Time to race!

Tim gets the his­toric racer back to­gether and takes it out for some rac­ing.

Mini Magazine - - Our Minis -

So I’ve got the his­toric racer back to­gether and man­aged to run it in on the road for 30 min­utes with­out drama. I even had some spe­cially-scrubbed tyres from Matt Roach, which look the stan­dard shape and fin­ish, but I gave them a hair­cut to give them the right pro­file. So, with all look­ing good I set off to Oul­ton Park for the Gold Cup.

I got one of those scru­ti­neers who wants to tell you ev­ery­thing that’s wrong on the car, but oblig­ingly he let me through on the pro­viso that I get the brake lights work­ing (rusty fuse). I did and the prac­tice was then set for 8.30am. Damp­ness on the track from overnight, dew and five min­utes of rain – just what Mini driv­ers look for to even the play­ing field! Sev­eral cars went off on the first warm up lap, but I loved it and got third on the grid – about 10 places up on where I’d nor­mally be!

I made an okay start in the dry race and waited to be over­taken, but man­aged to throw it off af­ter two cor­ners and had to re-join at the back. So, I charged through the back mark­ers and man­aged to catch up Nick Ri­ley’s Mini, but caught him up the rear as he moved across on me un­ex­pect­edly. I would have felt guilty, but he had also smacked the front in prac­tice!

Then, just af­ter catch­ing a Mus­tang, the car started to over­heat again. I backed off try­ing to keep the tem­per­a­ture down but even­tu­ally had to pull off. The wa­ter had

largely gone but I couldn’t see where. So on the trailer it went. To do it once is care­less, but to do it twice is…

When we got home, my mate Steve made a pres­sure tester by graft­ing a tyre valve on to a ra­di­a­tor cap. When the pres­sure got to 30psi there was a jet of wa­ter com­ing out of the joint on the wa­ter pump where the two halves of the cast­ing meet. This must have been the source of the prob­lem last time but it hadn’t been ap­par­ent on the road test as it didn’t get to more than 65-de­grees. So engine out again and off the gearbox came as it was crunch­ing third gear. Turns out that a new old stock BL baulk ring had given up. I am now mov­ing up to Mini Spares com­pe­ti­tion baulk rings to see if I can keep the ’ box alive. The bores are tired where I killed it last time but mate Oliver is putting it back to­gether with new rings, as I could do with get­ting out rac­ing again this year, and maybe even fin­ish­ing!

I have at least bought a new front for my in­stru­ment panel so I can put the oil and wa­ter gauges there, as they are cur­rently in the dis­tant stan­dard po­si­tion.

On a sep­a­rate note, I can’t pass this month with­out men­tion­ing my sad­ness at Bar­rie Wil­liams’ death. He was a com­plete high­light and in­spi­ra­tion. One of my favourite pic­tures dates from 2012 when we raced at Brands Fes­ti­val (he beat me). There seems to be some other va­grants in the pic­ture as well whilst he tries to read our favourite comic! The only time I saw Bar­rie lose was to fel­low Mini racer, Colin Flynn, who beat him by be­ing older! At Oul­ton Park I gave Colin a copy of The Com­pany of Vet­eran Mo­torists Handbook from 1937 – the year he was born!

“I could do with get­ting out rac­ing again, and maybe even fin­ish­ing!”

The late, great, Bar­rie Wil­liams hav­ing a good read... Me and Colin Flynn at Oul­ton.

Bar­rie and I catch­ing up af­ter rac­ing at Brands Fes­ti­val in 2012.

Com­pany of Vet­eran Mo­torists Handbook, dated 1937 - my gift to Colin Flynn!

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