Monday, 10 October 2016

RBRR report

Round Britain Run Successfully Completed

Feeling good! Team Flying Log successfully completed the Round Britain Reliability Run on Sunday and our Sponsorship total for Guide Dogs is just short of £600. I am going to apply for a Sponsorship match from my employer Vodafone, if granted they will match the first £350 of money raised which will bring the total pretty close to the £1,000 that I gave us as a total.

Report on the Run

The car was prepared and ready to go on the Thursday night, then I got some bad news, Mark was not at all well and had been sick on Thursday evening. Come the morning of the run he still wasn’t well and his wife Sam and little boy Charlie were also going down with the “bug”. There was really no choice but for him to pull out of the team. This left Glynn and myself as a team of two, not ideal but doable, this would mean more driving, less sleep and having to do without a navigator at times when the other was sleeping.

Glynn came down by train and I met him in Reading where we had a slap up brunch breakfast in the local Weatherspoons before driving up to the start at Knebworth. When we arrived the first few cars were already there despite the place only having opened up about 10 minutes before. After our arrival other teams continued to arrive throughout the afternoon, it really was quite a sight with over 130 Triumphs lined up ready for the off.

Glynn and I ready for the Off

The Cars lining up for the Start at Knebworth

As well as Glynn and me as drivers we also had some passengers, 3 cuddly Guide Dogs from the charity which we named Bill, Bill and Bill, in memory of our old American friend Bill Goodwin who passed away last year. Bill regularly came over from the US and drove in the run, he even kept a Triumph in the UK for such events, a real enthusiast and character who is missed. As is Carol Boyland another old friend who was a regular at Club events and as per last time we had one of her teddy’s that Glynn’s wife Anne Marie won in an auction for Macmillan Cancer after her passing. Naturally the bear is now christened Carol Bear and is a regular on our team!

Bill, Bill and Bill, in memory of Bill Goodwin
Carol Bear, in memory of Carol Boyland

Only problem with being among the first cars there, it meant we were amongst the last to set off, however by about 6:15 we were on our way Northwards, reaching the 1st control point at Blythe Services near Doncaster with no dramas or hold ups and arrived a few minutes too early for the control to be open to get our book signed, but this meant we were well on track.
After leaving Blythe and heading Northwards we had an issue with the exhaust, the manifold to downpipe gasket started to blow, However in the interest of time, the fact it was dark and because it would have been too hot to fix we drove on with it getting increasingly louder eventually sounding like a tank!
The route along the A1M had a road closure that evening but we planned a shorter route than the official diversion which worked well along the A167 and through Darlington.
Next control point at Carter Bar, the Scottish Border point on the A68, was reached bang on time.
We then drove down towards Edinburgh managing to negotiate the many speed cameras without getting flashed on this stretch of road. Then it was over the Forth Road Bridge and up to Kinross Services on the M9 for the next Control which we reached at around 1:50 am.
The next stretch from Kinross to Inverness was across the highlands on the A9, this road has about 100 miles of average speed cameras, so the Sat Nav speed camera function on the Tom Tom was used to good effect.
Next control point was Skiach Services North of Inverness reached at around 5am still in darkness.

Skiach at 5am
Then it was up the Scottish East Coast all the way to John O’Groats for a hearty full Scottish breakfast with the other teams in the Sea View Hotel. By now it was daylight so after Breakfast I checked out our blowing exhaust. It would have been a longish job to change the gasket even though I had a spare in the boot. However as most of the original gasket had been burnt away I tightened up the flange joint metal on metal without a gasket which seemed to do the trick and stop the blowing exhaust. For the rest of the trip I kept re-tightening every couple of control stops which got us around the run with no issue. We left the breakfast stop and headed down to the first and last house for the obligatory signpost photo with the car.

John O'Groats
Then came the most impressive part of the run, down through the centre of the Northern most part of Scotland. Many of the roads up here are single track with passing places (even the A Roads) and apart from the other Triumphs the only other users of the road were the sheep for a good 100 miles!

Along the North of Scotland

In the Wilds, Centre of the North of Scotland

The Flying Log parked up overlooking Loch Naver, North Scotland

The next control stop was a return to Skiach Services, this time in the daylight.

This was followed by another long and picturesque drive along the side of Loch Ness, down through Fort William, Glen Coe and the Trussochs to Stirling.

Near Glen Coe and the Trussochs

At Stirling the Control point is Morrisons Garage, who were a Triumph Dealership back in the day. The Garage has traditionally supported the Round Britain Run over the years and provide the entrants with Scotch Pies and hot drinks.

At Morrisons Garage, Stiring

After Morrissons Garage at Stirling the next stretch was nearly all Motorway, down through Scotland to the Borders and into the Lake District. A Short stretch of the run left the motorway to follow the original route from the first run in 1966 along the A6 in celebration of the 50th anniversary.

Then it was down the M6 and across on the A56 to Chester and down into Wales, with a quick detour off the motorway to avoid a jam where a caravan had turned over on it’s side. Next control was Gledrid Services at Oswestry. We did have a little mishap there when Glynn drove the car into a un seen kerb head on. Fortunately the damage to the subframe and sump from this altercation is pretty minor so didn’t cause an issue.

Gledrid Services
After Gledrid it was down through Wales through some very twisty and challenging roads in total darkness, good job the Flying Log has some uprated headlights! The next control in Wales was a Picnic Area at Sugar Loaf near Landovery, in total darkness. After this it was along the A40 to Monmouth.

The planned route from Monmouth was along the River Wye, a nice road but unfortunately there was a road closure part way along and we had missed the diversion. We used the Sat Nav to find a way around, it was a worrying few miles though as the Sat Nav took us through some very narrow roads that were not much more than a track through the Forest of Dean. Anyway eventually we got through to the Severn Bridge and back into England down to the next control at Westonzoyland airfield in Somerset where a burger van had been commissioned to provide Bacon Rolls and Hot drinks, just what we needed at 3:30 in the morning to keep us going!

We then went on down the M5 and A30 into Devon to the next control near Oakhampton at around 5am.
Then it was on down through Cornwall to Lands End control for another full English Breakfast laid on for the crews.

Lands End
After Lands End we went up to Bude Museum for the next control, then down to Dartmoor for the next control at Badgers Holt , crossing the Picturesque moorland on the way.

Bude Museum
Dart Moor

After Badgers Holt we drove along the South coast and then up to Pimperne near Salisbury. The checkpoint at Pimperne is one of the highlights for the crews as the local car club lays on a fine selection of homemade cakes every year.

Fabulous Selection of Homemade cakes laid on at Pimperne

After Pimperne we were away on the final stretch, Glynn was driving, I was supposed to be navigating but nodded off resulting on Glynn missing the A34 turnoff on the A303. All was not lost though as I used my local knowledge and got Glynn to take the A33 up from Basingstoke, cutting out a lot of miles and getting us back on track.

The M4, M40 and M25 were better than expected on a Sunday evening and we arrived at the Knebworth finish at 18:50, just under 48 ½ hours after leaving.

At the finish
After finishing there was a meal laid on for the drivers and time for a quick beer before heading to a nearby hotel for a much needed shower and a few beers in the bar with some of the other teams. Another great Round Britain Run, successfully done, next one will be in 2018 and I’m already looking forward to it.
Here are some Stats for our team
Distance covered from Start to Finish 2137 miles
Average MPG between fill ups before start and after finish 32.29
Best MPG 36 between Skiach and Stirling
Worst MPG 29 between Salisbury and the finish
Amount spent of fuel £375
Most expensive fuel £1.33 per litre at on the A1M at Whetherby and on the A40 between Abagaveny and Monmouth
Cheapest Fuel £1.12 per litre at Wick and Stirling
Time in hours from start to finish approx 48.5 (assumes we got out of the car park at about 6:15)
Approx average speed including stops 44 MPH
Amount raised for Guide Dogs so far £595

The final figure for the amount raised for Guide Dogs will be revealed at the Club’s annual Dinner in March where a giant cheque will be traditionally presented to the Charity. I did notice tonight that the total for the event on Just Giving is over £58,000 so far for this years event, this is bound to rise as more donations come in, I wouldn’t be surprised if it tops £70,000, a significant donation to Guide Dogs. To put it into perspective apparently it costs around £50,000 to train and provide a Guide Dog so there should be one with Club Triumph’s name on it!

Successfully Finished

Team Flying Log. Successfully finished 2000 miles in 48 hours Knebworth to John O'Groats to Lands End to Knebworth

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Cornish Coast

Nude control point

End to End

Reached Lands End

Butty time

Bacon butties at Westonzoyland airfield at 4am, just what was needed!

Butty time

Bacon butties at Westonzoyland airfield at 4am, just what was needed!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

3rd Nation of the weekend

Just entered Wales at Wrexham

Southward bound

Currently heading south near Wigan on the M6, will be turning right on the M56 and then heading into Wales for the overnight twisty road bit of the run

Pie time

Morrisons garage Stirling ex Triumph dealership have laid on scotch pies for all the entrants as usual. Plus they are one of the control stops. Just checked in and will be on our way south back to England soon

Up the top and on the way back down

Safely up to John O'Groats, then down through some wonderful scenery in the wilds of North Scotland.

Past Inverness

Control point at Skiach Services North of Inverness. 

Friday, 7 October 2016

1st control

Safely arrived at Blythe Services, book signed onwards now in a Scotland direction

Nearly time

What a lot of Triumphs entered for the run this year, quite a sight!

And the there were 2

A slight set back for team flying log before we even start. Mark has been rather ill overnight with a tummy bug and his wife Sam and little boy Charlie also look to be coming down with the bug.

So looks like we are down to a 2 man team, harder work but 48 hours in a car with a sick bucket isn't going to work. 

I'm wondering if it's possible to meet up with Mark in the West Country on Sunday  so he can drive some of the run back up to Knebworth if he is feeling better, we'll see. 

Get well soon Mark, Sam and little Charlie

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Ready to Go - Britain here we come

It's the night before the big event, the Flying Log is prepared, cleaned, stickered up, packed and ready to go. 2,000 miles in 48 hours. Leaving from from Knebworth at around 6pm up to John O'Groats for breakfast, down to Lands end via Wales for breakfast the follwing day and back to Knebworth in time for Dinner.

It's sitting a bit low at the back with a full set of tools including a trolley jack and axle stands, lots of spares, oils, coolant, brake fluid and other topping up stuff, a full petrol can and a full tank of fuel.

Ready to go and sitting low!
Snacks have also been bought to keep the drivers sustained throughout the journey, especially through the night in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands and Wales where nothing will be open.

The sponsorship had reached £555 last time I looked so thanks you to our generous sponsors. Fingers crossed I'll get approved for some matched sponsorship from Vodafone under a company scheme that matches up to £350 , not guaranteed but I did manage to obtain it last time I did the event so fingers crossed. With a few last minute sponsors we may even get close to the £1,000!

Now time for some sleep before the off tomorrow.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Being fair to the GT6

As the flying log was fitted with a nice little unobtrusive rein 12v socket last week the GT6 was feeling left out. So I've just fitted a similar one in the GT
Even more unobtrusive than the one in the Dolomite, socket under the dash following the angle slope...

Monday, 5 September 2016

Getting the "Flying Log" ready for the RBRR

The Round Britain Reliability Run is only a month away now so I've been spending quite a bit of time getting the Flying Log ready for the event.

Firstly there was the small matter of an MOT! The Log failed back in June, there was some imbalance in the brakes and some corrosion around the rear front subframe mounts on the chassis legs. Although known as Chassis legs  it's actually part of the body as the Dolomite doesn't have a separate Chassis.

For the brakes I replaced the shoes and pads and seals on one caliper (The other caliper was replaced recently with a recon unit). For the corrosion I got the MOT centre (Moonface) to do the work, I supplied new polybush subframe mounts.

Repaired Chassis leg with new Polybush subframe mounts.
On the retest there was still an issue with the handbrake. Moonface sorted this out, it transpired that the previous owner had inadvertently swapped over the adjuster threaded ratchets between sides. So they were un-adjusting rather than adjusting the handbrake each time it was applied! I know I didn't do this as I've only ever stripped down one side at a time! Anyway all done now and a fresh MOT was in place at the end of July.

There has been an advisory on the last 3 MOTs of excess play on an inner track rod ball joint. I fixed this now, but had difficulty undoing the retaining nut which is rather large 1 5/16 AF. I bought a second hand spanner on ebay for the job which sorted that though!

I had a Piranha electronic ignition pack up on me a couple of tyears ago and have been sticking with points and condenser since. But for the RBRR I splashed out on an Accuspark electronic ignition system. It was a bargain as they had an offer on with 4 Accuspark triple electrode spark plugs included for £1 more than the cost of the ignition. So I also fitted these.

Accuspark Electronic  Ignition system added.
I will keep the points and condenser in the car as a spare in case of electronic ignition system failure, a lesson learnt from the earlier Pirahna failure!

Other jobs included fitting new front wheel bearings, adjusting the tappets, balancing and tuning the carbs with my Weber syncrometer and colortune, Topping up the gearbox oil and checking the diff oil (didn't need a top up).

I also fitted an uprated Alternator (55A vs the standard 35A) , I'll carry the standard one as a spare.

I fitted a Fire extinguisher as I found one cheap in Lidl for £8.99!

£8.99 Fire Extinguisher fitted, Lidl Bargain!
I fitted a twin 12v Socket under the dash, a pretty unobtrusive unit. I wired it up to only be live with the ignition on and used a natty combined relay and fuse holder unit to ensure that the full current isn't carried through the ignition switch. My "inconsiderate" teenage daughter left her hairdryer at her Mum's house which prevented me neatening off the crimp connectors with heatshrink so for the time being I've used insulating tape to hold some heatshrink in place to be shrunk later!

Unobtrusive double 12v socket

Combined Relay/Fuse holder unit.
One of my Co-Drivers, Mark Smith, came over to check over the car, always good to have a 2nd pair of eyes. He did find that one of the front brake flexi pipes looks suspect and the other was twisted. I must have twisted it when I removed the caliper to fit the wheel bearing. Anyway I decided to order two new aeroquip hoses which will be fitted when they arrive this week.

Apart from that the rest of the prep will be the last minute top ups, tyre pressures, rainex etc. Not sure whether to change the oil and filter at this stage, it was only changed with fresh Valvoline VR1 and Unipart filter  about 700 miles ago and the oil looks pretty clean. However I do have a filter and some Valvoline VR1 ready in case I do decide on a change.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Sacrificial clamps!!!

Last time I completed the RBRR in the Dolomite we had a bit of an issue with the exhaust grounding out on the bumpy minor roads of Scotland and Cornwall. It had never been an issue except on the RBRR when the car was loaded up with lots of heavy tools, spares, fluids (Oil, petrol, Water, antifreeze, brake fluid etc) and 3 big blokes.

At the end of the run the rear box which hangs down pretty low on a Dolly 1500 or 1850 had taken quite a beating with a big flat dented on the bottom LH corner and quite a bit of scrape wear from the roads.

Damaged Rear Box after the last RBRR

Not wanting a repeat this year with the risk of the rear box wearing through I decided to put some protection in place.

Initially my thoughts were to make up some kind of skid pan. But then I thought lets just get some giant exhaust clamps big enough to go around the box which is a round profile. The clamps can then be sacrificed to take the wear.

Giant Exhaust Clamp

Sacrificial Clamps in Place

Sunday, 12 June 2016

A busy few weeks and a set back for the "Flying Log"

The Blog has been a bit quiet lately, that's because I've been too busy actually using the Triumphs.

May Bank Holiday weekend was the Isle of Wight Camping weekend, had my usual pilgrmage over there with the Kids in the Flying Log. As usual a really great weekender.

On the Road in convoy in the "Log", pretty close to that Van!

Triumphs arriving at Black Gang Chine

Triumphs at Areton Barns craft centre

More convoy action, Alice hitches a lift with Alan in his Spitfire

The following weekend was the SEM (South of England Meet) weekend at Leatherhead. I went along to this in the GT6 as I had a kid free weekend. It was the first of the GT6 50th anniversary celebration meets this year as well.

Celebrating 50 years of the GT6

GT6s at SEM

GT6s at SEM
Over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May I visited Crystal Palace for the "Motorsport at the Palace event" Crystal Palace is actually a historic race venue and used to be a Grand Prix circuit back in the day. Once a year there is an annual sprint held there. Lots of various cars taking part from old historic single seaters, through classics to modern day cars such as Imprezza's etc and even a BMR i8.

One competitor well known in TSSC and Club Triumph Circles was John Davies in his Vitesse (known as "Son of Silverback"). There were a few other Triumphs racing too.

In good company in the car park

Nice TR3

This TR4 was competing

TR6 approaching the chicane

John Davies in Son of Silverback leaving the start

John negotiates the Chicane testing the suspension!

TR4 at the Chicane
The following weekend I went to a regular general classic car meet near me for the first time. The Crotch Cooler Classic Car Sunday meet at the Departure Lounge Cafe Alton. A very well turned out meet and I'm sure I'll be back.

Arriving at the Crotch Cooler in the GT6 (Picture courtesy of Chris Knowles)

Tidy TR6

Nice TR4

Very well turned out MK3 Spitfire

Dolly Sprint

A good turn out
Then this weekend it was another of my favourite events, the annual Ace Cafe Triumph Day. Managed to get along to this in the GT6.

Ace Cafe

Marks's lovely MK3 at the Ace

Arty Shot at the Ace

A great historic venue for a car meet.
Saturday wasn't all good though. It was time for the "Flying Log's" MOT and it failed this year. A few issues with brake inbalance and the handbrake should be easily fixed. However there is a bit of tin worm underneath. The "Chassis leg" type box sections where the rear of the front subframe attach are corroded and will need some welding, I'll get Jim down at Moonface to do this bit as I'm not much of a welder....