Monday, 25 May 2009

Triumph at Teesside

Today at Teesside was interesting! First thing to say was that the weather was fantastic!

I was up against the Honda Civic VTi of Steve Palmer, the double entered MGF of Paul Rigg and Dennis Hope and the MR2 of Dave Exton, who won the class back in April with a 'magic' lap!

Unlike in April, it was the two-lap format they ran today and last year, I managed to do 117secs so that was my target time for today.

First practice went well and I posted 116.67secs which I was chuffed with as it knocked more than half a second off last year. This put me in the lead which made me even more chuffed.

However, closer inspection of my front tyre revealed some severe delamination and exposed cord! There was no way I could continue to race with that. :cry:

The damaged tyre

Not to worry - Steve (of the civic) had a couple of spare wheels with him and after a bit of umming and ahhing, they were fitted to the front end of my MX-5. Honda Civic wheels are a direct fit it seems! :D

So, with two ropey old Toyos up front and delaminating Marangonis at the rear, I set off for my second run. Needless to say, the car felt a bit weird and I only managed 117.19 secs. Still, it was faster than last year! The competition thought I was out of it - Paul was down to 116.79 and Steve did 116.35. Dave in the MR2 was proving that his win last time was a fluke as he only managed 136.

First timed run and I pushed on a bit. This time I managed 115.63 which I was very pleased with. I was quickly disappointed as Steve did a 115.57 and Paul a super quick 114.25. Paul was lining up his victory speech at this stage.

Second timed run and I tried some different lines and really had it on the ragged edge. I nearly lost it twice but I also fluffed a gearchange - losing lots of valuable time. To my amazement, I posted 114.34secs! :lol:

Paul and Stephen were going backwards by now posting 114.50 and 116.31 respectively. I was sitting in second and we got confirmation that we would get a third and final run.

I blasted off the startline, slid round the first corner, barely braked for the first chicane and got sideways up the hill. I got two wheels on the grass round the top corner and floored it for the straight - boy that felt quick! Braked VERy late for the second chicane and cut the kerbs on both sides - more like grasstracking! Screeching all the way round the 180degree bend, I floored it again and changed up to third. Braked late for the third chicane, snatched second and planted the throttle. Lots of kerb later, I was heading back down to the first corner for my second lap. More of the same and I managed to make all my gearchanges. Screeching round the last corner, I saw the clock....................

113.75secs ! 8) :D

Back into the paddock, I quickly got out the car to see Steve post 115.36. Paul was next and I was biting his nails as he crossed the line in 114.48secs.

I couldn't believe it. After such a disappointing day on Saturday, I had won convincingly and bagged a valuable 25 championship points. All on borrowed Honda wheels :lol:

Roll on the next event................

Monday, 18 May 2009

Preparing for the weekend

I've got another busy weekend with testing at Kames on Saturday, the Machars Car Club sprint on Sunday (a round of the Lowland Championship) and then down to Teesside for Round 2 of the TJ Services Northern Speed Championship on Monday.

In preparation, I'm replacing the front brake pads since the MOT tester said that they were 'worn down to the squeelers!' I've already done the offside and it's the first time I've looked at the front brakes for a year and it shows! The slider pins are gummed up and the caliper seals are starting to perish but they should last another few months. I'll order up some new slider pins and look at getting refurbed calipers later in the season. The good news is that the discs seem to be ok.

The new pads are Axxis Ultimates from - I've been on Mintex 1144 for the past year and I've never been that happy with them so it will be good to see if the Axxis pads are as good as I remember.

Friday, 8 May 2009

MOT Passed

After a nervous wait, the RacingFive passed its MOT today with no real problems. Only brake pads and uneven tyre wear were raised as advisories.

I've already got a new set of Axxis Ultimate pads to fit and the uneven tyre wear is to be expected given what I use the car for!

I had the car up at ProGrip in Bonnybridge to have the geometry adjusted last week but John had real problems adjusting the rear due to the sticking bolts. So, I am stuck at -2 degrees until I re-bush it. John did manage to add a bit of toe-in whch should help the tyre temps in the short term. I am now thinking of getting re-conditioned wishbones to save having to pull the old bushes out.

Next competitive outing is the Machars Car Club sprint at Kames on 24 May but I might try and get a test day in before then.

I'm also thinking of buying a Mk2 RS as a starting point for the RacingFive replacement. Just a thought at the moment........

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Scarborough Success

Great day at sunny Scarborough today. I won the battle of the MX-5s by 1.6 seconds and just missed out on the class win to Stephen Palmer's 180bhp Honda Civic - he beat me by 0.25secs.

Interesting hill - the first half was flat out slightly downhill (hitting rev limiter in third) to a hairpin and then very steep up, with a wee chicane at the top. Its on a public road (closed for the day) which much be pretty unusual (if not unique).

I really need a limited slip diff - I was having trouble getting the power down out of the hairpin.

There weren't many cars there but there were LOADS of motor bikes. That's the first time I've seen a bike hillclimb and it was quite exciting.

Next hurdle is to get the car through its MOT before Kames and Teesside at the end of May.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Scarborough Here We Come!

A busy couple of days ahead.

This afternoon, I'm off to see John at ProGrip in Bonnybridge for some tweaks to the geometry at the back end. Tyre temperatures indicate that I need to reduce the amount of negative camber on the rear wheels.

Straight after that, I'm heading down to Scarborough for Round 5 of the Richard Egger Insurance/HSA Speed Championship at Olivers Mount.

I forgot to book any accommodation so I'm pitching my tent when I get there!

Three of us intrepid MX-5 competitors are there including the current HSA Championship overall leader, John Gallacher in his Mk1 1.8 Roadster.

The MX-5 class table currently looks like this:

John Gallacher (4 rounds) = 35 points
Tony Thomas (3 rounds) = 23 Points
Barbara Fogden (3 rounds) = 15 points
Kevin Hamilton - me (1 round) = 8 points

So, I have a bit of ground to catch up!