Sunday, 4 December 2011

December already

November was a post-free month on, mainly due to the lack of any activity at all.

The bad news is that my racing budget for 2012 has taken a severe beating with the need to renew the turbo on my tow-car/family barge. That, combined with the need to buy a new Nomex race suit for next year means that I will not be attending the Autosport show in January and I will probably be late starting the season.

The good news is that I haven't sold any of my racing car fleet so I should still have something to compete in when I do get enough cash together.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Photos from the archive

Well, not really the 'archive' - just some photos I found on a camera that had been lying around for a few months.

A fat Orange bloke sitting in the racingMetro with no seats!

The racingPug at Ingliston before it broke down

Some fat bloke eating a donut at Ingliston

Monday, 24 October 2011

Autumn tidy up

Not much happening in racingFive land at the moment. I spent the weekend tidying up the garage in preparation for doing some jobs on the Saxo. I put some shelves up, cleared a bit more space on the floor and dismantled an old MX-5 engine that had been lying on my workbench for several years.

A visit to the local scrappy is in order to get some of the old metal lying around weighed in and raise some much needed racing fund cash. A win win situation - I get some of my garage space back and some readies in hand. I hear batteries are over £400 a tonne and I've got at least three lying about - that could be the best part of £25! I must remember to claim the tax back on the Saxo too........

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

End of Season Victory - Kames 3 October

The final sprint of the year took place at Kames on Sunday courtesy of Wigton Motor Club.

Poor weather conditions made it tricky to really get the car going but the good news is it performed without any major hitches.

The low entry meant the road going classes were amalgamated meaning I was up against a range of cars from the very quick Peugeot 205 Rallye of David Wiggins to the hairdressers special MR-2 of Dave Exton and the Honda S2000 of Ronnie MacGregor. A very nice Lotus of Alex Thornton made up the class.

I managed to win the class comfortably with a time of 102.87 seconds - not bad considering the wet conditions. Next closest was David Wiggins (who holds the A1 class record) who managed a 104 sec run. Dave had a bad day though as he crashed into the tyres and did a bit of damage to the nearside of the car. Strangely, I was on track at the same time and also had an off (at the hairpin) - someone said it was like synchronised crashing. Luckily, I did no damage.

The wee Saxo has a lot of potential and could be very competitive in the Wigton championship. A few little issues emerged through the day - a small oil leak from one of the camshaft seals, the battery gave up the ghost at the end, and there is a bit of 'looseness' in the offside front strut.

Still, it gives me some work to do over the winter......

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Fixing the fire damage

The front end off

I got the front end off the Saxo so I could clean up the mess from the fire last weekend. After I cleaned up all the dry powder, I removed all the heat wrap off the exhaust. It was well soaked in oil and that was almost certainly what had caught fire on Sunday.

The oil soaked heat wrap

Next job was to remove the alternator. It hasn't worked since I bought the car so it was just dead weight - quite a lot of dead weight at that! Off came the tensioner and bracket too.

The alternator, tensioner and brackets

On further investigation, the exhaust manifold has been damaged at some point, probably in an off at somewhere like Forrestburn. There is a big bash in the down pipe and the impact has almost certainly bent the pipe which is why it is fouling on the oil filter. So, a new manifold will be needed over the winter period. I think I might splash out on a Supersprint 4-2-1 and get it ceramic coated to avoid the dreaded heat wrap.

Bash in the exhaust downpipe

Tight to the oil filter (that's a tiny Subaru filter!)

I fixed a few other wee bits and bobs with parts I picked up from the local scrappy - tailgate strut (so I wont get bashed on the head again!), fuse boxes, and steering column bolts. I've also got the offside headlight to fix.

Next outing is at Kames for the season finale next weekend. Hopefully it will survive that!

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Hot Weekend at Harewood


I took the Saxo down to Harewood for the double header hillclimb at the weekend. It's the first time I've been to the Yorkshire hill since 2009 and I was really looking forward to driving the Saxo in anger for the first time.

The journey down was a precurser to the weekend with the A1 being closed for most of Friday and some tropical thunderstorms making conditions harrowing. I finally arrived around 6.30pm, unloaded the car and pitched my tent before heading into Wetherby for a takeaway.

On saturday morning, I spent a fair bit of time chatting to fellow Wigton MC competitors Dave Exton, Colin Sutherland, Ronnie MacGregor and Peter Sewell. Peter's wife kept us well fed and watered with bacon butties and tea/coffee. All this meant I never got round to walking the hill.

The weather was 'changeable'. In other words, it could be sunny when you left the paddock and tipping with rain by the time you got to the start. The times reflected this with a wide variation between runs.

There was much chat over the Saxo - it seemed to attract quite a lot of attention both amongst fellow competitors and spectators. It proved to be relatively quick on the track too.

As the day progressed, I got quicker and quicker, soon beating my previous best time in the MX-5 by around a second with a low 73 sec run.

On the last run, I was into the swing of things and got a pretty good start. I was still a bit wary in the first corner but attacked the 'esses' section more aggressively and kept in clean for the rest of the lower part of the hill. Coming out of 'farmhouse', I got on the power early and was feeling confident of a quick run when I caught glimpse of a huge plume of smoke in my mirrors. Had the engine let go? No - it was still running fine so I carried on round the last corner over the line.

The marshall at the top signalled to me and I wound the window down. Cool as a cucumber he says "Your car is on fire".
Attempting to mirror his coolness I reply "Ok, I'll just park up over there and you can put it out".

So, I park up in front of the main building, jump out and watch as the marhsalls proceed to cover my car in a powder resembling bicarbonate of soda.

I hear one of them say "Get the foam" and out comes another big scoosher and coats the bicarb turning it into a stinking goo.

"I'd advise you clean that off asap - it's corrosive". Says the man in orange. I was very grateful that they had put it out but couldn't help thinking that they could have used a bit less goo. After all, I hadn't actually seen any flames.

Anyway, with the help of some fellow competitors, I spent the next couple of hours cleaning up and got it reasonably clean.

The cause of the fire? Ah, we suspect that would be the oil filter what I had put on in the dark and apparently not tightened up properly. Sprayed a load of oil onto the heat wrap on the exhaust which then caught fire.

After a reasonable curry and some chat with Dave Exton, I retired to my cosy tent to contemplate buying a fire extinguisher. On the plus side, I had smashed my previous personal best and posted a time of 72.74 sec - and that was in a burning car!

On Sunday, I was a bit paranoid about the thing catching fire again and it proved to be justified. On returning from the second practice run, I got back to the paddock and was just taking my helmet off when I saw folk running towards the car pointing. I immediately knew why as the smoke billowed out from under the bonnet.

This time, I fetched the extinguisher myself and carefully aimed the nozzle at the base of the flames. A very brief puff of powder later and the thing was out. No mess, no fuss. Nice and simple. However, I couldn't face fiddling with the car to get the oil soaked heat wrap off so I decided to call it quits and retired. Just as I was about to leave, the heavens opened and the thunderstorm returned........

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A post about a steering wheel

Fixed the loose steering wheel tonight - just needed a wee tighten up.

However, having moved the seat forward, and being a deep dished type, it is now too close to me. So, I need to source a flat type wheel. Anyone want to swap their flat wheel for a dished wheel, let me know.

Next job - timing strut. Only 2 days 'til Harewood.......

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

AutoSOLO - Penrith

I took the Saxo down to Penrith for a wee club AutoSOLO, courtesy of Wigton Motor CLub, on Sunday. An AutoSOLO is like an Autotest without any reversing - lots of cones and lots of scope for going the wrong way. The key to success is smooth, accurate driving - not really my forte!

It is brilliant fun and great for practising car control albeit at relatively low speed.

The weather was pretty wet and windy but that in no way dampened spirits and the 15 or so competitors all entered into the fun spririt of the day. Everyone takes a turn at marshalling which is a great way to see other drivers up close.

My natural tendency is to just go hell for leather as fast as I can but this style is not really suited to AutoSOLO as it is very easy to go the wrong way round a series of cones or indeed hit the cones and incur a time penalty. My first few runs were littered with the dreaded phrase 'wrong test' meaning I had failed to complete the course correctly.

I did evenually get the hang of it and post some respectable times but the damage was already done and I was never really in contention for a win.

The Saxo performed well. I learned about how the diff can catch you out and pull the car sharply in one direction. I learned about how to steer it on the throttle round a 360 degree turn - grip is really impressive

The Saxo's steering is far too heavy for tight AutoSOLO courses and by the end the day my arms and hands were aching. I also found that the steering wheel boss has a small amount of play so I need to get that off and have a look before Harewood.

Other wee issues are that the car sometimes won't idle but it seems better once warmed up. The battery managed to last the day with a wee boost for 10mins at lunchtime so I'm fairly confident that I can just remove the alternator completely rather than fork out for a new one.

I've managed to move the seat forward a wee bit but I could do with moving it another inch or so - a minor winter project.

I'm thinking of running the car in the modified class next year so I might have a few other things to do over the winter......

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Saxo first impressions


I took the Saxo down to Kames for a test on Sunday. The journey was eventful as my towcar developed an alarming vibration under acceleration which subsequently turned out to be a broken CV joint.

It was nice to see the old racingPug at Kames in the hand of the new owner, Cammy who seemed to be having a great time.

Anyway, the first impressions of the Saxo are favourable. It accelerates very quickly, has plenty of grip and pulls through the corners thanks to the Quaife ATB differential. You can really feel it working its magic on the paddock bend at Kames and coming out of the hairpin.

It needs a bit of adjustment for my driving - the rear brakes seem to lock a bit too easily which could be a problem if I trail into the corner. There is a valve to adjust rear pressure but I couldn't get it just right on Sunday.

The seat needs moved forward a bit - I found myself struggling to get the clutch in without a real effort. On that subject, the clutch is a bit noisy - maybe the release bearing is on the way out. Works fine though.

The alternator is completely goosed so I ran all day sunday with no belt - the car started fine with just the solar trickle charger topping it up and a quick blast on the jump leads at lunchtime. I suspect I might just strip the alternator off completely to save a wee bit weight.

Last wee niggle is a slight coolant leak from the expansion tank - the coolant has a bit of gunk in it so I hope its not the HG on the way out.

Anyway, it's a blaster of a wee car - I just hope I can do it justice and get some decent times. We'll see in a couple of weeks when I take it to the Wigtom AutoSolo at Penrith.


Thursday, 25 August 2011

The new car arrives

I knew it wouldn't take long for me to replace the racingPug and tonight I picked up a cracking wee Citroen Saxo to finish off this season and campaign next year.

It's a roadgoing car so I'll be back in class R2 in the Wigton championship, the class I won in 2009.

t's a quick we thing - in the hands of it's previous owner, it did some remarkable times including 95secs at Kames clockwise - faster than I ever went in the VX220.

It needs a few we jobs done and there is still some scope for more development so I'm quite excited by the prospect.

I'm taking it down to Kames on Sunday for a test session - full report after that....

Monday, 15 August 2011

The racingPug moves on

Things move quickly and I find myself in the same position as last year - mid August and I've gone and sold my competition car. Yep - the racingPug is moving on to a good home and will hopefully be seen gracing the sprints and hills in the hands of its new owner.

So, I have to decide whether to plough the funds raised straight into the racingMetro to get it back to a roadworthy conition or bide my time and find something else interesting.

In the meantime, I have a caravan to fix.......

Friday, 12 August 2011

Kames 31 July 2011

Kames Sprint 31st July 2011-2066.jpg
Photo: Stephen Hynds

I haven't given up on this blog, honest! - its just that I have been quite busy with family and work recently to do the updating.

Anyway, my last event was at Kames on 31 July where I was out in the racingPug against the usual tough competition in the small modified saloon class. Realistically, I was aiming to beat my PPB (Personal Peugeot Best) time of 102.64sec.

Conditions were relatively good - only a short shower in the morning which had no real effect on the track conditions.

In the end, I managed to shave a few hundredths off my time to get 102.60 secs.

I have to say that the racingPug never missed a beat all day and whilst I'm growing a wee bit weary of always coming last, it is still giving me loads of fun.

Having said that, it is time to start thinking about selling it. I do feel a degree of responsibility to try to ensure it stays in the sprint/hillclimb fraternity because I know how much effort Adam and his dad (the previous owners) put into the build.

So, I'll be hoping it goes to a novice driver as a great wee starter car (it ticks all the boxes - no need to MOT, tax or insure it, more grip than power and all the proper safety gear).

If you know anyone who might be interested, point them in my direction please.....

Saturday, 30 July 2011

All set for Kames.

The racingPug is on the trailer all ready for the sprint at Kames tomorrow.  I hope the weather is kind to us....

Posted via Blogaway

Posted via Blogaway

Monday, 18 July 2011

Alford Sprint

Photo: John Stewart, Flatout Photography

Ok, I forgot about the blogging app so I'm only just getting round to the update now.

Alford is an unusual event in that it takes place on an oval track with two diagonal crossovers. The layout means that you crossover twice and get a fairly even number of left and right hand bends. It seems a bit mickey mouse but it's really good fun and actually needs a fair bit of techical driving to get right.

My class was very competitive - there seemes to be a glut of really fast Minis in the northeast and they were out in force on Sunday. I was never going to be anywhere but last in my class so I had looked at my time from last year in the VX220 (59.82sec) and added on 10% to get my target time of 65 seconds.

The wee Pug has only 80 odd bhp compared to the 150 of the VX although the Pug is probably a wee bit lighter.

Anyway, the weather was kind to us and although it threatened to rain a couple of times, it stayed dry for all my runs and I got steadily quicker each time.

By the last run, I managed 64 secs dead and that was with a couple of hairy moments when my foot slipped off the brakes whilst heel and toe down changing. A 62 sec run would definitely be possible so maybe next year....

The Mini lads had a great tussle and Jonathon Brown managed to smash the class record with his final run of 57.05 secs.

I learned something about tyres on Sunday. Due to being a cheapskate (this is bargain basement motorsport after all), I had a soft compound on the offside front and a hard compound on the nearside front. The unique layout at Alford allowed me to deduce that the hard compound gripped better than the soft. How could I tell? No understeer on the right hand bends - loads of understeer on the left hand bends. The soft tyre was pretty knacked by the end of the day.

Next outing for me is Kames at the end of the month.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Testing Blogaway App

I've picked up a free blogging application for my phone and I'm going to give it a go this weekend at Alford.  Not sure how good it will be at handling photos...

Friday, 15 July 2011

A trip up north

We're all heading up north to the sprint at Alford on Sunday. Weather looks a bit iffy but I'm still looking forward to it as it's my kind of track.

I gave the car a good check over last weekend and managed to shear a stud on the distributer (DOH). I still haven't set the timing properly and I think it's now advanced a bit to much as it sounds like its pinking a bit. I retarded it a 'baw hair' and bought some Tesco Momentum 99 fuel to be safe. We'll see.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Doune - King of the Hills - 18/19 June 2011

Photo by Stephen Hynds

Last weekend saw me compete at the fabulously scary Doune hillclimb.

There was a great entry as it was a round of the British Hillclimb Championship as well as the Scottish and Lowland Championships. There was also a smattering of Ferraris which brought a touch of class to proceedings.

Doune Hillclimb Sunday batch 3-5
Paul Webster Photo by Scott Paterson

Also making the long trip from Hampshire was Paul Webster in is highly modified MX-5. Paul is a regular competitor in the HSA speed championship which I contested in 2009 and it was great to see such a well modified MX-5 at Doune.

As this was a mixed National A and National B event, I ended up in a class of my own. This had the advantage of ensuring a victory and trophy (the first and probably last of the season).

The weather was grim at times

The weather was not kind to us and there were several bad crashes over the weekend (fortuately no injuries) which meant that proceedings were sometimes slow. However, I managed to get my times down on each run although my best was in the low 62 second range, well off my personal best of 60.94sec set in April.

Murray simpson lines up for the start

It was great to see three MX-5s competing at Doune - Paul Webster's monster with a 58.25sec run, Murray Simpson in his Mk2 put in a great time of 60.11sec and Kevin Clark not far behind with 63.9sec. All creditable times for their first visits to Doune.

Ben Lyons had an off in Saturday practice in his VX220 turbo and did a fair amount of damage but managed to overcome this to post a very impressive 56.05sec run on Sunday.

Next outing for me is at Alford in July.

Photo by Stephen Hynds

The kids sneek into the racingPug

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Teesside report


Teesside is a great wee kart track on the edge of Middlesbrough city centre. On Monday, it hosted the Keith Pattison Memorial Sprint organised by York Motor Club. This was the fourth round of the Brockbanks Solicitors Cross Border Speed Championship and I had been looking forward to returning to the track after an absence from the calendar last year.

The weather on Sunday night for the journey down was windy but dry and sunny so I was quite hopeful that the predicted rain for Monday would not materialise. However, I awoke in the morning to the sound of rain on the roof of the car (my makeshift motorhome!) so the omens were not good.

The morning session proved to be quite frustrating as the rain came on and off but never stopping long enough to dry out the track. The track proved to be very slippery when wet and this led to quite a few hairy moments as I tried to get to grips with the inherrent twitchyness of the racingPug.

My competition in class was Mike Hunter in his Metro and a wee Nova rally car driven by local entrant Ken Sturdy. Mike spent the whole morning fixing his throttle cable in the pouring rain which must have severely dampened his spirits, if not his times.

I managed to keep getting faster on each run and by the second last run, I had set my sights on getting under 60 seconds. I was delighted to post a 57.89 sec run on my final run. As expected, this was well off the pace of Mike (53.03 sec) and Ken (54.96 sec). However, it was a respectable time and was good enough to beat all the bigger engined road-going cars in Class R2. This was especially satisfying after my defeat to Dave Exton's eBay MR2 at Ingliston.

Talking about the R2 class, they were having a real hum-dinger of a battle with the top 5 separated by half a second. I miss that close competition and it got me thinking that I might need to get back into that class again some day. Or maybe I could just get a single seater.

Fastest time of the day went to Roy Munro in an OMS who had travelled down from the north of Scotland for his first foray south of the border. Turned out to be his first ever FTD and he gave a really good, well thought out, winners speech - nice to see that.

The racingPug didn't have any problems (which is good) although it is smoking quite a bit and is definitely running rich since the Ingliston Ignition Timing Incident. Whether I can be bothered trying to fix that is debatable.

Next outing for me is Doune on the 18/19th June and it looks like that will be the only event for me in June. After that, I'm planning to go up to Alford in mid-July and then Kames at the end of July. August will see me go to Forrestburn with a double header at Harewood in September. I plan to finish off the season at Kames in October.

Maybe, just maybe, the raingMetro will be back in action before then.......

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Teesside just around the corner

Wel, May has passed quickly and Teesside is this coming Monday. I have prepared the racingPug by doing absolutely nada - not even taking the numbers off from Ingliston!

I have the finals for Monday and it looks like a half decent entry of just under 50. It seems clubs are struggling to get big entries this year which is no real surprise with the financial situation. I'm having to cut back and probably won't do more than 10 or so events this year - much less than the last 2 years.

Anyway, priority for the weekend is to get a new camp stove since mine broke on the way back from picking up the racingPug in Berkshire back in February......

Saturday, 7 May 2011

A few weeks off

The season has only just begun but I've done 4 events so I've decided to take the month of May off - next planned event is Teesside on 30 May.

There's some news on the racingMetro, though. Further to my rash decision to get rid of it, I had a change of heart and decided to strip out the interior completely to get a proper look at the rust.




I then trial fitted the cage and took the car down to Clark and Scott at McDonald Minis in Wallyford for an appraisal. After much poking, scraping and hammering, it was agreed that the shell was repairable with some small plates and the cage could be fitted quite easily. So, I should be getting it in at the beginning of June for the welding and cage fitting. Clark will do the other work needed at the same time so by the end of June I should have a roadworthy car again.

Then I'll just need to get it ready for running in the A1 class but I expect to have it out by Forrestburn in August........

Monday, 2 May 2011

Ingliston Sprint weekend

The RacingPug had its third and fourth outings of the 2011 season at the resurrected Ingliston sprint circuit, near Edinburgh at the weekend.

Saturday started well enough for me. I got my sighting run in and a couple of almost respectable (for an e-bay special with around 80bhp) practice runs - down to 58 seconds dead in my third practice. The car handles beautifully - Ingliston is a unique mix of high speed corners and a tight hairpin.

First timed run was going well until just before the final corner when I lost all power. The car just wouldn't rev and I coasted back to the paddock. My time was 58.92 so it would have been a flyer.

As is usual in these situations, a plethora of helpful people descended on the car and from my inane mumblings, a broken gearbox was diagnosed. I was pretty depressed at that thought and about to go and get the trailer when I spotted fellow Peugeot competitor, Gary McDermaid, sitting having a fag. I went over and told a tale of woe about the crapness of french cars and he came over with a couple of mates and set about poking and prodding.

After a good half an hour of jacking, running, testing, geachanging we deduced that the gearbox was in ok condition, the clutch was operating perfectly but the engine was sick as a parrot. All fingers were pointing at a fuelling issue but the pump was peeing out copiuos amounts of V power. Then some black magic was performed on the carb and it was made to run, albeit on half choke. So out I went for my last timed run with the car idling at 3,000rpm!

At the start line, I dropped the clutch and nowt happened. I pulled away at a crawl and tried tinkering with the choke but to no avail. By the first marshals post, I signalled that my run was over and by the time I reached the next post, the red flag was out. I took a shortcut back to the finish and hobbled back to the paddock.

The carb gurus descended again and after much head scratching, scoosing of carb cleaner and tweeking, one of the lads nearly lost his eye when a massive backfire shot out of the intake..... We all looked at each other..... Ignition timing?

Then the penny dropped. I'd had the dizzy off to change the oil seal and probably hadn't nipped up the nuts properly!. More fiddling and the engine was revving freely. No-one had a timing light so that would have to wait for Sunday.

Sunday came and John Roddick (another friendly Citroen driver) produced an old timing light so we set about the task. Unfortunately, try as we might, we just couldn't see any timing marks on the flywheel so I just had to run as it was.

The track had been shortened by around 100m due to an administrative error (long story) so comparisons with Saturday were not possible. On the first practice I took it easy but the car seemed ok so on second practice I pushed harder and managed a 53.42 sec.

In the morning, I made a bet with Dave 'The Destroyer' Exton that if he beat me in his e-bay special MR2, I would scrap the racingPug. Our times were fairly well matched so it seemed like a good challenge. I tried all my best mindgame tricks and it seemed to work when he spun out on his next run. However, he put in a good run after lunch and got 53.25sec so the pressure was on.

I went out for my final run and it was going very well until I decided to left foot brake at the last corner. I'm not a natural left foot braker although I have been practicing in my automatic Volvo of late. Anyway, I didn't quite shave off enough speed and pushed wide. This lead me to lift off and of course, being a Peugeot 205, the car hated this and decided that its arse should be leading the way. I managed to hold on to it but I'd lost valuable time and came home in 53.46 secs.

So, Dave won the bet and I was forced to humbly accept he is the driving god I could never be. I managed to wriggle out of scrapping the Pug by promising to buy my kids some sweeties which I duly did.

Anyway, it was a cracking weekend in many ways. Great weather (again!), great sport and most of all, great banter.

A special mention must go to Ben Lyons who, on his first competitive event, smashed the A8 class record in his beautiful VX220 Turbo. Apparently Ben used to have an MX-5 and clearly has excellent taste in cars. Obviously, it's all going to go downhill for him now and I fully expect him to be buying an old French car on e-bay any day soon. ;-)

John Stewart has posted some great photos of the event on his site at

It is clear that the racingPug is no contender in class M1 against the very well developed machinery in that class. However, it does provide excellent fun at bargain cost (less than some of my class competitors have spent on tyres this season) and for that, I am truly thankful.

Next outing for the racingPug will be at Teesside on 30 May. There will definitely be some more news about the racingMetro before then and it might be different from the previously reported demise......

Friday, 29 April 2011

Lightening the load

In preparation for the British Sprint Championship weekender at Ingliston, I did a few more wee jobs on the racingPug.

I've had the Kumho tyres fitted on to the steel wheels to give them a go. However, I've discovered that I don't actually have a full matchings set of steel wheels. Two wheels are lightweight 13" Rallye wheels with a low offset (probably ET15 or ET20). The other two are 13" steel wheels from some other Peugeot - they are significantly heavier and have an offset of ET28. That means the fitment is very tight and needs spacers. It took me a while to suss this out because they all look very, very similar.

I also tried fixing the ongoing dipstick tube leak with some JB Weld - we'll see how that holds up over the weekend.

Finally, I took the door mirrors off. The passenger mirror was hanging loose anyway. I was amazed at how heavy they are. So much so that I decided to weigh all the bits I've taken off the car - it came to an amazing 6.1kg! That means I can have another muffin tomorrow.

I took the car over to Ingliston in the afternoon with my eldest kid, James. The track needed a good sweep and there are a few potholes around so it will be interesting to see what the single seater guys make of it.

The racingPug with its new agressive front end

The box of bits removed from the racingPug

Hitched up to the Volvo for a change

James walks the track at Ingliston

Lonely in the paddock at Ingliston

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A few wee jobs done

I spent another theraputic day in the sunshine doing some wee jobs on the racingPug to get it sorted out for its next outing at Ingliston in a couple of weeks.

Firstly, I decided to tidy up some of the wiring in the engine bay. This led on to removing the coil and distributor so I decided to renew the rotor arm and dizzy cap whilst I was at it. Unfortunately, my local motor factors did not have an o-ring seal for the distributor but at least I know where it lives now.

I then decided to remove the fog lights and this led on to removing the headlights and associated wiring. Having removed the drivers side headlight and indicator units, I cleaned up the inner wings and painted them, I then had to make up a blank headlight to cover the gaping hole - that took a fair bit of time!


The previous owner had made up a cold air feed using an old headlight for the passenger side so I fitted it too. I'm not sure about how this looks - I think I might make up a blank for that side so I can lose the indicator unit.




Now for the bad news.....

I had started stripping out the racingMetro in preparation for getting the roll cage in but it is clear that the rot is too extensive to make restoration worthwhile. So, I have come to the difficult decision to get rid of it and sell of the good parts. This will free up some much needed garage space and allow me to concentrate on developing the racingPug.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Doune Speed Hillclimb - 17 April 2011

RacingPug at Doune Speed Hillclimb April 2011
Photo by Kev Clark

They call Doune the 'King of the Hills' - and for good reason! It is probably the most daunting and challenging speed hillclimb venues in Britain. Today was my third visit and the first with the racingPug.

As a competitor, Doune seems to be a place that you either love or hate. At least that was what I thought until today. You see, on my previous visits, I had never managed to get to grips with what it was about. In the VX220, I was very cautious - not wanting to damage that expensive fibreglass body. When I took the Metro last September, I hadn't driven the car in anger before so I was unsure of what to expect.

Today, I had the benefit of several test days and a sprint at Kames and I was getting used to the venue. Even better, the weather was fantastic and this made for a fabulous day's motorsport.

My class, B1 Modified Production Cars up to 1400cc, had 5 entrants - me plus Mike Hunter in his Rover Metro, Jonathon Brown in a very nice 16valved Mini and the double entered Mini of Stuart and Jim Sugden. Against this opposition, my goals were simply to get some times and hopefully beat my personal best of 61.12 secs set in the VX220 (albeit in the damp).

My first run up was uneventful and I arrived with a high 62 sec run so immediately I was looking to beat that PB. Second practice run I got a red flag as Mike Hunter had an off. On the re-run, I got a good start and attacked the course like never before. I had a bit of a slide coming out into the long right-hander of the Meadow and ran a wee bit wide as I turned at the bottom of East Brae (a very scary 1 in 3 hill followed by a sharp, blind over crest right hander). This put 2 wheels on the grass and as I braked for the sharp right, the back end just went and I did a 180 degree spin. Fortunately, no damage done.

First proper run and I was a bit more circumspect but managed to get it home in a low 62 sec so it was all to go for in the final timed run. To my delight, I managed to get up the hill in 60.94 sec - a new personal best and within touching distance of the almost respectable 60 second barrier.

Needless to say, I was last in my class (Stuart Sugden won with a blistering 51 sec run) but I had achieved three things: I had joined the 'East Brae' club, I had set a new PB and I had survived my third visit to 'The King of the Hills'.

The car worked fine although by the end of the day it was dribbling oil all over the ground again so my fix hadn't worked for long. The Yoko A048s are now at the end of their days so their coming off and being replaced by Kumhos that I have from the Metro.

Next outing for the racingPug is the double header sprint at Ingliston on 30 April/1 May but I'll have some news on the racingMetro before then.......

Friday, 15 April 2011

Preparing for Doune


I took advantage of some fine weather to do some little jobs on the racingPug and get it ready for the Doune hillclimb on Sunday.

First up, I popped the racing numbers on - 55 - so that's all my fives gone for the season!

The stud conversion

Then I took he wheels off and fitted my conversion studs. I ordered 50mm long studs but having fitted them, I really could have done with longer ones. I hope I can get them off again since I used some heavy duty thread lock to hold them in place!

I also took the dipstick tube out and put on some high temp sealant to try and stop the oil leak at the base of the tube. I have no idea if it will work but it is worth a try.

The oil and coolant tanks

Finally, I did some tidying in the engine bay - I re-attached the oil catch tank and the coolant overflow tank which had come adrift. I also found a couple of loose bolts - one on the distributor and another on the gearbox bellhousing.

So, that's it all ready for Sunday. The weather forecast is reasonable so I am aiming to get under the magic 60 seconds for the first time. I'm not very good at Doune. It scares me and that slows me down.......

Sunday, 10 April 2011

RacingPug completes first event !

RacingPug at Kames 2011
Photo by Andy Low

The RacingPug survived its first competitive outing in Round 1 of the Brockbanks Solicitors Cross Border Speed Championship at Kames yesterday.

The weather was fantastic and the track proved to be really grippy so it was a good test of the wee car.

I was in the up to 1400cc modified production car class along with Mike Hunter's Metro and Gordon Dundee's Peugeot 106. I knew I would get nowhere near Mike's times but I was hopeful I would give Gordon a scare. However, my main goal was to beat the 103.58 second run I did in the Metro back in November.

I started on target with a low 105 seconds and slowly chipped away at my times throughout the day to reach 102.74 secs by my final run. I was pleased with that although I'm certainly not going to win any trophies this year - Mike did a new class record of 94.48 and Gordon managed 100.80 before his driveshaft popped.

I learned a fair bit about the car: the front end grip is fantastic, the engine revs way beyond the 6,000rpm redline and the close gearing is good for Kames.

There were still a few niggles: It's still leaking oil from the dipstick tube and the distributor seal and the exhaust back box now has a big extra hole in it. However, it noise tested at 88dB so it can't be too bad yet!

I wasn't able to run the Michelin slicks that Mike had given me due to the previously reported wheel problem but that should be sorted for the next Kames outing in May.

Next up for me is a trip to the King of the Hills, Doune, next Sunday. I'd better get my plastic pants looked out again because that place scares the crap out of me.......

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Kames target times

I've been thinking about what sort of times I should be aiming for at Kames on Saturday. It's always nice to have something to aim for, especially when you know you're no competing for a trophy.

Looking at last year's results, I can see that Gary McDermaid in his Peugeot 106 did a 100sec run in August. I know that Gary's car was probably of a fairly similar spec to mine so I'll be aiming to get down to that sort of time by the end of the season. To start with though, I'll be happy to beat the time I did in the Metro back in November of 103.58 secs.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Countdown to the Season Start

Only a few days until the season starts at Kames on Saturday 9 April. This will be th first round of the newly rebranded Cross Border Speed Championship. I'm competing in class M1 with the Metro of Mike Hunter and Gordon Dundee's Peugeot 106. I don't expect to be competitive but I'm hopeful I'll get close to the 106.

The Peugeot 205 is nearly ready for action - just a couple of niggles left to fix before Saturday - the oil leak from the dipstick and I need to get some safety stickers on the car.

The first round of the Scottish Sprint and Lowland Championships are at Kames on Sunday but I'm giving it a miss so I can fund an entry at Doune the following weekend.

Finally, I've had my entry for the Ingliston sprints on 30 April/1 May confirmed. This promises to be a great weekend - both days are counting rounds in all three of the championshiops I've entered and it's only 15 minutes from home. Can't ask for more than that really.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Kames test day

Took the racingPug down to Kames today for another shakedown before the season starts proper. It's still leaking oil so I guess the dipstick was not the cause of the problem. However, its no worse than last time so I'll just have to live with it for now.

Took the video camera and managed to get some footage from the afternoon. Times seem to be in the 104 secs which is almoast exactly on a par with the racingMetro but slower than I had hoped. I guess that 84bhp is really not enough regardless of how much weight you lose!

I tried out the slick tyres which was a laugh but I need to get them on proper wheels as the Roland Garros wheels run on the wheelarch without spacers.

I've uploaded some footage to youtube to show how similar the Metro and Pug times are. Metro on the left and Pug on the right:

Friday, 25 March 2011

Battery fitted


I spent an hour or so replacing the very heavy battery with a tiny sealed Odyssey racing battery tonight. I wasn't sure where best to mount it but after much faffing around, I decided to bolt it to the floor on the passenger side. Since its a sealed battery, it can lie flat and doesn't need to be in a battery box. I'll probably leave the battery box in place though so I can put a standard battery back in.


I've also managed to get a set of slick tyres courtesy of the extreme generosity of fellow B1 competitor, Mike Hunter. I had a nice run down to Mike's place in the borders yesterday to pick them up and my friendly tyre fitting them should have them back to me, on the Roland Garros alloys, tomorrow afternoon. Turns out that you can see our old house from Mike's kitchen window. It really is a small world!

I just need to have a go at setting up the gazebo and I'll be all ready for the test day at Kames on Sunday.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Niggle No.2 fixed (hopefully)

Rummaging around the spares in the garage I came across a spare brake reservoir, master cylinder and servo unit for the Metro. Hmmm. 30 seconds later and the cap was fitted to the Peugeot - hopefully that will fix the leaking cap.

I spemt an hour tidying up the front end of the Peugeot on Saturday - painted the grill matt black, replaced some bolts and tied up some loose cables.

Funds are tight so I'm going to re-paint the bonnet black. It'll do while I save for a GRP bonnet. Hopefully I'll get it done before the weekend.

I've started thinking about tyres. The Pug has well worn Yoko A048s fitted but they're 185 x 60 profile. I have lots of Kumho V70s in 175 x 60 sitting around and I plan to get a set of those on the spare Pug alloys. However, I can't decide whether to splash on a couple of 175 x 50 Yokos (which would improve the gearing by 8%) or really splash out on a set of slicks....... funds are tight, remember.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Niggle no.1 resolved

At Kames, I noticed a small oil drip when I came back in after each run. Initially I thought it was coming from the filter but I quickly narrowed it down to oil coming out the top of the dipstick (which didn't seal) and running down the tube. So, a new dipstick arrived today and hopefully that will solve the problem.

Tasks still to do -
Next niggle is the brake fluid reservoir - the seal has perished.
Then there is the exhaust backbox - one of the hangers fell off at Kames.
Still got the Odyssey battery to fit (weight saving).
Remove all the lights and wiring (weight saving).
Get GRP bonnet and fit (weight saving).
Fit steering wheel and shift light from Metro (racing car coolness).
Put together gazebo and do a trial run of putting it up (keep me dry).
Buy a car cover (keep the car dry).

Oh well, that little lot will keep me busy.......

Monday, 14 March 2011

racingPug - First Drive

I managed to fix the previously reported cooling system problem on the racingPug with a new valve cap and some PTFE tape. A quick bleed of the system and it was running fine so I loaded it on the trailer ready for some pre-season testing at the weekend.

I woke on Saturday morning to an inch of snow and decided not to risk the 50 mile trip but Sunday turned out fine and all the snow was gone so off to Kames it was.

First task on arrival was to get a Competition Car Log Book (CCLB) sorted out. This is my first foray away from standard road-going cars and whilst the Pug has an MOT and could be insured and taxed to run in a road legal condition, that would cost me around £200 for the season and would limit some modifications. So, the CCLB avoids the need for MOT, tax and insurance and only costs £34.

The car was checked over by the scrutineer, who gave particular attention to the roll cage, battery installation, seat, belts and ignition cut-off. Fortunately, everything was in order so the CCLB could be issued.

After that, it was a tentative first run out on track. I say tetative because this was the very first time I had driven the car and I was aware that it had been sitting for a number of months so things like brakes might be seized.

Anyway, the first run went well - I was immediately impressed by the very sharp turn-in - by far the most responsive car I've ever driven. The pay-off for the sharp turn in is the twitchy rear end. It could be a bit of a handful in the wet!

There was another Peugeot 205 there - a nice wee 1.6 GTi. The driver spoke to me and I explained that it was my first outing. He was keen to point out that the 205s demand some respect and are very prone to lift-off oversteer. I thought I'd have a go and lifted mid corner in the hairpin. As he predicted, the car snapped round but I caught it and it proved to be quite an effective method of getting round the corner. Its definitely something to watch out for though. The sting in the tale is that the GTi driver subsequently crashed into the tyrewall and roll the car causing considerabe damage!

That was the first of two roll-overs on the day. I've never actually witnessed a roll-over in action but to see two in one day (and a test at that) was quite sobering. Fortunately, none of the drivers involved was seriously hurt - testament to good rollover protection. I'm certainly glad the Pug has a substantial roll-cage and it has become an absolute necessity for the Metro before I take it back on track.

Anyway, all that has made my mind up. I am campaigning the Pug in 2011 and have entered the Scottish Championships and the Wigton Cross Border Speed Championship.

First event is on 9 April at Kames and I cannot wait. Not long now........

Sunday, 6 March 2011

racingMetro on the Rolling Road


Today I took the racingMetro to a Wigton Motor Club organised rolling road day at JDM, near Carlisle. I was supposed to take the Peugeot but when I started it up yesterday to put it on the trailer, it started leaking coolant and it was clear that the cooling system was pressurised as the expansion tank filled up. Further inspection revealed a split bleed valve. I hope it's just sucking in some air and not something more serious but I didn't have time to fix it so I popped the Metro on the trailer instead.

James and I set off at around 8.15am for the journey down to Carlisle. When we arrived, there was a diesel Citroen being abused on the rollers. Turned out it was Peter Garforth (who had organised the day), getting his towcar chipped.

We set about getting the car unloaded whilst the other cars got tested in turn. There was a lovely old Lotus Cortina which made about 110bhp, Peter Keen had a wee mg Midget with a mini A-series engine on a big Weber carb. I never saw what power it made but it sounded good. Dave 'the destroyer' Exton brought his MR-2 and seemed surprised when it made 169bhp - only 1 short of what it had when it left the factory 20 years ago.

My turn came round and I warmed up the Metro before driving, with some trepidation, on to the rollers. The guy asked if it had any engine work and commented that you don't see many of these anymore. Anyway, first run and the car sounded sweet. Peak power was 114bhp. Second run and it made 116bhp at 5770rpm. It was about 10bhp more than I expected so I was well pleased.

Thanks to Peter for organising the day and it certainly got me thinking I should get the Metro sorted sooner rather than later......

The dyno graph

Sunday, 20 February 2011

RacingPug Pictures

Ok, here are some pics of the new racingPug.


It is completely stripped inside and has a full 10-point OMP cage.


Only 1 seat - it's not the comfiest and I'm not enitrely happy with the mounting - it's ok for now though.



Battery is relocated to the inside which should help the weight distribution:


The sunroof has been removed and an alloy panel bolted in place:


Engine is standard 1360cc TU3S all aluminium. Has a single Solex carb which has apparently been rejetted and a crusty looking Pipercross pancake filter.




Cosmetically, the car is not bad but it its let down by the badly painted bonnet. I can't decide whether to repaint ot or just leave it for the 'rat' look.




So, there he is - Roland, the racingPug. As far as I can tell, he's ready to go. I'll take it down to Kames in March for a good thrash and then decide whether to get it logbooked or tax it and run as road legal.

In the meantime, I'd better do something with the racingMetro.........