One thing I had to bite the bullet and purchase was a new set of wet tyres, while in Class C you can use any road tyre on MSA list 1A the Toyo’s I kept as wets were the race tyres I used in my first season in 2014 and most of my second season in 2015. They were cooked to death with no give whatsoever and at Snetterton they were useless. On a recommendation from Oliver at Preptech I decided to purchase some Uniroyal Rainsports from my regular suppler at Camskill.
I was lucky enough to win two Dunlop Direzza’s in the end of season raffle so I purchased a new rim and took the worst left handed one I had in my existing 5 tyres and put them on. This gives me two spares, one left and one right.
The MG Trophy has decided to adopt the soon to be mandatory tow straps on every corner rule. This is supplied to us in kit form that has been specially commissioned by the Trophy. Fairly straight forward fitting especially as I have the front bumper off and out the way a supplied bracket fits on the front beam mounting bolts then tie wrapped onto the corner of the bumper (when re-fitted). While in the front, I re-loom the o/s/f indicator that got ripped out by the recover truck at Snetterton.
The rear straps require a little more effort, drilling a 13mm hole 50mm behind the existing hole in the chassis up through into the boot floor. The supplied bolt then fixes in through the strap and bolts in. This time two slits are cut in the corner of the rear bumper to wedge the loop in place rather than under the bumper.
After the bush upgrade, next was adding longer studs to the front hubs for the 10mm spacers. This is one of the changes that I am not convinced will beneft to much but I will do it anyway. Two sets of M12 x 1.5 x 63mm studs and some 10mm spacers ordered I take two spare hubs apart. While they are apart its best to replace the wheel bearings so these are pressed in.
Realising to press the studs in I need to drill the holes in the hub out to 12.5mm I order a hardened drill bit that lasts two seconds in Dad’s pillar drill at the first attempt. This puts the process on hold until I can visit an engineering shop and get them machined out rather than eat drills!
Two evenings have been used up changing the rear beam bushes from the OEM ones to PowerFlex Black ones in line with 2017 regs. This is not technically a hard job but always seems to bring out the colourful language.
With the bolts that pass through the bushes removed and the rear beam hanging, a bit of heat from a blow torch allows a gentle tap with a copper mallet to remove the original bushes out the way.
Once these are out the new bushes can be tapped in from the inside with a bit of grease and the steel tubes tapped through as well.
The pain in the job is lifting up the rear beam on ones own to line up the bolt holes once more. I found the best way was to undo the three bolts that hold the mount onto the floor of the car, fit the beam to the mount as the freedom of the mount being off the car allows easy hole alignment. Finally, just lift the beam up and put the bolts back in to secure the mount to the floor plan.
With Christmas out of the way its time to get the car back in the workshop and make a start on the preparation for the 2017 season. The only reg’s changes are the permitted fitment of Powerflex Black bushes to all suspension components and the fitment of four new cable towing eyes.
Outside of this, I want to swap the pedals out as I am not convinced the clutch pedal one is not bent from the accident in TTR001 at Snetterton in 2015. The first job is to get the drivers side roll cage section removed and the seat removed to get decent access to the pedals and find two bottom arms from the spares collection to fit the bushes to.
I cant do more than that as the ZA Magnette next to the car is off to the paint shop next week so the race car needs to be mobile to get out of the way for the ZA to leave.
Bushes are on order from Preptech UK, two new tyres are ready to be fitted. Apart from this I need to get four new wet tyres as the Toyo’s are now worn out and one final 16″ rim to give me a working o/s and n/s spare Dunlop Direzza to take to the tracks.
Photo’s show the car seat and cage side bars removed, old pedals in situ and new set waiting to go in.
The annual post season tidy up in the workshop has meant finishing breaking the Yellow ZR 160 of its useful components and getting it off to the scrap yard.
Although the engine and box were removed some time ago to keep me going through the season, the suspension and steering need to be removed along with the front and rear sub frames. In parallel to this I’ve stripped the head that was removed at Snet and with 8 bent inlet valves to replace I may as well get a skim done at the same time.
Dragging the yellow ZR behind Dad’s Freelander, its now looking very sorry for itself and will be collected by my local dismantler this week.
The end of year drivers meeting was interesting, main changes to the Class C car for next year in the ability to use PowerFlex Black bushes all round the car, the use of a proper roll over valve instead of the charcoal canister.
A few tweaks to the existing setup will be done over the season break, and hopefully the car will be more reliable next year! Keep visiting for 2017 prep updates!
After a late arrival at the circuit on the Friday night – I couldn’t get into the Pit garage as it was locked and both key holders had gone for the night so it was up early and in the drizzle I prepared the car outside the caravan.
A clean bill of health through scrutineering apart from having to cover two drain holes above the petrol tank in the floor (they always have to try and find something!). Quali was dry and the car felt good but then disaster as after just one qualifying lap the alternator belt disintegrated then got caught up in the timing belt and that was that – wrecked head.
As it was the last weekend of the season and I am only an hour and a half from home I decided the car was fixable. So withdrawing from race 1 as I knw two hours was too shorter time. I agreed with Andy Green the Clarke of the Course that as I had raced within 12 months at Snett that if I had the car repaired I could start race 2 at the back of the grid.
In the pit garage I removed the head and apart from a few light marks on the pistons they were fine but it looks like every valve has bent. So its off back to my workshop to get a replacement head after borrowing a head gasket off of Ian Boulton. I know I have a head but I need a new alternator belt and oil so a quick call to Essex Motor Factors in Braintree and we have all the parts we need.
I didn’t allow for Saturday lunchtime traffic so it turned into a 3 and half hour round trip. The engine goes back together as it should with the replacement head and by 8:30pm it is all setup for race day.
Sunday morning and a quick chat with the Clarke’s gets me on the grid but its raining, it does ease off by the race but still needs wet tyres. Mine are shot and in the race this shows and the car has no grip but its running perfectly so although trailing at the back the aim is to finish the race. Race completed and the car is in one piece, finishing the season in the best condition its left a race weekend all year!
A few jobs for the winter but hopefully next year will be more successful!
After the disaster at Knockhill it took my motivation away to be honest and with family holidays and a house move just completed I decided to withdraw from Oulton Park which was a shame – especially as we had decided not to attend the ASSERT bi-annual conference held the same weekend.
After a break, I decided the only thing I had not changed was the gearbox, so my spare was cleaned up and sent to Dan at CMC Motorsport for rebuilding, upgrading and of course sealing. While its away I decided to get install the 100 cell sports cat supplied by Chris at Finishline earlier in the year. This needed to be a good welding job, so Dad’s friends at Classic and Retro of ‘For the love of cars’ TV fame kindly created a jig and welded the cat in to one of my spare front pipes in place of the old one.
The gearbox sent back by Dan and installed with little drama along with yet another stage 2 clutch and she’s ready for Snett.
After missing out on Knockhill in 2014, I knew I had to make the trip this time as we are not sure when we’ll go back. Loaded up I drive for 8.5 hours straight to meet my father in Trossach’s on Friday – he decided to make a week of it. I then get up and head off to Knockhill first thing Saturday morning.
Arriving at around 10:30am the paddock which is not the largest was already full so we set up camp in the corner of the car park behind the Pits. Testing is at 5:30pm so its a leisurely prep of the car, sign on and scrutineer. Spotting the new temp sensor I installed is not working I am kindly given a spare by Alex of 4G racing. Time to enjoy the beautiful setting the circuit is in as well. Testing is fun, first time out on this track – the Duffus Dip at the end of the start finish straight takes a bit of commitment and Butchers through Arnold Clark WOW that is seriously seat of the trousers time.30 mins fly past and I like the circuit, its fast and a real test.
I qualify P5 in class in qualifying for race 1 and P4 for race 2 but I am confident of having a good battle with Martin Webber when we race. Race 1 was awful from the start, the people setting up the grid muck up the placing but I fail to take advantage as I stall then get angry and spin at Butchers – what a start. Then I’m flying, and settle in to a futile chase of Martin. Then the clutch starts slipping, its so bad I struggle round so have to retire. This issue is wrecking my season. With only a couple of hours between races I’m limited on what I can do, we change the alternator belt and VVC solenoid as they are playing up and wrestle the clutch arm to see if this helps. It doesn’t and although the car is much better running with a new VVC solenoid I do not get off the line in race 2 and limp round to retire straight away. Gutted I need 30 mins to myself as I am so disappointed.
Glad I did the testing as I loved it and at least I got some track time, the camera footage will be up soon with some photos.
View from the car park spot.
Having to withdraw from Oulton is disappointing but I know that with holidays and the move its impossible to get the time to resolve. Snetterton therefore must be the aim.