicely. I had a good think about how to tidy up the area above the new spoiler, that wouldn't result in too much effort/cost, and more importantly, would look acceptable. When it suddenly occured to me to try the original MCR front spoiler sat above the new one. It seemed a perfect fit, even the mounting holes lined up in the bodywork. So I used the jigsaw to trim the front off the MCR spoiler, and as luck would have it, it complements the new spoiler perfectly. So tomorrow evening I'll bond the two together. Isnt it great when things seem destined to work :D

The finals for the Blyton sprint will be out in the next few days. Apparently there are 10 cars in Sports Libre, so its going to be quite a challenge to finish high up in the order. Still if this new undertray creates more front end grip like I expect it to, I may be in with a good chance of a trophy (forever the optimist). One question I have, if anyone could answer, is wether I should block off the brake ducts in the spoiler? I think that they'll interfere with the low pressure area beneath the car, and I should block them off. Happy to listen if you have an opinion though...
Trimmed MCR spoiler above the BERG cup spoiler plugs the gap very nicely.
Monday 9th July 2012
Major milestone was hit last night when I bonded the spoiler to the undertray. I've used Loctite adhesive again, and the G clamps I bought from B&Q at the weekend paid dividends as they really helped clamp the bits together. Excess adhesive was wiped away from the underside, and I'm really pleased with the progress. I've got some more M6x20 button head fasteners on order, to fix the undertray to the pillars. And tomorrow I'll start working on extending the ends of the spoiler so it wraps around the wheel arch extensions.
Bonded Bonded Bonded
Sunday 8th July 2012
I've modified both the pillars to angle the undertray upwards at the rear edge. Both the pillars have been cut, on the rear face, and the rear edge of the bottom of the pillars has been bent upwards, and welded in position. The undertray now has a much steeper angle on it, which should help with the creation of the low pressure area behind the front spoiler.
Thursday 5th July 2012
Both pillars are now complete. Welded them up on Wednesday evening, and tonight I've drilled the remaining 9mm holes in the ends and fitted the eight M6 rivnuts. I've sprayed them in grey primer, and will spray them again with black paint tomorrow.

I'm travelling to Warwick every day for work, which is a journey of just over an hour each way, which means my working days are now just over 11 hours long. I usually get home after 6pm, and after putting the kids to bed and eating my dinner, I get an hour or so outside before I call it a day. Its hard work, but I still have two weeks to get the front end finished off prior to the Blyton sprint. And I get my first pay packet on Saturday, which will be a relief. My security clearance transfer had a bit of a hiccup this week when Thales declared that it ran out in 2008. I had to make a phone call to set the record straight. It was renewed in 2010, but the paperwork hadn't made its way to the security controller. Its been located, and the transfer is going ahead. But its still stress I could do without.

With so much going on, I'm still keeping my eye on what everyone else is doing. Did you spot this? (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2169103/Miracle-escape-driver-terrifying-crash-hurtling-track-flipping-SIX-times-air.html) Its the record of events surrounding Richard Price's terrible accident at a dry Shelsley Walsh last Saturday. Richard was extremely lucky not to lose his life in the accident, and a discussion surrounding the improvements to Crossing and the banking on the exit is now underway.

Its the British GP on Sunday, and its also my birthday, and my kids have come down with Chicken Pox. So its not going to be quite the restful weekend I was looking forward to, but at least we can watch the GP on the telly. Its bound to be a wet race. The weather in the UK this summer consists of heavy rain showers every day, with no sun or blue skies to speak of, with record downfalls. The UK looks stunning, I've never seen the place so green. But journey times are up, accidents are up, and the lack of sunshine really puts a downer on things. I just hope for Blyton that the sun comes out.
Tuesday 3rd July 2012
Fitted the first of the two support pillars for the undertray tonight. Drilled four holes in the front cross member, and fitted M6 Rivnuts. The pillar then bolts to the car using M6 button head fasteners. I'll turn my attention to the second pillar tomorrow evening.
Monday 2nd July 2012
Drilled the pilot holes in the four mounting plates. Then welded the top plates on to the two support pillars. Offered the pillars up between the front chassis rail and the undertray, and they both need trimming a couple of mm's in length due to the addition of the mounting plates.
Sunday 1st July 2012
I've cut out the two support pillars from some 1" steel tube, which I'll weld on Monday evening. These are both c.140mm in length, and will anchor to the front cross member, and provide support for the weight of the spoiler/undertray. I've also got the M6 threaded rod now, so I can attach additional points along the leading edge of the front spoiler to help keep it attached to the front of the shell.