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King Rat Racing

King Rat Racing
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September 16th - 17th. The Mercian Road Rally

Sep 6th -10th. Club Triumph 10CR

An MOT at the first attempt! (Although not at the first booking!)

Next seasons rally car?

Sunday 18th June. East Anglian Rally.

Saturday 3rd June. The Hughes Rally - Kent.

Historic Counties Rally. 8th & 9th April 2017

Chinese Rally-Holland-March 11th 2017

RBRR 2016. Another Success!

RBRR - 1 month to go......Gearbox out again!!!

RBRR Preparations.

A great weekend away - Scotland again. :)

Saturday 22nd August. A run out for the Pi.

April 18th & 19th Club Triumph Historic Counties Rally.

11th & 12th April. Bending things and breaking things.

January 24th 2015. What colour Pi would you like?

December 23rd. Pi Work continues

Wow! An update! December 7th. PI Work starts

October 3rd to 5th. Round Britain Reliability Run

August 31st- Not a great weekend.

August 23rd A new stable mate for Gertie

June 28th. Gertie's nose job.

At last an update! May 18th. Something a bit different!

Gertie's Clutch Issues resolved

8th March- Nachtrit van het Oosten 2014

September 16th - 17th. The Mercian Road Rally

God knows why, but Colin Wake and I had agreed to do this rally the very weekend after the Club Triumph 10CR. Not content with covering nearly 1900 miles the week before, we were now destined to cover another 400 miles this weekend!
Colin arrived at mine around 4pm and after a quick play with the spotlights to get them working again we set off for the start at Southam, Warwickshire.
The signs weren't good as we sat in the car awaiting a noise test while listening to the rain hammer on the roof incessantly. Most of the cars there were small front wheel drive with the exception of a large Volvo 740 and a Mk2 Escort. We were also the oldest car there by a good ten years. 
After passing the noise test, we then sailed through scrutineering and then went to sign on. Signing on was at Southam football club and in-between signing on at 8pm and the drivers meeting at 10.30pm (Yes, a two and a half hour wait!) the dark and damp and fog decended on us. 
Our time away was 12.06am and by then the fog had really become quite thick. By the time we got to the first test on a farm, it had lifted a bit, but not much. We found the course on the test very tight in a big saloon and couldn't help but have to reverse to make the turn, thus gaining our first penalty. 
Back on the public roads, we did our best to keep time but it certainly wasn't easy in the pitch black and with the route keep taking us up farm tracks, through industrial areas and at times it even seemed like we were driving across fields or up peoples driveways! 
We also stopped at one point to drag a Citroen AX back onto the road after it had had an 'off' and ended up in a ditch. After checking that Jon and Alex were ok, we carried on. 
The half way 'rest' came and went while we were refilling with fuel and I have to say towards the end of the rally I was starting to struggle with sleep deprivation. 
We struggled on until we eventually made the finish at 6.15am, although by then we had racked up a few time penalties. Breakfast was most welcome at the finish and I then took the opportunity to grab some sleep in the car while Colin waited for the results to be issued. I was awoken at just after 8am and told we had finished 4th in class.  It was Colin's turn to sleep then while I then drove the two  hour journey home. 
Gertie once again had performed faultlessly although I have to say I don't think I've ever seen her looking that dirty. I washed it Sunday afternoon and had to change the water halfway through as I was just putting muddy water back over it! A good event though, with the only downside being the waiting around before the start. 

posted by King Rat Racing 23rd September 2017 6:35pm gmt

Sep 6th -10th. Club Triumph 10CR

After months of wallet damaging preparation on Gertie, the '10 Countries' rally was finally here. Monday morning was spent changing my hard earned cash up into Euro's and buying a few last minute provisions to fend off hunger on the long days ahead.
My Co-driver for the event Dave Harvey arrived around 3 ish and we then spent the remainder of the afternoon trying to transfer the instructions in the route book onto the latest Collins map of Europe. 
After much head scratching and confusion we decided this had been a bad idea and went out for our last curry and beer on English soil for a few day. 
Tuesday: We finished packing the car and set out for the port. The route to Dover was only delayed by a good old fashioned 'English Breakfast' stop on the A127. Our crossing was shared with plenty of other Triumphs, not to mention Team Torpedo from America who were running five cars.

A calm crossing was followed by a quiet run down to Lomme where we were staying for the night before the event started proper on the Wednesday morning. A lovely pizza was followed by 'just the one' glass of beer in a local pub. The glasses given could hold a litre of beer, so just having one was a good call.

Wednesday: Despite not being hungover we still managed to arrive at the start late and most of the cars had already set off. I don't think anybody got too far though due to a horrendous traffic jam just outside Lille which caused most of us to lose over an hour.
We eventually headed down some lovely national driving roads taking in Belgium and Luxembourg before crossing back into France and heading down towards Metz and Nancy before crossing over the  French Natural park and finishing for the night in Mulhouse. Dinner was a nice rump steak and enjoyed with some excellent company in the form of Kris Schouppe and Yvan Roggeman.
Thursday: Morning dawned early but bright and we decided to skip breakfast to get on the road early and beat the traffic. This turned out to be quite successful and around lunchtime we were enjoying a coffee and an ice cream at the top of the San Bernadino Pass in Switzerland.
 After lunch we tackled many other passes before finishing off on the Umbrail and Stelvio. (We actually ended up doing Stelvio twice, and the Gavia pass as well, but that's another story for the club magazine.)
After a longer than expected day we reached our hotel in Italy at 10pm. Luckily the local Pizza restaurant was still open and we managed to fit a meal and a beer in before returning back to the hotel for the night.
Friday: After our previous long day, we didn't fancy another extended one and so planned a route of our own. Our day took us back into Switzerland and up onto the beautiful Bernina pass. This is a fantastic road and has breathtaking views as well. A perfect drive for any Triumph. It doesn't appear to be that well known yet either as it wasn't swamped with Motorbikes, cyclists, or tourists.
After a leisurely coffee at the top of the pass we carried on for a while before tackling another brilliant pass named the Albula. Once again, with not many motorbikes or cyclists around it was a lovely drive and completed without hassle or incident.
Our lunchtime stop included a minor repair to a split breather pipe on the fuel tank which had been annoying us with a petrol smell whenever we filled up with petrol, but disappeared below three quarters of a tank. With the rest of the car checked over we continued our journey through Lichtenstein and Austria before meeting up with some of our other crew in Singen in Germany.
Saturday: It always seems to rain when I visit Germany and today was no exception. We left the hotel after a good breakfast and settled in for the long drive to Rolduc. We did manage to find another good driving road over near Baden Baden and it must have been popular as we met a Mini Club and a Porsche club driving it as well. (Although going the opposite way to us)
The afternoon was a long motorway drive and we met up with Colin Wake and crew who were having issues with the Mk1 Pi they were running. We followed them to Rolduc in case of any further issues they might have had, but luckily things were fine.

Rolduc in Holland appeared all too quickly and another brilliant 10CR was over. The celebrating of a successful run began and a bgood night was had by all. Serious breakdowns had been few and far between and as a far as I'm aware only two cars failed to complete the trip.
Monday: Trying to beat that 'back to work and reality' feeling is hard when all you are doing is running home, but it was a good drive back to the port. We did leave Rolduc a little bit late and only just made the boat in time to be honest.
It had been a fantastic trip though and it's always great to see old faces and meet new friends. I'm looking forward to the next one already, but also quite fancy a trip to Ireland as I've never been there, so I might organise a little run there as a filler before the next 10CR.  

posted by King Rat Racing 18th September 2017 7:47pm gmt

An MOT at the first attempt! (Although not at the first booking!)

As a follow on from my last post, work continued on my 1967 Mk1 and I replaced the two bottom ball joints, one track rod end and bought a new exhaust centre section and downpipe. 
With all of these fitted I decided to go ahead and book the MOT. Saturday 5th August at 4pm was the impending appointment and after completing some small niggly jobs in the morning, (Interior light and panel lights not working) I was ready for my journey that afternoon. 
I have to confess I was a little wary as when I went to replace the thermostat the night before, I had found that there wasn't one in there to begin with! So I fitted my new one anyway. 
Also, not knowing the history of this car, I wondered if it was hiding any issues not addressed by the previous owners. In my experience with these 'barn finds', people do not just park up and store perfectly good usable cars. There is normally something not right with them that enforced the cars lay up in the first place.
Anyway, After playing 'musical cars' so I could get this one out of the garage I set off for MOT and hoped for the best.

All seemed well first of all and the car was running well. My preferred garage is eight miles away so the car would be getting its first good run for many a year. The temperature gauge climbed slowly to the half way mark.........but then unfortunately kept climbing. At the three quarter mark I decided to pull over and check it, but the next turn off on the dual carriageway was still a few miles away. By the time I did manage to pull over (Only a mile away from the MOT station) it was boiling over big time and the pressure had even blown the lid off of the expansion bottle! 
I phoned the garage and cancelled the MOT, let the car cool right down, topped up with water and drove back home without the radiator cap on. Feeling quite disappointed after all of the hard work I'd done in a relatively short period, I just parked the car up and left it until the Sunday morning. 
The following day I removed the radiator and compared it to a spare one that I had been given some time ago. The one from the car was considerably heavier than the spare so I worked on the assumption that it was a blocked radiator that was causing the problem rather than a blown head gasket or worse. 
On fitting the spare I found that this leaked, (that'll be why I was given it for nothing then!) but even with me topping the water up and running the car for 15 mins at 2000 revs it never overheated  and the temperature gauge never mover past the quarter mark. So the situation looked promising. 
I managed to borrow another radiator from a mate and did more testing on the Wednesday evening which again saw no issues with the cooling. So, Thursday 10th August, I re-booked the MOT and dropped it into the garage late morning. 
I'd still heard nothing by 3pm, so me being of the impatient sort decided to have a quick look online. To my relief and joy it had passed its first MOT in 18 years! Graham, the guy who I bought the car off of was quite chuffed as well as he'd wanted to see it back on the road and being used. He told me 'you've done more to that car in two weeks than I did in two years'.

So now it has an Mot, I can start getting a bit of use out of it. It needs a bit more t-cutting and polishing and then I think it will start looking quite presentable.
Oh, and I applied for some road tax as well. I though it might be a tad overdue. :) 

posted by King Rat Racing 12th August 2017 11:28am gmt

Next seasons rally car?

Back in June I'd been made aware of an apparently very solid 1967 Mk1 saloon languishing in Hertfordshire that could possibly be coming up for sale. Seeing as I also had to go to Hertfordshire for Scrutineering the day before the East Anglian Classic Rally, I decided to factor in a diversion to go and view said car. 
The car had been put up on ramps so I could view the underneath when I arrived, but I have to say, it looked very sorry for itself with its bent front bumper and covered in dust where it had been previously dry stored since 1999.

However, it was indeed a very solid shell with no sign of any welded repairs, and still had its original floor pans and sills. The interior was also very original as well. (albit covered in dust!) After spending a few days pondering I decided it was too good a car to pass up and agreed to the sellers asking price. (Which I thought was very good anyway)
Due to he and I being away at different times arrangements were made to collect the car on the 15th July. So, armed with a very good borrowed car trailer and my trusty old Land Rover I arrived in Hertfordshire around 9.30am.
Loading the car was quick and easy and the only concern was the slightly sticking front brakes. I was going to have to unload this car on my own when I got home with it and being a non-runner I wasn't relishing the thought of pushing it with motionless front wheels! 
After a trouble free run home I set about moving my other two Mk1's off of the drive and getting this one in the garage ready to start work. I did manage to get it off the trailer and into the garage on my own although the rain making the ground slippery didn't exactly help. (It only rained for half an hour that day as well! The half hour that I was unloading the car!) 
     Over the next few weeks the car was emptied of all of the rubbish in the boot and in the cab and the interior hoovered and de-dusted. I was surprised at how well it started to come up to be honest. 
When I first  got the car a long list had been drawn up of jobs that would need doing before Mot and after spending a couple of hours in the garage a few nights a week these jobs were gradually completed. The carburettors were stripped, cleaned and rebuilt as were the front brake callipers. The rear wheel cylinders were replaced along with the rear shock absorbers and a very noisy water pump was changed for a much quieter one as well. As an upgrade the original sealed beam headlights were replaced with modern halogen items. 
   On Sunday 30th July, Graham Parkins (The man who I bought the car off and fellow co-driver on the 2014 RBRR) came up to help out for the day and by close of play the car was running well and not only driving, but stopping as well. All it needs now is the bottom ball joints replacing and the blowing exhaust centre section sorting and it will be ready for its first Mot for 18 years. 

posted by King Rat Racing 31st July 2017 02:34am gmt

Sunday 18th June. East Anglian Rally.

As with the Hughes rally a few weeks previous, scrutineering for this rally took place on the previous evening as well as the day of the event, Sunday morning.
So after going to look at another Mk1 saloon on Saturday afternoon, I then made my way to Elsenham to face scrutineering. 
Unfortunately, this didn't go as well as it did on the Hughes Rally and after finding and fitting some static seat belts as opposed to inertia reel seat belts I finally received a pass stamp on the Sunday morning.
The weather for the day was excessively hot as predicted and I had taken the precaution of fitting my louvered bonnet in order to expel the under bonnet heat. 

We left Elsenham at our required start time and completed regularity sections through Great Notley and Cressing before heading to our first set of tests at Wethersfield Airfield. Some of the courses for the tests were quite long and poor Gertie was getting a proper thrashing. We didn't do too bad and put in some acceptable times for such a heavy car. 
After leaving Wethersfield Airfield, we then had to contend with regularity sections through Justice's Hill and Castle Headingham before stopping for Lunch. Whilst at the lunch break we discovered that we were running in second place in our class behind a very well prepared stage rally Mk1 Cortina GT. (Painted in the obligatory Lotus Cortina colours)
The day was still blisteringly hot and a number of the cars were suffering from over heating problems. (So had one of the crews who had retired solely due to the heat!)  We had even taken to running with all four windows open and the electric fans on continuous while doing the tests. 
With food and lots of cold drinks consumed we headed through Sible Heading and back to Wethersfield Airfield for more tests. 
The day just seemed to be getting hotter as it went on and again the twin electric fans were switched to permanent. The car got pushed a bit harder in an attempt to improve on our second place, but too much right foot was resulting in a fair bit of sideways action which looks good, but isn't the quickest method. Great fun though. 
After battering Gertie around Wethersfield again, we then did more regularity sections through Finchingfield, Cole End, Carver Barracks and Sucksted Green before finishing back at Elsenham. 
After the planned dinner (and more cold drinks) we learned that we hadn't improved our performance enough and had to settle for 2nd in class and 17th overall. Still a good result considering some of the other cars and crews we were up against. A brilliant day, but incredibly hot weather. I have to say though, I was impressed with Gertie who, despite getting a good thrashing in such fierce heat, the temperature gauge never ventured past the 3/4 mark all day. 

posted by King Rat Racing 11th July 2017 07:07am gmt

Saturday 3rd June. The Hughes Rally - Kent.

After many late nights of tidying up bodywork and fitting other requirements to ensure a pass at scrutineering, (2kg foam fire extinguisher, emergency windscreen hammer, seatbelt cutter, battery terminal covers etc,) Gertie was finally ready for this well known event. (So I hoped)
Scrutineering takes place on Friday night and Saturday morning, but with this being my first time on the event I decided to go on the Friday night. That way, if anything failed, I at least had a bit of time that night to correct it. 
The car passed scrutineering with only an advisory to put gaffa tape either over the spotlights, or inner headlights. (MSA regulations state you are only allowed four forward facing lights)
With this completed, I headed back home to Essex for a good nights sleep before the following day's activites. 
Colin Wake arrived at my house bright and early the next morning and by 07.30am we were entering Kent via the Dartford Crossing. The weather was expected to be good and we were hopeful of a fun (But long)  day out.
After signing on we the left the start location to go and test the measured mile. We have to do this to ensure the trip meter is in calibration with whoever measured the mile from the road book. With this done, we took on more fuel and then headed back for a coffee and a bacon sandwich and waited patiently for our 'car away' time.
At our designated time, we left the hotel and navigated our way to Mereworth Woods where we were to take part in five tests. These test courses are similar to Club Triumph's autosolos, only you are allowed to have your navigator on board and are in the woods, or fields, or farm yards!
Start of Test One in Mereworh Woods.

Competition is fierce on these events and there are lot of cars that are professionally prepared for just these type of rallies, so you just have to do your best and try not to make any mistakes
After test five we ventured back onto public roads for the regularity event. This is where you have to try and maintain an average speed at all times. (Easier said than done!) . Check points can spring up at any time and when you are least expecting it, so you really don't want to be too many seconds behind or in front because your time is recorded as soon as you enter the check point. 

After this regularity it was time for test six at Hononton Farm which turned out to be quite a quick course. This was on tarmac and concrete and in and out of farm buildings, so lots of tyre screeching was the order of the day.

Three more regularity sections followed this and then we were off to a well earned lunch at Hole park, but not before doing another test. We made some minor repairs whilst here as one of my seat runners had snapped on one of the tests. (I always said those Triumph seat runners were crap!)
After lunch we had to complete another test at hole park, although we couldn't see the vehicle that lined up behind us getting a very quick time!
Another regularity section followed before heading off for another test at Brockton farm. This was probably our slowest test yet as our standard road tyres just couldn't cope with the loose surface. Most of the time was was just spent wheel spinning and trying not to over rev. (See below)

An Afternoon coffee break followed at a transport cafe on the A20 and then it was time for the last two regularity sections, one of which was Mereworth woods again. Great fun was had around the woods although the last section seemed to confuse everyone and we met two cars coming towards us looking for the exit.

After a long day, it was time to head back to the hotel for dinner and results and it was whilst we were at the hotel that we discovered we had picked up a bullet in the tyre from Mereworth Woods. (It's used for MOD excercises as well) 
The tyre was still inflated, but we decided not to chance it and changed it in the hotel car park rather than the hard shoulder of the motorway if it did let go. 
It had been a long day and Colin and I were feeling quite exhausted. We had been on the go for about 12 hours by this time and still had to drive home. 
We did quite well though and finished 3rd in class and 22nd overall. Not bad considering some of the other cars we were up against that had obviously had some serious amounts of money thrown at them. 

posted by King Rat Racing 25th June 2017 3:03pm gmt

Historic Counties Rally. 8th & 9th April 2017

On this bright sunny Saturday afternoon it was time for the Annual Club Triumph Historic Counties Rally. I had decided to rest Gertie my Mk1 saloon 2600 for this event and introduce Flo, my Mk1 saloon 2.5 Pi to some of this endurance type stuff.
I've had a lot of trouble with reliability with this car before, (Purely down to Lucas fuel pumps though,  it has to be said) so it was time to start trying to get it up to Gertie's reliable standard.
Ross, my Co-driver for the event arrived at my house around 2pm and after a quick coffee we set out for the start point in Coventry. 
The drive up to Coventry was glorious in the sunshine and the Pi behaved well. We arrived at the start in time to take part in the pre-event quiz and enjoyed some good food before the off at 8pm.
Once the clues had been handed out, we plotted our route which would start us off at the Canley memorial, then take us to Hinkley, then Noble Automotive at Leicester.

 From Leicester we travelled north up the M1 to the county off Nottinghamshire (Bonus point) and then across to Derby to the Toyota Factory.

From the Toyota factory we set off across the A50 towards Stoke as our next port of call was the Bentley factory at Crewe in Cheshire. Here we encountered a 'jobsworth' security guard who said we needed permission to take a picture of the factory even though it was on the main road! We just ignored him and took the pic anyway! It was while we were here that we received a text telling us that the halfway point rest break had been moved from a motorway services in the Midlands to a services in Staffordshire due to road closures. We then decided that as this was a lot nearer to where we were, we now had time to get to the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port and back to the services before cut off time.
We nearly came unstuck here though, as on our return from Ellesmere Port we found the junction from the M56 to the  M6 southbound closed and faced a lengthy diversion. We also didn't count for the amount of 50mph roadwork sections for such long periods on the M6 and just made the halfway point three minutes before 2am. Arrival past 2am would have put us OTL. (Outside time limit-which meant disqualification from the remainder of the event.) 
Once we had had our compulsory break, we set out on the second half at 3am which took us down through Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and into Wiltshire to the Honda factory. Once again roadworks and 50mph speed limits seemed to be the order of the day. Even the M5 was closed between junctions two and three which meant another diversion. 
Apparently a lot of other crews had trouble with security at Honda and were told that taking pics was not allowed, but we had managed to find the rear entrance which was unmanned, so we didn't have any grief. 
After leaving here we headed south east to McLaren's base in Woking in Surrey. By now the sun was coming up and the tiredness that had been creeping in was dissipating, so that was a good thing. I had started to feel quite knackered! 
From here time was staring to get a bit tight, so we looped back up towards the M40 so that we could obtain proof of county signs of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire before finishing at the required location in Berkshire. (Reading)  Here we had a hearty breakfast before heading homewards on a journey that was fraught with accidents, traffic jams and other serious hold ups! Not what you want when you've been awake all night and just want to get home and sleep!
I was impressed with the Pi though, I have to say. We did 722 miles door to door and she never missed a beat in all that time. (Even sitting stationary for ages in the heat trying to get home) The fuel consumption wasn't bad either with a wallet friendly 27.8 mpg. 
The only thing I did miss was power steering. (Gertie has obviously spoilt me!) My shoulders were killing me on Sunday night and Monday morning. A modification for the near future no doubt. 
All in all though, a very good trouble free run and faith restored. =) 

posted by King Rat Racing 01st May 2017 10:25pm gmt

Chinese Rally-Holland-March 11th 2017

Having been busy with work lately, I've only just had time to sit down and write this so apologies for the delay.
Having been absent from the Chinese Rally for a couple of years now, I thought I'd get myself reacquainted with it. 
Dave Harvey, my co-driver for the event arrived on Friday afternoon and after a quick play with the fuel pressure on the Pi, we then ventured out for the evening by way of a beer and an Indian, although with the alarm set at the ungodly hour of 5am for the Saturday morning, it was never going to be a heavy night. 
By 6am Saturday morning we were on our way to the Eurotunnel for our 8.10am crossing. Neither Dave or I had been on the train before, so this was a new experience for both of us. 
Check in was straight forward and before we knew it we were driving down the inside of a large train carriage.

Roughly 20 minutes later we were off the other side and decided on a non-stop drive through France, Belgium and the dreaded Antwerp ring road before stopping for breakfast. A ham omelette was the order of the day for breakfast which was rudely interrupted by the couple behind us suddenly charging out of the restaurant and chasing two men that had just just stolen their wallet out of their coats. Charming!
Dave took over for the second part of the run and by mid-afternoon we had reached our hotel in Raalte. We had an hour spare for a quick coffee and a shower before it was time to head for the start at the Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant at Weseppe.
The entry was very full and certainly varied and we also met up with the only other British entrant Don Cook in his beautiful red GT6. 

After some lovely Chinese food it was time to hit the road and take to the darkness. I have to say the first part didn't go to well for most crews as the route book didn't seem to match to the kilometres or mileage given. There seemed to be quite a few other crews driving round lost as well as us. Shoulder shrugging seem to be the common gesture and we all drove past each other from all different directions!
We eventually got to the half way stage for the obligatory coffee and cake and a bonus here was that the half way stage was at a car restoration work shop. There was some interesting work going on here on some very interesting projects.
After being fed and watered it was time to hit the road for the second half and this went a lot better than the first. We never ventured off route once and on our arrival back at the finish our total kilometres on our trip meter showed 86.5 kms compared to the 86.2 in the route book. This was deemed close enough as you're never going to get it spot on. 
We had time for a couple of small beers before retiring for the night and was delighted to win an award for the best foreign entrant as well. A lot of people also complimented us on our enthusiasm for the event having only left England that morning in order to compete in Holland the same night.

After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast, it was time to head back to blighty, because unfortunately I had to be back at work on the Monday morning. We caught a ten minute hold up on the Antwerp ring road, but other than that, had another clear run home. 
The Eurotunnel was a bit slower this time due to passport and car checks, but we still managed to get on an earlier train which was a bonus. 
All in all we'd had a good trip. The weather was definitely on our side and it was nice to be roaming about in short sleeves for a change. 
Now, shall I do the next one in November? Hmm.........

posted by King Rat Racing 23rd April 2017 08:39am gmt

RBRR 2016. Another Success!

Friday the 7th October 2016 and the long awaited Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run was upon us. 
Hopes of a nice lie in were soon dashed when the neighbour across the road was having his driveway block paved and I was awoken by the sound of a nine inch angle grinder revving its nuts off! Moving into the lounge wasn't much better as the house behind me was also doing some building work with the aid of a kango! How's your luck? 
My two co-drivers (Darren Sharp and Dave Saunders) arrived just before 2pm and after a quick coffee we were ready to set out. However, Dave then noticed a spring laying in the driver side footwell. Further investigation revealed that the clutch return spring had broken and just dropped off of the pedal!
Dave and Darren then proceeded to remove the parcel tray while I disappeared into the Garage to rob the spring from my Mk1 Pi. (See? it pays to have more then one car!)
Once this awkward and fiddly job was done, we were finally ready to set off, although now an hour later than we intended. 
The traffic around the M25 and A1 wasn't too bad and before long we were at the start location at Knebworth I always love the start of this event and meeting other club members that you wouldn't normally see is always a highlight for me. 
Before long we were setting out and leaving Knebworth turned out to be a lot better than leaving the previous location for the RBRR. No traffic hold ups at all. Lovely!

A quiet drive up the A1 saw us arrive at the first check point at Blyth more or less at the opening time. A quick stop for fuel and signing of the roadbook and we were away again. We had to devise a diversion for the next bit as the A1 was closed at Leeming Bar for bridge works. We opted to take the A168 and A19 and then cut back over not far short of the next control at Carter Bar. (The Scottish Border)
Arrival at Carter Bar 20 mins early found the check point initially void of any CT marshal's, but by the the time it was due to be open, they had arrived. A quick dash up to Kinross Services for the next control saw us take on fuel again and then it was my turn for long run up past Inverness and the next control at Skiach services.
After more coffee at Skiach to boost the energy levels we then encountered the beautiful drive up to John O Groats while watching the sun rise over the North Sea.

A hearty breakfast at the Seaview hotel, John o'Groats was most welcome and was consumed in good company too.
Gertie at John O Groats
With Gertie full of 99 octane and us full of coffee and hot fried food we left view earlier than intended, but only to vacate the table for more incoming crews.
A leisurely drive was then taken across the top of Scotland through Thurso and over to Bettyhill before heading south towards Altanharra. The next control point was back at Skiach and because we left JOG so early we were there a good hour before it opened. This was fine with us as Dave wanted to grab more sleep and Darren and I did some fine tuning with the car.
I then took my seat behind the wheel for (in my opinion) the best part of the run. We went down past Loch Ness and Fort William and stopped at a lovely roadside cafe juts before Glencoe for a nice piece of Lemon Drizzle cake and more coffee. 

I continued the drive down to the next control at Stirling before Dave took over for the motorway stretch down to Tebay. At Tebay we took some time out to have a hot meal and a shower (not at the same time and certainly not together!) so we all felt refreshed for our second overnight drive.
Darren was now in the driving seat and I tried to grab some sleep on the back seat as for some reason, sleep had totally evaded me so far.
The Gledrid control was its usual hive of activity and it's at this point that I took to consuming Red Bull and Haribo TangFastics sweets in readiness for the pitch black Welsh forest stages down to Sugar Loaf.
The Sugar Loaf control was crammed so we just pulled in, had the book signed and moved on. Another good drive saw us topping up with fuel at the previous control at Gordano, before carrying on down to Westonzoyland aerodrome and the next control. Coffee and Banana cake was the order of the day here before the long slog down to Lands End via the check point at Okehampton.

Sunday morning saw us at Lands End and finally in the daylight again. This is the part of the run where we all start perking up. The daylight driving makes life easier, plus you know that you are on the last leg and homeward bound. (Well heading for the finish anyway)
Another good hearty breakfast saw us revitalised and heading for Bude Motor Museum. More coffee followed and I made arrangements to leave my timing light and spare distributor for my fellow CT Essex colleagues in car 104 who were having a few difficulties and were about 90 mins behind us.
From Bude we headed for Badger Holt at Dartmoor where we enjoined ice cream purchased from the petrol money. (Such Luxuries!)
Pimperne would be the next control and famous (with CT anyway) for the vast array of cakes laid on. This is always a favourite haunt for RBRR'ers and nobody ever seems to be in a rush to get away from here. This was the penultimate control, so the drive from here is always full of apprehension and the dread of something going wrong at this late stage. The rain also set it at this point which was a pity as this had been the best RBRR for weather since my first one in 2010.
The drive back to the finish was the usual Sunday night go slow, but not too bad actually. We made Knebworth in good time and walking up to the bar I was met by a giant dog serving beer! I thought I must have been more tired than I thought and had starting hallucinating, but it turned out to be one of the bar staff in a dog costume. =)
We had booked into the hotel for the night, so no more driving for us and we had the chance to have a few beers to round off a great weekend. 
We'd had another great run and once again Gertie had performed faultlessly. (Apart from the broken clutch spring at the start)
This was now her 3rd RBRR in my ownership and 4th in total. All without breakdown or serious issue. I have to say though, I may stand her down for the next one and give the Mk1 Pi a try. Listening to all those other Pi's on the run just made me want to be in the same.

posted by King Rat Racing 16th October 2016 9:00pm gmt

RBRR - 1 month to go......Gearbox out again!!!

Since about  May this year I have had a strange tinny rattling sound on Gertie. However, this sound only happens when you turn the engine off. You never hear it when driving along.
The noise is very similar to having a loose exhaust clamp which is spinning round the exhaust. So, that  was where the investigations started. 
Over the past few months extensive investigations have also been carried out on the starter motor, alternator and various other parts that rotate. I've also laid underneath the car while someone starts it and turns it off again looking for this noise, I've looked through the engine bay, up inside the nose cone in case the electric fan brackets had come loose or broken, you name it, I've looked there. 
I eventually convinced myself that it was coming from the bellhousing area, so when after all else had failed, I resigned my self to removing the gearbox. (Not my favourite job- I think this is the 4th time since 2011 now!)
Inspection of the gearbox proved to be fine and everything looks and works as it should. However, I then tried to push my finger through the splined hole for the clutch plate and felt something very loose and flapping about. 
Removal of the clutch plate revealed the below. I'm not too impressed I have to say. Particularly as this clutch was only 14 months old when it started making this noise. 

You can see the crack in the bottom left of the hexagonal metal plate. 
This metal plate was obviously dropping onto the first motion shaft and spinning round it when the engine was switched off. Maybe it was doing while driving along as well, but I couldn't hear it because of the engine noise. Or, maybe the centrifugal force of the flywheel was moving it back into place while circulating? Who know? All I know is, I need another bloody clutch! =( 

posted by King Rat Racing 04th September 2016 6:01pm gmt

RBRR Preparations.

On the last part of the recent Scottish trip Dave and I had become aware that the brake pedal had a tad more travel than normal. Once home and time permitted inspections revealed that the front pads were indeed getting low. 
Replacements were purchased and while I was at it I decided to replace the rear shoes as well. Further inspections revealed that the nearside inner front wheel bearing was noisy, so I replaced all of the front wheel bearings. My train of thought being that they were all fitted at the same time, so if one was worn, the rest may not be that far behind. Plus, I'd rather do the job now in a nice warm garage with plenty of light and tools, rather than on the RBRR in a pitch black lay-by somewhere while it's peeing down with rain and watching my sockets roll down a drain hole! (Or worse still the replacement bearing!)
With this done I then focused on the shock absorbers. Gertie has become a bit 'wallowy'  of late and needed to be tightened up a bit. A full set of brand new gas shocks were purchased and fitting commenced. The rears had been replaced with new standard shocks a few years back so these were swapped with the new gas items and put in the spares bin. The front shocks however, had never been replaced.In fact, if I remember rightly I had swapped the entire front legs over off of my Mk2 before I sold it so that I could keep my lowered springs. 
Once I had stripped the legs right down and removed the shocks I discovered that the driver side had a Monroe gas shock in it, but the passenger side had a normal hydraulic one! I can't believe that people can do these things. 
Both gaiters were completely knackered as well, so a new pair were ordered. The new shocks were fitted, then the search began for a replacement strut top as my nearside one had seized solid and this had caused the rubber bonding to split. You wouldn't have thought so though as the car steered perfectly. It's amazing what power steering can mask! 
So with this little lot done, all that's needed before the RBRR is an oil and filter change, then we are all good to go and Gertie will have another sticker for the inside of her bootlid. :) 

I've been doing bits to the Pi as well. I finally got fed up of the 'super lightweight', vague and constantly leaky steering and removed all of the power steering kit. I also re-greased the strut tops while I was at it and set the Koni Adjustable front shocks for a bit more 'firmness'. 
The Pi steering wheel has also been removed for something with more strength in the form of a Motolita. (No, the Pi wheel isn't for sale) :) 
The next job was to remove the awful Mk2 rear brakes that someone had fitted. The so called 'self adjusting' handbrake type that do nothing of the sort! Mk1 back plates were sourced, new wheel cylinders and brake shoes were fitted and now at last I have a car that I can park on a hill and it will still be there when I get back. 
An oil and filter change is also next on the list for this car too. Plus, I've almost got a full set of good doors and panels for her now, so the bodywork should start taking shape soon as well.
I just really need to get out and drive the bloody thing more. It goes like stink when required and sounds fantastic too. 

posted by King Rat Racing 09th August 2016 05:04am gmt

A great weekend away - Scotland again. :)

After a year or so of not doing much at all due to injury, it was time to take to the roads for my first proper road trip since last September. A small group of us had decided to take to the Highlands and run a tour of Northern Scotland.
So,with the Hotels booked, Friday morning finally came around and after putting in a few hours at work, it was time to head to Derby to collect my co-driver Dave Harvey.
A reasonably clear run saw me arrive at Dave's at 2pm and after a quick chat we set off across the A50 and onto the M6 to start heading North. We stopped for coffee and petrol at Lancaster services and in general were doing well for time, although an accident in the roadworks lost us about 20 minutes. 
By early evening we were on the A9 and heading in the direction of Inverness. The original plan was to all meet at the Premier Inn, Inverness, but with me having to work Friday morning, we were never going to make check-in before it closed. Therefore. our planned stopped was the quaint little town of Dunkeld, about 100 miles short of Inverness and we would catch up with the others sometime Saturday.
We arrived at Dunkeld at 9.20pm and the friendliness of the hotel staff was in complete contrast to the town folk! We tried for a Pizza only to be told that they stopped serving at 9.30pm and then walked into town until we found an Indian Restaurant only to be told they stopped serving at 10pm! (although the takeaway part was open until 11pm!) We then gave up on food and settled for a couple of pints of Tennants and a bag of crisps each before retiring for the night.
Our quaint little Friday night stop. 

Breakfast in the guesthouse wasn't served until 8.30, so we told the guys at Inverness to crack on without us and we would catch them up on route. The Plan had been to all meet at their hotel at Inverness and then head to the Applecross pass to tackle the mountains. Dave and I cracked on with only a brief stop for coffee and fuel and then managed to meet up with the rest of the crew who had stopped for a leisurely lunch break at Applecross.

After leaving Applecross and its stunning scenery, we travelled along the coast road and encountered even more stunning views just about everywhere. It seemed like every time we came round a bend, we were met by sights that just absolutely took your breath away. it was incredible.
After more leisurely driving we headed for our hotel stop at Ullapool. It was a beautiful place and our hotel room even had a balcony to step out onto overlooking the bay. 

A quick freshening up was the order of the day, then we all wandered into town to try  out the culinary delights. Fish seemed to be the most popular choice, but Dave and I opted for the Haggis lasagna, and very nice it was too. Tim's mate Darren decided to ask for a whisky at the bar and was given a four page book full of numerous Whiskey's and asked 'what one would you like?'
A few more drinks at it was time to call it a night. Although it was now 11.25pm and still not really that dark! (See below)
Sunday morning and after declining an offer of Porridge with Whisky for breakfast and settling for something more non-alcoholic, we were on our way. Our destination this morning was up to Durness in the North West tip of Scotland. (This takes you through the county of Sutherland, which not many people even know exists)
It was a grey start, but the sun soon made an appearance and before long the day was as glorious as it had been the day before. A 'brew with a view' as it had become known was the order of the day and the camping stove was dragged out and tea, cake and Hobnobs were consumed at the beautiful location of Sandwood Bay. It was a bit too much for some us who had to discard our shoes and socks and go for a paddle in the beautiful cold sea. Dave Langrick decided to go one further and dive completely in much to the amusement of the rest of us.

With our frolicking in the sea complete we continued around the coast road and across to the Kyle of Tongue. Again, there is nothing but beautiful scenery up here and it makes you wonder why nobody comes here, the roads are almost empty. At Tongue we turned right onto the A836. After a few miles at Altnaharra, this road links up onto the RBRR route so we were on familiar territory.
We headed down toward Lairg and stopped at the Crask Inn for lunch. We always drive past the Inn on the Saturday morning on the RBRR but it's never been open, so we took advantage and enjoyed some sandwich's and coffee and good hospitality.
(The Inn is up for sale as well if anyone's interested?)
The last leg of the trip saw the skies get darker and the rain the that had apparently plagued the rest of Scotland all weekend had finally caught up with us. By the time we got to our next stop at Inverness it was well under way. A walk to the Indian restaurant later that night saw us all well soaked. However, the food was good and we finished off with a quiet drink in the hotel bar. 
We all met again for breakfast the following morning and then departed to make our long Journeys home. My sat-nav was telling me I had 573 miles to cover and that was without the diversion to Derby to drop Dave off! 
The rain was still pestering us intermittently as we finally headed south and we came across a section of road works with a speed limit of 10mph! Yes, 10mph! How ridiculous! We stopped for a coffee somewhere near Perth and then cracked on to Tebay Services. (Another RBRR check point) While we were here we felt it  would have been rude not to sample some of their fantastic food. (Pity not all motorway services are this good.)
By now, the sun had returned which made the driving all the more pleasurable even though we were going home and had that 'back to work and reality' feeling. (Well I did anyway, Dave was going back up to Scotland on Tuesday afternoon for the Triumph Register national week.)
Around the Lancashire area the motorway signs were telling us that there were 30 minute delays on the M6 at junction 19, so we took the M61 to Bolton and then onto the M60 Manchester ring road. We then  took the Woodhead pass over to Sheffield. (This was a route I used to take in my truck driving days when the M6 was closed) From there it was just a short blast down to the HarveyTune HQ at Derby where we arrived at 7.15pm. 
After emptying Dave's gear out of the car and filling the boot up with parts that I had bought off him, we had a quick cup of coffee and then I made tracks. It was now nearly 8pm and I still had 160 miles to cover and had to be at work at 7am the next morning!
Luckily, the M1 and M25 were clear and I arrived at my place at 10.15pm. It had been a brilliant trip with some excellent company and a great co-driver. 
The car performed faultlessly and racked up 1,648 miles door to door and the only time we opened to bonnet was to check the oil and water. Who says old cars are unreliable? :) 
Gertie home at last after another mammoth journey. 

posted by King Rat Racing 26th June 2016 09:48am gmt

Saturday 22nd August. A run out for the Pi.

I can't believe I've not written anything here since April! What have I been doing with myself? 
Well, not a lot, is the answer to that one. Work has been manic and a serious back issue and a trapped nerve has sidelined me for a number of weeks now unfortunately. 
However, with the back issue now almost gone I decided to give the Pi it's first long run out in my ownership. 
I took the car to work on Friday for a bit of a shake down only to find that it decided to drop down to 5 cylinders on the way home. (This was the first time it had done this since I'd had the injectors refurbished in June.) Anyway, with no.5 injector removed and unblocked, it then ran as it should and all was well.
Early Saturday morning saw me heading for the M25 and M11 and making the long journey up to Wisbech in Norfolk. The car managed to behave itself and I eventually made the show ground at around 9am.

 Lee Godfrey was already there and before long we were joined by Peter Jackson in his Mk2 estate with his 2 door Mk2 saloon on the trailer. 

It was a classic car and tractor day and the line up of Triumphs was quite impressive. It was also a blistering hot day and long spells of it were spent under a tree, in the shade consuming tea, coffee and cake. Very nice. :)
I decided to make tracks just after five and again the Pi provided me with a trouble free run home. It was only when I parked the car on the drive, open the gates to the back garden, then started it up to drive the car in that it dropped down onto to 5 cylinders again! My exact thought was 'bugger it, It can wait til morning now'. 

Here's some more pics from the day. 

posted by King Rat Racing 22nd August 2015 9:54pm gmt

April 18th & 19th Club Triumph Historic Counties Rally.

After a long week of working on Gertie every night after work and installing a new complete clutch, alternator, and giving her an oil and filter change, she was now ready to take part in the 2015 HCR. I collected my co-drivers Saturday morning and we had an enjoyable breakfast in Collier Row near Romford, before leaving for the first start location at Stourbridge. (Although my choice of vegetarian fried breakfast probably wasn't the best choice for a long journey and left the car smelling very herbal at times!) 
We arrived at VeeBee Filteration for around 14.45 where we took part in a very short Gymkhana event before moving onto the Wagon and Horses for a quite un-spectacular dinner. Eventually we received our clue sheets, plotted our route and left the pub at 18.40. 
Our plotted route took us back up towards Stourbridge, then we headed for North Wales picking up the counties of Shropshire, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Conwy, and Flintshire.(Anglesey was on the optional list, but we decided that would be a bridge too far.) We then headed for Cheshire, a Cheese factory in Macclesfield before heading over to Derbyshire. This was the last last county on the list, but on returning to the car after  gaining the obligatory photo evidence of the county sign, we found that our eta for the check in Control at Corley services was 12.59 hrs. This was ok, but the control closed at 01.00 and penalty points would be awarded for lateness after that time. However, some err... spirited driving saw us arrive at the control at 12.47am. Spot on!
After our enforced one hour break we had plotted the second part of our run which then took us to Northamptonshire, a bedding supplier in Bedfordshire, Essex, a hospital in Hertfordshire, Stansted Airport, the imperial War museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, Rutland, Lincolnshire, and a pork pie producer in Melton Mowbray. (yes, really!)

We then headed further north to collect a county sign for Nottingham before heading for breakfast and the finish location in Leicestershire. 
After a hearty breakfast and a chat with the other crews it was time for the results. We were quite chuffed to find that we had finished in fourth place. Quite pleasing for a car who's gearbox was still on the garage floor Tuesday night!  
When you looked at the route we had taken throughout the run, we had almost covered a massive figure of eight shape across the country. That will be why the event was sub-titled 'Loop the loop then! :) 

posted by King Rat Racing 19th April 2015 8:39pm gmt

11th & 12th April. Bending things and breaking things.

A trip to Normandyin France this weekend with a few mates provided a fantastic laugh and a great time. However, it was slightly tainted by a couple of unfortunate issues.

The first was when we stopped to let an old lady cross the road on a Zebra crossing and a French white van man decided to drive into the back of us! The crash caused damage to the inner and outer rear valance and bootlid. Thanks to help from some of the crowd we were with, we managed to pull some of it out and get the boot opening and closing properly again. 


The second issue was worse on the 'going home' part of the run. The clutch had been getting quite difficult to operate smoothly. In fact, sometimes, the pedal seemed to stick and wouldn't  release at the biting point when it needed to. Luckily, we managed to get the car home ok, and the following morning the gearbox and clutch was removed for inspection. 
Investigation revealed that the fingers on the pressure plate were badly worn and also not quite in line in places. 

Even more investigation also revealed a broken engine mount. I suspect this was caused by the amount of 'jolty' pulling away we had had to do with the awkward clutch. 
So, a replacement engine mount has been fitted and a new clutch has been ordered. Hopefully, it will arrive in the next few days and all being well Gertie will be back in action on the HCR this weekend. 
       It's just a pity just this will now be two years running that she has had to compete with accident damage! 

posted by King Rat Racing 13th April 2015 8:26pm gmt

January 24th 2015. What colour Pi would you like?

I have to be honest, I've not much to report on the work front what with Christmas and freezing cold weather getting in the way. Oh!, and the National Grid replacing a gas main outside my house and digging a large hole across my drive and stopping me from getting cars in or out of my garage or even allowing me to park on my own driveway!
The weekend that they did this I decided to take a run up to the Heritage Centre for the HRCR (Historic Rally Car Register) open day. It was a good day out despite getting battered by the strong winds on the way up there and having to divert across to the M1 on the way back due to an accident on the M40.
There was some nice cars up there and I was lucky enough to purchase Bill Price's book 'The BMC/BL competitions department'. The lady who's stall I bought it from said to me 'If you turn round and ask that man standing behind you nicely, he might even sign it for you'. So, Bill Price's autograph was duly obtained for the inside cover. (Well, you never know it could double the price in years to come!)  :)
Some cars from the HRCR open day....

With regards to the Pi, all I've really managed to do is repair the driver side B post and start fitting the replacement panels that I bought for her, although for some reason the off side rear door doesn't seem want to line up properly no matter how much adjustment you make on it! Colin Wake has got another one I can try, so hopefully that one will be better. The front passenger door was a better fit and the bonnet and bootlid fit ok too. (The bootlid still needs a bit more lining up when time permits)
The repaired drivers door looked good when I collected it, but now fitted to the car isn't that clever. So I am on the search for either another door, or replacement skin. 
So, with all of it's new panels the Pi is now looking somewhat Multi-Coloured! Progress is slow, but it's getting there. 

posted by King Rat Racing 27th January 2015 06:54am gmt

December 23rd. Pi Work continues

A bit (and only a bit) more work has continued on the Pi. After removing the rear door as well as the  front drivers door, I started to grind down and then cut into the B post as it looked a bit 'crusty' around that area. I was dreading what I would find when I cut into it, but although the membrane in the middle of the inner and outer sills has surface rust, it hasn't rusted through yet. 
I'm not ready to start cutting sills off and carrying out a full restoration yet, as I want to have fun in this car first and give Gertie a bit of a rest, so for the time being the B post will just be repaired and patched up. 
The bonnet was also suffering in the form of a collapsed hinge mounting bracket so this was ground down and welded. I then discovered that the pin in the hinge was also broken, so my repairs had been in vain. I've fitted my spare 'Damson' bonnet for the time being. This should look rather nice with the two green doors I have to go back on and also the Damson, or Dark Blue boot lid. ( I have a choice of two)
Never mind, I can worry about the paint once it's all solid again. ( I was going to say rust free, but I don't think many of these cars are rust free now, they'll always be some rust  lurking somewhere now that they are reaching their 'senior' years) 
I've had to go back to work in between Christmas and New Year, so welding and repairs will resume when work and this bloody freezing weather has passed. 

posted by King Rat Racing 31st December 2014 6:10pm gmt

Wow! An update! December 7th. PI Work starts

After a few months of the Mk1 Pi annoying the crap out of me with sticking throttles, snapping bonnet cables, (with the bonnet down and the throttle stuck half open!) collapsing clutch master cylinder seals and filling the boot up with petrol (Twice!) I've almost managed to get it semi-reliable. 

I took it to the last Essex club meet hoping it would behave itself, and apart from having to stop half way and wiggle the fuse to get the dashboard and rear lights working again it got me there ok. Getting home was also interesting as one of the injectors decided it didn't want to play and the remainder of the journey was completed on 5 cylinders only and me sulking. 

Over the past few weeks, I have been collecting some panels for it and have so far managed to find one front door, two rear doors, a bonnet and bootlid. The only door I was having trouble locating was a drivers door. So I removed my one and had it repaired by the guy that did the repairs to the Red Shed when I owned it. He's made quite a good job of it, despite the amount of rot that was in it. 

The next stage will be to remove and replace the rear door, although before the replacement goes on I will be looking at having the bottom of the door post repaired as this is a bit 'flaky' as you can see.

The only other modification I've done so far to the car is remove the Mk2 front seats that were fitted and fit a more comfortable pair. Instead of going down the 'Alfa Romeo' route as I had before, I looked from something different. Alfa seats are nice, but they aren't really black, they are more of a Charcoal colour. I wanted something that would look a bit closer to original, so I opted for the black leather Range Rover seats that my friend Gavin had in his car. (He changed to MGF seats in his MK2) As you can see, they are a good fit and look a better colour match. Just need to find suitable rear ones now. 

posted by King Rat Racing 07th December 2014 8:52pm gmt

October 3rd to 5th. Round Britain Reliability Run

Friday October 4th finally arrived and after loading the car with tools, spares, snacks etc. it was time to make my way to Enfield for the start of the RBRR. 
After picking up fellow crew members Dave Maton and Graham Parkins from Cheshunt we filled up with petrol and headed to the Plough to  book in and meet up with the other 105 teams taking part. 
The 6pm departure time soon arrived and due to where we had been parked, we were the 101st car to leave out of the 106 starters. 
Graham was the first man in the driving seat and we were soon heading up the A10 and made good progress up to Blyth Services for the check point. I jumped out to get the book signed while Dave and Graham pulled straight onto the petrol pumps to fill up. Dave was now driving and we got going straight away, but unfortunately drove straight into a bad traffic jam on the A1 due to an accident. Once past this, we thought we were in for a clear run, but then came across another long delay this time due to roadworks! Finally we got past the hold ups and carried on up the A1 to the A68. Before long we were at the second check point at the Scottish/English border at Carter Bar and were amazed to find that we were the second car to arrive behind Andy and Sarah Johnson in their Triumph Stag. As soon as we crossed the border the rain started and there was lots of surface water laying around making progress slower than normal.
The third check point was Edinburgh Airport and after a quick coffee it was my turn behind the wheel for the 'Graveyard  shift'. From Edinburgh we headed up the A9 to Inverness and it was quite weird looking at the sat nav and seeing that the next roundabout was 110 miles away! Luckily, by now the rain had stopped and we had a good clear run up to Allness for the next check point at Skiach services. Graham then took over for the next stint up to John O Groats and we arrived there at around 7am. We decided to go and do the obligatory photo shoot before going for Breakfast at the Seaview hotel. 

After a good hearty breakfast we headed across the top of Scotland, through Thurso and over to Bettyhill before heading south towards Dingwall. Dave's previous arm injury was causing him considerable pain, so we all decided it was best he didn't do any more driving and rest. After lunch at the Conon Bridge Hotel, I took the driving seat for my favorite part of the run which is down past Loch Ness, Fort William and then through Glencoe. The only drama we had was when the driver's side windscreen wiper fell off! Luckily, it landed on the bonnet and stayed there until we stopped. A quick repair with black electrical tape was the order of the day and we carried on. We arrived at Stirling around 5pm and after another quick coffee at Morrisons garage Dave decided to try and give the driving another go. However, after half hour he was in pain again and handed over the driving to Graham. 
We arrived at the next control at Tebay (Cumbria) services early so all of us grabbed a very good hot meal while waiting. With Dave now unable to drive anymore we had now discussed the driving situation and worked out a plan. Graham was happiest with the motorway sections at night while I was ok with country lane bits. So, Graham took the drive down the M6 to the next control at Gledrid in North Wales while I tried to grab some sleep on the back seat in Readiness for my second 'Graveyard Shift' through the Welsh forest sections. 
A good crown turned out to greet us Gledrid and I grabbed a can of Red Bull and a Mars Bar in the hope of them giving me some energy. (and I don't even like Mars Bars!) The drive from Gledrid to Sugar Loaf takes in some beautiful driving roads, but unfortunately for some reason also seems to encourage some ridiculous and dangerous driving from some of the other crews. A few times we were overtaken by other Triumphs on the wrong side of the road on blind bends in the pitch black! 
We arrived at Sugar loaf at around half past midnight and as soon as we were allowed, we got the book signed and made tracks for the next  control at Gordano Services on the M5 south of Bristol. By now we were on out second night without proper sleep and we were all getting quite tired. At Gordano services I found the shower open so took advantage. A hot shower and change of clothes had never felt so good! 
Graham took the driving seat for the next stage from Bristol down to Lands End, although I took over about 30 miles from Penzance due to tiredness creeping in on him. 
We arrived at Lands End to find that the cafe had forgotten we were coming and weren't ready. Not impressed! Eventually we were allowed in and breakfast was served.

After breakfast I took the drive up to Bude Motor Museum for the next control point. We removed the front wheels and checked the brake pads as we had been getting a squeeking noise when braking, but it turned out to be a loose backing plate. With that rectified Graham took the next drive over to Badgers Holt at Dartmoor.
After a short stop we then headed off for the famous 'cake stop' at Pimperne. By the time we are at this stage, things are a bit more relaxed. Although it's a great event, it's also a nice feeling knowing that you're on the homeward leg and almost at the finish.
With coffee and cakes devoured we set out for the penultimate stop at the TR Register offices at Didcot. Once again we were greeted by friendly faces and hot coffee and after getting the book signed we headed for the Oxford ring road to pick up the M40. It was here that the scares began when Graham suddenly announced that we'd lost the clutch. To be fair the clutch pedal had been getting stiffer since the early hours, but we were praying that it would hold out. I was pretty convinced that it was the seals in the master cylinder giving out. We had a spare seal kit and clutch fluid and a bleed tube, so we could have hopefully repaired it if need be, but how devastating would it be to make Didcot and then not make the final check point if we couldn't?
We managed to pull off the road to investigate and then after some pedal pumping, miraculously, it seemed to right itself. It was still wasn't as it should be, but it was good enough to select all gears and allow us to continue. We encountered quite a bit of 'stop-start' on the motorway but the clutch held firm and after about 90 minutes we arrived at the Plough for the final check point.
It had been a fantastic trip with some beautiful scenery and some good laughs, so a well deserved pint was downed in celebration. Roll on the 2016 event when I'm hoping to use the Mk1 Pi.

posted by King Rat Racing 08th October 2014 9:52pm gmt

August 31st- Not a great weekend.

I had a free weekend this weekend, so now that the garage is almost finished I decided to finally start work on Gertie's RBRR preparations. The first job was to replace the nearside track rod arm that was advised on the last MOT and while I had the wheels off, I fitted the hub spacers that I bought off of James Shackford god knows how long ago. While I was doing this I checked and adjusted the front wheel bearing and repacked them with grease.

I then fitted the new oil pressure relief valve that I ordered  last week. Gertie's fluctuating oil pressure has been of some concern of late and I was hoping that this was going to cure my problems. 
As i was covered in oil and grease I left test driving Gertie for later and had a quick play with the new PI. After finding her with a puncture, then flooding her and making the battery go flat, I finally got her started and moved into the garage. When I collected her she had a god awful boot rack that had been drilled and bolted through the boot, and a tow bar that had been drilled and bolted through the spare wheel well. 

Needless to say, I wont be needing either of these for my purposes so they were removed and abandoned to the corner of the shed. I had had to remove the rear bumper to get rid of the tow bar and I did then toy with the idea of going for the bumper-less look with this car as well as Gertie, but have decided to keep it standard looking. 
I have also removed the 15 inch revolution alloys for now while I get the puncture fixed and have put my 14 inch minilites on. I've also discovered while doing this that the car has Mk2 trailing arms and drive shafts which give it a wider track. I'm not keen on this so I'm now on the look out for some Mk1 items. 

Sunday Morning.

Today saw the test drive of Gertie with her new oil pressure relief  valve. Although the oil pressure was higher, it was still fluctuating wildly. Most disappointing. A lot of suggestions I've had is that it could be the oil pump coming loose in the sump, or just the oil pump beginning to give out. The last thing I need on  the RBRR is oil pump failure, so I decided to pull the engine out. According to the Haynes manual, you can remove the sump from underneath, but seeing as I was going to pull the engine and change the cam after the RBRR anyway, I may as well  go the whole hog now. It was also damn annoying that I managed to snap a manifold stud in the process too. 
So with the RBRR just over a month away, Gertie's engine is currently sitting on the garage floor. Is it time to panic yet??

posted by King Rat Racing 31st August 2014 9:45pm gmt

August 23rd A new stable mate for Gertie

With the recent sale of my Mk2 estate and what had become a very unreliable Mini, I had decided not buy anything else and just concentrate on Gertie.
So there I was the other night in garage running cables for the impending electrics when I received a text saying 'want a cheap Mk1 PI?'. Well naturally the vagueness of the text aroused my curiosity and before I knew it I was on the phone discussing said car. By the following night I had been sent pictures and by Friday lunch time I had spoken to the owner and arranged to go and the view the car Saturday morning. 
The only snag was that the car was in Bristol, so I decided that if I was going all that way (173 miles!) then I would go with the option of buying it there and then and bringing it away with me. So, Friday evening I borrowed a lovely four wheel car trailer and made preparations for my long journey. 
I was aware that the Saturday morning was the start of a Bank Holiday weekend and the traffic could be horrendous, so I set the alarm for the ungodly hour of 3.30am. As it happens, I woke up at 2am and thought 'sod it, that's close enough, I'll sleep when I get there.
A nice trouble free run saw me arrive at outside the sellers work unit at Bristol at 6am and I went to sleep until he arrived at 07.30. After a couple of coffee's and a good chat, the sale was agreed, the car was loaded up and I left there at 08.45. 

I was lucky enough to have another trouble free run home, with only a bit slow going traffic around Heathrow where the M4 meets the M25. I arrived home at 12.45 where the car was unloaded and I then returned the trailer. 
The car itself is 'cosmetically challenged' but very, very solid underneath. It has MOT and tax until June 2015 and has been fitted with power steering and a front anti roll bar. It also came with 15 inch revolution 5 spoke alloys. (Even a spare one in the boot!) The seats aren't so clever, but as most people know I don't run standard triumph seats anyway so this area will be addressed at at later date. It also still has it's full injection system. (Something I now need to learn all about!)
I also have to sing words of praise for my Landrover Discovery on this trip as well. It was the first time I'd ever used it for towing and I was very impressed. it's a 2.5 TDI and it's fuel consumption was very reasonable considering what it was pulling. I was trying to keep at around 60 mph, but even on the hills she never dropped below 50mph. (and there's some long climbs on that M4!) 

As I said at the beginning, I wasn't looking for another car, but the price was very good and the car has a lot of potential. I didn't think I'd ever the get the chance to own a genuine Mk1 PI so  I feel quite privileged. :)

posted by King Rat Racing 24th August 2014 07:55am gmt

June 28th. Gertie's nose job.

After my mishap on the A127 shortly before the HCR, the time came to take Gertie on a trip up to my good friend Peter Jackson in Cambridgeshire so he could have a go at performing surgery on her and trying to restore her natural good looks. 
After months of chasing I had managed to find a replacement nosecone panel (for the bargain price of £20!) in case nothing could be done with the dented panel and her nose cone had to be replaced entirely. 
On arrival at Peter's, I offered him the option of cutting up the new panel and welding sections in as I thought that might have been a lot easier than trying to pull her one out but Peter was confident that that wouldn't be necessary.
With the car up on axle stands to enable a suitable working height the inner head lights, side lights,  indicators and front grill were removed for easier access to the front panel. 
Peter's first plan of action was to weld pieces of metal with holes drilled through them onto Gertie's nose. I had brought my large hub puller  with me which would act as a large slide hammer and this was then attached to the pieces of metal via a large nut and bolt.
Some spirited pulling and yanking ensued and slowly but surely the nose cone started to reform its original profile. The hardest bit was the drivers side as this side was more flatter than the other but by welding a bolt directly onto the panel near where the crease was and pulling while hammering at the same time, it gradually relented. 
 Peter also pulled out the dent where the badge was which I was delighted about as that had always been there since I bought it and was nothing to do with the accident. It was then that we discovered that the backing plate for the badge that pushes into the three small holes was missing and that the chrome surround and plastic badge part were just glued on anyway! 
With the panel now up to Peter's very high standard he then started filling, sanding down, then filling, then sanding down, then filling, then.......well you get the picture. I never realised there so much that goes into bodywork to get it perfect and Peter certainly has more patience than I do. Even though it wasn't his car, not once were the words 'that'll do' or 'that's close enough' were spoken even though, by now time was getting on. 
Relentlessly, he carried on until he obtained the shape and profile that he wanted and then and only then did he start talking of getting some paint on. 
I have to say, I'm seriously impressed with the end result and cannot convey my appreciation enough to Peter for his high standard of workmanship and dedication in restoring Gertie's nose. This last picture doesn't do the work justice as the Grey primer and 'mist' of Satin black somewhat hide the shape and finish, but believe me it's very very good. 
I finally left Peter's house just before 9pm and arrived home around eleven. A very long, but very very rewarding day. The next move will be to flat the primer back and get the nose ready for painting. Then Gertie will look her best again. :) 

posted by King Rat Racing 29th June 2014 6:24pm gmt

At last an update! May 18th. Something a bit different!

A lot has happened since my last post including moving to a new house in a new town and renting out my old house. The move happened over the Easter weekend and since then there really hasn't been much time for car work or events.
However, with (reasonable) normality restored, it was time for some fun. (Or so I thought)
So, at the insane hour of 4.45am on Sunday morning, I left my new town of Leigh On Sea to travel down to Enfield to collect my nephew and head to Crystal Palace to the start of the Classic Mini London to Brighton Rally.
The local councils were obviously aware of 2,500 Mini's (Yes, that is right, 2,500 Mini's)  descending on south London as they decided to shut the Blackwall tunnel. Good thinking! A lengthy diversion saw us heading over Tower Bridge at around 6.15am and eventually onto where we should be.

With us finally booked into registration we began the long wait for our departure time. They line the cars up on a 'first come first served basis' so basically, the later you get there, the later you leave there. Our delays were not in our favour. Needless to say, we had plenty of time to kill, so we hung around the campsite/car park for a couple of hours or so. I have to say though, there were some fantastic Mini's there to see.

By just after 10.30am it was our turn to leave and we made our way through London to pick up the M23 to Brighton. With over 2000 Mini's plus normal traffic in front of us progress was very slow and with being the hottest day of the year so far, a lot of Mini's had already started overheating. We seemed to be coping ok with the heat and by about 12pm we had eventually made the M23. 
We stopped for a quick sandwich in the services but it was shortly after leaving the services that our problems began. The sound of what I initially thought was 'pinking' soon turned into rattling and a quick exit off the A23 found a petrol station where we could stop and investigate. The engine for some reason had boiled itself dry. We let it cool down a bit a refilled it with water, but it wasn't keen on that and belched loads of it back out. I optimistically put it down to sitting in loads of traffic for so long and tried to continue with the journey. However, on arriving just outside Brighton at the roundabout of the junction of the A23 & A27 (of which both routes were solid with traffic again!) she boiled over again. I was now convinced that we had blown the head gasket and decided to turn around and try and nurse the car home. 
After stopping a further six times, and getting through about 14 bottles of water and flask of coffee (we had ran out of water at the time) we were doing well. We had made it back to Essex and was on the M25 when she overheated again and this time refused to restart. I admitted defeat and we called for recovery. It was 3.15pm by now and we were given an eta of 4pm. We thought that was pretty good, but then at 4pm we received a phone call saying we would now be recovered at 5.30pm. I didn't fancy another 90 mins of getting roasted to death in the sunlight on the hard shoulder of a motorway, so luckily, now the engine had cooled a bit, I managed to get it started and got it off of the motorway. Unfortunately, we still only managed about another ten miles and it finally gave up the ghost near Basildon, only 7 miles from home.

The recovery arrived with us just after 5.15pm and with the AA man confirming that the head gasket had indeed gone he recovered us back home. The only problem with that was that I now had to get my Nephew back to his home in Enfield. It's a good job I could rely on my Triumph estate to serve that purpose. I finally got home about 8pm that night. A bit of a long day then! 
The good thing about Mini's though is the parts availabilty. A head gasket set was ordered Monday afternoon, the head was removed Monday night, the gasket set arrived on Tuesday and the car was put back together Tuesday evening and driven to work and back on Wednesday with no further problems.

Some more pics from the event.......

Ready for the off.......eventually! 

A rare traffic free moment!

A very nice blonde girl with a lovely figure. Oh, and some Mini's. 

posted by King Rat Racing 21st May 2014 9:13pm gmt

Gertie's Clutch Issues resolved

The recent trip to The Netherlands and sitting in the awful stop start traffic of the Antwerp ring road inspired me to finally resolve a clutch issue that I knew I had with Gertie. 
For a long time there has been excessive play when the clutch hasn't been engaged and when it is engaged the piston is almost coming out the end of the slave cylinder. 
I suspected that the taper pin that holds the clutch fork onto the cross shaft inside the bell housing was broken and this was causing my problem. Although if it was this, then I'm amazed that the clutch would still function properly at all. After various other investigations proved fruitless evidence was still pointing towards the taper pin and after a few days of pondering I decided to take the plunge and remove the gearbox.
Initial viewings of the taper pin, cross shaft and clutch fork showed that all seem to be well and everything was operating and turning as it should. However, when I unbolted the taper pin I found the below......
In a way I was quite relieved as this meant that removing the gearbox hadn't been a waste of time. Removing the cross shaft from the clutch fork took some time and effort, so there must have just been enough of the pin sticking out of the cross shaft to still operate the clutch. 
Once removed new cross shaft bearings were fitted and the new taper pin installed. I also fitted a new clutch release bearing as the old one had become a bit 'chatty'.
With the gearbox back in and all bolted up I then had to wait for the return of my reconditioned starter motor a few days later.
 The starter motor was the collected from Danbury auto electrics and fitted that night and a very short test drive proved that the clutch is now nice and smooth with no nasty 'clicky' noises or 'notchy' movements. So all seems good.
Looks like we are back on schedule for the HCR after all! Happy Days! 

posted by King Rat Racing 21st March 2014 07:05am gmt

8th March- Nachtrit van het Oosten 2014

At long last the day had arrived to get away from it all and disappear for a well deserved weekend away. The destination was once again The Netherlands to take part in the Club Triumph Chinese Rally. We departed Wickford at 9am to catch the 12pm boat to Dunkerque and were pleasantly surprised to find very little traffic. (Even at the Dartford Crossing!)
A brief stop on the way to Doverhad us in a mild panic as Gertie refused to restart. After persuading the starter motor to rejoin the land of the living with the aid of a small hammer, Gertie fired up and we were once again on our way. Halfway across the channel the sun decided to join us as well and a very nice drive through France and Belgium followed. This was my third year of competing in the Chinese Rally and the weather had never been so good. It snowed last year and rained the year before that so the sunshine was absolute bliss.

The traffic on the ring road at Antwerp was horrendous and over an hour later we finally made the exit we wanted towards Eindhoven
A brief stop in the services saw us topped up with Coffee & Cheese biscuits and we then carried on into the Netherlandsand to our hotel at Haaksbergen.
By the time we arrived it was 9.45pm and the restaurant was closed but the friendly lady in charge cooked us two pizzas anyway. This was washed down nicely with a few beers and made for a nice end to a long day.
 Saturday morning was spent mooching around the local town which again was very beautiful in the sunshine. We then decided to check out the start location for the rally later that evening and fill up with petrol in case there were no garages on route.

Back at the hotel we were joined in the afternoon by Andy Flaxney & Jeremy Lupton, Mike & Gillian Helm, Mike & Jane Charlton and Mike Bishop and Darren Armitage. We were also joined a bit later by Theo, Roger, and Willi and Jennie Mindak. 4pm soon arrived and we headed for the start point at the Kings Wok in Beckum where we enjoyed a lovely Chinese meal. Our departure times arrived and before you knew it we were off into the wilds and following the tulip diagrams in the road book and trying our best to keep to the proposed route.

 Ten pages of diagrams later we were joining the other drivers at the halfway stage for coffee & cake. Once suitably refreshed we set off again into the night for the second half of the event.
There were some great roads and some real nice cars as well. The British Triumphs all finished although Andy Flexney's car did have some electrical issues. More beers in the bar finished the night nicely and we turned in in readiness for the long trip home.
 Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny again and after a good breakfast we all bid our farewells and took to the road. Large thermometers by the side of the motorways showed a gorgeous 16 degrees and I couldn’t remember the last time I drove Gertie with the windows open. Roll on the summer! 

We arrived in Dunkerque in plenty of time for our Ferry, but then Gertie blotted her copy book again by refusing to start when being called for embarkation. The ignition lights came on but then nothing when the key was turned. Luckily the people behind us very kindly gave us a push start and we made the ferry back to blighty.
 Just over two hours later we embarked at Doverand promptly drove straight into a traffic jam on the M2. I was diverting off at the Sheerness turn off anyway as I had won a Triumph Stag Petrol tank (For my MK2 estate-they’re the same) on ebay while we were away and had arranged to collect it on the way home. With the tank collected we headed back to the M2 only to find it still busy! Two hours later we arrived home quite exhausted from our long, but fantastic weekend away. I do like these weekends away in Holland and will most probably book the next one in November. However, the main focus for now is sorting out Gertie’s starter motor issues in time for the HCR in a few weeks time. Actually, since returning home another issue has come to light and at present Gertie’s gearbox is sitting on my workbench! Will it be cured and refitted in time for the HCR? Who knows? Watch this space! 


The fuel problem that has dogged me for so many years with this car has made an unwelcome return after 15 months of absence. I thought that whatever it was that clogged the fuel line up every now and then had finally gone into retirement when suddenly on Thursday 6th March 2014 it viciously returned.
To add insult to injury the car had just passed its Mot and was on the way home. As usual, it decided to break down on a busy dual carriageway with no lay-by’s or emergency breakdown areas, or street lamps. So I know it wants to kill me.
Now that Gertie is minus its gearbox, this is the car that may have to be used for the HCR god forbid! I wonder if we’ll get a special prize for breaking down in every county? 

posted by King Rat Racing 15th March 2014 07:28am gmt

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