2013 Track days
The first organised sprint for 2013 and apart from pub meetings the first time the car had really been used in anger this year. After the slightly damp / cold January, February and March nobody really wants to take kit cars out. Especially when it there is snow on the ground (the car is so low that the sump acts as a shovel).
It was therefore with some trepidation that I booked Curborough for early April, hoping things would improve. The biggest change this year was being offered the chance to get on-site catering at the circuit after some reluctance everyone doing the day signed up for the food and this seemed to go down well.
The best thing was the day was dry, unlike the two damp days in September last year. However it was cold but I will take cold over wet anytime. Upon arrival as part of the catering arrangements Tea and Coffee were available along with the important requirement of (hot) bacon sandwiches - to quote AJ Walker "the thought of a bacon sandwich has kept me going for the last 15 miles".
Once we arrived we all went through the signing on process and then got ready to do some runs, we were one car short though - John Aylwood had suffered and alternator failure on his Aviator in Wisbech - so his car was towed to Tiger's workshop and then repaired before he set out again, only to have another breakdown on the M6 (if you want to know the reason for the second incident please ask him) so he didn't arrive until after lunch.
The morning went well however there were a couple of problems:
Mark Fassenfelt's car which suffered from water boiling in the header tank, we couldn't find a reason for this at the circuit and he tried a few things to fix it but the problem persisted, since the day he has confirmed the head gasket is ok, and the water pump is as well that only really leaves the radiator which is being looked at. - Latest Update the fault was a poorly sealing header tank cap.
Gary Brooks Aviator decided it had too much water in the header tank and got rid of a load of it causing a small panic.
Most importantly the rest of the cars ran without incident through the morning.
Lunch was far more civilised than normally happens, as we had hot food (burger and chips or chicken curry and chips) which was perfect on a cold day.
In the afternoon we continued in the same vein, Neil Catliff's son Peter managed to get a ride out with virtually every car a lot of them more than once (he came out with me 4 times).
John finally arrived and managed to get some laps round the track (which I am pleased for him).
The strangest thing was that at 4:30 everyone was getting ready to pack up and leave and by 4:40 they had all gone. Now at that point I still had another 20 minutes available for the track but as I was the only one left on site I checked for debris and then left.
As I locked up John was waiting by the entrance but after I had locked the gates he had left as well, so I drove off on my own to return the keys and then headed back towards the A5, stopping off to refuel fairly early on the journey back. Just outside Hinkley I glanced in my mirrors and saw the red Aviator of Gary Brooks in my mirror - he had left 10 minutes before me, Garry was closely followed by Simon Bunker and Simon Noble - strange this as they should have really been about 15 miles in front... I was then followed by Simon Noble and Gary through over the A1 before they turned off in one of the villages to get back to the A14.
After getting home and making some enquiries it appears that Simon Bunker managed to get completely lost coming off the A38 and then went around in circles for about 15 minutes before finding the correct route home.
Please note for the future events I am now increasing the prices - this is to include the catering in the cost. (added to the fact the circuit hire has now slightly increased).
Now for some reason I forgot to write this up when it happened. So this will be light on detail - however what I did make a note of was the various failures that occured with the cars - sorry a few people are going to get embarassed now.
The first problem was Paul Browning's R6 on the way up it felt a bit wrong and he discoverred that one of the suspension arms had broken, after trying to fix it we located a welder who repaired it.
Steve Spencer had a moment when the bonnet decided to part company but came down without any damage.
Simon Bunker's MEV had the exhaust bolt escape and left the pipe in two pieces but that was easily repaired.
However the best incident of the day has to go to AJ Walker. He had a spin on the top bend (nothing too unusual there), but the grass was quite long - as he pulled away he noticed the grass was smouldering and had to stop and put the flames out before returning to the start line!
Besides these few issues everyone enjoyed the day and all made it home safely.
The final Curborough of the year - in 2012 the September event was one of the wettest things I have ever done with the Tiger - have a look at last years pictures for the evidence. However 2013 was a lot nicer to us, although the Sun didn't really come out we did have mostly dry weather and a drying track.
The day started off damp, with the inevitable consequences that we seemed to have brought a set of lawnmowers instead of cars with us. However one car didn't care - Ben Payne has swapped his Elise for an Imprezza - it didn't matter what the track was doing it just shot away with no wheelspin and very little noise. Unlike most Imprezzas it has a standard quiet exhaust rather than a giant bass drum! I prefer it as the car is a lot more subtle.
The other car that was getting a good workout was Chris Davison's MX-5 being driven by Chris, Chris (his son) and John Gibson. The car managed so much use that it used 3/4 of a tank. It also came back wearing a grass skirt at times. (Chris junior has only just passed his test and it was the first time that he had driven a rear wheel driver car).
Nobody else had any incidents to speak off and all the car ran perfectly on the day…
However going home was another matter. I left the circuit after locking up and went and handed the keys back before what I thought would be an easy drive home. On the A5 about a 1/2 mile from the M42 junction the car started spluttering and lost power completely resulting in coming to a halt on the hard shoulder. It wouldn't restart and I couldn't see anything obviously wrong - so I called the RAC.
Within 15 minutes they had arrived and looking over the car asked me to start it - I did and it ran perfectly! The patrol followed me to services and then left as there wasn't anything they could do. So I continued home - I stopped off at the petrol station on the A5 and brimmed the tank the car still running perfectly.
About 10 miles beyond the station it did the same again - this time I asked for a recovery as there was something wrong and I didn't want to chance it again as a lot of the route home is on unlit single carriageway roads. Unsuprisingly I drove it off the recovery truck into the garage when I arrived home.
The problem was traced (I hope) to a blocked fuel filter - but repairing that was a bit of an issue in itself!