Monday, 27 October 2008


Well I said I hoped the weekend would be worth all the effort and in the end it was... and then some!

I spent Thursday evening fitting the curtains to the van by the light from a gas powered camping lamp (the job I started ages ago and didn't complete) and shopping for supplies (food) for the weekend. Thank goodness for late night supermarkets!

I'd arranged a hire trailer earlier in the day and picked it up on Friday morning, came home, loaded up and set off for Silverstone. The van ran faultlessly all weekend and hardly even noticed the tons of stuff I had loaded in it and on the trailer. That big V8 is great for this task. The fuel bills are less pleasing though - I think I got about 10mpg with the full load on board and I've done well over 400 miles over the course of the weekend. I'll let you do the maths - I daren't!

Anyway, I arrived at Silverstone after battling with traffic most of the way and got unloaded, signed on and scrutineered before they closed everything up for Friday. For the first time in ages it felt like I was getting ahead of the game. By that time the rest of the team had arrived and some of us went off in search of beer and food (we recommend the Chinese takeaway in Towcester by the way!). Then off to get some sleep.

Saturday dawned bright and clear (and very cold!) but things improved once I worked out how to get the Silverstone showers to produce hot water and then got some breakfast. After that it was practice and then many hours of racing. The Birkett 6-hour relay race is an almost unique event and requires a completely different approach to the normal races I do. I'll write about the race itself later but for now, suffice it to say that I had the most fun I've had for ages!

The misfire on the race car is definitely cured. It now revs easily to 6500rpm and pulls strongly right through the range but particularly between 4000 and 6000 revs which is exactly what it was always supposed to do. I'm very happy with that. I think a rolling road session would be a good plan before next season now just to make sure that everything is tuned correctly with the extra revs but other than that, there's nothing I need to do except to fix the oil pressure warning light which seems to have stopped working. Hardly a major issue and probably just another sensor failed. I seem to need a new one every year for some reason.

After the race was over and everything was cleared up and loaded back in the van, I headed back up the M1. Traffic was much better late on a Saturday night and driving the van home was easy again. I discovered one of the biggest advantages to the van too. I got tired whilst driving home so just pulled into a service area, climbed into one of the reclining seats in the back and slept for a while. Very comfortable and about fifteen seconds from pulling up to sleeping. Excellent! No way could I have done that when I had the old Ford Transit car transporter.

So, after a couple of pretty lousy weeks, this weekend has more than made up for things. Now I just need to compile a list of things to do at the van over the winter and then get on with completing some of them.


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