Thanks all - at least there isn't too much left to do! Unfortunately, my mate has now gone on holiday for a fortnight, so I have some time to sort it too!
On the carb front, I agree that HIF44 is a bit big on most 998s, but thought that mine might be ok (if at the bottom end of the HIF44 range) with the head (with bigger valves), cam etc. in there... One schoolboy error that I have spotted was that we'd been turning the mixture screw inwards hoping to weaken the mixture, when we should have been turning it out (and by the time we tried moving out, we had gone so far in that it didn't make a difference!). As a result, I am hopeful that I can at least get the mixture right for the MOT (it now stinks less of neat fuel at least!) - and will then (once its got a couple of hundred miles under its belt) get it properly set up on the rolling road - using whatever carb and needle combo works the best!
Time for a BIG update! I now have an MOT'd mini for the first time since August 1993!
All problems sorted - we had both clearly had a daft moment on the emissions, and we're turning the mixture screw the wrong way - as I have screwed out the screw and it reduced the unburnt petrol smell significantly - and when we checked the emissions were easily set to a safe and stable number - and it runs much better!
I have also been busy sorting the handbrake - having stripped and rebuilt both drums again (nothing really found - but a little air removed when we gave it another bleed). We still had virtually no handbrake one side, even with the cable adjusted right up. I bought a new cable thinking that has stretched, but in replacing it we found the cause - one of the handbrake quadrants had been fitted upside down - which evidently wasn't giving enough pull at the drum. With that turned over and the new cable fitted and adjusted I now have a working handbrake- it just needed a tweak of the adjuster to get through
Now to get some miles put on it and then get it properly set up on the dyno...
We did have one problem while it was running in the workshop - head seems to be building up around the LCB manifold causing fuel evaporation which then causes the car to stop - I assume the solution here is either a fuel line re-route (electric pump?) or heat-wrap the LCB (or both) - so have some fettling to carry on with.