Croft 23rd-24th September 2006
This week end TEAM SLAP MY TOP will be racing at Croft near Darlington.
This will be the last two races of the season and I need to beat at least one driver by one point in both races to secure third in class in the championship.
The car has been at Entune 2000 in Bolton for the last week having some repairs to the engine.
If you remember on the last race at Mallory park it was losing power, well I have been informed that it was over revved and that the valves hit the block.
The valves have been recut and there has been some more metal taken from the block where the valves made contact. Also there has been some modifications to the inlet manifold and a new electronic ignition system fitted.
We are traveling up on Friday to Peter Burgess's rolling road at Alfreton, it seems to have spent more time on the rolling road this year than on the track
I must apologise to anybody who saw me in the blue Vauxhall Astra with the awful PINK interior, I ONLY BORROWED IT BECAUSE IT IS MORE ECONOMICAL THAN THE CAMPER VAN, HONEST. I still like girls Hi Alex
Team Slap My Top made it's way up the M1 to Peter Burgess's rolling road last Friday 22nd Sept. A new ignition system and cylinder head had been fitted by Entune 2000 the previous week. these both needed adjustment to produce the most available power. Peter worked his magic and I was very pleased with the result.
We arrived at Croft near Darlington just in time for a thunderstorm and it was great fun trying to set up camp in the rain, especially trying to get the generator working without electrocuting myself. It was definitely not a night for a BBQ.
Saturday dawned grey but dry and we started preparing the car I discovered why the car s handling was loose at Mallory Park the offside shock absorber had lost it's bolt and was hanging free. This was repaired and the car was checked over once again.
I needed to beat one of my rivals by one point in both races to finish third in class in the championship this was going to be hard as we had been racing wheel to wheel all season.
We were racing with the Scottish XR2's as well so this would be an interesting race, we would be split into two grids, but we could meet up in traffic as the race progressed.
I was one of the first away from the assembly area for practice and I didn't run into traffic until the end , I was pleased with the car even thought I didn't go flat out. I had qualified 5th overall and 4th in class just behind two of my rivals but I would be sited in-between them with a view to split them up at the start.
As the red lights went off I had a brilliant start and as we went into the first corner we were all level the car to the left of me had to run wide and at the chicane I had to back off as there wasn't enough room for three of us to get through it. I was behind my main rival and for three laps I slipstreamed him trying to put pressure on him to make a mistake. Every time I tried to pass he blocked me, until on lap four he made a mistake at the hairpin, but as I tried to pass him he blocked me and I knocked off his rear lights.
It was just after that I seemed to lose power once again and slowly as if you wee watching a film in slow motion he pulled away. But worst was to come with my loss of power my other rival was able to catch me up. I tried to block him but on lap eight as we were entering Sunny In he passed me but I was able to catch him at Sunny Out and force him into an error at the hairpin where he ran wide and I passed him. as we entered the last lap he was right behind me and once again he passed me at Sunny In as I lost power , I could not catch him and I finished 5th overall and 4th in class.
In the paddock I did a compression check on the engine and it was found to be down on number 1 cylinder I knew then that I had lost but I had to make the decision whether to race or not the next day.
That night our hosts the Darlington and District car club had a BBQ in a tent so we went there to drown our sorrows and we drank enough to sink a battle ship.
We decided to race and so the next day we prepared the car, even though we knew we had lost, but there is an old saying in motor sport that to finish first first you have to finish.
Once again I had a good start but the car in front of me snapped his halfshaft and stalled on the grid and he nearly had my car in his boot. I was slightly behind but I caught up with the first of my rivals at Sunny Out and I passed him but as I entered the hairpin I tried too hard and spun letting him pass me, luckily I didn't hit anything but had to wait until it was safe to rejoin the race. I tried my best but even though I passed most of the field, I could not catch him, and I finished 4th overall and 4th in class.
Mallory Park 27th August 2006
Mallory Park is only 30 minites away from where I live and because of that I had my neighbors, friends and Kilsby MG club which is my local MG club all travel to watch me, no pressure then.
Mallory is a fast track and after my poor showing at Angelsey I was hoping for a good result. I went out for practice with the tyres I had used at Angelsey, and they seemed to work well. The car was handling well, and I managed to get in some fast laps before I ran into traffic from slower cars. At the end of practice I was in second place on the grid but more importantly my lap time was half a second faster than the next car but there was only 7 tenths of a second between 4 of us. This is where I think I made a mistake I dropped the tyre pressures by a couple of pounds in order for the tyres to warm up quicker and give me small advantage, but with hindsight it was a mistake.
I needed a good start and I made it to the first corner ahead of my rivals I tried to break away but I couldn't. On the straight I could made a small gap but they would catch me on the corners, especially Shaws, which is a really tight hairpin, where on the exit my tyres were just spinning trying to find some grip. Once again though I was having to take a defensive line through the corners and not the best line. For the first eight laps I held them back, but on lap nine, I was overtaking a slower car and went wide. A car tried to pass but I blocked him, and two cars passed him, so I had a different colour car all over my boot. On lap ten the car started to lose power instead of taking the Esses in 4th, I was having to take it in 3rd or 3rd overdrive, and the other cars were getting closer all the time. We were going into Shaws together, I was trying to make the car as big as a bus but we were exiting nose to nose on the exit and I could just out drag him to the next corner, having the better line, but I knew that sooner or later I would lose my place, it was just putting off the inevitable. But I tried until unlucky for some lap thirteen when he passed me I gave chase, but the car was getting slower. The next lap he made a mistake and went wide into Gerrards. I took a chance to overtake him on the inside but lost it spun and missed the barrier by a hairs breath, the worst was though that two cars passed me and I had dropped to fifth. I gave chase but the car was losing power. luckily for me, and unfortunately for him, Martin one of my closest rivals broke down just before the finish, and in the end I finished fourth.
After I had returned home I did a compression check on the engine and I had lost compression in number one cylinder and the culprit being one of the valves, I hope my engine builder John from Entune 2000 is coming down this weekend to strip it down and have a look. Because Martin had to retire from the race I am currently third in class in the championship with two races to go at Croft near Darlington on September 23RD 24TH.
Tycross on Angelsey 19th 20th August 2006
On Friday 19th of August I made my way to Angelsey North Wales. Because of the V festival at Weston Park, it took nearly six hours to arrive there. The car park was full so I had to park on the grassed or should I say mudded area. Well I thought it can't get any worse, but it did,, it started to rain with a vengeance.
Saturday started wet and stayed that way. The start time for practice kept being cancelled, and in the end we had to complete our three practice laps behind the safety car. There was some racing later on but we were not involved.
Sunday arrived dry hooray! Because we had not practised on Saturday we were placed in our championship, order I was fourth . I made a good start, which was made better when two cars in front of me tangled and I was promoted to second place, but I had three cars behind me that were filling my mirrors. I was overtaken by a MG midget but that didn't matter as he was in a different class. Between the four MGB's fighting for third place there was nothing in it. I had to drive defensively all the time and wait for one of the following cars to make a mistake. As we crossed the line we resembled a train, we were that close, all I could see in my mirror was a blue car which fortunately made a mistake on lap 6 and spun, this gave me a small chance to make some clear space, and I did. I still had two cars on my tail but I had a breathing space, but as we entered the Hairpin we started to lap slower cars and it can sometimes go pear shaped. At first most of the other cars gave me room but as we approached the leader of the slower cars he would not let me past no matter how many blue flags were shown to him. I could not get past him with out possibly spinning . The other cars had closed up, and as we entered the Hairpin I dived to the inside and another car dived to the outside of him, I managed to outbrake him and it was at this point with two bonnets in front of him that he gave way. As I exited the hairpin I went wide and blocked the other car, we both went off the track, and he collected the mud from my tyres as we went 4x4ing . This gave me a little space and as I entered the final lap I could relax until I crossed the finishing line. I finished third overall any was very pleased but I knew the second race would be as hard and I couldn't make mistakes.
We had the last race of the day and we could actually see the mountains of Snowdonia, by now. I changed my tyres in the hope of getting more speed out of the car. I managed to achieve a good start and once again it was the same, but this time the Midget that was in front of me retired and I was promoted to 2nd, all I could see in my mirrors was 3 cars trying to overtake me, and this time things were closer and I couldn't make a small breakaway . I had to drive defensively once again and protect my racing line but the others could take a faster line. We had started to lap the slower cars but this time they moved out of my way, but also unfortunately let my rivals through as well. I held 2nd place until lap 15 when in an effort to increase my lead I ran wide and let two cars pass me , I was mad with my self and took flight after them I managed to catch them at the hair pin as we tried to out brake each other and all ran wide. As we entered the start/finish straight the car in front tried to overtake but made a mistake and spun in front of me, how we missed I don't know. I was now in third place trying for second as we entered the Radar corners the car in front went wide. I saw my chance and went to overtake him I went wide my self and spun and went back down to fifth, and that is how it finished.
I was slightly disappointed as I knew then that I couldn't make 2nd in the class championship and I would have to push hard to achieve 3rd.
Oulton Park 29th July 2006
Team slap my top! travelled up to Oulton park on Friday 28th to set up camp ready for Saturday. Unfortunately we were late getting there and didn't have time to be totally organized before darkness fell. I had intended to have a lie in the next morning as we weren't practising until 11.50.
So 07.00 I have to wake up to walk the track, I always try to do this just in case there has been any changes to the track from our last visit and I found one or two interesting things about the track. The circuit we were going to use today was Island which I had not driven before, that plus my sponsor ENTUNE 2000 and some friends were coming to watch me race, put no pressure on at all.
The first obstacle was scrutineering. I had two people going over my car but it passed anyway. The weather had by this time started to cloud over and we made ready to put on the wet tyres or the tyres with slightly more tread than the ones that I was going to use. There were many incidents in the practices before mine and the red flag always seemed to be waved, this meant that our practice would be shortened.
As we drove onto the track I was behind the championship leader and for the first couple of laps kept up with him. I fell back and as he pulled away one of my rivals came up behind me and I let him pass just to see how fast he was, and if he had any weak areas, that I could exploit in the race.
We raced together for a few laps and we were never more than a few feet apart .I stayed behind him and I found that he was weak coming out of Lodge corner and that if needed I could overtake him at DEER LEAP just before the start/finish line. He moved over to let me pass but as I did I could feel the car lose some power, as we came round again the chequered flag dropped and I went back to the paddock.
John from Entune started working on the car, first a compression test that was OK, then he checked the plugs, 3 and 4 were different, blacker than they should have been. We changed the plugs for some new ones and hoped the problem was solved. We had some lunch and went to watch some racing and the heavens opened with some torrential rain. GREAT. Because of this there were some more red flag incidents and when it was our turn to race, even though it had dried up, we were late and our race had been shortened to 15 minutes.
I had qualified 4th overall and 3rd in class, but there was less than half a second between the 3rd and 7th placed car.
The red lights went off but my wheels spun and I did not achieve the best of starts, I blocked a car at the first corner and kept my 4th place. Tony was in front of me and the car was working properly, as we headed into Cascades I stayed behind him and slipstreamed him all the way to the Island hairpin where I tried to overtake him but he blocked me.. We head around the track just inches between us. As we approached Deer leap for the first time I tried to overtake once again but he blocked me again. I couldn't find any where else to try to overtake him so once again Deer leap it would be. this time I was successful but I had to take the wrong line at Old Hall corner and he passed me again and we were like this for three laps me in front then Tony.
We came around once more and I made a feint to the left but over took him on the right but overcooked it into Old hall corner and ran wide. Because I had walked the track in the morning I knew there was a plastic matting on the out side of the corner and as long as you kept your foot down you could use it Tony made the most of my mistake and passed me, as we entered Cascades I felt the car once again lose power. It just would not pull for the next lap all I could do was to watch Tony pull away but worst than that one of the other cars was catching up. I held him off for a lap but as we approached Lodge I blocked him but he didn't stop and hit me on my rear wing. the car slid to the left but I held it. As we approached Cascades he passed me. The car was still playing up but seemed to be going faster. As we passed the start finish line the last lap board was shown, I knew it would have to be a death or glory move to regain any places I managed to catch up and as we entered Tower I made a move, but once again I went wide and again I had to use the plastic matting. I was still in with a chance and as we three entered Lodge I tried again but I just did not have the power to pass.
I finished 5th overall and 4th in class.
I was disappointed because if I am to salvage anything from this season I have to finish 2nd in class at the minimum. The car was at once stripped down and this time it was just number 4 plug that was the wrong colour. The problem is we don't know what is causing the lack of power we will have to put it back on a rolling road to try to find the problem.
My next race is on 19th 20th August at Tycross on ANGELSEY.
Silverstone 24th June 2006
The Silverstone event was a real roller coaster ride. Last week my friend James Darby retimed my camshaft and found it was 4 degrees out. This meant it had to go back to Peter Burgess's rolling road Thursday before the Silverstone event. Well Peter retimed the ignition and found some more power out of it. I then travelled back to Rugby and then on to Silverstone.
I had a free untimed practice on Friday morning which went well every thing worked and the car felt great. On returning to the paddock I was doing my checks and I found that the accelerator cable had started to fray and would not last the race. We rushed to the traders city but nobody had one, in the end somebody sold me their own spare one. This was eventually fitted and the tyres changed ready for Saturday.
The morning dawned grey and damp not what I wanted, I put my wet tyres next to the car just in case I had to change them. Luckily the rain stopped and I went out to practice, I was one of the first out onto the track and the car was running well. I stayed behind another car for a few laps to warm the tyres up and then passed him gaining more confidence with every lap. There was a minor problem, I could smell petrol and the fumes were starting to make my eyes water which is a bit of a hindrance at full speed. When I collected my times I had finished 5th in class and 6th overall out of a field of 26. There were 7 of us separated by only a second. It was time to refuel and just give the car a quick check over and try to find the fuel leak before the race. It was a leaking gasket on top of the carburettor.
All my friends had arrived some travelling from Manchester so once again NO pressure at all. Soon it was time to race and as I waited for the red lights to go out I built the revs up and we were off, I immediately did a Schumacher and cut up the car to my right, that was one place, we hurtled into Copse and I had lost a place but I held the inside line and moved up to 5th, going into Becketts I made another overtaking manoeuvre but went wide went into the gravel and spun into two 360's as I was exiting the second 360 I snatched 2nd gear dropped the clutch and exited the spin in the direction of the race. The red mist descended and I was away I managed to overtake one car just after bridge on the out side of Priory. I was flying at the end of lap 3 I had climbed back up to 8th going into Abbey I managed to overtake another car and once again at Bridge. I was in 6th place and I could see the leaders, but as exited Brooklands and entered Luffield I noticed a liquid exiting the top of the bonnet at first I thought it was Petrol but in actual fact it was all my coolant. The engine started to die and I found a safe place to stop. A core plug had decided to blow the one just in front of my distributor shorting out the electric’s and probably saving the engine. I was sick as a parrot. What I didn't know was that three cars following me had spun off as they had driven over the coolant putting two of them into the gravel trap.
As the race leader had gone over 50% of the race the race was stopped and the result was recorded as at the end of lap three. Luckily I had managed to salvage some points but I was not the most popular guy in the paddock
The next race is at Oulton Park on July 29th.
I will be at HOLLOWELL STEAM AND HEAVY HORSE SHOW near Crick, Northampton. on July 2nd 3rd on the KILSBY MG CLUB stand with the race car if anybody wants to say hello.
Oulton Park 3rd June 2006
As you know we have had some problems this year but we have had some success this weekend.
On Friday I took the car to Peter Burgess's rolling road and after 3 hours he seemed to clear the problem, even though the new head I bought at the beginning of the season is of the wrong design. There was no time to fix it so off we went to Oulton Park.
Usually when it is time for practice I am usually one of the first out, but with all the problems I was one of the last, and if it was going to misbehave I had better get three good laps in to qualify, so I drove like a bat out of hell.
Fortunately there was no problems and believe it or not I qualified 3rd overall and 2nd in class I was over the moon. For once I didn't have to touch the car just check the oil and refuel it.
My sponsor and some old school friends had turned up, so there was no pressure at all.
Soon it was time to race , I didn't get a good start, a V8 came from the back of the grid and I dropped to 5th but I managed to out brake one car going into the carousel and out drag him into the first chicane, next it was the turn of the V8 we battled for a couple of laps with me stuck to his bumper like super glue. As we exited the second chicane and headed up to Water Tower I managed to draw level with him and keep the inside line for Druids, this forced him wide and I was able to pull away. I drew away from the pack and I could see in my mirrors that he was caught up by the rest of the pack and there was a right battle going on. This carried on until 4 laps before the end, When one car broke away and was headed for me. “OH Dear” I said or words to that effect, I will have to start working again. On certain parts of the circuit he was faster than me and I had to make the car as wide as a super tanker to block him and on others I was faster than him and as we travelled up hill to the water tower he fell back, and as I passed him on the penultimate lap he was parked against a barrier he had blown his engine. The last lap board came into view and I drove fastest but safest lap I have ever done.
When after a life time the chequered flag dropped I was in heaven and I did my customary slapping my top to my friends who had come to watch, even the commentator mentioned it I was told.
At the end I finished 3rd overall and 2nd in class after all the problems we have had this year there was some celebrating done in the paddock afterwards.
The next race is at the MG Car Club International event at Silverstone on 23rd, 24th and 25th of June where people come from around the world just for MG's.
Snetterton 21st May 2006
We were racing last weekend Sun 21st May at Snetterton and all we managed to acquire was two bollockings and a scrape down the side of the car.
After the disaster at Donnington I replaced all of the ignition system, to hopefully cure the fault.
In the practice session at first the car was OK, but as the practice continued the misfire became worse, and I had to pit to see if anything was obviously wrong. As I exiting the pits I was stopped by the marshals who informed me that my timing device was not working and unless it was fixed I would not be racing, great all I needed. The misfire did not get any better.
After practice we replaced the distributor cap, moved the coil and disconnected the fuel filter to see if that helped. I found what I thought was a place to test the car, unfortunately it wasn't a place to test the car as I had bollicking number 2.
I had qualified 13th out of a grid of 17 and was 5th in class.
I did not get a good start the track was very slippy with all the rain that had fallen, the car behaved well at first but soon started to misbehave and lose power. most of the time I was involved in a scrap with a MG metro and a MG Maestro and it was this car, that locked up going into the chicane at Russells and scraped the paint from off side of my car. We were all spinning in the wet, and at the Bombhole there were two rivers running across the track the first made the car light and the second one aquaplaned the car, sometimes into a spectacular spin.
At the end of the 1st race I had managed to finish 12th and 5th in Class.
In the paddock my friends worked hard to try and fix the car, we dismantled the electronic ignition and reverted to points and condenser, to see if that cured it, they also retimed it.
The rain was falling heavier as we went out for our 2nd race. I managed a good start and was running 6th overall but once again, after a good start, the car lost power especially on the straight. I was having a good fight with an MGF where I could out corner him but he had the power on the straight, and eventually he left me. Once again, because I was pushing it, I spun off more than once, doing a spectacular 3x 360 degree spin and facing the correct way at the end of it.
I am racing this Saturday at Oulton Park in Chesire, but on Friday the car is going to Peter Burgess’s rolling road at Alfreton to see if we can cure the problem. I have replaced the fuel pump and fuel lines just in case they are the problem.
I would like to thank James, Jimmy and Lew who worked on the car in the rain and to every body who waves as they pass us on the roads.
Donnington 6th May 2006
Yesterday we were racing at Donnington park and it didn't go too well.
We had a misfire in practice and I only managed to qualify 11th overall and 7th in class, we tried to fix it, as a lead from the distributor to the coil was loose.
I had a good start but the problem reappeared, and I slipped back down the field. I had to push the handling beyond it's limits and had 2 off road incidents. I was going to retire, but 2 of my rivals had broken down so I kept going to the end and finished 11th overall and 5th in class.
If I can fix the car in time I will be going to LYLS Y FRAN in south Wales for a hill climb.