Play time

Tim cuts back on other folks’ cars to con­cen­trate on play­ing with his own toys!

Mini Magazine - - Our Minis -

The dam­age to my racer’s en­gine looked bad at first – two pis­tons, cylin­der head with chunk out and top of block marked. Frus­trat­ingly there was no ob­vi­ous cause as it went be­tween three and four, which is not the usual place to go - it’s hottest be­tween two and three. I had a cou­ple of used pis­tons we could use, so pal Oliver got the block skimmed and the pis­tons got a hair­cut to keep the com­pres­sion the same. With a set of rings and shells it was back to­gether us­ing the swanky head I dam­aged five years ago. Keith Calver mended it, and de­spite the smaller valves it seems to work bet­ter ac­cord­ing to my lap times. I’m now wait­ing to see how the orig­i­nal fares, as I’m booked in for my next race within a week.

The spare head that I dam­aged has re­turned look­ing dandy with the weld­ing done and a minis­cule bit faced off the sur­face to true it up. Laser weld­ing is clever stuff - thanks Owles­bury Crank­shaft Ser­vices in Winch­ester. In the mean­time the en­gine got built and is sat to one side; it might get used in the Biota...

Which brings me on to a ques­tion. I would like to get the Biota to­gether in some form, as next year is the 50th an­niver­sary of its launch. I know that John Houghton is still about in Aus­tralia but I have yet to find out where he is. I’d like to sug­gest to him, and the other folk who own or were in­volved with the Biota to come to­gether at some stage. If any­one has any clues please get in touch.

I treated my racer to one of the lat­est lithium bat­ter­ies, as it is about 18kg over the min­i­mum for an FIA car and 10 or so for HSCC (they weigh car and driver). As you may re­mem­ber, we built the car within three weeks with what­ever came to hand, so the bat­tery in it is road-spec, weigh­ing 11kg. The one I have bought weighs 1.1kg! We made a bracket for it and it started the car okay for the few times at home. When I got to Ly­d­den, how­ever, it would barely turn over so rather than risk not get­ting out to prac­tice I changed it back at the last minute. That’s an­other query hang­ing over me for the next time out.

In my quest to keep costs down I nor­mally ra­tion my tyres to get max­i­mum use out of them but I only have a set with full tread so I’ve sent a pair of tyres off to be poshly shaved and see how that works.

I have been so busy this year that I haven’t spent much time on the racer. One of the prob­lems is that we have taken on play­ing with other folks’ cars, so I have de­cided to cut back and con­cen­trate on my own toys!

Mended cylin­der head. Mk1s in the barn with Tim’s racer await­ing its en­gine. New vs old bat­ter­ies!

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