Monday, 25 May 2009

Get out and use them!

Time to write about some of the recent events that I have taken part in, these were done during a 3 week stretch using the 2.5 and the GT6.

Club Triumph Historic County Run: Coast to Coast: 18/19th April
Entered this fine event with James Carruthers using my 2.5. We arrived at the start in Southwold in the company of Ellis Stoke/Keith Compton Bishop in Ellis' 2500TC (Known as 'The Bus') and Nick Jones and Duncan Edwards in Nick's superb Vitesse mk1 convertible. I immediately got under the car to resolve a rear suspension knocking noise, found both sub-frame mounts loose-very weird and unfortunately a taste of things to come on the event. After meeting up with Dave Langrick and his mate Howard we decided we would accompany them for a great part of the route. Dave was in his Spitfire/GT6 hybrid affectionately known as 'The Maiden'. This is a terrific little car that I think is presently running a 2000cc six cyl engine with Lucas Pi, this coupled with the fibreglass bonnet makes her a fast old thing that does not suffer from the usual GT6 trait of understeer. After a serious bit of plotting from the start to the finish in Wales it was decided that 'Chips in Diss' were required. Luckily we found a good chippie on the outskirts of the town that suffers from the good chip shop recommendation of big queues-we enjoyed very nice savaloy and chips washed down with a can of coke-bloomin marvellous! Then it was time to get motoring and of we went, bumping into many of the 25 or so entrants at various places. The only grief that was encountered was at Greys Court near Henley where we seemed to wake up the inhabitant of the gatehouse, he seemed a bit pee'd off so we beat a hasty retreat-never nice to see an angry bloke in a dressing gown-I was looking for the shot gun and the words of 'Get off my land'! We got to the halfway stop at Chieveley Services on the M4 and submitted our half time results to the organisers Dale Barker and Brian Maslin. A quick cup of coffee and some more map plotting and it time to make a move. Up to Worcester the car seemed to be going well, however we started to hear a grinding noise which turned out to be the crankshaft pulley rubbing on the electric fan motor. At a well lit petrol station I took the fan off the car and off we went with James driving. As we seemed to be losing time and the roads having less traffic the driving became more spirited with Dave and Howard setting the pace. Once we crossed into Wales I took over and with 20 miles could feel some problem with the nsf wheel. Pulling into a garage, I pulled the dust cover off the hub to discover a totally shagged wheel bearing, depressingly enough this meant 'Game Over' as I did not have a spare one with me. Dave and Howard got on their way and me and James waited for the recovery truck. On stripping down the hub I have found the stub axle to be badly damaged as well, replacement of all of this and the rectification of the electric fan issue goes on at present.
A bad way to end this event, this has affected my chances of winnig the CT 'Drivers Challenge' as bonus points are being awarded to entrants who have successfully completed the HCR-bummer!

Oxford Motor Club 'Bocardo' Autosolo: 26th April
I took part in this event last year and throughly enjoyed my self, so when the Regs. for the event came out my entry went in very quickly. Many reading this will have heard about the terrible accident that happened to Doug Foreman on the M25 in February. Last year both Doug and Katie Foreman took part in this event using Doug's now written off Herald 13/60 and after the terrible time that Katie has endured I thought it would be an idea for her to enter the event using the GT6, a quick telephone call and she accepted the offer. Well it would not do for the 'Club Triumph Drivers Champion' not be doing any competitive motoring this year.
For this years event Oxford MC had hired a big car park at Silverstone just off the main entrance road. I arrived nice and early to see Mike Helm and his TR6 already parked up and after all the bureacracy of signing on, scrutineering and drivers briefing the timed runs started. 50 drivers were entered and us Triumph folk were in the 'Historic' class. Other cars in this class being Mike's TR6, Mike Bishop's Herald rally car and couple of Minis, one a really nice bright yellow 1275 Cooper S replica, making it a 6 driver group. The mornings runs consisted of two tests that we drove 3 times each, nest two times being used for event total. I thought I was well off the pace and not really in the swing of things, however after looking at the times I seemed to be leading the class by lunch. The afternoon sessions got going and I got into the groove and was feeling alot happier with my driving and come the last test all I had to do was drive well and just post reasonably competitive times. Not sure what happened but my first one was very slow, the second run was good and competitive all that was now needed was a similar time and the class win was mine. Alas I made a real dogs dinner of it and wrong slotted, having to reverse this resulted in a bad time. Got back to the paddock area to lots of mickey taking from Mike Helm and Andy Flexney who had dropped in to spectate for an hour or so. After some quick mental arithmetic it seemed that Katie had won the class with me second so we hung around. When the results were announced the chap in the yellow Mini had won and I came second, very surprising. Without sounding patronising I think Katie drove my car very well, in fact alot better than me, she seemed to be very smooth around the course. I must say it was weird watching my car being driven hard, but I had faith that she would drive the car with care and so it turned out. I understand she is now barracking Doug to get him to build a decent roundtail GT6! Come on Doug, stop messing around with Heralds and get a round tail to complement your square tail! Please see below a pic of Katie driving the car, weirdly enough the chap who took the pics did not take any of me driving it?

An absolute top event that was great fun if a little ultimately a little disappointing. Club Triumph will be running its own Autosolo in July, I hope that many members will take the chance to have a go at this event as it is such good fun.

MGoT Cadwell Park Track Day: 1st May
This was my second TD at Cadwell, CT visited this venue last year. What a great circuit, full of twists and turns and apart from the back straight, one that does not seem to have any places for a quick breather. Its a narrow track, however a GT6 is an ideal little car for use owing to its narrow width. I think about 20 or so CT members were there using GT6s, Spitfires, Wedge TRs, Heralds and Lloyd McNeill's glorious Standard Ten (Pic posted previously on this blog).
I did my first run but came in after some serious rear end noises started. On examination it was found that the rear end propshaft UJ looked suspect, so I got stuck into changing the coupling once Ken McNeill very kindly gave me a spare he had in the van they had used to trailer the Ten to Cadwell. I have not changed a coupling in years but found the job went very well using some sockets, a hammer and flat piece of wood-very surprising. This meant that I got out on the third session and found the car to be most improved. I had also with the help of Paul Hughes put some washers inbetween the front calipers and vertical link mounts as I seemed to be getting some wheel to caliper rubbing. After lunch I did a further three sessions and thoroughly enjoyed myself. For the fourth session I went out as a passenger with Chris Shaw and his sorted TR7 8V convertible, this is one tidy car all the work having been executed with care and consideration. Chris's car seemed so much more civilised than my GT6 and owing to his skills behind the wheel we seemed to be going very well around the track, I think the only car that went past us being Paul Michelmore and his rapid Pi 2000cc Spitfire. This is a neutral handling car that has had the engine moved back by using a Spitfire front plate and mounts. Paul was driving in his usual spirited manner and did have a serious monment after overtaking us, as he went over the rise adjacent to the pits he put his nsr wheel onto the grass. This resulted in some serious oversteer, he must have kept his 'Foot in' and eventually drove it out but I bet it raised the old heart rate! Below is a black and white pic of this car taken at Donnington in 2006.
After the last session a few of us, Sarah and Andy Johnson, Chris Shaw, Dale Barker and Tom Keys went to a decent pub for a pint and some grub, the perfect way to end a great day. Dave Langrick calls these 'Event De-Briefs', must say I like 'De-Briefs'!
As usual it must be said that the standard of driving at Cadwell amongst the CT drivers was very good. The thing to remember about Track Days is that one can drive at a pace that one is happy with, not worry about other drivers and just have a good time. It is important though to take part in a TD that has similar cars being used, I have done a modern cars TD using the GT6, not fun. The extra benefit of TDs being that I think it does improve ones driving when it comes to driving on the road-makes sense to leave the fast driving to circuits and the like.

The next MGoT/CT TD is due at Brands Hatch in June, I will def. be going, however I will take the 2.5 as I think it is time to give that car a good blast!

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