My last three season's racing have been, without a doubt, disastrous.
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||n/a|
|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||Thruxton||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||Snetterton||Engine lets go around Coram, oil surge due to insufficient level in sump (sound familiar?)||£1500 for engine rebuild|
|Aug 2002||Pembrey||Throttle cable jams open, engine survives||£500 for race weekend|
|April 2003||Rockingham||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||Thruxton||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||Brands/Lydden/Mallory||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||Silverstone||Engine overheated and destroyed, water hose splits and gauge doesn't show in time||£200 for optimistic head gasket change|
|August 2003||Pembrey||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||Snetterton||Testing before televised Group One race, head gasket blows on new engine||£££ for new head gasket, tune up and oil change|
|July 2004||Snetterton||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|
I have no intention of ever adding up the figures in the fourth column....
So YET another new engine has been fitted for 2005. Everything has been done especially carefully. A rolling road session is being arranged to make sure that the timing and fuelling issues are resolved. The car now has Samco water hoses to try and prevent another overheating problem. The new Sparco seat still hasn't finished a race, neither has the red top battery purchased in June 2003.
But the car is as ready as ever. Hopefully the engine will now be OK. We've set the front suspension up properly with camber and toe out. The brakes are all refreshed and the tyres are still new considering they haven't been raced. So roll on 2005 - what else can possibly go wrong?