Lotusbits Talbot Sunbeam Lotus – Anglesey Circuit 18th March 2012
By Mike Taylor and Giles Dykes
The previous weekend we were competing at Three Sisters in Wigan, which gave us a few issues to resolve. We had a strange misfire that appeared when we left service and disappeared when we went on stage, then fine when we came off, but reappeared when we left service for the stage. Back in the workshop we removed the plugs and found one black one and 3 normal ones so suspected injectors.
We had the injectors tested and found a 25% spread injector to injector – we obviously had a bad batch of PICO injectors – probably Chinese sh1t. We sourced a new set and took the car back to Northampton Motorsport and had it re-mapped – gained 10BHP! Northampton Motorsport were very helpful fitting us in the next day after a panicked phone call.
We also lost the Video camera at Three Sisters and changing the fuse did not help, so we investigated to find that the fuse descriptions were incorrect – new list made, laminated and fixed to the car.
All ready to load the car on the trailer and depart when half of the service crew (Bogbrush Ben) decides to disappear for an emergency hair cut without telling anyone delaying us for an hour.
Eventually on the road an hour late we are in convoy up the M6 when we smell rubber burning and pulled into the services – the auxiliary belt tensioner on the Transit tow van had seized. Luckily with the service crew and all our tools we were able to strip off the tensioner bearing and open it up to find it had lost half its balls, but with a bit of grease and TLC it was made to turn freely and refitted. When the tensioner was back on, we tried to put the belt on, but could not remember the correct routing- there are so many permutations it was unreal – thanks to Sam with his I Phone – Google provided the belt routing. Onwards to Wales…
We arrived at scrutineering two and a half hours later than planned, but were relieved to find there was still a queue of cars waiting. We found our co-driver Giles who was meeting us there and joined the queue. Fortunately there were no issues with the car in scrutineering except some advice to re-route the harness rear belts around the roll cage to give a triple lock.
After scrutineering we checked into the hotel and headed to the bar and played the video footage from Three Sisters. We had noticed that the car under-steered badly on the Lunar bend on the event, but looking over the footage it was clear that the under-steer was more prevalent.
We had an eventful evening in the centre of Llangefni after Wales won the Grandslam and the town celebrated till the early hours until the fighting started and the police arrived to break it up.
We headed for the first stage in the morning with no further issues apart from a delayed start due to an accident on the A55 delaying all the marshals – more time for breakfast.
On SS1 it was immediately clear that we had a major issue with under-steer and the only way to get round the corners was very slow in. We only had 10 mins between SS1 &2 so no time to change anything. There were no results available till SS3 so we had to chat to the crews around us to find out where we were sitting We were a second behind car 3 and 2 seconds in front of car 4 so not so bad.
On the longer break we changed the top arms on the front suspension to give 3 degrees negative camber instead of 2 degrees. This gave a minor improvement on SS3 but it still washed out leading to a spin over the top. The front dampers were fully soft on bump so we hardened the rear bump for SS4 – no gain.
On SS5 we went to new tyres on the front – again no improvement. On SS6 we put new tyres on the rear but part way into the stage we got a nasty vibration on cornering that progressed into a loss of power and constant vibration, so
we decided to cut a loop and come in early as we thought the engine had let go.
When we investigated in service we found a plug lead had come off as the leads had been cable tied together too tightly. On hind sight we should have stayed out and not taken a stage max which cost us 3 mins 40 secs dropping us down to
As we were now out of contention for class and overall awards we decided to test different settings to cure the under-steer. We decided to harden the front shocks to where we ran the Micra last year which defied logic.
As we cut a loop we finished SS6 in front of Car 1 which meant we were first car on the road for SS7 & 8 – a new experience.
On SS7 the under-steer all but disappeared and we posted a 5th overall time only 6 secs off car 1, and on SS8 took a further second off our time. We ended up 17th overall, but gratifyingly for us, if the event was decided on the last 2 stages we would have been 4th overall Time for a burger or 2..