The Donington Historic Festival has fast become one of the most anticipated events of the year, with star-studded grids and three days of nail biting race action. This year was no different and the OUMF boys' hopes were high following on from the teams’ successful first race of the season at Brands Hatch.
Since that first meeting, the Riley’s engine had been equipped with a new Kent camshaft, and been re-tuned on the rolling road at Pitstop, thanks to the generous support of Andy Burns at Kent, and John Yea at British Motor Heritage, and Ralph Saunders respectively. Our excellent new Lifeline control systems were in place, and what tread remained on our tyres had been balanced and deployed on the car to best advantage with the help of Phillips Tyres. We had also fitted a rear anti roll bar for the first time, and the superbly crafted BTB side exit exhaust system had been fitted for the unsilenced Donington Historic Festival.
On the hottest weekend of the year so far, everything was looking good at the HQ on Saturday ahead of OUMF's first race of the season. The Riley was running beautifully, and by mid-afternoon all prep was done, bar adjusting the clutch - which appeared to need simply bleeding to fix. However, it didn't respond, and with the help of our new Easyview inspection camera inserted into the bellhousing (what a superb bit of kit!), we were able to see that the inaccessible clutch pivot bush had collapsed. Rather than remove the engine at this late stage to get to it, the team ingeniously adapted a smaller diameter clutch slave cylinder to fit. This gave a heavier pedal, but a longer throw - and proved an excellent temporary fix. This allowed us to leave Oxford later than planned, at 7pm, but to still reach the Rising Sun pub near the circuit in time for food and a good evening before quickly setting up in the Brands Hatch paddock and retiring to bed.