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Brands Hatch Mini Festival - here we come

posted 14 Jun 2012, 08:11 by Kieren McDonald
The eagerly anticipated event is soon upon us, Brands Hatch Mini Festival!!! We have all been looking forward to this event, especially at such a great circuit, for racers and spectators alike.

Team Changes
There have been some changes in the BigMacRacing team - I would like to introduce Dave Yardy of Track, Road and Race as my new mechanic; Dave came highly recommended by Rob Selby of Selby Engineering.  Dave is a top bloke, brings a lot of experience with mini racing and is really keen to get my car where it should be.  If anyone is interested in Dave's services - whether it be for your road or race car, for race support at events or in-between - have a chat with either of us to find out how extremely competitive the pricing options are!

Dave and Rob have been putting many hours in to correct a long list of things - getting my engine sorted (following Oulton Park), issues following Castle Combe, issues missed, general maintanence and setup.  The main aim has been to iron out every problem and build a good platform that we can work with/learn from, hopefully get some good results and then progress.  More organisation will come into play, ensuring everything is done in advance of race meets.  All of this should hopefully allow me to build more confidence, learn more and progress rather than be on the back foot.

Post-Combe Investigation
As a recap, the issue I experienced at Combe was I lost my braking and then lost drive before having to retire to a marshall post.  Once recovered it was seen I was missing a o/s/f hub nut and split pin, the outer drive shaft had come out and the n/s/f tyre was flat.

Dave Yardy went around the car with a fine tooth-comb and found lots of problems, although 1st of all was to find out why Combe ended the way it did.

The cause of the DNF was due to a loose hub nut, although all the other hub nuts were also very loose. The nut had put pressure on the split pin, which led to it breaking and then came off.  The movement in the hub as a result led to the braking failure and the drive-shaft popping out (of course lucky the wheel didn't come off too!).  The effect of the drive shaft popping out and the engine locking up was the probable cause of the crack in the pinion!

Post-Oulton Investigation
As a recap, the issue I experienced at Oulton Park (where I qualified 7th!) was I had a major oil leak so had to retire. The issue was found to be a missing bolt and the gasket had been chucked out.  The engine was worked on by my old mechanic (not Rob Selby) and led to a crank cap being snapped and bending the crank due to torquing it down with incorrectly sized bearing shells and not checking the crank movement before hand.  This was not an easy thing to correct so led to me borrowing Dave Robinson's spare block for the next couple of events whilst Rob Selby looked at the options for sorting my engine out.

Engine / Transmission
Below is a list of the items that were mainly as a result of the 2 previously mentioned incidents:
  • New caps
  • Machining prep to block and caps
  • Line bored & line honed
  • New crank - Rob didn't want to risk my old crank
  • New bearings
  • New cam followers
  • Dyno run to ensure correct operation, which also resulted in finding other issues
  • New final drive pinion
  • Stripped, reassembled & cleaned out gearbox
  • Clutch release shaft
A few other bits were done but more as general maintenance and to rectify a couple of other issues found, e.g. I was down on my power due to the carburettor.

Below is a list of the items that were mainly as a result of the 2 previously mentioned incidents:
  • All hub nuts loose
  • Rear bearing cracked
  • Spun bearing f/o/s - new hub needed
  • Leaking rear brake pipe
  • Shocks - all corners - set differently
  • Wheel movement in all corners due to bearings/hub loose
  • CV joints, discs, calipers all changed as precautionary
  • Master cylinder and fresh brake fluid
  • Rear subframe - couple fixings loose
  • Rear wheel cylinders loose - braking system rattling around in drum
  • Gear linkage movement in universal joint
  • Setup severly out - being worked on right now!
  • Steering gaitor twisted
  • Rebuilt hubs
  • New hub nuts & washers
  • New ball joints - bottoms were worn & not generally not fully torqued

Onwards & Upwards
As stated, main aim has been to sort every issue to give me a chance to get to grip with what will feel like a new car.  Reliability is absolute key and with the dream team of Dave and Rob, I'm sure things will go in the right direction. Racing always provides its ups and downs so there will likely be something crop up down the line...although everything is being done to give the best fighting chance.

Going forwards, Rob Selby will carry out all engine/transmission work and Dave Yardy will carry out all other work and provide support at events.  This way, each person will do what they specialise in and should provide that much needed reliability.

Right as I type, Dave has just told me the engine has been fired hopefully the setup will go smoothly for him.  It is all over the place so hopefully it isn't yet another late nighter for Dave!

A test session is booked for Brands Hatch tomorrow to get a feel for the car and build some confidence, etc and we look forward to qualifying on Saturday, followed by 2 races on Sunday.  The line up for the weekend is looking superb, lets just hope the weather isn't too bad and we have a cracker! Between the Migs and Se7ens, the Mini7 Club has over 50 entrants - don't miss out, come along to support and don't forget to stop by to say hi :-)

Once again, a huge thanks to Dave & Rob!!

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