Planning the secret to a good day at Curborough, normally not an issue however the following events a few days beforehand put me under a bit of pressure.
I decided to head out to a pub meeting organised by Practical Performance Car Magazine things did not exactly go to plan....
On the way there the car kept stuttering and the fuel pump died on the A1 about two miles from my destination I had no choice but to call the RAC, after an hour or so (quite good considering it was a bank holiday weekend) they picked me up and brought the Tiger home. Bearing in mind I was going to Curborough on Tuesday it was important to get it working.
I then obtained a new fuel pump from Tiger and fitted it, the next day I took it for a test run and it failed with the same fault. It turned out to be a broken wire in the loom which I have now replaced, after another test drive I brought the car back into the garage and the clutch cable retaining pin snapped off the pedal, after repairing this it was now 19:30 Monday evening.
I then noticed that the mounting plate for the throttle cables had virtually snapped so this had to be repaired. Finally at 21:30 the car was back in one piece and hopefully working...
07:30 Tuesday morning and we set off not as fast as usual as I want to make sure things are working properly with the car however by Corby it all seems to be running fine and I open the engine up further, unless a need for a quick "rest stop" brings me to a halt just off the M1 junction. At this point Piers wakes up having been asleep since I got on the A47! There are now two people I know who can sleep in a Tiger - young Chris Davison (see the report on the EATOC Web Site and Piers. I had thought it was impossible due to the constant noise and vibration the car subjects you too.
There were some interesting cars and some new faces as well.
Bill Sayer brought his mid-engined Avon, this amazing machine features a combination of a MK1 MR2 and an Avon, with the engine and gearbox remaining in the same position. We had seen this car previously but it was now sporting a 20V Toyota engine instead of the original 4-Age unit.
Ed Needham brought Aerocat which had need a couple of valve followers replaced and instead of just doing that work had had a new set of performance cams fitted as well (well wouldn't you!).
The Wilkins brought the racing Avon which later that day disgraced itself.
Matt Gregory brought the Pink R6 (as usual) and this managed to fill up it's oil catch tanks to the point where they overflowed.
We also had Alec Davis (cat), Rupert and Andrew Corbett (cat) and Dave Davies (Super Six).
The two new participants were Gareth Witham in his Yellow Super Six and Kevin Ecclestone in a yellow/blue Cat.
Once arrived at Curborough we settled into the normal routine of regular run and "racing excuses", there were the couple of obligatory(!) breakdowns starting with the Wilkins race car loosing its crankcase breather and fuel pressure. That could have been day over had it not been for eagle-eyed Bill Sayer who found another breather off a pinto engined car at the side of the track. With the pump pressure problem cured it was back to business as normal. We also found that a facet solid state pump can make a jet of fuel over 7 feet long before it falls to the ground!
The Pink R6 also suffered with the catch tanks overfilling and needing to be carefully emptied this was a minor problem and easily cured.
I have to say they were the only significant problems suffered during the day and my car behaved itself. The only shock of the day was returning from a fuel stop a small sparrow attempted to clear the car and missed , flying straight into the screen and breaking its neck. If that wasn't bad enough it then got wedged under one of the wipers and stayed put until I got back into the track. The worst bit is I had the video camera running on the bonnet of the car and it picked up the bird flying past but fortunately not the impact.
Finally about 4:30 we packed up and started on the long drive home.
Some photos from the day...
The preparations for Curborough started earlier than usual on Sunday night Niall Turner rang and asked if I was taking a Gazebo with me as it looked like Tuesday was going to be very hot and dry. I hadn't planned on doing so; but as Piers wasn't able to make this event I had a spare space in the car when he would normally sit and so I brought the EATOC gazebo along with me. I also rang Richard and asked him to bring one along as well.
I had agreed to meet Niall and his mate .... at the BP garage in Corby before travelling on to the circuit. We met up at the right time and then drove down using my preferred route of Market Harborough, Lutterworth, A5 and finally Lichfield getting to the track itself at about 9AM.
When we arrived Mick Grant was waiting and er nobody else, not even the organiser. A quick phone call later and we found they were around 10 minutes away! Finally when they arrived I took Richard down to collect the keys, we managed on the short trip to go through the only sizeable puddle for 10 miles in any direction!
Once the gates were open we began unpacking the cars and starting on some practice runs. By mid morning most people had arrived and we also erected the gazebos as well. It was now starting to get hotter.
About 11AM Jim and Laura from Tiger arrived, they had been stuck in a traffic jam on the A14 near the Bruntingthorpe turn off, and managed 15 miles in two hours before finally getting moving again.
More runs followed with people seeming to adopt the idea of going for a few runs and then letting the car (and driver) rest with the driver hiding from the sun in the shade.
Lunch was called with a welcome rest and everyone either sat under a gazebo or in the shade of one of the vans.
The afternoon was noted for being even hotter than the morning and for quite a few periods there wasn't anybody out on track.
There were a few small problems with cars Niall did have a problem where his throttle linkage kept locking fully open, this he fixed and was able to run for the rest of the day successfully. The only other problems were battery related both Brian Roberts' and Andrew Corbett's cars both suffering from a slight lack of enthusiasm when it came to starting.
The day went well and then at 5PM we all started the work of putting things away ready to get going home. The drive home was uneventful and I finally arrived back home around 8PM.
The Barkston Heath sprint was effectively a doubled-up event. It was the last round of the Tiger Racing Series and also an opportunity for owners to have a go on the circuit as well. This track held one big advantage for me it is only 40 minutes drive from the house and a lot closer than any other circuits we have previously been to. The venue was also in my opinion easy to find although some of the other people didn't seem to think so as they were rather slow to get there!
Once signed in and having had overalls and helmet checked we could start on the safety briefing and then get driving.
The circuit is a longish (1.2km) track which features numerous chicanes and tight corners for the cars to get round and was great fun as long as you forgot that as you approached a large fenced off compound in the middle that this was an aviation fuel store (Barkston is also an operational RAF base). However my car wasn't running well and by the middle of the afternoon it was sounding decidedly sick and lacking in power. This was later diagnosed to be blown exhaust gaskets, worn out engine mounts and a leaking inlet gasket so I was probably down between 30-50% on power. When I finally got the video footage out of the car you could hear the engine labouring round the track.
Onto the other competitors. Out of the racers TEAM VXS blew their engine on a lap just in front of me (I think it had something to do with being held on the rev-limiter for a minute before setting off!) The Wilkins lost their starter motor - well they lost the bolts and it got trapped underneath the car resulting in a slight reshaping of the main casing. But everyone else got through the day without mechanical problems. Finally at the end of the day the results of the racing series were announced. Unfortunately for Mick Grant he was just beaten to the Open Class by Stuart Fenton. Clive Seer took top honours in the R6 Class and Adam Wilkins won the 8V Class for the second year running.
Finally after a very nice meal served up by the Base Canteen we made our way home. The weather had stayed dry for the whole day apart from when we were inside having the meal and it stopped for us to drive home.
A really good day and I would like to go back with a properly running engine and see how well the car goes then!