January 2013


The Midland Speed Championship has a new sponsor, therefore a new name, and a new website

My new business venture is now VAT registered, I've an accountant appointed, and I'm nearly at the stage where I can start trading, and seeing some of the benefits to running my own company.

We've had some pretty cold weather over the last couple of weeks in the UK, and the snow that arrived at the weekend is here to stay for a little longer. I've quite enjoyed the Subaru's 4WD in the ice, but with the tyres being so wide it has little grip in the arctic conditions. The Fiesta is covered over in the garage, and has plenty of anti-freeze in the engine, so there's little fear of the low temperatures causing any damage. I intend to start the engine removal next week, or just as soon as the weather starts to improve. I've applied for my 2013 competition license, and will post the championship registration form tomorrow. I'm going to pick and choose my events carefully again this year, with a few more visits to Loton planned, plus the dragstrip is calling as I'd like to see if I can break in to the 12's.


The engine and gearbox went back in to the Escort on Thursday evening. This short 11s timelapse shows the 2.5 hours it took.


The engine and gearbox are going back in to the Escort tonight. QED Motorsport in Quorn have supplied the correct sized core plug, after the one from the Ford dealer failed to go in to the block, even after a spell in the freezer and some considerable effort. Clearly it wasn't the right size for the block. The flywheel and clutch have been refitted, and the bolts torqued up to the appropriate settings. So this evening we'll lower the engine back in the engine bay, mate the gearbox to the block, and raise it back up, refit the cross member, the steering rack, and the engine mounts. I'll try to timelapse it again with the GoPro camera.

Karl Hacken's gorgeous Mk1 Duratec Fiesta has been photographed for Classic Ford magazine, and the April 2013 Issue (due out in March) features the car. Make sure you get a copy, it should be a good read.

I've decided to start my own business in 2013. I've had enough of working through an umbrella company, and want to give it a go as a Ltd company. I've registered the company name, issued the shares, and I just need to wait for the paperwork to come through and I can get the Business bank accounts setup. I'll put a website together for the new venture just as soon as I've got everything setup. I've already registered the domain name. ;)

I've corrected the problem when viewing pictures on the archived news pages. It was due to a coding issue with my SSI, with an outdated ssi being referenced by the pages. Its all sorted now.

A little project I gave myself over Christmas. I bought a NAS box and set about ripping all my old DVD's (and the new ones) in to MP4 format, so I can move the DVD's out of sight, and claim some room back in the house. After doing some research I came across Handbrake which is an open source (therefore free) package, that converts DVD's to MP4 format. The challenge is to unencrypt the copy protection present on nearly all DVD's, and to do that I installed DVDfab Passkey, which does a more than adequate job of unprotecting the DVD's. So far I've copied (ripped) around 110 DVD's with around another 60 to go. Its pretty time consuming to do, each disk takes around 90 minutes to copy, based on my i5 64bit Windows 7 laptop, but heck, I had nothing else to do over Christmas.

The next project was to find a way to reliably copy songs from Spotify to MP3 so I could play them back in the car. Again after trialling several products, I opted for Streaming Audio Recorder by Wondershare. It cost me £11 to register, and works pretty seamlessely. You just hit record, and then hit play in Spotify. The really clever bit is that once its recorded a track to MP3, it uses a Shazam style service to identify the song title, artist and album that its just recorded, as it has no way of retrieving this from the audio signal its recorded, or from Spotify. Very clever. Not 100% foolproof, but better than ending up with a folder full of anonymous MP3's. The only downside to creating dozens of MP3s is saving them in the correct Play order when burning to CD. The solution I came up with was to use a piece of software called Bulk Rename Utility, that allows you to sort the MP3 files by date created, then prefix each file name with a number, ie 01, 02, 03. Thus when burning the files to CD in alphabetical order, because each filename is prefixed with an ascending number, each track is written in the Play order of the original album. Sweet. I can now get around 6 hours of music on a single CD.


Whilst putting the Christmas decorations away in the roof yesterday, I found an old picture of the Fiesta, taken in 1992. Taken when the car was running 1372cc X-Flow, BCF2 cam, duplex timing chain, gas flowed head, 4sp XR2 gearbox, and 13 inch Mk2 Fiesta XR2 steel rims. Once a boy racer.... The first event I entered with the car, I won the 'Up to 1400cc class' Drag Race at the Ultimate Fast Car show at Manby Airfield in 1992.

New vs old


A Happy New Year to all the visitors to my site, fellow competitors, officials, and friends of Zetecinside. I've been off work since the 24th, and have managed to fit in some time with my Father working on his Mk2 Escort. He recently bought a new Type 9 gearbox for the Escort, one which features an uprated gear set, with a shorter 1st and 2nd gear. So we attempted to work out the best way to remove the engine and gearbox from the car. In the end we settled on removing the cross member and steering rack so we could lower the engine and gearbox on to wooden blocks. We were then able to sepearate the gearbox and drag it out from under the car. The engine was lifted out of the engine bay and placed on a workbench so the sump gasket could be renewed. We found that the core plug on the flywheel end of the block was weeping, so that meant removing the flywheel and clutch to get at the 2" plug.

I used the GoPro in Timelapse mode, 30s intervals, to capture the work. Here's the video.

The engine and box will be returned to the car during the 2nd week of January. I've also bought some brake pads for the Subaru and I'll get these on the car in January.