Wednesday, 31 December 2014

December 23rd. Pi Work continues

A bit (and only a bit) more work has continued on the Pi. After removing the rear door as well as the  front drivers door, I started to grind down and then cut into the B post as it looked a bit 'crusty' around that area. I was dreading what I would find when I cut into it, but although the membrane in the middle of the inner and outer sills has surface rust, it hasn't rusted through yet. 
I'm not ready to start cutting sills off and carrying out a full restoration yet, as I want to have fun in this car first and give Gertie a bit of a rest, so for the time being the B post will just be repaired and patched up. 
The bonnet was also suffering in the form of a collapsed hinge mounting bracket so this was ground down and welded. I then discovered that the pin in the hinge was also broken, so my repairs had been in vain. I've fitted my spare 'Damson' bonnet for the time being. This should look rather nice with the two green doors I have to go back on and also the Damson, or Dark Blue boot lid. ( I have a choice of two)
Never mind, I can worry about the paint once it's all solid again. ( I was going to say rust free, but I don't think many of these cars are rust free now, they'll always be some rust  lurking somewhere now that they are reaching their 'senior' years) 
I've had to go back to work in between Christmas and New Year, so welding and repairs will resume when work and this bloody freezing weather has passed. 





Sunday, 7 December 2014

Wow! An update! December 7th. PI Work starts

After a few months of the Mk1 Pi annoying the crap out of me with sticking throttles, snapping bonnet cables, (with the bonnet down and the throttle stuck half open!) collapsing clutch master cylinder seals and filling the boot up with petrol (Twice!) I've almost managed to get it semi-reliable. 

I took it to the last Essex club meet hoping it would behave itself, and apart from having to stop half way and wiggle the fuse to get the dashboard and rear lights working again it got me there ok. Getting home was also interesting as one of the injectors decided it didn't want to play and the remainder of the journey was completed on 5 cylinders only and me sulking. 

Over the past few weeks, I have been collecting some panels for it and have so far managed to find one front door, two rear doors, a bonnet and bootlid. The only door I was having trouble locating was a drivers door. So I removed my one and had it repaired by the guy that did the repairs to the Red Shed when I owned it. He's made quite a good job of it, despite the amount of rot that was in it. 

The next stage will be to remove and replace the rear door, although before the replacement goes on I will be looking at having the bottom of the door post repaired as this is a bit 'flaky' as you can see.

The only other modification I've done so far to the car is remove the Mk2 front seats that were fitted and fit a more comfortable pair. Instead of going down the 'Alfa Romeo' route as I had before, I looked from something different. Alfa seats are nice, but they aren't really black, they are more of a Charcoal colour. I wanted something that would look a bit closer to original, so I opted for the black leather Range Rover seats that my friend Gavin had in his car. (He changed to MGF seats in his MK2) As you can see, they are a good fit and look a better colour match. Just need to find suitable rear ones now. 


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

October 3rd to 5th. Round Britain Reliability Run

Friday October 4th finally arrived and after loading the car with tools, spares, snacks etc. it was time to make my way to Enfield for the start of the RBRR. 
After picking up fellow crew members Dave Maton and Graham Parkins from Cheshunt we filled up with petrol and headed to the Plough to  book in and meet up with the other 105 teams taking part. 
The 6pm departure time soon arrived and due to where we had been parked, we were the 101st car to leave out of the 106 starters. 
Graham was the first man in the driving seat and we were soon heading up the A10 and made good progress up to Blyth Services for the check point. I jumped out to get the book signed while Dave and Graham pulled straight onto the petrol pumps to fill up. Dave was now driving and we got going straight away, but unfortunately drove straight into a bad traffic jam on the A1 due to an accident. Once past this, we thought we were in for a clear run, but then came across another long delay this time due to roadworks! Finally we got past the hold ups and carried on up the A1 to the A68. Before long we were at the second check point at the Scottish/English border at Carter Bar and were amazed to find that we were the second car to arrive behind Andy and Sarah Johnson in their Triumph Stag. As soon as we crossed the border the rain started and there was lots of surface water laying around making progress slower than normal.
The third check point was Edinburgh Airport and after a quick coffee it was my turn behind the wheel for the 'Graveyard  shift'. From Edinburgh we headed up the A9 to Inverness and it was quite weird looking at the sat nav and seeing that the next roundabout was 110 miles away! Luckily, by now the rain had stopped and we had a good clear run up to Allness for the next check point at Skiach services. Graham then took over for the next stint up to John O Groats and we arrived there at around 7am. We decided to go and do the obligatory photo shoot before going for Breakfast at the Seaview hotel. 

After a good hearty breakfast we headed across the top of Scotland, through Thurso and over to Bettyhill before heading south towards Dingwall. Dave's previous arm injury was causing him considerable pain, so we all decided it was best he didn't do any more driving and rest. After lunch at the Conon Bridge Hotel, I took the driving seat for my favorite part of the run which is down past Loch Ness, Fort William and then through Glencoe. The only drama we had was when the driver's side windscreen wiper fell off! Luckily, it landed on the bonnet and stayed there until we stopped. A quick repair with black electrical tape was the order of the day and we carried on. We arrived at Stirling around 5pm and after another quick coffee at Morrisons garage Dave decided to try and give the driving another go. However, after half hour he was in pain again and handed over the driving to Graham. 
We arrived at the next control at Tebay (Cumbria) services early so all of us grabbed a very good hot meal while waiting. With Dave now unable to drive anymore we had now discussed the driving situation and worked out a plan. Graham was happiest with the motorway sections at night while I was ok with country lane bits. So, Graham took the drive down the M6 to the next control at Gledrid in North Wales while I tried to grab some sleep on the back seat in Readiness for my second 'Graveyard Shift' through the Welsh forest sections. 
A good crown turned out to greet us Gledrid and I grabbed a can of Red Bull and a Mars Bar in the hope of them giving me some energy. (and I don't even like Mars Bars!) The drive from Gledrid to Sugar Loaf takes in some beautiful driving roads, but unfortunately for some reason also seems to encourage some ridiculous and dangerous driving from some of the other crews. A few times we were overtaken by other Triumphs on the wrong side of the road on blind bends in the pitch black! 
We arrived at Sugar loaf at around half past midnight and as soon as we were allowed, we got the book signed and made tracks for the next  control at Gordano Services on the M5 south of Bristol. By now we were on out second night without proper sleep and we were all getting quite tired. At Gordano services I found the shower open so took advantage. A hot shower and change of clothes had never felt so good! 
Graham took the driving seat for the next stage from Bristol down to Lands End, although I took over about 30 miles from Penzance due to tiredness creeping in on him. 
We arrived at Lands End to find that the cafe had forgotten we were coming and weren't ready. Not impressed! Eventually we were allowed in and breakfast was served.

After breakfast I took the drive up to Bude Motor Museum for the next control point. We removed the front wheels and checked the brake pads as we had been getting a squeeking noise when braking, but it turned out to be a loose backing plate. With that rectified Graham took the next drive over to Badgers Holt at Dartmoor.
After a short stop we then headed off for the famous 'cake stop' at Pimperne. By the time we are at this stage, things are a bit more relaxed. Although it's a great event, it's also a nice feeling knowing that you're on the homeward leg and almost at the finish.
With coffee and cakes devoured we set out for the penultimate stop at the TR Register offices at Didcot. Once again we were greeted by friendly faces and hot coffee and after getting the book signed we headed for the Oxford ring road to pick up the M40. It was here that the scares began when Graham suddenly announced that we'd lost the clutch. To be fair the clutch pedal had been getting stiffer since the early hours, but we were praying that it would hold out. I was pretty convinced that it was the seals in the master cylinder giving out. We had a spare seal kit and clutch fluid and a bleed tube, so we could have hopefully repaired it if need be, but how devastating would it be to make Didcot and then not make the final check point if we couldn't?
We managed to pull off the road to investigate and then after some pedal pumping, miraculously, it seemed to right itself. It was still wasn't as it should be, but it was good enough to select all gears and allow us to continue. We encountered quite a bit of 'stop-start' on the motorway but the clutch held firm and after about 90 minutes we arrived at the Plough for the final check point.
It had been a fantastic trip with some beautiful scenery and some good laughs, so a well deserved pint was downed in celebration. Roll on the 2016 event when I'm hoping to use the Mk1 Pi.


Sunday, 31 August 2014

August 31st- Not a great weekend.

I had a free weekend this weekend, so now that the garage is almost finished I decided to finally start work on Gertie's RBRR preparations. The first job was to replace the nearside track rod arm that was advised on the last MOT and while I had the wheels off, I fitted the hub spacers that I bought off of James Shackford god knows how long ago. While I was doing this I checked and adjusted the front wheel bearing and repacked them with grease.

I then fitted the new oil pressure relief valve that I ordered  last week. Gertie's fluctuating oil pressure has been of some concern of late and I was hoping that this was going to cure my problems. 
As i was covered in oil and grease I left test driving Gertie for later and had a quick play with the new PI. After finding her with a puncture, then flooding her and making the battery go flat, I finally got her started and moved into the garage. When I collected her she had a god awful boot rack that had been drilled and bolted through the boot, and a tow bar that had been drilled and bolted through the spare wheel well. 

Needless to say, I wont be needing either of these for my purposes so they were removed and abandoned to the corner of the shed. I had had to remove the rear bumper to get rid of the tow bar and I did then toy with the idea of going for the bumper-less look with this car as well as Gertie, but have decided to keep it standard looking. 
I have also removed the 15 inch revolution alloys for now while I get the puncture fixed and have put my 14 inch minilites on. I've also discovered while doing this that the car has Mk2 trailing arms and drive shafts which give it a wider track. I'm not keen on this so I'm now on the look out for some Mk1 items. 

Sunday Morning.

Today saw the test drive of Gertie with her new oil pressure relief  valve. Although the oil pressure was higher, it was still fluctuating wildly. Most disappointing. A lot of suggestions I've had is that it could be the oil pump coming loose in the sump, or just the oil pump beginning to give out. The last thing I need on  the RBRR is oil pump failure, so I decided to pull the engine out. According to the Haynes manual, you can remove the sump from underneath, but seeing as I was going to pull the engine and change the cam after the RBRR anyway, I may as well  go the whole hog now. It was also damn annoying that I managed to snap a manifold stud in the process too. 
So with the RBRR just over a month away, Gertie's engine is currently sitting on the garage floor. Is it time to panic yet??

Sunday, 24 August 2014

August 23rd A new stable mate for Gertie

With the recent sale of my Mk2 estate and what had become a very unreliable Mini, I had decided not buy anything else and just concentrate on Gertie.
So there I was the other night in garage running cables for the impending electrics when I received a text saying 'want a cheap Mk1 PI?'. Well naturally the vagueness of the text aroused my curiosity and before I knew it I was on the phone discussing said car. By the following night I had been sent pictures and by Friday lunch time I had spoken to the owner and arranged to go and the view the car Saturday morning. 
The only snag was that the car was in Bristol, so I decided that if I was going all that way (173 miles!) then I would go with the option of buying it there and then and bringing it away with me. So, Friday evening I borrowed a lovely four wheel car trailer and made preparations for my long journey. 
I was aware that the Saturday morning was the start of a Bank Holiday weekend and the traffic could be horrendous, so I set the alarm for the ungodly hour of 3.30am. As it happens, I woke up at 2am and thought 'sod it, that's close enough, I'll sleep when I get there.
A nice trouble free run saw me arrive at outside the sellers work unit at Bristol at 6am and I went to sleep until he arrived at 07.30. After a couple of coffee's and a good chat, the sale was agreed, the car was loaded up and I left there at 08.45. 

I was lucky enough to have another trouble free run home, with only a bit slow going traffic around Heathrow where the M4 meets the M25. I arrived home at 12.45 where the car was unloaded and I then returned the trailer. 
The car itself is 'cosmetically challenged' but very, very solid underneath. It has MOT and tax until June 2015 and has been fitted with power steering and a front anti roll bar. It also came with 15 inch revolution 5 spoke alloys. (Even a spare one in the boot!) The seats aren't so clever, but as most people know I don't run standard triumph seats anyway so this area will be addressed at at later date. It also still has it's full injection system. (Something I now need to learn all about!)
I also have to sing words of praise for my Landrover Discovery on this trip as well. It was the first time I'd ever used it for towing and I was very impressed. it's a 2.5 TDI and it's fuel consumption was very reasonable considering what it was pulling. I was trying to keep at around 60 mph, but even on the hills she never dropped below 50mph. (and there's some long climbs on that M4!) 

As I said at the beginning, I wasn't looking for another car, but the price was very good and the car has a lot of potential. I didn't think I'd ever the get the chance to own a genuine Mk1 PI so  I feel quite privileged. :)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

June 28th. Gertie's nose job.

After my mishap on the A127 shortly before the HCR, the time came to take Gertie on a trip up to my good friend Peter Jackson in Cambridgeshire so he could have a go at performing surgery on her and trying to restore her natural good looks. 
After months of chasing I had managed to find a replacement nosecone panel (for the bargain price of £20!) in case nothing could be done with the dented panel and her nose cone had to be replaced entirely. 
On arrival at Peter's, I offered him the option of cutting up the new panel and welding sections in as I thought that might have been a lot easier than trying to pull her one out but Peter was confident that that wouldn't be necessary.
With the car up on axle stands to enable a suitable working height the inner head lights, side lights,  indicators and front grill were removed for easier access to the front panel. 
Peter's first plan of action was to weld pieces of metal with holes drilled through them onto Gertie's nose. I had brought my large hub puller  with me which would act as a large slide hammer and this was then attached to the pieces of metal via a large nut and bolt.
Some spirited pulling and yanking ensued and slowly but surely the nose cone started to reform its original profile. The hardest bit was the drivers side as this side was more flatter than the other but by welding a bolt directly onto the panel near where the crease was and pulling while hammering at the same time, it gradually relented. 
 Peter also pulled out the dent where the badge was which I was delighted about as that had always been there since I bought it and was nothing to do with the accident. It was then that we discovered that the backing plate for the badge that pushes into the three small holes was missing and that the chrome surround and plastic badge part were just glued on anyway! 
With the panel now up to Peter's very high standard he then started filling, sanding down, then filling, then sanding down, then filling, then.......well you get the picture. I never realised there so much that goes into bodywork to get it perfect and Peter certainly has more patience than I do. Even though it wasn't his car, not once were the words 'that'll do' or 'that's close enough' were spoken even though, by now time was getting on. 
Relentlessly, he carried on until he obtained the shape and profile that he wanted and then and only then did he start talking of getting some paint on. 
I have to say, I'm seriously impressed with the end result and cannot convey my appreciation enough to Peter for his high standard of workmanship and dedication in restoring Gertie's nose. This last picture doesn't do the work justice as the Grey primer and 'mist' of Satin black somewhat hide the shape and finish, but believe me it's very very good. 
I finally left Peter's house just before 9pm and arrived home around eleven. A very long, but very very rewarding day. The next move will be to flat the primer back and get the nose ready for painting. Then Gertie will look her best again. :) 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

At last an update! May 18th. Something a bit different!

A lot has happened since my last post including moving to a new house in a new town and renting out my old house. The move happened over the Easter weekend and since then there really hasn't been much time for car work or events.
However, with (reasonable) normality restored, it was time for some fun. (Or so I thought)
So, at the insane hour of 4.45am on Sunday morning, I left my new town of Leigh On Sea to travel down to Enfield to collect my nephew and head to Crystal Palace to the start of the Classic Mini London to Brighton Rally.
The local councils were obviously aware of 2,500 Mini's (Yes, that is right, 2,500 Mini's)  descending on south London as they decided to shut the Blackwall tunnel. Good thinking! A lengthy diversion saw us heading over Tower Bridge at around 6.15am and eventually onto where we should be.

With us finally booked into registration we began the long wait for our departure time. They line the cars up on a 'first come first served basis' so basically, the later you get there, the later you leave there. Our delays were not in our favour. Needless to say, we had plenty of time to kill, so we hung around the campsite/car park for a couple of hours or so. I have to say though, there were some fantastic Mini's there to see.


By just after 10.30am it was our turn to leave and we made our way through London to pick up the M23 to Brighton. With over 2000 Mini's plus normal traffic in front of us progress was very slow and with being the hottest day of the year so far, a lot of Mini's had already started overheating. We seemed to be coping ok with the heat and by about 12pm we had eventually made the M23. 
We stopped for a quick sandwich in the services but it was shortly after leaving the services that our problems began. The sound of what I initially thought was 'pinking' soon turned into rattling and a quick exit off the A23 found a petrol station where we could stop and investigate. The engine for some reason had boiled itself dry. We let it cool down a bit a refilled it with water, but it wasn't keen on that and belched loads of it back out. I optimistically put it down to sitting in loads of traffic for so long and tried to continue with the journey. However, on arriving just outside Brighton at the roundabout of the junction of the A23 & A27 (of which both routes were solid with traffic again!) she boiled over again. I was now convinced that we had blown the head gasket and decided to turn around and try and nurse the car home. 
After stopping a further six times, and getting through about 14 bottles of water and flask of coffee (we had ran out of water at the time) we were doing well. We had made it back to Essex and was on the M25 when she overheated again and this time refused to restart. I admitted defeat and we called for recovery. It was 3.15pm by now and we were given an eta of 4pm. We thought that was pretty good, but then at 4pm we received a phone call saying we would now be recovered at 5.30pm. I didn't fancy another 90 mins of getting roasted to death in the sunlight on the hard shoulder of a motorway, so luckily, now the engine had cooled a bit, I managed to get it started and got it off of the motorway. Unfortunately, we still only managed about another ten miles and it finally gave up the ghost near Basildon, only 7 miles from home.

The recovery arrived with us just after 5.15pm and with the AA man confirming that the head gasket had indeed gone he recovered us back home. The only problem with that was that I now had to get my Nephew back to his home in Enfield. It's a good job I could rely on my Triumph estate to serve that purpose. I finally got home about 8pm that night. A bit of a long day then! 
The good thing about Mini's though is the parts availabilty. A head gasket set was ordered Monday afternoon, the head was removed Monday night, the gasket set arrived on Tuesday and the car was put back together Tuesday evening and driven to work and back on Wednesday with no further problems.

Some more pics from the event.......

Ready for the off.......eventually! 

A rare traffic free moment!

A very nice blonde girl with a lovely figure. Oh, and some Mini's. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Gertie's Clutch Issues resolved

The recent trip to The Netherlands and sitting in the awful stop start traffic of the Antwerp ring road inspired me to finally resolve a clutch issue that I knew I had with Gertie. 
For a long time there has been excessive play when the clutch hasn't been engaged and when it is engaged the piston is almost coming out the end of the slave cylinder. 
I suspected that the taper pin that holds the clutch fork onto the cross shaft inside the bell housing was broken and this was causing my problem. Although if it was this, then I'm amazed that the clutch would still function properly at all. After various other investigations proved fruitless evidence was still pointing towards the taper pin and after a few days of pondering I decided to take the plunge and remove the gearbox.
Initial viewings of the taper pin, cross shaft and clutch fork showed that all seem to be well and everything was operating and turning as it should. However, when I unbolted the taper pin I found the below......
In a way I was quite relieved as this meant that removing the gearbox hadn't been a waste of time. Removing the cross shaft from the clutch fork took some time and effort, so there must have just been enough of the pin sticking out of the cross shaft to still operate the clutch. 
Once removed new cross shaft bearings were fitted and the new taper pin installed. I also fitted a new clutch release bearing as the old one had become a bit 'chatty'.
With the gearbox back in and all bolted up I then had to wait for the return of my reconditioned starter motor a few days later.
 The starter motor was the collected from Danbury auto electrics and fitted that night and a very short test drive proved that the clutch is now nice and smooth with no nasty 'clicky' noises or 'notchy' movements. So all seems good.
Looks like we are back on schedule for the HCR after all! Happy Days! 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

8th March- Nachtrit van het Oosten 2014

At long last the day had arrived to get away from it all and disappear for a well deserved weekend away. The destination was once again The Netherlands to take part in the Club Triumph Chinese Rally. We departed Wickford at 9am to catch the 12pm boat to Dunkerque and were pleasantly surprised to find very little traffic. (Even at the Dartford Crossing!)
A brief stop on the way to Dover had us in a mild panic as Gertie refused to restart. After persuading the starter motor to rejoin the land of the living with the aid of a small hammer, Gertie fired up and we were once again on our way. Halfway across the channel the sun decided to join us as well and a very nice drive through France and Belgium followed. This was my third year of competing in the Chinese Rally and the weather had never been so good. It snowed last year and rained the year before that so the sunshine was absolute bliss.

The traffic on the ring road at Antwerp was horrendous and over an hour later we finally made the exit we wanted towards Eindhoven
A brief stop in the services saw us topped up with Coffee & Cheese biscuits and we then carried on into the Netherlands and to our hotel at Haaksbergen.
By the time we arrived it was 9.45pm and the restaurant was closed but the friendly lady in charge cooked us two pizzas anyway. This was washed down nicely with a few beers and made for a nice end to a long day.
 Saturday morning was spent mooching around the local town which again was very beautiful in the sunshine. We then decided to check out the start location for the rally later that evening and fill up with petrol in case there were no garages on route.

Back at the hotel we were joined in the afternoon by Andy Flaxney & Jeremy Lupton, Mike & Gillian Helm, Mike & Jane Charlton and Mike Bishop and Darren Armitage. We were also joined a bit later by Theo, Roger, and Willi and Jennie Mindak. 4pm soon arrived and we headed for the start point at the Kings Wok in Beckum where we enjoyed a lovely Chinese meal. Our departure times arrived and before you knew it we were off into the wilds and following the tulip diagrams in the road book and trying our best to keep to the proposed route.

 Ten pages of diagrams later we were joining the other drivers at the halfway stage for coffee & cake. Once suitably refreshed we set off again into the night for the second half of the event.
There were some great roads and some real nice cars as well. The British Triumphs all finished although Andy Flexney's car did have some electrical issues. More beers in the bar finished the night nicely and we turned in in readiness for the long trip home.
 Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny again and after a good breakfast we all bid our farewells and took to the road. Large thermometers by the side of the motorways showed a gorgeous 16 degrees and I couldn’t remember the last time I drove Gertie with the windows open. Roll on the summer! 



We arrived in Dunkerque in plenty of time for our Ferry, but then Gertie blotted her copy book again by refusing to start when being called for embarkation. The ignition lights came on but then nothing when the key was turned. Luckily the people behind us very kindly gave us a push start and we made the ferry back to blighty.
 Just over two hours later we embarked at Dover and promptly drove straight into a traffic jam on the M2. I was diverting off at the Sheerness turn off anyway as I had won a Triumph Stag Petrol tank (For my MK2 estate-they’re the same) on ebay while we were away and had arranged to collect it on the way home. With the tank collected we headed back to the M2 only to find it still busy! Two hours later we arrived home quite exhausted from our long, but fantastic weekend away. I do like these weekends away in Holland and will most probably book the next one in November. However, the main focus for now is sorting out Gertie’s starter motor issues in time for the HCR in a few weeks time. Actually, since returning home another issue has come to light and at present Gertie’s gearbox is sitting on my workbench! Will it be cured and refitted in time for the HCR? Who knows? Watch this space! 

Estate:

The fuel problem that has dogged me for so many years with this car has made an unwelcome return after 15 months of absence. I thought that whatever it was that clogged the fuel line up every now and then had finally gone into retirement when suddenly on Thursday 6th March 2014 it viciously returned.
To add insult to injury the car had just passed its Mot and was on the way home. As usual, it decided to break down on a busy dual carriageway with no lay-by’s or emergency breakdown areas, or street lamps. So I know it wants to kill me.
Now that Gertie is minus its gearbox, this is the car that may have to be used for the HCR god forbid! I wonder if we’ll get a special prize for breaking down in every county? 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Back in the fold!

Due to other commitments (Details to be revealed soon) I've not really had the time to do anything much car related recently hence the blog being quite.... erm.....quiet.
I've managed to fit in a couple of local rallies which resulted in finishing in 2nd from last place both times, so not a good start to the year.
Last night was the Chelmsford Motor Club 'Tendring Classic', so it was time to try and improve on my dismal performance. Ellis Stokes was recruited as navigator for the night but as with the previous two rallies, the rain appeared on Friday morning and stayed! I took the car to work so I could get away sharpish and head straight up the dreaded A12 towards Ipswich. (Never good on any night let alone Friday)


After a long day at work, a long drive up to Ardleigh in Suffolk followed where the rally was to start from. The rain still hadn't stopped and you couldn't help feeling that you'd have been better off with a boat!

With our start time due we were handed the clues and Ellis set about plotting. The CMC rallies are timed events and very strictly adhere to as well. It was Ellis's first CMC timed event so we were entered in the 'beginners' class. This class allows you fifteen minutes to plot as much of the route as you can before your 'departure' time. However, given the length of the route, you really don't get much plotting done. 
eight long sections on the agenda along with rain, mud, potholes, puddles and some fords thrown in just for good measure. 

(Ellis Plotting-and my finger in the way of the lens!)

Our departure time from TC0 (Time control zero) was 20.01 and we finally arrived back at the last time control at 10.55. Probably one of the longest CMC night rallies I've ever done. The results were announced and we had come 1st in class and 6th overall. A good night and a good result too. Ellis even enjoyed himself and has vowed to do more in the future. 
Gertie performed well and caused us no problems, which is just as well as she is off to Holland next weekend for the Club Triumph Holland 'Chinese Rally'.