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' 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 calling 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 trip........to 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 a 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. 



Monday, 18 September 2017

Sep 6th -10th. Club Triumph 10CR

After months of wallet damaging preparation on Gertie, the '10 Countries' rally was finally here. Monday morning was spent changing my hard earned cash up into Euro's and buying a few last minute provisions to fend off hunger on the long days ahead.
My Co-driver for the event Dave Harvey arrived around 3 ish and we then spent the remainder of the afternoon trying to transfer the instructions in the route book onto the latest Collins map of Europe. 
After much head scratching and confusion we decided this had been a bad idea and went out for our last curry and beer on English soil for a few day. 
Tuesday: We finished packing the car and set out for the port. The route to Dover was only delayed by a good old fashioned 'English Breakfast' stop on the A127. Our crossing was shared with plenty of other Triumphs, not to mention Team Torpedo from America who were running five cars.

A calm crossing was followed by a quiet run down to Lomme where we were staying for the night before the event started proper on the Wednesday morning. A lovely pizza was followed by 'just the one' glass of beer in a local pub. The glasses given could hold a litre of beer, so just having one was a good call.

Wednesday: Despite not being hungover we still managed to arrive at the start late and most of the cars had already set off. I don't think anybody got too far though due to a horrendous traffic jam just outside Lille which caused most of us to lose over an hour.
We eventually headed down some lovely national driving roads taking in Belgium and Luxembourg before crossing back into France and heading down towards Metz and Nancy before crossing over the  French Natural park and finishing for the night in Mulhouse. Dinner was a nice rump steak and enjoyed with some excellent company in the form of Kris Schouppe and Yvan Roggeman.
Thursday: Morning dawned early but bright and we decided to skip breakfast to get on the road early and beat the traffic. This turned out to be quite successful and around lunchtime we were enjoying a coffee and an ice cream at the top of the San Bernadino Pass in Switzerland.
 After lunch we tackled many other passes before finishing off on the Umbrail and Stelvio. (We actually ended up doing Stelvio twice, and the Gavia pass as well, but that's another story for the club magazine.)
After a longer than expected day we reached our hotel in Italy at 10pm. Luckily the local Pizza restaurant was still open and we managed to fit a meal and a beer in before returning back to the hotel for the night.
Friday: After our previous long day, we didn't fancy another extended one and so planned a route of our own. Our day took us back into Switzerland and up onto the beautiful Bernina pass. This is a fantastic road and has breathtaking views as well. A perfect drive for any Triumph. It doesn't appear to be that well known yet either as it wasn't swamped with Motorbikes, cyclists, or tourists.
After a leisurely coffee at the top of the pass we carried on for a while before tackling another brilliant pass named the Albula. Once again, with not many motorbikes or cyclists around it was a lovely drive and completed without hassle or incident.
Our lunchtime stop included a minor repair to a split breather pipe on the fuel tank which had been annoying us with a petrol smell whenever we filled up with petrol, but disappeared below three quarters of a tank. With the rest of the car checked over we continued our journey through Lichtenstein and Austria before meeting up with some of our other crew in Singen in Germany.
Saturday: It always seems to rain when I visit Germany and today was no exception. We left the hotel after a good breakfast and settled in for the long drive to Rolduc. We did manage to find another good driving road over near Baden Baden and it must have been popular as we met a Mini Club and a Porsche club driving it as well. (Although going the opposite way to us)
The afternoon was a long motorway drive and we met up with Colin Wake and crew who were having issues with the Mk1 Pi they were running. We followed them to Rolduc in case of any further issues they might have had, but luckily things were fine.

Rolduc in Holland appeared all too quickly and another brilliant 10CR was over. The celebrating of a successful run began and a bgood night was had by all. Serious breakdowns had been few and far between and as a far as I'm aware only two cars failed to complete the trip.
Monday: Trying to beat that 'back to work and reality' feeling is hard when all you are doing is running home, but it was a good drive back to the port. We did leave Rolduc a little bit late and only just made the boat in time to be honest.
It had been a fantastic trip though and it's always great to see old faces and meet new friends. I'm looking forward to the next one already, but also quite fancy a trip to Ireland as I've never been there, so I might organise a little run there as a filler before the next 10CR.  

Saturday, 12 August 2017

An MOT at the first attempt! (Although not at the first booking!)

As a follow on from my last post, work continued on my 1967 Mk1 and I replaced the two bottom ball joints, one track rod end and bought a new exhaust centre section and downpipe. 
With all of these fitted I decided to go ahead and book the MOT. Saturday 5th August at 4pm was the impending appointment and after completing some small niggly jobs in the morning, (Interior light and panel lights not working) I was ready for my journey that afternoon. 
I have to confess I was a little wary as when I went to replace the thermostat the night before, I had found that there wasn't one in there to begin with! So I fitted my new one anyway. 
Also, not knowing the history of this car, I wondered if it was hiding any issues not addressed by the previous owners. In my experience with these 'barn finds', people do not just park up and store perfectly good usable cars. There is normally something not right with them that enforced the cars lay up in the first place.
Anyway, After playing 'musical cars' so I could get this one out of the garage I set off for MOT and hoped for the best.

All seemed well first of all and the car was running well. My preferred garage is eight miles away so the car would be getting its first good run for many a year. The temperature gauge climbed slowly to the half way mark.........but then unfortunately kept climbing. At the three quarter mark I decided to pull over and check it, but the next turn off on the dual carriageway was still a few miles away. By the time I did manage to pull over (Only a mile away from the MOT station) it was boiling over big time and the pressure had even blown the lid off of the expansion bottle! 
I phoned the garage and cancelled the MOT, let the car cool right down, topped up with water and drove back home without the radiator cap on. Feeling quite disappointed after all of the hard work I'd done in a relatively short period, I just parked the car up and left it until the Sunday morning. 
The following day I removed the radiator and compared it to a spare one that I had been given some time ago. The one from the car was considerably heavier than the spare so I worked on the assumption that it was a blocked radiator that was causing the problem rather than a blown head gasket or worse. 
On fitting the spare I found that this leaked, (that'll be why I was given it for nothing then!) but even with me topping the water up and running the car for 15 mins at 2000 revs it never overheated  and the temperature gauge never mover past the quarter mark. So the situation looked promising. 
I managed to borrow another radiator from a mate and did more testing on the Wednesday evening which again saw no issues with the cooling. So, Thursday 10th August, I re-booked the MOT and dropped it into the garage late morning. 
I'd still heard nothing by 3pm, so me being of the impatient sort decided to have a quick look online. To my relief and joy it had passed its first MOT in 18 years! Graham, the guy who I bought the car off of was quite chuffed as well as he'd wanted to see it back on the road and being used. He told me 'you've done more to that car in two weeks than I did in two years'.

So now it has an Mot, I can start getting a bit of use out of it. It needs a bit more t-cutting and polishing and then I think it will start looking quite presentable.
Oh, and I applied for some road tax as well. I though it might be a tad overdue. :) 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Next seasons rally car?

Back in June I'd been made aware of an apparently very solid 1967 Mk1 saloon languishing in Hertfordshire that could possibly be coming up for sale. Seeing as I also had to go to Hertfordshire for Scrutineering the day before the East Anglian Classic Rally, I decided to factor in a diversion to go and view said car. 
The car had been put up on ramps so I could view the underneath when I arrived, but I have to say, it looked very sorry for itself with its bent front bumper and covered in dust where it had been previously dry stored since 1999.

However, it was indeed a very solid shell with no sign of any welded repairs, and still had its original floor pans and sills. The interior was also very original as well. (albit covered in dust!) After spending a few days pondering I decided it was too good a car to pass up and agreed to the sellers asking price. (Which I thought was very good anyway)
Due to he and I being away at different times arrangements were made to collect the car on the 15th July. So, armed with a very good borrowed car trailer and my trusty old Land Rover I arrived in Hertfordshire around 9.30am.
Loading the car was quick and easy and the only concern was the slightly sticking front brakes. I was going to have to unload this car on my own when I got home with it and being a non-runner I wasn't relishing the thought of pushing it with motionless front wheels! 
After a trouble free run home I set about moving my other two Mk1's off of the drive and getting this one in the garage ready to start work. I did manage to get it off the trailer and into the garage on my own although the rain making the ground slippery didn't exactly help. (It only rained for half an hour that day as well! The half hour that I was unloading the car!) 
     Over the next few weeks the car was emptied of all of the rubbish in the boot and in the cab and the interior hoovered and de-dusted. I was surprised at how well it started to come up to be honest. 
When I first  got the car a long list had been drawn up of jobs that would need doing before Mot and after spending a couple of hours in the garage a few nights a week these jobs were gradually completed. The carburettors were stripped, cleaned and rebuilt as were the front brake callipers. The rear wheel cylinders were replaced along with the rear shock absorbers and a very noisy water pump was changed for a much quieter one as well. As an upgrade the original sealed beam headlights were replaced with modern halogen items. 
   On Sunday 30th July, Graham Parkins (The man who I bought the car off and fellow co-driver on the 2014 RBRR) came up to help out for the day and by close of play the car was running well and not only driving, but stopping as well. All it needs now is the bottom ball joints replacing and the blowing exhaust centre section sorting and it will be ready for its first Mot for 18 years.