Flowing Spring Meet (April)

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This meet is growing in popularity…….

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All types of classic bikes and cars, old & new converge on Playhatch (Nr Reading) for a brilliant monthly Cars & Coffee, Bacon Rolls and Coffee meet.

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Very relaxed, great atmosphere at a quirkily cool great pub,……..!

Proper British sportscars !

Proper British sportscars !

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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 !

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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 !!!

‘Mad Men do ‘Motors at the Manor’

Happy Bunnies

With the 7 still off the road as I , ahem, haven’t got round to doing much on it !, despite 3 MONTHS of Winter AND a new heater in the garage :/ , I got a ride in DaveC’s MEV Exocet, a nicely finished Ariel-esque machine, with a nicely done JPS livery and colour-scheme carried through to the cabin. It was quite interesting to be in something different to the Caterham, which I’m used to driving. The seating position is a bit higher than a Seven, with the dash further way, and behind something I have in the 7, and a big fan of an aeroscreen, for that wind in your face , Stirling Moss experience.

Oh, and did I mention Dave had supercharged it over the winter, taking it to a [sharp intake of breath] 190BHP !!!

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…maybe going as a passenger on the first blat of the year, and on today’s mildly moist roads, was not my greatest idea’. I mumbled something to Dave about “this thing has a lot of torque” , hoping that his first burst of throttle wouldn’t put us into the hedge! ….it didn’t , and this thing goes like a missile.

It was absolutely brilliant to be out in fun car again, and we were joined by NeilH, in his nicely turned out Porsche 911 SC Targa, purchased last year, and RichardH dropped by at our Rendezvous point just to say Hi !,

After a few brief ‘Hello’s’we  set off for ‘Motors at the Manor’, a brilliant little event at a lovely hotel at the picturesque Weston-on-the-Green , surrounded by some great driving roads !

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Shaun Rush has uploaded a good slideshow of the event here.

The organisers of this great little event are ‘La Chasse’ (The Hunt), so thanks to them for a great morning out, and the roads even dried out for a very spirited drive home. BTW , Darren, you can get too spirited”  hehe 🙂

We also dropped into the excellent Waterfront Cafe in Benson, where I got a couple of pints of Dutch Courage for the journey home !

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Motors

http://lachasseevents.com/socials/

 

 

Winter Work …

Someone asked me a question today …

“Do you still update your blog ?”……a lot of ‘other things’ have happened as they do in many peoples lives, but you also need to have things to focus yourself on, so lets kick start 2018’s ‘car stuff’ !

IMG_1370As with all TV car shows, you have to have a deadline , to increase the ‘thrill of the chase’, and mine is a trip to France along with 33 other like-minded individuals for blat to end all blats and a track day, combined with an equally epic return run back to blighty , and that’s all i’m allowed to divulge !! , so May 20th is the hard stop for a completed, and shook-down car ready to rock !

I have a massive list of ‘want to do’s’ , and a ‘must do’ list, and I think the ‘must do’s’ are going to win !!IMG_1373so, thanks to a superhuman 24-hour turnaround  by Speedy Cables, my speedo was returned in a ‘brand new’ condition, and now just needs to be re-installed.

I’m half-way through a learning experience of re-doing the drivers side outer oil-seal on the rear axle, which i seem to have installed back to front , causing a small leak. However,  as with all small projects, it’s turned into a massive ‘re-do (painting , claning and returning the rear drum to ‘as new’ condition !! , which is taking longer than expected !IMG_1372

The car just will not turn over, which may be because the power runs through the (currently absent) speedometer, or it may just need a refurb, which , handily can be done by Burghfield Alternator & Starters a mile away from my work !

so….all I need is a little spanner time , which is proving more difficult to find !!!

Still Superb, but Slightly Soggy… Sunday Scramble

Bicester Heritage, 1 Oct 2017

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The annoying realisation that it was going to be less than ideal weather for the last Sunday Scramble of 2017 dawned on me as I awoke on Sunday morning and climbed into not the Caterham, but the Z4 for the trip up to Bicester.

However, heated seats , a straight-Six, and some Brit Floyd on the Hi-Fi soon sorted that out.

Half-way there, I met with NealH and DaveW also in their tin-top , and we set off on a route they had planned. Brilliant roads, and some even better pubs came into view, as I flicked it into ‘Sport’ mode and started to really enjoy throwing it into the corners  – This thing is a blast !!!!

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Pulling into former RAF Bicester, I was amazed at the turnout, including 2Jag C-Types with NO ROOF (Bravery awards in post chaps)….I felt very guilty having not ‘manned-up and just put a jumper on in the Seven !!!!

Once inside the place was heaving …..This is getting popular, and is losing a bit of it’s early ‘by drivers, for drivers’ charm that also happened with Goodwood’s Breakfast Club.

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Lots of developments have taken place since I was hear earlier in the year including a proposed micro-brewery, new cafe (Awesome Lattes…….I managed THREE in one morning !), and a proposed hotel along with a lot more restoration work on the site – This place is a fabulous success story (Good article on that HERE).

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Porsche Holy trinity ???Singer 911, 2.7 RS, 356

Another great thing about this place is that all the ‘carsof interest’ from online and print media is here. This visit I spotted a David Brown (Aston Inspirred but brand New) Speedback , a Beautiful Singer 911, as tested by Chris Harris  (video)and the new retro Caterham Seven Sprint (£10k more than the model it’s based on !)

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Another brilliant meet …..The Classic & Sportscar Show at Alexandra Place this year is joining forces with the Flywheel Festival next year……and I wonder what 2018’s Sunday Scramble Series will bring .

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Comedy sticker on rally Fiat Panda (No, really !!!)

 

 

 

Summer Stages

Berkshire Blatting………..

IMG_9814This summer, there have been some exceptional blatting days, and some of the evening ‘low flying’ with friends across the sunlit heath & forest ‘stages’ between Maidenhead and Chobham (usually ending up at a pub !), have been epic……hedge-hugging along a narrow B-Road, blasting along a quite sublime A-road, or in tonights case, blasting across Chobham Common, which , I think , may well have been created purely for the purpose of spirited driving.

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Broken down Veedub, hopefully he manages to get it back home before it is stripped down and on eBay !

Last night was one of those nights. Following a 3 ship blat consisting of individuals as car-mad and unhinged as myself ….. Dave in his MX-5 based MEV Exocet, Darren in his Mazda MX-5 (Driven with gusto !), and me in my crossflow-engined Caterham. We even had a Lotus Elise (mk1), out on a solo blat  join us for a couple of miles before turning off.

The recipe for the best blats always involve a stop at a pub or a cafe , and tonight Dave had found ‘possibly the best pub in Berkshire’, the Four Horseshoes.

Obviously, a few other people had had the same idea as us…..Parked outside was an MGB, a new Mustang, BMW i8, and a very nice red MGA drove up and down the road before pulling in. A v8 Morgan also pulled in as we were getting out of our cars after finding one of the few spaces left (If you are planning on going to this pub get there early as it gets quite busy)IMG_9813After a little lubrication, courtesy of the pubs own brew, ‘Shoes’ we set off for the return run, only this time it was a ‘night-blat’.20403684_10214565989927679_1323107002_n

Trying valiantly to hang onto Darrens coat tails (no mean feat !) , we wound our way back through the Chobham night-time countryside, with me trying not to set the hedgerows alight with my un-burnt fuel igniting in the hot exhaust (oh the joy …..and low MPG ! , of a carburetted engine !).

I shut off early as I reached the end of my road (You have to at least try not to annoy the neighbours !), and coasted silently into the driveway……………….

What a ride !

(Thanks to Dave and Darren for a brilliant route, and showing me that there are still some great undiscovered roads, right on my doorstep)

 

 

Brighton Beach Burn-up !

The London to Brighton Kit & Sports Car Run 2017…..

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Madeira Drive, Brighton

Our start time was 9.21, so we all met up at 7.00am at a local petrol station……hang on….we were SUPPOSED to meet at 7.00am but 7.05 came and went, and I started to think I’d gone to the wrong place when an un-mistakeable noise arrived in the shape of Dave and Darren in Daves’ MEV Exocet, truly a rocket ship. around 10 minutes later , and running on HMT (Hatton Mean Time…….could be anytime after the meet time!!!) arrived looking like they’d just robbed the local convenience store !!!!!

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Hoodie thugs !!!!

A quick refuel later (all our cars constantly require refuelling !, in fact ‘in-flight’ refuelling would work well !!!), and we were ready for the off.

The usual ‘under the speed-limit’ thrash across country towards our start point, Brooklands, where we all parked up outside the old sheds and headed to the restaurant for breakfast, a properly stodgy sausage sandwich washed down with some nice hot coffee, perfect fare to keep us going till the lunch stop.

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Go !!!!!!!!!!!

Our start time approached and we all headed round to the starting line next to the Concorde. Dave and Neil headed off about 20 yds and waited for us so we all set off together following Neil as lead car. As usual, I was relegated to rear-gunner !!! 🙂

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Our convoy friend

We also picked up quite a trail of cars behind us as we wound our way through the Surrey scenery, including a lovely Ford Anglia, who was a lone driver (impossible to do one of these rallies without a navigator), and as we got lost he pulled in, and came over to ask if we were lost – We were !, but by now the others had turned round and we were soon heading back onto the route.

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This is what it’s all about !!!! 🙂

Mid morning stop was the Farnham Rural Life Museum. which has a great little cafe, AND, they were having a car-boot sale !!! – Joy !, and some more old properly made British tools purchased…..!

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Mid Morning stop (…..and car boot sale !!!!)

We followed another very winding route and broke out near Brighton along with a whole load of other people out to enjoy the road, and the unexpected sunshine – An epic run.

So what do you get for your £95 fee.

Entry to Brooklands, (Rally starts at 9.20 so no time to look round). Roadbook, and Rally-plate, free Classic Cars Magazine, mid morning entry to the Rural life Museum (nr Farnham), again no time to look round, and bizarrely, a horse brass !!!!, plus you get to park at Madeira Drive in Brighton (and a free ice-cream !). However , for £68 2 people can enjoy a french road rally, Breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, and a drink at the end. (search ‘Rallye Jonquilles’)

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The Roadbook – Central to every road rally

A good run, but I think next time I’ll just get to a start-point, plug in the finish location into my sat-nav, and hit ‘avoid motorways’, and enjoy the scenery, and pull into a nice pub en-route for lunch !

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The gangs all here !

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Brighton Beach’s other heroes