February 1, 2017 5:16 pm - Published by

After all the time spent building the car, I wanted to take any opportunity given to me to actually drive it, and drive it properly. 27th December was the date for the Rockingham Christmas cruise.

I must admit, I was a little (ok very) nervous about driving that distance in a car I’d built on my back on the drive….but I guessed a shakedown had to be done at some point and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

We met up with the Sheffield mx5 lot and began what turned out to be a very uneventful convoy down to the track. Except Jason who had a thimble for a washer bottle and had to stop to clean the windscreen en route. Well, uneventful until this happened.

Yeah, that’ll be me being rescued by the diesel support vehicle.

About 5 miles to go before we hit Rockingham – pulled away from a set of lights then….nothing. engine stalled and wouldn’t restart. To say I was a little annoyed would be an understatement.  However, after a few minutes and many swears, she started again and carried on like nothing had happened……for about another mile and a half! A further 3 breakdowns and I finally reached the track.

it was a good turn out. Maybe 30 or more cars with the ‘Punks and a warm welcome was had by all.

I knew I wanted to take the car on track, but due to the breakdowns on the way I was a little apprehensive about spending money on track time when I may not have been able to use it.  I decided to have a go at the barrel run first to see if the car wanted to behave as this was a little cheaper and less time orientated.  Yeah, I managed half a run first time out, then the same problem again! I couldn’t understand it, the fuel was cutting out completely – no fuel pump at all. in frustration, I pulled the relay out from under the dash, tightened up earths, had a look at the wiring to the pump itself, all seemed ok so back together it went and I managed my runs.

The time wasn’t great. I’m not gonna make racing drivers excuses here. but I had a ridiculous amount of fun doing it.

Lunch time came and during a discussion with Joe, decided that if he booked track time, I would too as both of us were brand new to track time and it kinda made sense to have someone else on track in the same boat.

After all the breakdowns during the day, I’m pleased to report that she performed faultlessly on track – except for some rather alarming understeer which I’m putting down to having T1R’s and needing setting up properly with the Anti roll bars and ride height.  So, what fun is talking about track time without pictures?

 To say I enjoyed  the day would be an understatement, not only am I not a track day Virgin any more, I’m totally hooked. I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner! 

The trip hope turned out to be a nightmare. Countless break downs and 2 AA call outs, all for the same problem…the car turning the fuel pump off on its own and then restarting at random intervals acting like nothing was wrong.

Much closer to home, a friend who was following noticed that when the car cut out, so did the rear lights. Yeah, random..or that’s what I thought. When the car was running, I banged on the rear light and it cut out! ??

 It turns out that 2 of the wires on the connector were shorting out and killing the fuel pump. Disconnecting the lights fully then allowed me to continue the rest of the way home with no incident. 

In conclusion: wiring things up like a numpty causes random things to happen. Then subsequently, the joke about not wiring the fuel pump to the rear lights has stuck.  Cheers guys.

Yeah, track days…..I’ll be back on the 24th march at Blyton.  Watch this space 

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