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.