The SPN Racing Catalogue of Disaster

I started in Group One in 2000 and had a great time campaigning the Golf with an 1800cc engine. I finished every race and even ended up going to Spa too. 2001 wasn't so bad either, there were some great races with the XR3 of Rick Kerry, a couple of class wins and a lap record.

And then it started going pear shaped. I thought it would be interesting to document the 'progress' since then, if it wasn't my money that was being wasted it could almost be seen as amusing.





Sep 2001

Oulton Park

Set new lap record


Sep 2001

Oulton Park

Engine lets go on the next lap, oil surge due to insufficient level in sump

1500 for engine rebuild

Mar 2002


Brand new engine destroyed as alternator bolt shears and I continue lapping with temperature gauge in red

1500 for another engine rebuild

April 2002

Mallory Park

Car destoyed in Gerards accident

2000+ for reshell

June 2002


Engine lets go around Coram, oil surge due to insufficient level in sump (sound familiar?)

1500 for engine rebuild

Aug 2002


Throttle cable jams open, engine survives

500 for race weekend

April 2003


Gearbox lets got on start line of first race of season, incorrect end bearing fitted

300 for rebuild plus lost race weekend costs

April 2003


New gearbox has wrong final drive ratio - and throttle cable snaps anyway

100 labour for rebuild as I refused to do another box change myself, lost race weekend costs

May-June 2003


Dismal results as gear change impossible due to clutch release bearing fitted upside down by gearbox 'specialist' and engine 30 BHP due to intermediate shaft being moved

weekend race costs, new release bearing, rolling road tune

August 2003


Engine overheated and destroyed, water hose splits and gauge doesn't show in time

200 for optimistic head gasket change

August 2003


Attempt to race after replacing head gasket, car lasts 90 seconds on track after 7 hour drive to get there

weekend race costs, wasted time and above changing head gasket, 2000 for engine rebuild including forged pistons

July 2004


Testing before televised Group One race, head gasket blows on new engine

for new head gasket, tune up and oil change

July 2004


Engine destroyed after 1 lap of Group One race, problem with timing or fuel mixture

1500 for new block, pistons and rebuild. Forged pistons now for sale as trendy ash trays. in race entry fees and travel costs

Aug 2005

Donington Park

Driveshaft snaps on start line

Ruined race, gearbox seals never worked again

April 2006

Mallory Park

Car destroyed in huge Gerards accident (again see April 2002)

for repair costs, panels, gearbox housing, paint

May 2006

Brands Hatch

Wasted weekend, rear axle bent and car crabbing around circuit.

Back to the bodyshop for another attempt at straightening everything out,

August 2006

Oulton Park

Break down in sight of chequered flag

Yet more electrical gremlins

Sep 2006


Yet another head gasket failure, this time as we loaded the car on the trailer to head off to the circuit

and lots of panic to fit a new gasket set and head bolts/cam belt/everything else in time to make the grid

April 2007

Brands Hatch

New gear linkage fails, select 2nd instead of 5th flat out into Paddock Hill bend, comprehensively destroy cylinder head

1200 for a Rick Kerry prepared monster cylinder head with all new valves, gas flowed.

November 2007

Brands Hatch

First race on new engine water hose bursts, head gasket fails

Yet another head gasket repair and enough is enough, my last time out in the little Golf.

I have no intention of ever adding up the figures in the fourth column....