Not Quite Ready

10 04 2015

x 097

Even after a massive push this last month we didn’t quite make it for the first round of the 2015 Mini Miglia Championship at Castle Combe on Easter Monday. In the end it was due to a number of factors, not least the financial and timescale penalties incurred after the unexpected engine work detailed in the last blog. After spending the day as a frustrated spectator I really wish I’d made more effort to get there – if nothing else it would have been a good test. The racing was nothing short of awesome in the miglias and the se7ens.

One of the other financial hits this last month was for my ARDS test at Brands Hatch. I’d done it once already many years back but my licence had lapsed so I had to retake it in order to race. I could have done the course at Castle Combe which is virtually on my doorstep, but Brands Hatch was £100 cheaper. You can also get your medical done at Brands, so all these things along with the fact I need to learn the circuit ready for the Mini Festival made me opt for Brands.

The course consists of a lesson and an exam which was not difficult. Then you have to do a practical on track to prove you have racing pace, understand racing lines, braking points etc. When I did this at Combe all those years ago I was the only one on the circuit. It was a little more tricky at Brands as I was out in the middle of a general test session. There were all sorts of very quick race cars including an ex WTCC BMW M3, and even a mini miglia. But the one that got in my way was a Caterham which was very quick on the straights but poodled round the corners. We got the pass in the end though and I was able to post my application the same day and I got my licence a few days later.

x 080 Redesigned cooling pipes and header tank

We have also had another day on the rolling road at JPR Tuning in Yate. Now the new valves and guides are fitted we have cured the smoking issue. Also the redesign of the cooling system has cured the air lock so we were all set for a clear run. After adjusting the trigger wheel we spent a little while resetting the crank sensor settings in the ECU and then got her fired up. We then spent a while mapping the ignition timing before turning to the fuelling. We must have done about 15 power runs trying different settings. We changed main jets, air correctors, pump jets and a bleed back valve before finding the optimum settings. We also found out that the super-duper DCR trumpet kit doesn’t work on my engine… I came away with some decent power but next time we are going to play with emulsion tubes, inlets and ram pipes.  Arnold from KAD has sorted me out with some special hand made ram pipes as found on Colin Peacocks miglia, and I’m hoping to get some slightly shorter Jenvey ones from Tony Perks, so we are all set for trying out all the different combinations.

cc 115 Ram pipes like these on Colin Peacocks Miglia have been purchased

But probably the most exciting thing happening this month was the photoshoot for Mini magazine.  I’ve got a loft full of mini mags and I’ve never had a car featured, but after all the blood, sweat and tears that went in to this one in a moment of madness I sent a Facebook message to Steven Colbran who said he’d be happy to write a feature. I think it helped that we live within 20 miles of each other, and also Steven wanted to try out his new lighting equipment, and I was more than happy to be a guinea pig.

x 106

It took a few months to come off. We struggled for a location. I was thinking about doing it at the Bristol dockside with the cranes as a backdrop, or even my local skatepark which I thought would look cool with all the graffitied concrete as a backdrop, but when I mentioned it to a mate who happens to be the local councillor he started saying things like ‘insurance’ and ‘risk assessment’ so I scrubbed round that. We also thought about Castle Combe but it’s been done to death there. In the end we did it at my mate Derek’s gaff which is deep in the countryside and looks great.

At this stage I haven’t seen the article, but I’ve had a sneaky peek at a few of the pictures Stephen took and they look awesome. As was my cunning plan from the beginning, once they saw Derek’s collection of ultra-rare minis they have since done an article on his Cooper S Police car and apparently we will both be in the same issue.

Anyway, enough of the showbiz – it’s now all systems go to be out at the next round at Snetterton. From now on it will all be about making the car go as good as it looks!



2 responses

10 04 2015
David Barley

Hi Ian, Have enjoyed reading your trials and tribulations every month. I would like to know who done your dry deck, if you done it yourself whats it like to do. Also do you used a brake servo,on the miglia car. keep writing every month. thanks dave.

13 04 2015

Hi Dave. You can buy the dry deck kit from any of the mini specialist like MED, Swiftune etc but for what you get it’s a lot of money. My engine already had the kit, but if I was starting from scratch I’d go to LCP Engineering in Cheltenham. He can make the flanges and you can get the silicone u bend for less than a tenner on ebay. The work is in machining a flat and a large hole on the side of the head. Then it’s up to you if you cap the waterways in the head and block. The main advantage to this is to prevent head gasket failure. On the advice of the previous engine owner I have left mine uncapped to aid flow. Hope this helps! Ian.

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