Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Catching up

Well, is it really that long since I last posted here. I really must try harder! Now I have to try and remember all that's gone on since the beginning of March.

The trip out for a day's rallying with Martin went well. Sadly Martin has had a major setback in his rallying aspirations since then but I'll leave that story for Martin's own blog.

I also took the race car to Cadwell Park for the Club Triumph trackday there in April and had a fantastic day blasting around in the sunshine. In particular it was interesting to be able to compare my not-excessively-modified race car with the cars in standard trim that were there as well. It turns out I can barely keep up with them on the straights but my car is much better in the corners. That's pretty much as expected but a lot of fun was had testing the theory!

Between them, those two trips also proved that I can manage the van and trailer and allowed me to work out what is needed for the race weekends again. The van tows the trailer no problem at all despite it weighing in at almost a ton and a half with my car in it (more with Martin's TR7) and having a full load of tools and spares in the back of the van. The only downside is the 10mpg fuel economy (not sure that even qualifies as "economy"!) that goes with it.

Not much more work has been completed on the van recently. One new trim panel has been fitted and I now have lights in the cab that come on when the front doors are opened. I know that's a feature of most modern cars these days but it's something that has been missing ever since I got the van and it's rather good to finally have them in and working. I used some LED downlighter bulbs from MyGreenLighting.co.uk for this and they are really quite good.

A couple of weekends ago I finally managed to enter a race meeting and took the car to Oulton Park. The weather was perfect for racing and I had a good time. It was my first time racing with the Classic Sports Car Club "Swinging Sixties" series and there was a good selection of cars on the track. I managed to qualify dead last (again!) but then spent the first twenty minutes of the race chasing a V8 powered Warwick around. The long lap at Oulton Park meant that we had a race all of our own after all the faster cars cleared off and it was great fun. The Warwick was ridiculously fast in a straight line but, racing on historic crossply tyres, had no cornering ability at all so we were very evenly matched over the whole lap.

Unfortunately my car developed a misfire about half way through the 40-minute race and as it got worse, the engine eventually stopped entirely and I found myself looking for somewhere to park out of the way. The car rolled far enough to get well clear of the track and I became a spectator for the second half.

I suspected the problem was the rotor arm and this was easily confirmed whilst waiting for the tow truck to come round after the race. The rotor arm had come loose on the distributor shaft and was serving no useful function at all. After a tow back to parc ferme and a long walk back to the van for a replacement rotor arm (why is the van always the opposite end of the paddock to where you're stranded?) the car fired up and behaved perfectly again. I've now ordered some uprated (blue) rotor arms from MiniSpares as recommended by fellow Triumph racer Kevan.

The only other news of note is that my white Spitfire turns out to have a lot more rust problems than were first thought and will need a huge amount of work to put it right. I'm currently waiting for the full assessment/estimate from Karl but it may not be economic to repair it which would be a great pity.

Oh yes, and the passenger door lock on the van is playing up again. I'll have to add that back on the the list of jobs again! I'm not sure the list is actually getting any smaller at the moment!

OK, huge update over. I really must try to post here more often. If only real life didn't keep getting in the way!

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