Right then peeps, sit down and buckle up. If you can't buckle up then for christs sake fit some seatbelts on your sofas, do you not take health and safety seriously??
We have a bumper double bill in store for you:
So next up as mentioned was the JPS show in Coventry. Now I didn't take any pics but some of you will have already seen I did make a short video of the show and I do have a picture of my Zed ready to go in the morning after waking up the neighbours at 5:30
Freshly waxed but the front bumper is gonna have to wait until the winter to get painted/wrapped.
It was great to meet up with the forum massive once again and some new faces as well. Great selection of Zeds on the group stand although as someone said, the 350s are starting to get thin on the ground now some of them are 16/17 years old! Video below:
Next up was another Hillclimb round at the end of August and I needed to really fix the front damage again for the second time. Now at this point, even though I had been massively understating the cost of parts to the other half, even she was beginning to add them all up and several £20 and £30 still run into hundreds that in her mind could be (lets put this diplomatically) be better spent elsewhere. With this in mind and to try and score some brownie points I said I would fix it myself so I took the front indestructible bumper off (this thing is worth its weight in polyurethane!) and was greeted with this:
I did not want to take the main rad support off again as 1- its a pain, 2- it would mean disconnecting the power steering cooler, 3- there are lots of bolts/clips and I just couldn't be arsed. So I purchased a fibreglass repair kit for £15 and decided to fix it in situ. I also decided to make a new bracket for the oil cooler out of angle iron and bolts lying around, I could re-use the oil cooler lines so only needed to purchase the main oil cooler rad which was around £120. The undertray could be just beaten back into submission for the 4th time, that thing is another lifesaver.
So step one: Angle grind out the cracks to leave a nice hole to fix:
Step Two- put some cardboard behind said hole and start filling with fibreglass matting and resin.
Word of caution to anyone thinking of taking on something like this, do not mix anywhere like the amount of hardener you think you'll need in with the resin. I think the instructions said something like a pea size amount of hardener per 10ml resin and it gives you 5mins of working time. Well I think I was working to mushy peas rather than garden peas as it went off in around half that time, so I only had chance to do 4 layers of matting, still enough to do the job and seems strong enough to hold:
Then the good old rattle cans came out, just anything I had lying around in the garage, some grey plastic primer first and in between coats I was "fabricating" a new oil cooler bracket and working out how it can be fixed and secured to the rad support:
I then unscrewed the oil cooler pipes at height so the oil would stay in them meaning I would lose very little oil, just what was inside the battered rad. New rad fitted and I went for a silver one this time to match, well sort of match the power steering rad so it looks much cooler from the front when you look through the gaping mouth of the bumper. I had some kuro black spray paint so this went over the grey primer to blend in. To do a proper job it should have been filled and sanded but as its for the most part unseen I'm not that bothered, plus knowing me it will be wrecked again shortly, in hindsight I should have repaired the first one and saved £150 cough cough, sorry wife, I meant should have saved the £30.
Whilst I had the car in service mode and after recently bleeding the brakes I thought to myself, wonder how that 6 month old clutch fluid is doing, well, not to well...
recent brake fluid on the left, clutch on the right, both RBF660 so not wanting to start another "why wont my clutch bleed" type thread I just syringed out as much "old" fluid as I could using the son's calpol syringe and filled back up with fresh, what difference it will make I don't know but it looks orange again in the reservoir so that's good enough for now. They say prevention is cheaper than the cure so I have bought some volcanic rock heat wrap stuff to fit during the winter. I think the root cause is the unshielded high flow cats are getting so hot when I am waiting to race and during racing that its partly cooking the fluids even with high temp stuff. If anyone can chip in if its safe to heatwrap sports cats or which section would be best to heatwrap than please chip in. The joblist for winter is starting to grow as I now have warp speed indicator blinking again so either the resistors behind the rear bumper have packed in or somethings come loose, either way I need to take the rear bumper off and sort out.
So onto the hillclimbing: round 7 and we had a lovely day for it, this was the early morning shots:
Yes, A lovely Renault Alpine A110 had come to have a go. The mature owner had only had it a month and just come back from a 2000 mile trip round Europe so needless to say, he didn't trouble the top of the leaderboard understandibly but it did get a lot of attention throughout the day.
Bit of a frustrating day for me as braking wasn't the best yet again. I think in hindsight this was in part due to the 2 year old nankangs being well past their best and then me putting standard pads back on thinking they were the issue so the last 2 sectors I was losing chunks of time meaning my best time of 65.46 was well down on similar conditions from previous year. something needed doing but what....
In the 3 weeks between round 7 and the double header of this weekend (rounds 8 & 9) the wife decided to sell her Fiat 500X and buy a mini. She has always wanted one ever since passing her test ages ago and now has convinced herself is the perfect time to get one. I did try to twist her arm to get a supercharged one but I had to settle for the 120hp Cooper model. It is a nice low mileage example and being the car enthusiast I am, after she had pestered long enough I agreed and gave it a thorough clean and protection. I also took the opertunity to video it with the iPhone so if you literally want to stick pins in your eyelids for 30 minutes and you are that dull that there is nothing else you can do in the 30 minutes then watch away.
Fast forward to this weekend and we had a double header at Harewood to finish the season. In a last ditch attempt to get back into the 64's I went and purchased a set of Extreme tyres. Now most of you reading will not know or have heard about these tyres and why would you. They are ex rally remould tyres from Poland/Germany available in a range of compounds to suit sprints/track days/rallying. The benefit is they are fairly cheap, around £100 each for 18" and they are road legal, the drawbacks are they wouldn't last 2 minutes on the road and they chew up very easy if they overheat, the quality is very dubious also but it seems everyone at the top of each class is using them so as the old saying goes, If you cant beat them, Cheat. or it could be join them, I never can quite remember. Anyway I decided to be a sheep and follow everyone else, Saturday was a nice relatively warm sunny day which resulted in:
All 3 timed runs in the 64's The grip these things give you and the confidence to thrown it round corners is incredible. I have said this before and will just stress again, now wonder F1 spends hours debating tyres, almost a second quicker just chucking on a new set and in T1 beat my PB by 3 tengths. I honestly thought I was on for a 63 but excitement got the better of me and a mistake in the next 2 runs cost me half a second each time. I wwas on for the win as well but Terry in the Talbot pipped me on the last run to snatch victory away (he too set a new PB on Extremes) @Kieran O'Quick had an unusual off day and problems/errors meant he finished behind Me and Terry.
Just for info I have the soft R5 compound on the rears and the medium R7 compound on the fronts, to stress the unusual quality the 255 fronts and 265 rears are exactly the same width, when you offer them up side by side or stack them laying flat they are identical, im not sure if the seating part is different as they seem to fit the different width wheels I have fine. To give you an idea of how "soft" they are, I travelled to the event in them, around 20 miles cruising on the motorway at 60mph as I had issues with the wet tyre offering from them overheating on the motorway if you recall. I arrived at harewood around 7:30, the grass was wet and when I parked up the rear tyres were steaming, they were very hot to the touch and burning off the moisture from the ground so again, I would not recommend them for a daily car unless you got the hard compound.
Onto Today (Sunday) and to quote another quote, "what a difference a day makes"
From the dizzy heights of a PB and regular 64's we arrived today to find that what the british weather gaves us in one hand, they now taketh away in the other. fairly cold, windy and rain in the air, although not forecast till the afternoon, it was looking bleak all day. The tyres, even the softs could not switch on until the latter part of the run meaning everyone was complaining about poor starts and lack of grip. There were several first turn incidents including Julian in our class in his MX5 who never managed to record a time. Jonathan who was 2nd in the championship had major problems and didn't get to record a time and lots of people had offs probably due to a number of factors but the colder conditions definitely didn't help. My times were consistently in the low 65's but I just couldn't get a 64. Terry was in the exact same boat and we were posting almost identical times all day. I finally finished 0.05 secs in front of him but we were both frustrated. Kieran grabbed the win again after he must have been up all night crying at both not getting a trophy Saturday and blowing the chance of a top 3 finish in the Championship, he ultimately finished 5th so will get a trophy at the awards night. Myself and Terry after a season long battle ultimately finished just outside the top 10 in 14th and 12th respectively but still not a bad showing, gonna have a long think about what to do for next season to get into the elusive top 10, maybe new cams???
Final leaderboard below out of 164 championship contenders:
harewood championship 150919.pdf
Video below of my best run today 65.07 good enough for 2nd (again) worth noting I got 4 new sector PBs yesterday so my best virtual time is 63.6 whilst that may be unrealistic I think on a perfect day (bright sunshine to heat the tarmac but low air temps for higher power) a 63 something just may be possible. Apologies for noise, I need to get a better camera, I'm not sure where it picks the rattling up from as it doesn't seem to move, need to find a better setup. the camera did not work either yesterday so havn't got my new PB run which is gutting as well:
Well, that concludes this months edition
and what have we learnt?
1- Don't use too much hardner when using a fibreglass repair kit
2- Lying to the other half about spending will still come back to bite you. (although it will prolong the solicitors letter)
3- Extreme tyres are better for hillclimbing than anything else (although that's all you can use them for)
4- I will never be a youtube sensation (or even a voiceover guy)
Until next time...