Monday, January 30, 2006

More ebay spares

Just bought a spare Sprint cylinder head with all valves etc as well as 4 pistons and con rods.

I'll probably never need them but some spares are always worth having

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Prime reason

Just had my weekly update - the TR is now all primered up.

Next week it's stonechip on the sills and then it should be painted all white.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Xmas present arrives at last

Yes, it's arrived at last but it did come from Australia and it's been worth waiting for.

A strut brace which not only looks good but will stifen up the car some more - especially on landing after "yumps".

The 16 valve works cars had them but they were utilitarian affairs - this looks good too!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

10 Countries Run 2005 Day 2

As published in Club Triumph's "Club Torque " January 2006 edition.

Day 2 Friday September 9th

I think the 10CR is now starting to develop its own heritage, you know. After all on the RBRR it’s well known that Friday night 10PM must be Blyth services, then it’s up to Bishop’s garage at Corbridge before taking the super A68 up to Jedburgh. In addition to this many crews have their own special landmarks which raise a smile as they are reached.

Well, on the second running of the 10CR one of those landmarks came up just after midnight. On the first 10CR in 2003 the town of Bar sur Arbe saw Triumphs going in all directions trying to find the route before, by some kind of consensus, many of us pulled off into a parking area near a L’Eclerc supermarket.

Yes, 2 years later that’s where we were by design having put it into the roadbook. A phone call from Andy and Paul in the yellow missile confirmed they would be joining us shortly after an altercation with the local wildlife on a nearby road – oh deer! If you can picture the scene tho, these moments are what make the event special – there we are in the middle of the night in the centre of a deserted provincial French town in the knowledge that somewhere out there within a 20 mile radius there are another 30+ Club Triumph crews.

Anyway, Paul and Andy joined us and they brewed up a cup of coffee (nice little stove that by the way) whilst we inspected the slight damage to the missile.

The scuff mark on the door can be seen in this photo and ther'es damage to a front lamp too.

In the meantime, a number of cars drove past blithely ignoring us including my sister in her Stag! Mind you, as we had the deer hunter and Bambi killer with us it was probably a good idea to keep their Stag on the road!

Back on the road and we are flying through the French countryside fast approaching the area marked on the map for “extreme caution” due to the Hunt incident in 2003. This time no mishaps but the roads are certainly challenging approaching Dijon although it was a pleasure to watch the yellow missile being piloted through the bends with the usual verve.

By the time we reach Switzerland it’s about 6AM and we are in tandem with Keith Bennett and Barry McGrath in the TR4a, problem is, we are both running very low on fuel. Due to a misunderstanding we then go off route and take an even longer road into Switzerland and the motorway service area we are hoping to reach.

This is yet again another of those 10CR moments, nursing the car to get the best MPG we can whilst hoping for a fuel station. Then just dropping down from the mountains towards Lausanne we dive into a petrol station where a lady seems to be getting ready to start the day. “Vous sont ouvert?” I say being a flash git in my best but limited French. My question is probably something offensive of course but it was great to hear her reply “Oui, monsieur” and both cars could fill up with petrol.

From there the route was into Switzerland and a climb up to Chamonix. What a superb road this was with tremendous scenery and I saw a glacier for the first time just before the Mon Blanc tunnel. This was a really enjoyable section, especially when playing “On days like these” on the CD player. Not so happy was Dave Pearson though, we noticed him in a lay by with his Vitesse but as the bonnet was down we kept going. I later realised that this was where the half shaft gave up and the Vitesse shed a wheel!

The Mont Blanc tunnel was one of those places that crews had different views about. We weren’t so happy with the 30euro toll but as it went on and on we came to think it was maybe worthwhile. On the Italian side though there was an impromptu drivers meeting with about 6 crews. Paul Darbyshire suggested that the intended route was too ambitious and that we wouldn’t make Ventimiglia on time, to which we all agreed and took a different route.

I have to tell you Paul, that as it was only 11.45 AM I am surprised I agreed and didn’t go for it anyway. Nevertheless, we set off into Italy to take the Autostrada south and then cut across through the Tende tunnel and so reach Ventimiglia (this last section being a route from 2003 but run in the reverse direction).

Oh how we enjoyed the torrential rain in northern Italy! That was nothing though to our experiences in Torino. For some reason we managed to come of the autostrada and end up in Turin famous for the Italian job, the traffic jam and escape by the Minis. If only we could escape!

Whoever designed their road sign system clearly had much to learn about the task. It took us an hour and a half to get out again! First we looked for road signs to places to the south of the city but, once found, they disappeared. At one point we were following the signs for Savona which went straight on at a cross-roads but the junction turned out to be a T junction – straight on would have been through a set of iron railings!

Eventually, the only way we regained the route was by using the car compass and systematically taking a southerly direction whenever possible. We also learned that everything they say about Italian drivers is true but after an hour and a half of increasing stress levels I could fight it out with the best of them! Maybe the original route wouldn’t have been a bad idea after all

Memories of the next section include finally heading out again towards Savona and then swooping to the side of the road when we spotted Tim Bancroft and crew parked up. Thankfully they were just having a driver change and not in any difficulty so we both set off trying to find the right turning again – oh how much I like those Italian road signs!

At some point about now I also became aware for some reason that we had no headlights which wasn’t too much of a problem other than by law in Italy they should be used at all times!

I received a text from home as well telling me that Ellis Stokes had been arrested by the Italian police and weapons were involved! Why is Ellis carrying weapons on board I wondered? Only later did I realise the misunderstanding – he was commenting on the Italian police carrying weapons and he had only been “interviewed” not arrested!

Apologies are now due to our mates in the yellow missile – sorry chaps, we saw that you were also being “interviewed” at the side of the road by the Italian police but given that I had no headlights, we had just heard about the Ellis incident and you seemed OK we kept going. Shameful I know but it was great to see you again later that night.

Our intention was to still visit Monte Carlo but I decided that getting to Ventimiglia was the most important thing so we drove straight there to find we were first to arrive. Sorry to bring this up again but being lost in Turin for an hour and a half coupled with still arriving first really made me feel we should have gone for the original route – maybe next time!

Now, at this point I would like to remind anyone who has forgotten or inform anyone who never knew – we had not visited this campsite at all before! The only thing we knew about it was from their website and Paul Darbyshire’s stirling work booking it all for us over the phone. I did have an inkling it may be an interesting place given how cheap it was and viewing it via “Google earth” which seemed to imply the close proximity of the motorway and not much greenery!

What we found was a campsite where we pitched our tents on gravel in a walled compound in the middle of a town – not quite what I am sure many had envisaged! At the end of a trying day this was not quite what many of us were looking for on first sight.

Mind you, I soon compared it to a campsite we used in Bedford the year before where there were no facilities at all and the surroundings weren’t great either. Then when we found the very clean washrooms, showers etc as well as very presentable bar/restaurant things improved no end. (I must not let this pass though without thanking Paul Darbyshire for sorting out the bookings here and Dean Martin for helping out with the arrangements whilst Paul was a bit delayed – thanks guys you did a great job.)

Soon there were tents being pitched, beers drunk, pizzas eaten and many a tall tale told. Apart from us, however, as we had the priority of sorting out the electrics on the TR7 first or our 10CR would be over. A check showed that there was no rear offside sidelight and the headlamps would not work although front sidelights and indicators were OK.

This is where the true Club Triumph spirit showed through. First Tim Bancroft loaned a multi meter, Michael Helm donated wire, and Ellis Stokes (thankfully having survived the attentions of the police), Kevin Makin my co driver and Pete Connaughton came to the rescue.

That's Kevin (ex Lucas) on the left in the light blue 10CR shirt, Ellis (CT TR7 consultant) in the dark blue t shirt and Pete Connaughton (autoelectrician). Thanks chaps!

The rear lights were fixed by running an extra wire from the left lamp as a quick fix and then we moved onto the headlights. The problem here proved to be that Triumph never relayed the headlight switch in their wisdom and after 28 years it had burnt out. Ellis had had the same problem on the RBRR so between him, Kevin and Pete they wired in another switch (donated by Pete – thanks mate) and we were sorted.

At last we could relax and it was a great atmosphere in the restaurant that night as anyone there can confirm. A lesson learned from the first 10CR was to offer a location for the overnight halt where we could all have a good meal and socialise if we wished – and many of us did! I just loved chatting to everyone and I have to admire the heroes that were still out there battling their way through the night to reach us. An example of those heroes were Jason Chinn and crew who bravely did do the entire suggested route and, as a result, were one over on us that night.

There really was something special about that night for me, seeing the crews pull in, tired but happy, looking at all the smiling faces in the bar and the buzz of all the tall stories. I even remember lying on the bonnet of the TR7 and ringing to share the experience with my wife back home – she had enjoyed the event too but via the message board rather than in a Triumph!

So day 2 had started at midnight in a deserted small French town and ended under canvas in an Italian town on the Med after an amazing 24 hours – just a few more countries and some more experiences to savour starting early next morning.

More progress and more walking!

As I understand it, all the "make to shape" is complete on the TR7.

So now, it's a tidy up and clean up of the car and garage ready for spraying "primer/filler". It's getting closer - must get some photos.

Meanwhile, I have walked another bit of the Pennine Way (about 5 miles actually). This was after visiting "The Outdoor Shop" in my hometown and purchasing an OS map, a rucksack and a coat all for the princely sum of £15 in their closing down sale!

MMM - I can see walking becoming another hobby at this rate. It has some similarities to rallying really - you need the right kit and to be able to navigate properly. As I love maps this suits me very well.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Seats collected - welding done

I collected the competition seats from a very nice gent who works for Halfords. Mind you, they are certainly a tight fit for me and I am a relative "lightweight" - any budding co-drivers need to bear this in mind!

Meanwhile, all the welding is done on the TR and prep for painting begins this coming week.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bodywork update

Got an update today.

The rear deck repairs are done. Now both sills and rear arches have been inspected. Not too bad but some new metal needed in the sills and the rear arches as well as for the bottom of the passenger door.

All that should be sorted fairly soon and then onto the paintwork

To save a bit of time (and dosh) paintwiork on the front end of the car will be left alone but that's fine - this is a rally car not a show car.

After all, my Club Triumph friends know I am not a "polisher"

More rally bits - great seats!

Latest purchase from ebay is a pair of competition seats. I am well pleased with these as they are FIA homolgated as you can see, come with the mountings and I have saved about £150 over buying brand new. Oh, and they are only 4 weeks old anyway!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Walking is a funny thing

Over the holidays I have been doing a fair bit of walking - over 2 1/2 hours the other afternoon in drizzle.

Then today on the Pennine Way for a couple of hours, again in the dim light of an overcast january day with drizzle coming down.

Mind you, it does teach the benefits of reading your map right which is a useful skill in the old rallying game. Made a mistake today which cost me some time (but doesn't matter like it would on a rally) but what really bothered me is that it is my legs that are the engine and climbing a hill to come back down again when you realsie you read the map wrong brings it home to you!

Having said all that, 2 hous plus out in the elements gave me a sense of achievement and it's great to be out there.

From tomorrow it's back to the normal frantic work routine