Saturday, 25 October 2014

De-stickering the "Flying Log"

3 weeks on from the Round Britain Run it's time to get things back to normal so I decided to remove the rally stickers and plaques from the Flying Log. A few of the entrants have had issues this year with the stickers taking the paint off the car when removing. The paint on the "Log" is not brilliant to say the least with quite a bit of "rattle can" paintwork so if any car was going to suffer with the paint coming off  it would be the Log, however with a few precautions and a bit of care I had no issue with the proper rally stickers which are designed to be easily removable with low tack adhesive,

The most important thing is preparation before fitting the stickers. I cleaned the areas thoroughly and then applied several coats of wax polish as protection. I also fitted the stickers as per the instructions using a layer of soapy water on the doors before applying the stickers.

The stickers were in place about a month and stayed on with no problems,

Forward a month to today and it was time to remove them. First bit of preparation was to nick my daughter's hair drier! I then warmed the sticker all over and then put some heat on the corner and started peeling whilst keeping heat on the area being peeled.

Warming the sticker


Peeling, keeping heat on the area being peeled.
Once the stickers were removed a small amount of adhesive was left in place, a bit of lateral thinking was used here. Adhesive is sticky and greasy, just like burnt on cooking fat, so I used some kitchen cleaner to remove the residue!

Some adhesive left on the door.

Kitchen Cleaner removed the reside adhesive.
I then T Cut and polished the doors where the stickers had been, no-one would know they had been there.

T Cut and polished after the Sticker was removed

The only area where the paint was marked was not from the official stickers,. Where I'd taped one of the rally plaques to the bonnet some moisture had got behind and marked the paint. The bonnet on the log has really dodgy paint anyway and a re-spray of the bonnet is on the list of winter jobs to do so no worries!

Damaged paint on the bonnet

Monday, 6 October 2014

Team Flying Log complete the Round Britain Run

A bit of a long Blog entry this time around as it's basically a full report on team Flying Log's entry in the Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run.

Very hard work  but a successful, eventful and extremely enjoyable and so far we've raised £700 for Macmillan Cancer Support so all in all a great achievement for team "Flying Log" last weekend. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored team Flying Log so far. If you are reading this but haven't sponsored us yet and would like to it's not too late, just go on line to:-

Having spent the last few weeks fully prepping the Dolomite 1500 "Flying Log" ready for the Round Britain Run Glynn left his car at mine and we went and picked up Paul ready to leave for the start.

Outside Paul's house ready to leave for the Plough at Enfield for the RBRR start.
The journey to the Plough around the M25 on a Friday afternoon was in heavy traffic as expected but we got there at about 3pm so plenty of time before the 6pm start. Lots of time spent catching up with the other teams and enjoying the spectacle of over 100 Triumph's all prepped and ready for the run in the car park.

Team Flying Log at  the start
The Log Ready to go, note "Carol Bear" on the parcel shelf.

Monte Carlo Rally Replica 2.5pi

Roger Hoogman's Mk3 GT6 over from Holland

Roy Lacey's MK1 GT6
Commonwealth Gold Judo Medallist Chris Sherrington's Plastic Bodied T4 Spitfire, Chris's wife Zoe in the background

Tim Bancroft RBRR organiser's GT6 MK2 which unfortunately retired close to the start with a seized rockershaft

Dolomite fitted with a 2L TR7 engine. Owned by Bill Goodwin from the USA. Bill keeps the car over here in the UK  for use at Triumph events.

1300fwd in superb condition, A a rare example

Another 1500 Dolomite entered, owned by Elaine Cartwright.

Tom Key's nicely modified and very quick TR6

Tim Hunt's TR4, a veteran of many many RBRRs

Moss Kit car, unfortunately retired on the first evening with a blown head gasket

The oldest car on the run. A 1950 Renown which was over from Belgium

Ex works rally Vitesse. owned by Dave Pearson of Canley Classics

A 2nd ex works rally Vitesse

TR5 from Germany, also ex works I think

Toledo with 4 light Dolomite front

One of the newest cars on the run, Chris Gunby's Triumph Acclaim
TV presenter from Classic Car SOS Fuzz Townsend entered in this 1500 Spitfire which is a competition prize at a forthcoming car show for fastest spark plug change challenge. Fuzz is also a professional Rock drummer and has been in bands such as "Pop will eat itself" and "The wonder stuff". He has also recently been appointed as President of the Triumph Sports Six Club.
Club Triumph President, Derek Pollock MBE (right) with a representative from Macmillan Cancer Support the charity being supported by the run.

Fuzz Townsend with his co-Driver/Partner
The first stage of the Run from Enfield to Blythe Services near Doncaster was reasonably straightforward apart from the usual heavy traffic, I drove this stage. The next stage from Blythe up to Carter Bar was a bit more painful driven by Glynn. Heavy traffic jams just North of Blythe, a long stretch of 50mph roadworks with Average speed cameras on the A1. Then on the A68 approaching Blythe the heavy rain started. Although we had left the previous checkpoint fairly early we were only into Carter Bar on the Scottish border with only about 10 minutes to spare.

Paul took over at Carter bar, just as he was about to start we had a problem with the windscreen wipers, not good in torrential rain but soon traced to a loose connection on the fuse box and duly sorted out. The journey from Carter Bar down into Edinburgh was tricky with heavy Rain and standing water on the A68 but Paul managed to negotiate it with no problem and got to Edinburgh in time to meet the checkpoint.

I took over from Edinburgh for the longest part of the run. Over the Forth Bridge, up to Perth, through the highlands on the A9. Past Inverness to Skiach Services near the Cromaty Firth. A long run but with the SatNav warning when I needed to slow down for speed cameras we made up time and got to Skiach nice and early.

Th next section was driven by Glynn, up the edge of the East Coast of Scotland to John O'Groats at the top right hand corner of the British Isles. We arrived before the checkpoint opened and had the full Scottish Fry up breakfast provided by the Seaview hotel to all entrants. We then went down to the classic tourist spot with the sign post by the  first and last house to take photos.

At the Sea View Hotel John O'Groats for Breakfast
The Flying Log with the John O'Groats signpost in the background

The Flying Log with the First and Last House, John O'Groats in the background

Doug Jensen (from the USA) in Roy Lacey's Mk1 GT6 with the John O'Groats sign post behind
The Flying Log, Chris Sherrington's T4 Spitfire and Roy Lacey's Mk1 GT6 by the signpost.
The next section is my Favourite. Across the top of the North Scottish Coast then down narrow roads through the centre of Scotland with some lovely views. Needs to be driven carefully though as even some of the A roads are single track with passing places. loose chippings, with sheep and wildlife roaming free. Paul drove this section from John Groat's to Conon Bridge.

Following Roy Lacey along the North Coast Road, East of Thurso

Believe it of not this is an "A" Road!" Following Roy's car with Doug Jensen from the USA driving and Ashley Mills in the 2000 Estate known as "Le Bucket" in front
 We had a spot of drama when following Roy's MK1 GT6 driven by Doug Jensen. 2 sheep ran out in front of them, Doug managed to avoid hitting them and then the sheep ran along the road in front of them, apparently just as it was happening Roy shouted out "Sheep" to warn Doug. While the sheep were running along a Stag then jumped out, again Doug managed to avoid it and he shouted out "Elk" being an American I don't think they call them stags. Roy said afterwards that it was like playing animal top trumps and an Elk certainly beats 2 sheep!
Sheep and a Stag running along the road in front of Doug and Roy after a near miss.
After the long drive down through the North of Scotland on the interesting and isolated roads we arrived at the Conon Bridge Hotel where lunch had been laid on in the form of Bacon Rolls and Sausage Butties.

The Flying Log parked next to Alex Chandlers 1500 Spitfire at Conon Bridge. Apart from the rainy bit over Friday night Alex did the rest of the run with the roof down. Cool. literally!

Ashely's Mk1 2000 Estate "Le Bucket" at Conon Bridge

Herald 1200 convertible fitted with a 2 litre Vitesse Engine and a modified Herald Coupe Roof as a Hardtop. At Conon Bridge. This car had a broken leaf on the rear spring and was sitting pretty lopsided, however it still completed the run.

Dave Aspinall's Mk1 pi Saloon at Conon Bridge
I drove the next section which was along the side of Loch Ness, past Ben Nevis, through Fort William and Glen Coe to the next checkpoint at Morrison's Garage, Stirling.

Stunning Scenery through Glen Coe

Morrison's Garage have been supporting the run since the 60s, they were a Triumph dealership back in the day, and still sell MGs today (MG bare now under Chinese ownership) . On the RBRR the entrants are rewarded with Scotch Pies and sausage rolls provided by the Garage.

The Flying Log at Morrison's Garage, Stirling.

Fuzz Townsend leaving the Morrison's checkpoint
From Morrison's in Stirling the next stage was motorway all the way, driven by Glynn to Tebay Services on the M6 in Cumbria. Glynn and I Re-fuelled on Lamb and Black Pudding Pies for sale in the Services, a dangerous mix on top of the scotch pies we'd eaten at Morrison's!

Paul drove the next section. After leaving Tebay it was south along the M6 then over to Chester on the M56 and down to Oswestry by the Welsh Border to a checkpoint at Gledrid Services. On the way to this checkpoint the exhaust flange gasket started to blow so the car sounded a bit loud. The exhaust gasket is a well known weak point on Spitfire and Dolomite 1500 engines and they only last 2 or 3 thousand miles on average so on a 2,000 mile journey the chances of it blowing are pretty high! However it wasn't affecting the running and as it would have taken a while to fit we just cracked on. Roy Lacey's wife Julia was the marshal at Gledrid. She had baked cookies and brownies and bagged them up to be given to each of the entrants and very tasty they were too. The teams all tend to refuel at this stop as the next section overnight through deepest darkest Wales has no fuel stations.

The teams re-fuelling at Gledrid

Chris and Zoe arrive at Gledrid in the T4 Spitfire
I drove the next section into Wales. some fabulous and deserted twisty mountain roads down through Llandridod Wells and Bullith Wells to the next checkpoint Sugar Loaf just North of Llandovery. The checkpoint here is a picnic area in the Welsh Mountains and is absolutely in the middle of nowhere and pitch black at night!

Glynn drove the next section through wales across to Monmouth and down through the Wye valley crossing the Severn Road Bridge to the next checkpoint at Gordano services Bristol. Paul then took over and drove the next section. This is a difficult section for the teams as it's the middle of the second night of driving, everyone tired and it's on boring motorway and dual carriageway roads. On the way down the M5 we hit an already squashed dead Badger, fortunately it didn't do any damage to the car. When we arrived at the checkpoint near Okehampton it seemed like most of the crews had also drive over it, good job it was already dead!

I took over for the run down from Okehampton to Lands End, however the tiredness start to get the better of me and I pulled over  about halfway down so Glynn took over from me for the drive down to Lands end for Breakfast. We arrived at Lands End very early, not only wasn't the checkpoint open but there was no-one at the hotel to get us breakfast and it was dark. Eventually the Hotel staff turned up late and it was a bit chaotic as most of the teams had arrived so they had about 250 breakfasts to serve all at once. I've got little sympathy for the Hotel staff being rushed of their feet, it serves them right, it had all been booked up in advance so they knew we were coming and what time we were likely to arrive so the staff should have been to work on time! We have had issues at Lands End with the Catering in the past and have moved to another venue before (which unfortunately went bust) , time for another re-think for next time on the catering front  I reckon. Anyway Lands End is an important milestone, for many the John O'Groats to Lands end would be an impressive achievement but we go for a more difficult challenge at Club Triumph whose motto is "the club that does" .

The Flying Log at Lands End

Team Flying Log and Carol Bear at Lands End

Even an Olympian and Commonwealth Olympic champion has to sleep! Chris and Zoe catching up on the zz's at Lands End in the T4 Spitfire

Glynn drove the next bit from Lands end up to Bude where the checkpoint was at Bude Museum. We followed Dave Aspinall's MK1 2.5 pi saloon for the run into Bude. At Bude it was time for a tea break and a check over of the cars.
Following Dave Aspinall in the Mk1 2.5pi towards Bude
Nigel Gair's team replacing a Clutch slave cylinder at Bude

Teams parked up at Bude

This lovely Dolomite Sprint is owned by one of the Marshall's at Bude, Malcolm Warren

A Trio of Saloons arriving at Bude
After Bude Paul drove down to the next checkpoint, Badgers Holt at the other side of Dart Moor. A pretty drive but a bit slow over the moor as there is a 40 mph speed limit and lots of sheep and ponies in the road.

Badgers Holt checkpoint

The Flying Log ready to depart from Badgers Holt, Glynn at the wheel.
After Badgers Holt it feels like the home stretch as you leave the west country. We did have a bit of an issue on the A35 between Bridpot and Dorchester though. Glynn was overtaking some slower vehicles up the steep hills out of Bridport when the engine died and we coasted to a halt. On investigation it was apparent we'd run out of petrol. This was despite the fuel gauge showing half a tank left and no fuel warning light coming on.  I had a petrol can in the boot but, I hadn't filled it up! It had a small amount of fuel in it but this was at least 2 years old. Anyway we put the fuel in and the engine started. Before moving off another crew were driving past so we flagged them down. They gave us their fuel can with fresh fuel which we added to the tank. Thanks very much to Danny Baker and team 11 for the fuel which allowed us to  make it to a Tesco filling station where we brimmed the tank. Afterwards we realised we'd got about 350 miles out of the tank full before we ran out so we should have realised we were low and not relied on the fuel gauge which must have developed a fault.

We arrived at the Pimperne checkpoint  later than we intended but still on time. This is always and excellent checkpoint as lots of local area members come with their Triumph's to welcome as at the village hall and the wives put on a spread of homemade baked cakes to serve with tea and coffee. Beckie from our area was there and she had baked some excellent home made pork pies which she had saved for us and we duly enjoyed!
Tea and Cakes at Pimperne

I drove the next stint up to the TR Register Offices at Didcot. We decided that the part of the route along the M4 and A34 might be a bit snarled up on a Sunday evening so made a detour from Hungerford up the back roads via Wantage to Didcot. Nice empty roads and a "spirited drive" saw us made up for some of the lost time.

Paul drove the last stint back to the Plough. The Traffic on the Oxford Ring Road and the M40 was pretty horrible but we made it back OK and had a successful RBRR completion in the flying log under our belt. Lots of people had turned out to welcome the teams back and we had a meal in the pub and a good chin wag with the other teams before driving back home around the M25.

Arriving back at the Plough (Thanks for the picture Kirk Baker!)
The car behaved pretty well, OK the exhaust gasket blew, the fuel gauge made us run out of petrol, the handbrake went out of adjustment and the wipers played up due to a loose fuse box connection but generally it was good and lots of other teams couldn't belive how fast it was and how it kept up with the bigger cars,  We also had a problem with the rear exhaust silencer box grounding out over any rough roads and speed bumps were a no go zone but that is just because the car was loaded up with lots of spares, tools and 3 blokes who had been eating lots of pies!

That's it until the next RBRR in 2 years time, team Flying Log are already talking about the next time. I have a pipe dream of  replacing the 1500 Flying Log with a Dolomite Sprint but if I do it will have to be a brown one so it can still qualify to be called the flying log!