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|History '90 David Langrick|
Many friends and work colleges say:- “It’ll never do it” when I tell them what is involved in the 1990 run. Despite the car’s rather shabby appearance (compounded somewhat by a rear end shunt from a Ford Escort), underneath is a solid reliable vehicle. I am confident it well complete this, my first, Reliability Run.
Friday, 5th October 1990. Having been travelling on the M1 for 20 minutes en route to London for the start we are stopped (despite my meagre 60 mph) by the Leicestershire Traffic Police. They ask if I am racing and are curious about all the transfers on the car. I explain and after the usual document checks we are on our way. What a start to the week-end! We arrive at Broadfields Garage in good time, giving us a chance to look at the other cars and register etc. Before the start I count four Spitfires including my own and hope all will make it round O.K (car 58 where are you……….)
A smooth start ensues and soon we are past Grantham, Doncaster, Corbridge and into Scotland. Can we stand the noise, the cold, the diff whine and the acrid smell of crankcase fumes for two more days? With all the rain in Scotland duct tape is needed to seal the roof to screen to stop a mini Niagara Falls!
The car is fine up to John O’Groats and a chance to chat with other entrants over an absolute monster breakfast. A quick check on the oil level and a photo at “The Last House” and we are off again. Whilst I sleep my co-driver takes a wrong at Syre and we go through Brora twice and drop back a bit.
Arriving at Dingwall the reception and food were excellent once again and well received by both of us. By Loch Ness and a couple of hours of bright sun and a respite from the rain before dark and the Stirling stop. Car still O.K. and the long haul south follows. Fellow entrants pass and are passed, then Bristol services. My co-driver does the Bristol to Penzance stretch and I get an hour with my head against the roll-over bar “asleep”. No rain so far in the West Country. After a well needed break and a wash and brush up we are off again in bright sunshine which thankfully stays with us all day. Is it me, or does good weather make driving a cramped Spit so much easier?
A slight diversion to Newton Abbott after Dartmoor Lodge for a bit of “Real Ale Research” and we catch up with everyone at Basingstoke for the final leg into London. Arriving at Broadfields I don not feel as tired all of a sudden. The car has behaved itself superbly throughout (a first, surely?) After the finishing ceremony and coffee we head north to Nottingham and home. On the subject of fuel consumption and stops can any entrant beat 15 fuel stops round Britain (17 including home and back in Nottingham). With a tuned 2.5PI engine under the bonnet and only a standard Mk.IV tank my range is limited to say the least. I am sure fellow PI owners know how thirsty these engines can be, especially when pushed a bit. My co-driver fared better than me in terms of economy, managing 28-30 m.p.g.
Finally, my co-driver and myself would like to thank Derek, Les and every organiser and helper who made the event such a success for so many people. I heard yesterday (10.12.90) that the amount raised is £8,600 so far. I am sure I speak for many when I say all the food and refreshment stops organised were second to none. Here’s to the next run.
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