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 !
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)
Back 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 !)
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………
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.
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
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 !
This meet is growing in popularity…….
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.
Very relaxed, great atmosphere at a quirkily cool great pub,……..!
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 !!!!!!
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 !
I look up, and see the engine mount is also cracked …….FFS !
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 !!!!!!One 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 !!!
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 !!!
…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 !
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 !
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’ !
As 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 !!so, 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 !
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 !!!
Bicester Heritage, 1 Oct 2017
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 !!!!
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.
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).
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 !)
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 .