It was a dry and fair Sunday as the OUMF crew congregated early at the HQ ready for the off to HRDC Castle Combe. After finishing the usual rigmarole of prepping the car ready for race day, and of course hours of intense van packing, the car was loaded and great haste was made so as to not miss…our reservation at the pub later that evening
Having completed all the various improvements the team had decided to make to the Riley racer after Thruxton on June 13th, and ‘fixed’ the Sprinter race van’s vast thirst for coolant, the OUMF team was eager to get back out on track at the ‘Home of Rallycross’ at Lydden Hill on 4th July 2021. This small, twisting and undulating race circuit is the polar opposite of Thruxton with it high speeds, and long fast corners, but both are notoriously hard on tyres, and we were immensely grateful to Phillips Tyres for supporting the team with a fresh set.
After an unavoidable 9 month hiatus from racing, the weekend of the 12th and 13th of June 2021 saw the OUMF team finally make its long awaited return to the track; with a bustling, atmospheric and extremely warm Thruxton circuit being the venue, with two HRDC races as part of the Thruxton Historic Race meeting....
After nine years of racing, development and lobbying, the OUMF Riley Racer has been invited to race at this years Goodwood Revival!
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.
Our 2016 HRDC race season has come to an eventful close, full of many spectacular highs and a few emotional lows, but rounded off with a spectacular finale at the superb Donington Park circuit on October 15th. For the Oxford Universities Motorsport Foundation it was an event that will be remembered well by many a veteran and newcomer to the team, for a long time to come.
Leaving earlier on Friday evening, Ding, Vlad and Jack O’ Connell formed the OUMF ‘vanguard’ and successfully secured a pit garage at the circuit. They dropped off the Riley race car and trailer before rendezvousing with the rest of the team at a great local pub called The Plough, a few minutes from the circuit. Following a hearty meal there, the team of 16, in 4 cars, had very little trouble making the 4 tickets and one car pass go a long way on re-entering the circuit! Our thanks to Dave Constable Berry, Andy Parsons, and Jack Swarbrigg for driving and helping the rest of the team with lifts.