The Right Crowd…..and no crowding !

….an old by-line for Brooklands Race Track , back in the day !!!!

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Where else would you find wine AND Castrol on the same shelf !!!!

, and today was no different….after all WE were attending !!!

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it’s 2019 , and with an old friend I used to play hockey with, we arrived for a new event, Brooklands Relived. Arriving at 10am , we parked right outside the museum complex ! – How good is this !. We even convinced the wives to come too !
On Arrival, the Aston Martin Razor Blade, an awesome pre-war hillclimber, was warming up !

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Brooklands is a magical place, and the birth of motorsport in Britain, and this was the first time I’d been since they moved the entire main hangar off the main straight , where they can now do trials , mini races and race-starts – Nice to see some serious machinery being used in anger, including the two fastest cars on the circuit, the Napier Railton and Barnato-Hassan Special (Wolf Barnato being one of the famous ‘Bentley Boys’), both being driven with gusto. The action then moved to the test hill with a variety of cars and bikes trying, and in some cases failing to make it up !!!!!

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Brooklands is always a good day out, and combining it with running cars was great fun. The atmospheric chamber shed is absolutely awesome, and amazing it’s even still here , after being scrapped many decades ago, plus it also houses the 22,000lbb Earthquake and bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Combine that with the Concorde, some interesting old aircraft, and the new hangar , full of interesting Brooklands history.
Great day out, but with the wives tiring of shed-upon-shed of ‘interesting’ (to us) cars, planes , buses and trucks , we headed off , stopping at a great pub for dinner. A brilliant way to finish they day !

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Typical !….. you wait for a bus ….then TWO turn up at once !!!!

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Barnato-Hassan Special – the 2nd Fastest car in Brooklands history, after the Napier-Railton

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The Railton – An epic piece of kit !!!

 

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…If Carlsberg did Garden parties…..

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Set in the heart of rural Wiltshire, with it’s own grounds, and woods is Middlewick House…….home to none other than rock-god Nick Mason , Pink Floyd Drummer, and , more importantly a petrolhead with some serious money !!! (where is the ‘envy’ button !!!!)

Once you get into the county roads of Wiltshire, you realise you’re far from the drudge of working life, and a calm sets in as you marvel at the surrounding scenery.

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I was taking a last long drive in the Z4 Roadster before the replacement arrives (more on this in a later blog post !) , so, ‘Sport Mode’ enagaged, the twisting lanes take on a life of their own as you wind your way into a more and more rural setting.

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Eventually we get very close, so close in fact, that my satnav proclaims e have in fact “Reached our destination” , but th Mason residence is nowhere to be scene, and by the look of another two bewildered drivers, both out of their cars they are also lost ! So we fire up Google Maps, they’re never wrong are they ??? 5 miles later, we reach the dame spot !!!, but catch a glimpse of a friends Caterham flashing past a junction ahead, followed by a very nice 50’s kit Ferrari…We’re on the right track …..FOLLOW THAT CAR !

The house is down a narrow lane that a few widebody cars were having some issues getting down, but that is the price of a perfect setting for a house,and we soon arrive in a field where , later , a record 2000 cars would arrive in …..Let that sink in for a moment…..He can park TWO THOUSAND CARS at his house !!!! (The envy meter is in the red now !)

The day was all in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, an the 7 puind entrance was going to a great cause.

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On the drive is littered with multi-million pound metalwork, and Nick has a very eclectic collection including IndyCars , GT Racers, CanAm, and a great collection of old & new Ferraris (F40, 250GTO, F12 TFD, LaFerrari (in Blue !) …..I’m going to stop now as I’m drooling all over my keyboard.

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This is the life !, with an very relaxed atmosphere, stalls selling interesting garden ornaments and arts and crafts, music, a great BBQ, it’s a bit like a stately home with a Goodwood Revival/Festival of speed vibe….very relaxed, with an open all areas feel.

The car park had some nice metalwork on show, and around 2000 cars turned up – Who has a drive that big theses days !

Thanks to Nick for Opening up his sizeable gardens and letting us mere mortals glimpse the ‘real life’ behind a Floydian Rockster !

Cheers !

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Absolutely Awful Axles !

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I don’t normally mention this, but my 7 is a live axle model…….sounds cool so far…….but wait….the axle is from a MORRIS ITAL (Marina) !!!…. plus, instead of  fitting the bearing against a metal collar, those geniuses just put it on a taper !

Adding super-sticky tyres and a fair bit more power than the Ital combines to give you quite a bit of sideways axle movement after you’ve flung your car round a few B-Roads !!

…and eventually they do just snap, so over the last few weeks , I pulled my finger out, bought a new axle from a guy who races Caterhams, and put it all back together.

However, on the way back from a test-run, I hear a voice from two lanes away while I’m waiting at the lights ‘You’re rear wheel is wobbling , mate !” …..”Oh, FFS!”, I mutter under my breathe as I very slowly make my way back home. The axle I bought from the racer must have been in a collision, so here we go again, Deja Vu !, but at least I’m getting good at disassembling the axle now , AND it has lasted me over 10 years so I can’t complain.

Crusty Ital Axle

I have a second axle from the racer, plus another VERY RUSTY one from eBay that looked like it has been at the bottom of the ocean !, but the actual half-shaft , which I’m going to use, looks good, AND it has only been on a road car , NOT a Caterham, so a good chance it could actually be straight !

Just need to get it off (Lump hammer) , and down to James Whiting , who does a brilliant modification using some sprung washers that automatically adjust any gaps that come up due to the British Leyland dubious taper !

Back on the road soon , I hope !

Treasure Huntin’ ….

I think DavidC took pity on me as my 7 is still broken and invited me to to a Car Treasure Hunt that Tim and Justin from the Westfield Sports Car Club had organised ,starting from a pub near Kate and Will Windsor’s place (You may have heard of them) in Upper Bucklebury.
Little did we know that on the blat TO the start-point we’d already pre-emptively found one of the ‘treasures !’
Parked at the start was Justins new toy, a mint z4 3.0si Coupe. I’ve had my roadster version for a few years , and this thing is’next-level’ . I am now on a quest to source a twin brother for this one !!!! (Watch this space !)
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The proportions of this are just so right ! – Justins new Z4 Coupe

Struggling with an acute lack of coffee, we headed off to the local shop to get some brownian motion. We should have known there might be a problem when we were told “I only have two lattes” left, that they were powdered !!! – and very, very lumpy. However, we ‘manned up’ and seived it through our teeth !, In fact, we spent so long at the shop that we missed the event briefing !
Briefing
After a second briefing (Sorry Justin !:/) we were given a map covering a 20 mile square surrounding Bucklebury, with numbered dots that corresponded to cryptic clues , the answers to which could almost all be found without getting out of the car. Great for us’Blat-Addicts’ as time on your feet is lost driving-tie as far as I’m concerned.
Map pic
Some great machines turned up including a wild flame-spitting v8 Westfield which made a great noise !
So, our allotted time came, and we were let loose to find as many ‘locations’ on the map as we could (You can’t do them all !) . As mentioned earlier, One of the questions was “Which pub refers to a Bone ?”, and we’d already passed the Wills & Kates local , the Bladebone on our way here.
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“Tower, this is Maverick and Goose requesting a flyby” !

Any way , we were off, and the Mev Exocet’s wastegate was merrily chuffing away as I leaned into the slipstream (THIS IS LIVING !!!! …..must fix my own car SOON and do more of this.!)
Mev tree tunnel
Some of the clues were very intellectually taxing for us mere-mortals, and at one point we abandoned the car and were walking around a crossroads for 10 minutes trying to find the number on a fire hydrant FFS !
Dave - Found it !

“Found it !”

Mev tree tunnel
Being a passenger in the MEV,is, I would imagine,much like strapping yourself to Apollo 11 just before lift-off, hearing a huge noise , then feeling your face starting to peel off as the G-Force kicks in, whilst your’s ears are assaulted by a sound like a screaming valkyrie, as Dave, like a small child with a new toy, grinning ear to ear, see just how many times he can get the wastegate to open along Henley high street !!! Brilliant stuff !
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Passengering in the MEV is like riding the bomb from Dr. Strangelove !           “Wait till the boost kicks in !!!”
We were blasting around all over the place and it is absolutely the best way to find new roates , and there are some abssolute belters right on our doorstep that we must get out and drive.
Pub coffee stop
Even though we had 3 hours to complete the task, we are both complete defeatists, so when the chance came to pop into the Crown & Horns for a quick coffee , we couldn’t resist ! (Great place).
Crown & Horns pub
Suitably caffeinated, we climbed back aboard our Saturn 5 rocket , and decided that rather than get a penalty for being late, we’d head directly back to the finish at the pub we started from.
We arrived with 5 minutes to spare.
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Final finishers

Thanks to some excellent organisation from Justin and Lee, we all had a great morning out in the cars, plus they raised a hefty #341 for a local hospice. Nice one
WSCC Group
Trophy

The Famous Four go Blatting……Again !

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Anyone who reads my blog will know (er….anyone ????!!), the default state of my Caterham 7 is ….BROKEN !, and this year is no different. After breaking the axle in August 2018 , I got a 2nd hand item from an ex-racer (Prob not a great idea now with hindsight !), that turned out to be very slightly bent at the wheel end….the result of wheels banging on a circuit during some close racing no doubt ! – I’ve been on eBay , and am currently awaiting the axle and hub being un-pressed, and re-pressed together at James Whitings Garage, along with his excellent axle-shims , of which my axle was the prototype 10 years ago !

Nice to finally meet up for the first proper blat of 2019, and everyone had ‘new’cars !

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Bargain of the century !!!!

Daz had a ‘new’ BMW Mini Cooper S complete with uprated exhaust for……wait for it 700 pounds – Incredible value !!!!, Neil , as always has done some work on his Westfield, and has finally joined the aeroscreen club !!, and last but not least , Darren has bolted a Mini supercharger onto his MEV Exocet, which no goes like the proverbial scalded cat….on Acid !!!, complete with the noise of a howling banshee to match (Following the MEV is interesting as it already gets looks, a the noise just makes sure EVERYONE looks – (not for the shrinking violet drivers out there !)….Oh, and my old Z4 – still brilliant fun , but a bit wide for little lanes ! (my mirrors are still intact you will be pleased to hear, despite a tractor trying it’s hardest to remove them)

IMG_20190627_190820Back to the run, just getting out onto the road proved a nightmare, as it seemed everyone had thought it would be great evening for a blast. and 30 seconds after meeting up, we’d lost Neil and Darren , and pulled into a layby to wait……and wait…..and wait !) . 20mins later we were off again, heading down the sublime riverside road from Twyford through Wargarve to Henley (get up super-early to blast down to Henley for a quick coffe on a Sunday morning, and then back again before the Middle-Aged Men in Lycra ruin your fun !)

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Other pub patrons had the same idea for a great drive in the country !

Some epic roadage later, courtesy of ‘Blat-Leader Extraordinaire’ Darren, who was absolutely hanging it out in the Mini, we got close to our destination….., then ran into an unmade road , which was entertaining for Neil in the very lightweight Westfield . we then turned right to get off this nightmare road, and proceeded up a track more suited to a Land Rover………

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“Lets’ ‘Off-Road’!”

Then for some reason I let a gap open up in front of me, which was a good thing as a mountain bike literally jumped in front of me , 2 seconds late he would have been under me. He didn’t even notice me, huffing and puffing after making it through his journey of the evening as he pulled over to the side of the road. Hood down, I mentioned to him how  ‘flipping lucky’ he was to be alive !,as I trundled past him on the very narrow road up to the pub.

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Roads unusable by cars !!!!….W hat next…..Toilets ‘ Unsuitable for humans’ !!

As I said earlier, EVERYONE was out tonight, and as we rocked up to the pub car park , it became VERY apparent as parking was at a premium. So, after abandoning our vehicles we checked out the King William IV pub , a Brakspear pub (So great ales !), with possibly THE best beer garden …….in the world

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We decided that we’d have a coffee at another pub, and another equally brilliant set of roads followed as the sun set over some spectacular English countryside.

45 minutes later we pulled into the Golden Ball, to find an empty car park with just one car in it , a DB9 no less !

We were just in time to be the almost the very last customers ! Another lovely pub well worth a visit, and we also bumped into a fellow petrol-head there, owner of the Aston. Last time I was here I bumped into a guy who once owned Aston Martin, as in the WHOLE COMPANY !….great place.

Thanks to Darren for yet another great drive , on epic roads, in my local area, that I don’t think I have ever been on !

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OH FFS !

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Must tidy up my garage !!!

So , I’m lying under the car, removing the sump to put in a new gasket…..fairly routine, when the final bolt …AND IT IS ALWAYS THE FINAL BOLT, just spins in place !!!!!!

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Just ONE last bolt to go ……………………

FFS !!! – Even my wife heard me shouting at the car from the other end of the house !

2 hours later……NO effing progress ……and 5 weeks to a trackday…..in FRANCE ….FFS !

THEN……..

I look up, and see the engine mount is also cracked …….FFS !

Add 1

Like I need MORE problems !!!!!

Sorry about the above post, had to clear the air. !!! 🙂 

Next step is to re-approach the problem tonight with an altogether  sunnier disposition and a small crowbar !!!!!!IMG_1878One small good thing that came out of this,was that you have to remove the starter motor to get to the sump bolts, and I took it to the fabulous Burghfield Starter and Alternator Center (nr Reading)who kindly checked it out for me , an it is fully functional, so at least one thing works !!!