Time to race!
Tim gets the historic racer back together and takes it out for some racing.
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!