Went to Retro Rides Gathering at Shelsley Walsh. I didn't take the MK3 MX5 because I thought it would be too modern for the clubstand at the show. I therefore thought I'd take something that could carry loads of stuff easily, but also wasn't the diesel daily. ASBO Mini it was then.
On the Saturday night they have a charity auction of "tat" people donate plus other show related things. In a slightly tipsy state I bid and won the chance to close the show by doing the final run up the hill climb. I bid £60. I had £25 on me, no drivers licence, no helmet, no paperwork for the car and above all it's not a retro ride. Luckily Kev and Ian from Retro Rides sorted me out with a helmet, squared it with the organisers re paperwork and told me to go make a lot of noise. After a dash to Tesco in the morning for some cash, I duly obliged.
Video from a chap who wanted a ride up the hill and stuck his GoPro to my windscreen:
All in all a quality weekend.
The next day I did a Trackday at Brands Hatch with the MiniTorque.com chaps in the MX5 (now a tradition for me to take the wrong car to every event). Chatting to Adam and co while poking round there cars confirmed a few things. Mainly that I can fit a full cage but retain all the rear seating which is a requirement for Road Going Sprint classes. Result!
So all of this leads to a list of things I would like to get done over winter. It reads a bit like this
1 Make it not so bloody loud by fitting a cat (and remap to suit) 2 Replace bonnet and A panel for non battered ones 3 Fit Sparco Sprint 5 bucket seats left over from the supercharged MX5 4 Replace front bushes that are knocking 5 Replace all fluids 6 Purchase and fit front camber plates and adjustable rear control arms so I can get the alignment set up properly with how low it is 7 Fit a stereo that has Bluetooth hands free (have stereo, just need fitting kit) 8 Replace knackered alternator 9 Source and fit used facelift gearbox with LSD 10 R56 brake discs and calipers with decent pads 11 Rear cage sourced and fitted
I'd like to manage 1-9 doing 10 and 11 as well would be ace. Probably also missed off a couple of things.
Progress has been made this weekend as I had a couple of days off either side.
Picked up and fitted a JCW exhaust (thanks for spotting it for me Adam). It's now loads quieter while driving normally but still shouts when you go WOT. Still have concerns it won't pass driveby sound checks at circuits. Should pass the static one now though.
Dug out an old Bluetooth head unit and fitted that on Saturday, only to find the passenger front speaker is goosed. Popped down to Minitopia today and Ray sorted me out with a replacement OE speaker, some door card screws that were missing and some clips to replace ones the last person to remove the door card has royally Canoeed up. Whilst there I asked for a quote on sourcing a dark silver bonnet and having it fitted, turns out he had one in stock and a spare hour. Result! No more ruined paint bonnet and the black scoop is gone as the new bonnet still has the dark silver scoop in it.
I also sprayed the grills on the scuttle satin black today.
Car looks and sounds much better and really starting to feel like mine rather than just a car I've bought. The JCW exhaust needs more work as it pokes out too much and sits too low, plus got the rest of the list to keep working through.
Competed in my first event in the Mini last weekend, the Farnborough District Motor Club Sprint Royale. Due to the rules around boost multiplications to CC I was in the 1800 to 2300cc class. My competition was a group of EP3 Type Rs, a Fiat 500 Abarth, an old school Alfa, an MGA and a Clio 182.
My main aim was to try the car out, get a feel for competing in it and decide if it’s the right car and class to compete in or to focus on the MX5 for that. I knew the other R53 was turbod and running over 300 whp, I knew everyone else was on semi slicks and I knew a at least one of the civics and its a driver were well seasoned Sprint competitors in a very well developed car. I had power but no decent tyres, far from ideal suspension set up, no LSD and standard brakes with Mintex 1144 pads.
I had no illusions about walking home with a trophy.
I had a great time though. THe car was brilliant, wheelspin city, but brilliant. Took me a while to dial in to FWD having only ever done these kinds of events in RWD cars. I haven’t properly tracked a FWD in over 5 years.
The result was out of 10 in class I came 4th, 3 tenths of a second off third. The 3 Civics making up the top 3. Yup, I beat the 300+ whp R53. I think he must have been having an off day as it looked blisteringly quick off the line.
The day proved that the car has potential. I was around 2 secs off the front guys over a course that took them around 57secs. Sounds small but it is quite a lot. However I reckon with some proper tyres, the wheels pointing and cambered like they should be and more seat time from this fleshy lump behind the wheel we should be capable of claiming some trophies for the cabinet.
Here’s a couple of pics from the day plus a video of my fastest run at 59.63 seconds.