Monday, 1 July 2019

June 29th. Triumph 2000 Register National Day.

Another mammoth journey was on the agenda this weekend as the 2000 register were holding their national day at Warren Mill, which is near Bamburgh Castle. 
Now, as I nearly always have commitments on Sundays, I have always made the journey to these national days as a day trip no matter where they are. Watchet in Somerset, Boston in Lincolnshire and Paignton in Devon have all been completed in a day without stopping over. However, this one being 348 miles away from where was I live was certainly going to be a challenge. 
Co-driver Richard Warr arrived Friday night and we decided to give the obligatory pub visit a miss and after loading the car with tools and spares we just had a Chinese takeaway and watched a bit of TV. 
We left mine at 1am Saturday morning and planned our route of M25, M11, A14 and then the A1. The road works on the A14 were still going on and we found the road closed before we'd even got to Huntingdon. The diversion route was sign posted appallingly and I had to rely on Richard finding a route on google maps on his phone to miss out the closed section and get us back on track. 
Richard took the wheel just after Peterborough while I tried (unsuccessfully) to grab some sleep. The A1 was very dark and very boring with hardly any cars, but lots of trucks. Just before Blyth Richard was flagging, so I took the wheel again. His long journey from Warwickshire to mine on the Friday had obviously taken its toll. 
By now the sun was starting to rise so it wasn't so difficult. Richard slept all the way from Blythe to the A68 turn off at Corbridge where we completed another driver change. By now the flask of coffee I'd prepared before we left was coming in handy as well. 
Just after we swapped drivers we decided to enter the location for the national day thinking we shouldn't have that much further to go. We were quite a bit out with this one as it turns out we still had another 82 miles to cover! 
The sun was up by the time we passed the Angel of the north and the mist and fog from the night before had now disappeared. 
Around the Newcastle area we were starting to get a bit peckish and according to google the restaurant on the site didn't open until 12pm. We didn't want to get all the way there and then have to leave site again to get something to eat, so we thought we'd try and find something before we got there. 
However, once north of Newcastle things get a bit sparse and the area becomes quite remote. There doesn't even seem to be many petrol stations around let alone cafes or snack wagons. The first place we found was the Purdy lodge which was only 4 miles away from where we going to anyway. 
With the car re-fuelled and us fed we pulled into the camp site at around 8.40am. It had been a long drive through the night, but apart for the A14 diversion, things had gone well. 
The day was lovely and warm already and became quite hot as it went on. Although not as hot as it was in the south apparently. 
There were some lovely cars there and the standard as usual was very high. Richard and I were asked to judge the best performance modified, and I hope we managed to do a good job. 
It was also a great day as well for meeting friends and fellow enthusiasts and catching up with people not seen for a while. 
The journey home was going to be a long and hot one so at 2.45pm we made the decision to leave. The sat nav was predicting an eta home of 8.45pm and telling us we had 345 miles to travel, so with oil and water checked we set off. I took the first stint and my target was to the junction of the A1 and the M62. However, this was a bit ambitious and I only made it as far as Wetherby before tiredness took over. The heat was also incredible the further south we headed and it was like driving with the heater on full blast even with both front windows wide open.
Richard took over from Wetherby, but before long we were having trouble with fueling and the car came to a stop in a lay-by on the A1. The metal facet electric fuel pump was extremely hot and this was thought to be the issue. With the pump re-mounted further back and well away from the radiator, we set off again. However, 20 minutes later we had the same issue and had to stop again. The fuel pump was very hot again and so I wondered if it was overheating and cutting out.  Luckily, I always carry spares and so a brand-new Huco electric pump was fitted in place of the facet pump. I also moved the fuel pressure regulator on the other side of the engine bay to move this further back from the radiator too in case this was being affected. Before setting off we decided to let everything to cool off for a while we settled for a McDonalds meal and cold drink. The heat really was something else and I was sweating buckets just working over the engine bay. 
With dinner out of the way we set out once again and all seemed to be good, but we found out after about ten miles that it still wasn't. The hesitation started again and before long we had had to dive for the hard shoulder again. 
With nothing else left to try I by-passed the fuel pressure regulator and attached the fuel line direct from the pump to the carburettors. 
This time we had success and a trouble free run home was enjoyed. So the problem wasn't using a 52 year old car  to do a 700 mile trip, it was a reasonably modern component that couldn't survive six years! 
Our eta home had been creeping up with every breakdown and the new one after the last breakdown was now 10.25pm. We did manage to achieve this though and decided to have a quick wash and brush up and head to the pub for last orders. Luckily, the pub was open until midnight, so we had a few drinks to celebrate out long but successful (only just) day. 
It was a good test for the car as it was its first long journey since having new big end and main bearings in the new year. This car is now effectively 'Gertie the 2nd' as it has Gerties engine, differential, exhaust system, cooling system and suspension set up. It's also lined up to be next years RBRR car, so it needs to be reliable. (Gertie was suffering terminal rot and damage and had to go) 

15th June- Triumph recovery!

Triumph recovery was the mission planned for this weekend after good friend Dave Harvey had an issue on the Circuit Historique de Laon in France, which unfortunately resulted in accident damage and the car being left undriveable.
The insurance company and the RAC had made it perfectly clear that they weren't interested in helping with the recovery as it was an 'accident' and not a 'breakdown'. Nice! 
So, with Ferries booked and arrangements made we left my place at Leigh on Sea at 5.30am Saturday morning to catch the 8.25am Dover to Calais crossing.
The sailing was on time and the crossing was calm and the restaurant also served a good breakfast which was much needed after the early start. It was a beautiful day weather wise and the traffic was virtually non-existent. (Unlike English roads!)
We decided to punch on without stopping and made good time down to Bruyeres-et-Montberault, just south of Laon to where the car was stored. Luckily, although the car was damaged, it could still be carefully driven onto the trailer, (even with a flat tyre where the front wing had pierced it!) so loading the car onto the trailer didn't take long and we were soon on our way again with the intention of trying to catch an earlier ferry. (We'd bought a flexi-ticket for that reason) With just one quick stop for coffee we motored on and achieved our objective by managing to book onto the 5.55pm Calais crossing as opposed to our planned 6.55pm crossing.
We hadn't eaten since breakfast, so we headed for the restaurant and consumed a rather nice dinner. Again we had another nice calm crossing and the rest on the ferry was most welcoming after all the non-stop driving. 
Once we departed at Dover we made the decision to 'go for it' and make the journey up to Dave's place in Derby. That way we wouldn't have another full day the next day, plus we wouldn't have to drag the car and trailer all they way from the M25 and up the A127 to almost Southend and then drag it all the way back down to the M25 again on the Sunday. 
With only a fuel stop just outside Dover and a quick stretch of legs (and to check the straps on the trailer) at Toddington services we carried on. The rain, dark clouds, low sun and spray made visibility interesting to say the least! 
Apart from the dreaded roadworks between Bedford and Northampton the traffic was free flowing and we arrived at Dave's parents where the car was to be stored at around 10.30pm. 
Leaving my house earlier now seemed like a different day, but we were pleased with what we'd accomplished. The Mileage for the day was a tad over 600 miles. After a quick spruce up we then retired to the local pub to celebrate with a couple of well deserved beers. 
Unloading the Triumph was the first thing on the agenda Sunday morning which didn't take too long and by 10.40am I was on my way home. I had to return the trailer to Latchingdon first though. I eventually got home at 2.40pm with another 191 miles on the clock, so total mileage for weekend was 791. 
Once again the Land Rover had done me proud and she's doing well for a 22 year old. It was also satisfying to help a good friend in trouble and make sure that his car wasn't stranded on foreign shores due to the appalling attitudes of the insurance company and RAC's 'European Breakdown cover! 
Nethertheless, we still managed to have a good, if not tiring and long weekend. 

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Friday 22nd March. Triumph Action.....Sort of!

Friday morning 6.45am saw me heading towards Latchingdon to meet Dave Jones and collect a car trailer. Dave had bought a Mk2 Triumph 2.5Pi and due it being a non-runner needed transporting home.....from Wigan!
By 7.30 we were on our way and cutting across country through Chelmsford before joining the M11 at Bishops Stortford. 
We stopped for Coffee, Croissants and Diesel near Stanstead and carried on across the A14 and M6. Just after Birmingham we started seeing signs on the overhead gantry's stating 'long delays junction 23 to 25'.  Bugger! It was junction 25 of the M6 that were due to come off at. Not long after that the signs changed to read 'M6 closed at junction 25'. Double bugger! Just our luck. 
A quick phone call to the seller was made and he advised us to come off at junction 23 and head up the A49. It was better, but everyone else had that idea, so it was slow going.
We eventually arrived at the pick up point at around 12.45, so it wasn't too bad I guess. We loaded up the car straightaway and set off for the return leg. 

We found a chip shop before the motorway, so a very greasy cod and chips was consumed. (Actually, I only ate the fish and gave the chips to Dave-too greasy for my liking!)
We suffered a small delay around junction 24 on the way back, but nothing too serious. The Triumph  was to be delivered to Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, so the M1 was our favoured return route. Surprisingly for a Friday afternoon it wasn't too bad. I have to say though, the amount of people we saw using mobile phones whilst driving was quite alarming. But then I suppose with our wonderful government doing away with police on the streets and police cars on the motorways (When was the last time you saw one?) then people are going to take chances and risk it aren't they?
A quick cup of tea at Cheshunt and we were soon on the M25 again and off to Latchingdon to return the trailer. By now it was approaching 7pm and I was feeling the effects of the long day. Luckily the M25 and A12 was clear and we arrived at Latchingdon at 8pm. 
With the trailer safely delivered I finally arrived back home at 8.45pm. I worked out the mileage and fuel use the following day to find that my 22 year old Landrover Discovery had covered 516 miles and averaged 22mpg. Not bad considering nearly half of that mileage was covered with an empty car trailer in tow and the other half with a 1400kg car on it as well. The old girl did good and never missed a beat. 

Sunday, 28 October 2018

October 5th-7th The 2018 Round Britain Reliabilty Run

That special time was on us again. The famous RBRR. I had been looking forward to this event for some time, although a few last minute issues with the car saw me preparing another one as back up just in case! 
The Mk1 Pi was the weapon of choice and after some last minute metering unit tuning by co-driver Dave Harvey we were set and all ready to go. 
This RBRR was to be different for us this time as we had decided to run as a two car team with Richard Warr & Dave Maton in the other car. (We were also both  running as a two man crew as opposed to the usual three man.)
We met up at a Tesco superstore at Knebworth and after discovering that they didn't have a café, resorted to a nearby carvery for a good roast dinner before our drive through the night.
Disaster struck when we were waved off as Richards car decided it didn't want to go and broke down with fuel supply issues before even leaving Knebworth! Frantic efforts were made to get it running, but after an hour we had to admit defeat. Luckily Dave Maton had brought his Mk1 to Knebworth to meet Richard, so they swapped all the tools and spares over into Dave's car while we shot off to try and persuade the marshals at the first control at Wetherby to stay open and wait for them. 
As we were now an hour behind right from the start, we pushed on up to Wetherby and made good time. By the time we had finished our coffee, Richard & Dave had caught us up too. 
We were now running right at the back of the pack, so time was tight. We persevered, but the rain and dismal conditions were holding us back. 
We just about made the next control at Carter Bar before it closed and quickly got the book signed before heading off to Knockhill Race circuit. An added issue was that my brake lights had now packed up and the plastic  switch fell apart while under investigation! I went in front and used the walky talky that Richard had brought to warn them of when I was braking. 
Knockhill was a welcome sight and luckily I managed to borrow a brake light switch to resolve my issue. 
The long drive up the A9 to Inveness was the next stretch with no chance of playing catch up due to the boring 60 mph speed limit and all the average speed cameras. 
Skiach came and went, but a welcome coffee saw us through to John O'Groats. 
A good breakfast saw us all refreshed and then it was back to Skiach again for the next stop. We had a bit of time to play with here , so work started on Dave Matons car which had developed a misfire through the small hours. Thinking he had cured the problem, we set off again, but had to stop two or three times to try and improve the running. Needless to say, after catching up well, we were now falling behind again. 
The run through Scotland was beautiful as ever although the rain did rear its ugly head once or twice.
A quick coffee saw us head down to Tebay where a hot meal in the restaurant was enjoyed. 
Dave took the opportunity to take a pic of the petrol pumps with only one modern car on the pumps to spoil the view! 
Gledrid, Monmouth and Okehampton controls were crossed off the list with just a quick stop at Okehampton to change my front offside sidelight bulb. Dave's car still wasn't running right, but he was putting up with it rather than work in the dark.
Lands End was a welcome sight although the queue for breakfast wasn't. If we had known how long it was going to take, we would have skipped it and just carried on. 
I hadn't put the RBRR stickers on my car as the paint is still fairly new, so I cut them into strips and put them across the back window. When I came out from breakfast I found that someone had vandalised them! I have my suspicions of who it was, but I'll keep that to myself. =) 
Bude Castle saw Dave changing the coil in a bid to improve matters but that proved just as fruitless as everything else that he'd tried.
By the time we left Dartmoor we were running behind again and hoping there would still be some cake left at the Pimperne stop. ( I was in more need of coffee actually!)
We made Pimperne just before closing time, but then had the long drive up to Brackley for the penultimate checkpoint. 
By now dusk was falling and we were all becoming quite tired. The control was a quick stop & go with the desire to get to the finish now stronger than ever. Unfortunately,the drive across country to Knebworth wasn't pleasant and we arrived a lot later than we wanted to.
Nevertheless, the event was fantastic as usual and despite the hiccups was enjoyed by all. As I write this Dave Maton has now finally sorted out all of the issues with his car. Considering it had had no preparation for the event at all, I thought it did bloody well despite its issues. 
Richards car was recovered to mine on the Monday after the event where it was fitted with a good second hand fuel tank. 
The issue? The tank had been treated with some fuel tank sealer, but for what ever reason hadn't taken or stuck to the metal, so it had pealed off like strips of old wall paper and blocked the outlet. 
The Round Britain for me in the Pi was a great success with only the brake light switch and side bulb giving out. MPG wasn't too bad either and the car never missed a beat the whole trip. The only time we opened the bonnet was to check the oil and water. A brilliant event with great company and as usual, I cant wait for the next one.

June 30th 2018. A nice little day Paignton!

Saturday June 30th was the show day for the Triumph 2000 Register National Day at Whitehills Country Park in Paignton, Devon. 
Due to other commitments I couldn't spare a few days away, or even the whole weekend there, so I decided to just make a day of it. I know it's along way to go just for the day, but the event was celebrating 50 years of the Mk1 Pi and the organisers wanted to try and get as many there as possible. So, seeing as I own a Mk1 Pi, I thought I would make the effort. 
Richard Warr decided he fancied going so he came down on the Friday night and stayed at mine. We settled for a curry with just a couple of beers knowing we had an early start the next morning.
We left my house at Leigh On Sea, Essex at the ungodly hour of 4.40am and after a quick top up of fuel were soon on our way. We did plan to knock a good chunk off the journey before stopping for breakfast, but we were having such a good drive in the sunshine and before we knew it, we were pulling up on the site at Paignton at 9am. 
We received a warm welcome from club officials and were given pride of place on the front row where the Mk1 Pi's were to be lined up. 
Breakfast was next on the agenda and very good it was too. Lots of cars were starting to arrive and we both enjoyed meeting people we hadn't seen for a while. 
There were some beautiful cars there and some very original Mk1 Pi's as well. 

The weather was absolutely glorious and it was a fantastic day all told. I think in total there were over 80 cars in attendance and an unbelievable 14 Mk1 Pi's. I said to Richard that this event was worth coming to as this would probably be the last time we will ever see that many Mk1 Pi's all in one place. 
I was really pleased with my Pi. It was a blistering hot day and she performed well. We left around 5pm and with some spirited driving made it home at 8.45pm
The round trip was 488 miles in total and we reckon we had used approximately £90 to £100 in fuel. Not too bad considering we hadn't exactly been hanging about. 
The 2000 Register National Day is up in the North East next year. Another day trip?  Hmmm.....might be a bit too much that one. We shall have to see. =)  

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Coast to Coast Rally 21st & 22nd April 2018

I'd decided to use 'Bluey', for this event. The car that had been off the road since 1999. It had already taken part in a Chelmsford Motor Club night rally recently, but that was only about 100 miles including going to and from the start, but this was the big one to test reliability. 
So, loaded with some tools and a few spares I set out on Saturday morning to collect Dave Maton from Cheshunt before starting the long journey up to Anglesey.
It was the hottest day of the year so far so with some spare water loaded in the boot we set off. We  encountered a bit off stop-start traffic on the M1 and so decided to turn off and attack some breakfast at Rugby. With us suitably fed and watered we resumed our journey at good speed until we hit another hold up at Coventry. The temperature gauge was reading a bit higher than I would have liked, but other than that we had nothing to about.......
I spoke too soon. We were on the M6 Toll road when the fan belt decided to let go. To be fair this was my fault really, I'd refurbished most things on the car since its rude awakening form it's barn, but the one thing I'd overlooked was the fan belt. Luckily I had a spare in the boot, so within 10 minutes we were on our way again. 
The day continued to be glorious and we arrived at the start location (Anglesey Race Circuit) at around 5pm with 329 miles showing on the clock. After a good catch up with people not seen for a while and a cracking dinner of fish, chips and peas were allowed to do 2 laps of the circuit before heading even further west to fill up with fuel at Holyhead. 
We had decided to run as a two car team with Richard Warr and Enzo who were in a similar car to us. (Mk1 2000 Saloon) With fuel tanks brimmed we started heading back East before following a route around Snowdon and over towards Wrexham on some fantastic driving roads. 
As this was the first big run out for my car we had been using it as a test best to do some fine tuning on the carbs and timing. It was around Manchester about Midnight that we decided to completely start again with the carbs and reset the jets in a well lit petrol station. (Not the one above, the light was rubbish in that one!)  Once this was done and the ignition timing retarded just a fraction the car was running absolutely beautiful and Dave Maton was lucky enough to enjoy a fantastic drive over Snake Pass and down to the halfway stage at Tibshelf services on the M1. 
After a good rest and a coffee, both crews then started the trek down through Oakham and Melton Mowbray and headed towards the A1 near Peterborough. We stopped for another coffee on route as by now we were all getting quite tired. (No searching routes or county signs to keep us on our toes unlike the HCR) 
We had a fantastic drive across the A47 from Peterborough up towards Kings Lynn and Wisbech, but then realised at this point that we were quite far behind the rest of the pack. Both crews then made the decision to give the North Norfolk coast road a miss and have a slow leisurely run to the finish. After all, these runs are supposed to be leisurely and to be enjoyed. There's no point chasing and getting stressed out with trying to keep up with schedule. 
We then had a thoroughly enjoyable drive watching the sun come up and we finally reached the final location at Southwold in Suffolk. Lot's of crews had made it and we were met by friendly restaurant staff and a welcome hot breakfast. 
It had been a fantastic weekend spent with great company and a good laugh was had by all. Both cars performed well, although by the time I had arrived home my hot running issues had become worse and I had quite a bit of travel on the brake pedal. (New brake linings bedding in I suspect) 
From door to door, the mileage covered was 841. Quite impressive for a car that had been laid up for so many years. Roll on the next event! 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

September 16th - 17th. The Mercian Road Rally

God knows why, but Colin Wake and I had agreed to do this rally the very weekend after the Club Triumph 10CR. Not content with covering nearly 1900 miles the week before, we were now destined to cover another 400 miles this weekend!
Colin arrived at mine around 4pm and after a quick play with the spotlights to get them working again we set off for the start at Southam, Warwickshire.
The signs weren't good as we sat in the car awaiting a noise test while listening to the rain hammer on the roof incessantly. Most of the cars there were small front wheel drive with the exception of a large Volvo 740 and a Mk2 Escort. We were also the oldest car there by a good ten years. 
After passing the noise test, we then sailed through scrutineering and then went to sign on. Signing on was at Southam football club and in-between signing on at 8pm and the drivers meeting at 10.30pm (Yes, a two and a half hour wait!) the dark and damp and fog decended on us. 
Our time away was 12.06am and by then the fog had really become quite thick. By the time we got to the first test on a farm, it had lifted a bit, but not much. We found the course on the test very tight in a big saloon and couldn't help but have to reverse to make the turn, thus gaining our first penalty. 
Back on the public roads, we did our best to keep time but it certainly wasn't easy in the pitch black and with the route keep taking us up farm tracks, through industrial areas and at times it even seemed like we were driving across fields or up peoples driveways! 
We also stopped at one point to drag a Citroen AX back onto the road after it had had an 'off' and ended up in a ditch. After checking that Jon and Alex were ok, we carried on. 
The half way 'rest' came and went while we were refilling with fuel and I have to say towards the end of the rally I was starting to struggle with sleep deprivation. 
We struggled on until we eventually made the finish at 6.15am, although by then we had racked up a few time penalties. Breakfast was most welcome at the finish and I then took the opportunity to grab some sleep in the car while Colin waited for the results to be issued. I was awoken at just after 8am and told we had finished 4th in class.  It was Colin's turn to sleep then while I then drove the two  hour journey home. 
Gertie once again had performed faultlessly although I have to say I don't think I've ever seen her looking that dirty. I washed it Sunday afternoon and had to change the water halfway through as I was just putting muddy water back over it! A good event though, with the only downside being the waiting around before the start.