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Diary 2012

 

The year begun by taking my race instructor course at Brands Hatch. A good experience, with a mixture of theory exam (similar to the ARDS race license exam), practicalities of being an instructor and plenty of passengering and driving alongside an instructor. The five of us all learnt we passed at the end of the day receiving good feedback on our driving and instructing abilities. The probationary C license allows me to instruct newcomers on experience days when working for a race school. I will continue to take private bookings to help instruct individuals when requested on trackdays.

                                                  

This year I have had a year away from racing, going back to having fun on trackdays, instructing individuals and saving money for our wedding.

Submitted a photo I took which was used for the Lotus Seven Club magazine in April, pretty pleased with it. I then wrote an article the following month about how I took the shot.

                           

Drove the Caterham over to Belgium for an enjoyable trackday at the former Belgian GP circuit of Zolder, then spent a couple of days at the Nurburgring before a tourist day looking around Bruges. The car was faultless and Beth and I had a great time. Zolder reminds me of Oulton Park with elevation changes and a mix of fast and slow corners through the trees. Stayed at hotel ‘de pits’ which overlooks the start line and pitlane, I recommend it with comfortable rooms, views and good food.  

              

                           

Curborough, with a bit of competitive fun again with the FCCUK. Needed to maintain my title of fastest car of the day (the Caterham does give me a BIG advantage!) but the weather was going to make that difficult. You can see from the video that it was very slippery but fun, in the end I took a joint win with two other cars, all of us posting times within one second of each other.

                             

The Celica was taken out a few times, posting a time only three seconds slower than the Caterhams in the wet conditions. Onlookers believed the car was rear wheel drive the back end was out so frequently, great fun!

I have always raced with the headlights attached, whilst many Caterhams race without them as they are unnecessary weight and drag. They are very difficult for me to remove, so I bought and fitted a number of water resistant connectors from www.polevolt.co.uk, now I just need to loosen four bolts, disconnect the electrical connectors and that's it, the lights are off.

                                               

Enjoyed two brilliant days at the Supercar event at Dunsfold (formerly known as Dads Day Out) where Elizabeth and I took paying members of the public out for slalom/drifting rides in the Caterham. The event raised a lot of money for charity and we look forward to helping again next year.

                            

 

Another visit to Curborough for some fun with the FCCUK (great community) and a fastest time of the day. Had great fun taking passengers out, seeing their glasses fly off under braking force achieved at the end of the straight! Drove a couple of other cars, posting a fast time which took a while for the owner to beat.

 

One of many trackdays this year included this charity trackday at Castle Combe. A very slippery, wet track but good fun and a useful excercise in trying different lines to find the grip. A pity the sound is awful but I was using the waterproof Kodak Playsport which doesn't have the option of an external microphone.

                            

 

Now a married man (a brilliant day, I’m a lucky and happy man), I can save up for next season, intending to race in the cscc Magnificent Sevens series in class A (Upto 1700cc under 140BHP).

               

Have been speaking to Dave Andrews at DVA Power through the year and have now booked in for an engine re-build. The aim is to fit the Supersport cams and solid lifters from my old 1400 engine as well as stronger ‘trophy’ pistons, this should give me a little more torque and a stronger, safer engine at higher rpm.

The engine didn't want to come out without a fight, this is the result of my amateurish mistake of having my face too close when undoing a dry sump nut with a spanner!

                                                                  

My nose took the brunt of the force, saving what could have been a nasty eye injury. Looks like I'm going to be left with a permanent reminder of the Caterham for some years afterwards! Still, we managed to get the engine out of the car in just a few hours despite the injury and blood, and delivered it to DVA Power at Milton Keynes. Here is one of the Trophy pistons being weighed to check all four rods and pistons are matched.

   

                                                              
                                                                              A head being ported at DVA

After Christmas we collected the engine from DVA Power, looking shiny and new after a thorough clean and overhaul. Well worth the money paid, in fact it has possibly saved me money as Dave Andrews discovered that two of the valves would have failed in the distant future and the dry sump tensioner bearing was dry. A number of fixings have been replaced and the porting has been further improved including matching the ports to the inlet manifold. The engine now has the old EU2 cam cover, partly as I prefer its appearance and partly as it keeps a bit of the 1400 original engine in the car for sentimental value.

Dave replaced the weighty and redundant front engine mount with a simple alloy cover.

                                         

Whilst the engine is out I am taking the opportunity to carry out a few improvements.

- Starter relay modification as starting has become an intermittent problem with 'K click'
- Wiring up the radiator cooling fan to the Emerald ECU
- Protecting the starter motor from radiant heat from the exhaust primaries with a heat blanket
- Replace the dry sump tensioner as Dave reported the bearing a little rough.
- Fit an accurate oil pressure gauge from Think Automotive to replace the standard electronic sender and gauge.