Trying to look cool. Very burnt later but pleased with new engine and good time set.

And so to Silverstone! For the MGCC MG Live! Sprint. I got up early (very early) and drove down with the new engine humming away and showing really good oil pressure, and the recently re-fitted cigarette lighter socket powering the sat nav. This is a brilliant idea and makes long journeys so much less stressful. I ran it straight off the battery with a 10amp fuse (which is also enough to power an electric tyre pump).

Very pleased with my sat nav-allowing 12v socket

Upon arrival I passed scrutineering with a few comments as the car was dirty. I had washed it a couple of weeks before but it had driven down from Norwich that morning and had a week outside during the day so it probably wasn’t looking its best. I’ll polish it before next time.

Excitingly there were two other a standard class Midgets, both 1275s. Unusually both had at least some modifications within the class rules and expirienced competitors driving them too. Exciting as it means some proper competition. Since one entrant was from Northern Ireland I can count it as an international!

Lots of interesting machinery to look at between runs

So to the event: Only one practice run as it’s a two lapper on the Stowe circuit. I had quite a long que for the first run. As I’m revving for the sound test I suddenly smelt petrol. I pulled out of the queue and popped the bonnet to investigate and found the second carb to be wet. Since I didn’t want to lose my slot and was worried about fuel leaks leading to a fire, I turned the fuel pressure regulator down and then rejoined the queue.

I set off on my practice run. This the first event I’ve been to where I had been before and therefore had a rough idea which way to turn. (Last time I was in my Porsche). I was looking forward to being able to experiment with lines and braking points.

I didn’t get my wish. Towards the end of the first lap the car spluttered and wouldn’t pull so I pulled into the pits. One of the cool things about Silverstone Stowe is that it has “proper” pits so you can pretend you are a racing driver. I turned the pressure regulator back up to where it was and then added another click for good measure. Fire, scmire, I’m not losing power!

I really went for it on the timed runs. Sadly the Northern Ireland Midget pulled out with technical problems – a shame as he had shown good promise early on (though was slower than me). So that left me with a single arch-rival (Paul), a lovely guy to whom I spent most of the day chatting.

Paul and my cars wait to race at Silverstone Stowe

This was interesting as Paul’s 1275 had the same things (wider wheels, lowered suspension, exhauset, filters etc) modified as my car does so it was a fair 1275 vs 1500 test. In theory the 1500 should be the quicker car – they are quicker as standard and the biggest problems are the heavy bumpers and the suspension, both of which have been changed on my car.

I really liked this Healy Sprite. I think the colour is Healy Blue but I could well be wrong. What ever, its very pretty.

After the first run I was ahead, with Paul fairly close behind so for the second run I pushed a bit harder. In particular I really enjoyed riding the kerbs (though when I watch the video I turns out I was hardly touching them). I still didn’t quite get to the target – my final and best score was 98%, but I’m ok with that. Its the class record and means that I have the class record at the old Silverstone course (set in my very first Sprint – see near the start of this blog) and the new one. The new engine hasn’t been set up on a rolling road yet so I expect there is more power to come too. I was happy with how far I was ahead of Paul and I recon I could have found a 100% times with a third run but, with a long journey ahead, I went home. Very sunburnt!

The car then faultlessy returned home and I stuck it in the garage, pleased that the new engine had been perfect, despite long drive back in very hot weather.

Big thanks to David Rainsbury and others for accepting late entry and provinding a great day.

About Shoestring

I just an ordinary guy with a busy job trying to compete in motorsport. I like to make things difficult for myself by living far away from most of the venues, using a car known to have "issues" and living in the cobble-streeted heart of a Cathedral city and therefore having no room to store a trailer or a van. This means that I have to drive to every event. Or get creative with hire vans...
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