June 12th

Fuel access holeI'm now well on the way of getting the car moved up to "race" spec as opposed to the trackday version that was out last weekend. What's more, having watched today's Canadian Grand Prix then a collection of Morris Minors Travellers with woodworm would make for more interesting racing, so perhaps I don't need to bother.

I cut a socking great hole in the rear bodywork so that I could access the fuel tank filler. I'll need to get one of those funnels with a long neck too. However, you can reach down inside this hole and take the filler cap off the tank.

I also made a round aluminium plate to fit over the hole. However, I discovered that the Dzus fasteners that I was going to use to attach it were not quite long enough. I'll order a couple more tomorrow that are long enough. In the meantime a roll of gaffa tape will have to do!

While I was faffing about with this I also put a couple more of the angle shaped tub supports to the sides of the car. The rear tub is now much better supported than it was. I really, really, want to stop messing about with it.

Fire extinguisher on sidepodNext thing was the fire extinguisher that I mounted on the left hand side pod. I did worry for a while that it might get too hot here, but I couldn't see really why that was a problem, surely fire extinguishers are meant to work when they get very hot. In this position it means that a passenger can still be carried. You can still access, I think, the pin that has to be removed to arm the extinguisher. What's more, you can see the pressure gauge and the various bits and pieces that a scrutineer would have to see.

The cables that you can see connecting to the handle are the releases and one of them

Panel in cargoes to the pull handle on this panel which can be reached by the driver in the event of wanting to pop off the extinguisher. (Competition extinguishers are not like normal ones in that once you set them off they stay going until they run out of extinguishant.

The thing on the right is a nozzle for the extinsguishant which is pointing, rather roughly, at the driver's midriff as recommended in the instructions that came with the extinguishers. There are a further two nozzles pointing at the engine, which is assumed to the source of most fire risk.

External releaseThe blue book is a bit confusing on the subject of how many extinguisher releases are needed, in that it categorises things into "medium" and "large" systems, the latter of which needs two releases. There is, however, no eay of working out whether you're putting in medium or a large one as the size of extinguishers is stated as 2.25 litres in each case.

Anyways, as I had it I decided to mount it. The problem is, there isn't any obvious bit of bodywork to attach it too (as it all moves) and it's supposed to be near the master switch.

The solution I adopted, as copied from another RGB car I was looking at, was to mount it inside the bonnet and cut a hole in the latter so that you could access it, as seen here. (The rear tub isn't on, hence the visible wiring.) The big sticker is required to tell marshalls where the extinsguisher release is, the master switch (for which that wiring is) has a sticker too, although this time a sort of electrical spark thing.

I keep wondering what to do about some more testing. I could book myself into Brands on the day before the race weekend. However, it's a bit late really to discover some horrible problem. Although, it would be very useful for learning the circuit. The alternative is to take the car to some other test session, perhaps the one that's at Mallory every Wednesday. Problem there is whether I could get it together in a couple of days. I still wouldn't be learning the circuit though, but I guess that might just have to be the way it is. I jave no illusions about being able to feature strongly in the race, it's just a way of learning what goes on. So, perhaps the Mallory option is the most sensible. I suppose I could then do something else as well?

Oh gosh, too many decisions!

June 15th

Repositioned extinguisher releaseWell, I resolved that dilemma by booking to go to Mallory next week. I need to get the car really "finished" by then. The thing is, as I continue to work on it then I find all sorts of things that I want to do/re-do. For example, I'd like to completely flat-bottom the car. However, I have to keep telling myself that the slowest thing is likely to be me, not the car.

Of course, even the things I do do are subject to muppet-tastic moments. The internal extinguisher release, as shown above, was carefully positioned so that it couldn't be operated with the handbrake off. As long as fires only happened in the pits I guess that would be fine!

So, I moved it, and the sticker, to be like this new picture.

Swivel mirror mountingWith that I thought I'd finally fit the mirrors. However, on looking at them I realised that I'd got the wrong sorts. I ordered them ages ago so it's always possible that I ordered the right things and got the wrong ones, or the other way around.

Ho hum.

The problem is that one of them has a swivel mounting, like this one here.

Non swivel mountingThe other one has a non-swivel mounting, which is why in this photo it looks rather skewiff. I shall have to order another one, at least this one does work, although it's not what I want.

Ho hum, yet more expense...

After that débâcle, I turned to something else. For some time I've thought that the bonnet was fouling the air filter over the carb inlets. However, after trying to measure things up, it looks as though it isn't actually touching. However, it just has to be obstructing things a bit, so I'll still have to work out just where to cut a socking great hole.

50 and rising...Finally, for today, I started sticking numbers on the car. I put the backgrounds for the numbers on the sides of the car and stuck the requisite numbers on the top. I still have to do the number on the front, which will be a bit more difficult as the curves there are a bit more extreme.

Of course, as you can tell, I had to cut across the numbers and the background to make it possible to take off the rear bodywork again. However, it doesn't look too bad.

It looks much more like a race car now!

June 16th

Another number, same one thoughThe main thing I did today really was to spend ages on the phone to Gordon Griffin (another RGB racer and the chap who made my reversing unit) about the process of actually going racing; where to go, when to go, how to sleep, etc., etc. That was really useful and I now feel at least a bit better informed.

Nothing much happened to the car. I did stick a new number on the front, as in the photo.

I spent a while looking at the steering column. I'm a bit unhappy about the bearing in the column which seems a bit "gritty", as if the original Ford Sierra spent its life in a sand dune. I keep wondering about replacing it as it's a kind of safety critical part. Might be extreme over-reaction though.

During the day I bought a couple of jerry cans. (Why are they called that?) However, I'm wondering if I really ought to get another one. I also ought to get a padlock for the jerry can box on the trailer. On a similar security note I ordered a wheel clamp for the trailer, as that's needed for the insurance that I've arranged.

June 17th

Passenger side mirrorI got a couple more mirrors in the post today so I could put another one, with a swivel mounting, on the passenger side. These mirrors are going to be hellishly complicated to set up, involving much leaping in and out of the car.

Centre mirror, waiting for the ceremony of the shrinking of the tie-wrapsThe final mirror is a centre one. I toyed with various ideas about where to put it. My initial thought had been sticking up from the dash/tub. However, on trying it it was, as several people suggested, just not going to give a decent enough view. Hence, the only sensible place was hanging from the roll cage. Obviously, I don't want to hack the roll cage up so I made up a little bracket (sigh, all I seem to do at the moment is make brackets) and arranged for that to be tie-wrapped around the roll cage. Experience with the mirror we used at the Bruntingthorpe day was that just tie-wrapping something in this position is surprisingly effective.

I actually used one of the non-adjustable sorts of mirror as it seems to be better here. However, more careful adjustment will be needed which is why the tie-wraps are not actually done up yet in the photo.

Access port for getting at petrol tankFinally, I got some longer Dzus fasteners today so I could finish off the access hole for filling the petrol tank. Luckily it only looks moderately naff.

I'm definitely getting to the end of all this. The to-do list is finally shrinking and I'm getting more and more nervous about Brands. If nothing else, I'll try and "drive" around the virtual circuit using the Grand Prix Legends computer game, which is the only such thing I've ever seen which is vaguely like a real car.

June 18th

Steering wheel adapterFor some time now I've been a little concerned about the removeable steering wheel adapter. The adapter was, originally, butt welded to the end of the column. I wasn't happy with that and later on sleeved the welded area with some steel tubing. However, I still wasn't happy and in the interests of safety I decided to redo it.

Of course, that isn't cheap and I bought a new steering column and steering wheel adapter. This time, I got an adapter with a 1" diameter welding slug. The earlier one was 5/8" which is just about the same diameter as the column, hence the butt weld.

The bits arrived today and in the evening I drilled out the slug to make an 18mm hole (not easy that and there's loads of swarf in the garage again). With a bit of fettling this fitted over the end of the new column. In fact it overlaps by about 25mm which I'm much happier about. I then welded all round the join and, as a belt and braces technique used an additional M5 bolt to pin the whole lot together. Hopefully, the pin means that it would stay together for a while even if the weld completely failed. (What's more, it's the recommended approach of Racetech, who made the adapter in the first place.

The only problem with all this is that the column I got is not quite the same as the old one, as it had the gubbins for it being moveable attached. This means the mountings different and I will have to make yet more special bracketry tomorrow. WHat's more, I've probably got the radial alignment of the adapter and the triangular section of the bottom of the column different. That means I'll have to faff around with the splines on the rack connection a bit to make it fit in the same place. Unless I'm extraordinarily lucky of course.

I got the final booking information for the Brands race today which includes me as a competitor. Now I'm really worried...

June 19th

New steering column installed.It's the last weekend before the Brands race and still have loads of things to do.

First thing today was to finish the steering column. I made some bracketry and got it all back together fine. The only problem is that there is rather a lot of play in the top bearing with this new column. I have a strong suspicion that the scrappy I got it from had the column inners and outers stored separately and I've got two that don't really go together. However, it's probably no big deal. The reason I set about doing this is certainly fixed.

Invisible fuel tank coverI made a fuel tank cover which fills in the hole I cut in the rear bodywork ages ago. You can see it at the very bottom of the rear bodywork here.

Actually, to be honest, you can't.

Bonnet pins fittedYou can, though, see the bonnet pins on this photo. These pins have actually made a huge difference to the solidity of the bodywork. The whole lot now feels as though you could walk on it, which is much better than it used to me. However, the process of opening up the car, front or rear, is now rather more drawn out than it used to be.

Aeroscreen-a-likeWhile I was in the area, I finally removed the horrible little lash-up of a screen I made a while ago and made something fractionally more stylish.

Unfortunately, I didn't have quite enough polycarbonate left over so it's not quite the shape I meant it to be. However, it's not bad. I wonder if it will work as well as the other one did?

Seat panelsFinally, in this day of ticking things in the to-do list off and in preparation for making a much better foam seat, I started making a larger seat shape. The Fury chassis is quite low, probably because it originally had doors, and as such the ally panelled bit of the chassis doesn't go up too high. I feel as if I need a bit more support around my shoulders and also to protect me from the sharp corners on the edge of the transmission tunnel. Hence, the idea is to make a larger "seat" before making another foam seat.

The two panels you can see here are made of 2mm aluminium and are very firm, which is what I was aiming for. Tomorrow will see how the grand plan works, I may end up just drilling the rivets out.

June 20th

Yet another seatI'm starting to feel rather pressured by all this, I hope it's worth it.

I carried on with doing the seat and added the other side to it. I then started on the long process of making another foam seat. I wanted it to be rather larger, especially under the legs, than the other one but to actually be thinner in the squab area. In fact, it seemed sensible if the padding under my bum amounted to 2 pieces of gaffa tape, stuck to either side of nothing.

As before, it took ages to do, although there were fewer throwaways than last time. I did ruin two tee-shirts though and there's some foam stuck to the aluminium seat which I guess is going to be there for a long time. (It's very sticky.)

After taking off the bin bag and adding copious amounts of gaffa tape, it looked like the photo here.

Finished seat, for nowI then set about cutting some holes in it for the belts to go through, in particular the crotch straps which now have to go through the seat. On the previous attempt the squab was too short and the crotch straps just went around the front of it

This seat's much better than the previous one. However, when I have the stamina I'll probably have yet another go at it.

Before Mallory, I'll have to sort out the headrest slightly. I'm assuming that some sort of concoction made of a lump of wood, some roll-bar foam and some gaffa tape will be fine, but perhaps I should have a look in the blue book.

Catch tank in situOne more thing to tick off on the to-do list is a catch tank. I succumbed to tradition (although some discussion this week says that it's not a particularly good tradition) of making one out of an old Coke bottle. That's what I did, with a little aluminium platform for it to sit on and a bunch of tie wraps to hold it in position.

June 21st

It's the summer solstice and I'm sort of winding down, to be honest. So much so that I never even took any photos today.

Nothing much to see though. I made a head restraint, using some thick lumps of aluminium to support a pad to bash my head on. I had the roll cage specially modified for me and this has become a real pain for various reasons. Another one became apparent here in the the vertical part of the cage is so far behind my head (I asked for it to be a bit further back, but not this far) that I need a head restraint on a stalk to actually reach my head. Still, it should work, I think.

I've only got a couple of things to do that I absolutely must do before Brands. Right now, I'm concentrating on testing at Mallory on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the weather forecast seems to be heading for complete doom and pestilence.


next page