Welcome to the latest OUMF update - and the most important news is that we are still going! -
despite the best efforts of Covid, Putin, and the economic downturn to kybosh this amazingly resilient &
resourceful student initiative. This edition of the OUMF Newsletter reflects one pithy bit of feedback
about previous ones: “Nobody wants to read a telephone directory of thanks you’s. We all know you’re
grateful! Just give us the highlights – and make it snappy!” Wise advice, acted on, and we hope you enjoy
the shorter, clearer, more digestible result! If your appetite is not appeased, and you find yourself hungry
for more, please see our OUMF website for further news, detailed race reports, great photos, the roll of
our many great supporters, and much more. So here goes…
The 79th Goodwood Members Meeting – April 2022
Our Halls Garage bodied Sebring Sprite project was finally completed in October 2021, making its successful debut in torrential rain at the HRDC ‘Season Finale’ races at Silverstone GP. It instantly lived up to its nickname, ‘Little BeWT’ (derived from its numberplate), by being awarded the Brian Archer memorial ‘Sebring Sprite Trophy’ at the NEC Classic in November - to the joy of all the OUMF cohorts who have played a part in its build since 2016. Then, to everyone’s astonishment, this honour was followed by the invitation to race it in the 2022 Weslake Cup at the 79th Members Meeting. As you can imagine, the invitation was accepted by return – and the prep began! The students negotiated many hurdles to get the grid, including fitting 50 kgs of ballast, meeting the Goodwood Technical regs, new Dunlop L’s from Phillips Tyres - and an engine rebuild!). After expert dyno tuning at Aldon Automotive, the team reached Goodwood and set up camp. When the ice had melted off the tents in the morning (!) the Sebring’s first ever run on a dry track saw it qualify 20th/28. And then, in the 11 lap race, No 11 fought its way through the field to take the chequered flag..in 11th place! But as always, this tremendous achievement with a car ‘straight out of the box’ (aka shed) is perhaps less important than the effect the event had on the students, and what one described as the exhilaration of feeling part of ‘Goodwood’. It reflects very well on the GRRC that its inclusive attitude makes it possible for a debt-laden student team to be there, and to be able to gain unequalled all-round trackside experience by competing against the ‘crème de la crème’ of similar cars. The event totally inspired the students, and will doubtless ensure they remain historic motor racing enthusiasts (and Goodwood customers!) for life when they graduate.
Ypres WRC Rally - August 2022
OUMF graduate Ahron Becquart's deft and timely handling of the entry process saw the venerable OUMF Riley 1.5 secure a prized place in the open Belgian Rally Championship round that ran concurrently with the WRC rally, and on the same famously difficult and unforgiving stages. The car's development over many months preceding the event saw the kind donations of an exquisite Zircotec coated exhaust system, and a rollcage by BTB Exhausts, new TOYO R888R tyres, OMP seats, Lifeline belts and fire extinguisher system, and a brake servo fitted with help from Think Automotive and Car Builder Solutions. Add to this the rebuilt engine with superb Arrow crank and rods, and Helix clutch, and again set up on the Aldon's dyno to run on fossil-free, carbon neutral petrol from sponsors P1 Fuels, and you have an idea of the prep work the students put in! With the race van's aircon fixed by Motorclimate, the team was within hours of leaving - when the van's clutch and flywheel failed. Phillips Tyres instantly stepped up as our white knight, had it all replaced overnight, and thus rescued the trip! A comfortable and efficient ferry passage across the Channel for the OUMF equipe was kindly provided by DFDS Ferries, and we arrived in Ypres ready to do battle. Or so we thought..until the Riley's brake pedal went to the floor. Much frantic bleeding followed, and with the vital provision of a new intercom helmet by Paul Phillips (an hour before Scrutineering!), the car completed the Shakedown event with no further issues. Over the next two days and 750kms of transits and full-on special stage rallying, Ahron's faultless navigation and the OUMF team's meticulous servicing brought the Riley over the WRC finishing podium
in an incredible 16th place out of 30 Overall. The crowds in Ypres shook their heads in disbelief as the OUMF crew swarmed the Riley in jubilation - and provided the surely unrepeatable photos on the card, of both the podium and of the Riley's very modern rivals in Parc Ferme. It was yet another astonishing adventure for the team, and another definite contender for the 'OUMF's Finest Hour' title.
P1 carbon neutral, fossil-free fuel…and a dream as yet unfulfilled
The support of P1 Fuels has really fired this youthful teams desire to explore the possibilities of running historic race engines on completely synthetic fuels that minimise the effect on the environment, while performing as well as those derived from oil. It was a fascinating journey of discovery, involving dead ends and melted pistons, but with the help of JE Pistons, Fuchs Oils and Roger’s dyno wizardry at Aldon Automotive, the team left for the Ypres Rally with the Riley’s engine modified to use the same carbon neutral P1 control fuel the modern WRC cars must use. The students were very disappointed to be told at Scrutineering that the rules forbade them using it, thereby depriving them of P1 fuel sponsorship - and all their efforts to make history as one of the first truly historic rally cars to compete using 100% fossil-free fuel. Their Plan B – to use 97 grade ‘Excellium’ pump petrol from their alternative sponsors, Total Energie - was also denied, despite heated appeals from local OUMF supporters that the organisers show compassion to the severely cash-strapped student team. But they were adamant. We were told the Riley had to use the Belgian Rally Championship control fuel, supplied by Gutts, which was twice the price of normal pump petrol, and must be paid for in advance, or we were out. Somehow, with great difficulty, the 500 euros was raised, the tank was drained of P1 and filled with Gutts, the engine was comprehensively adjusted and re-tuned, and after all this fuss, the Riley was allowed to start. So at the first refuelling stop, when the Riley pulled up to the Gutts pump, the crew were a tad disconcerted to see a sticker on the front which read ‘Gutts dispenses Total 97’…Result? Total Exasperation! However, we did our best, and must now wait to see what fossil-free opportunities 2023 brings…
Racing with the Historic Racing Drivers Club
OUMF students enjoyed their 12th season of top-drawer racing with the HRDC in 2022, courtesy of our visionary patron Julius Thurgood. He cares so passionately about getting young blood into the historic movement – on which its healthy future depends. Surely concentrated race craft learning cannot be more fun than when immersed in the camaraderie Julius generates in any HRDC paddock? This year brought a new challenge for the OUMF team, as they gained his blessing to field the fresh Sebring Sprite in the Allstars in addition to the familiar flying Riley 1.5 in the Jack Sears Trophy races (where previously the Riley had battled in both). They soon learned that this presented not just the obvious problem of transporting 2 cars, but also that halving a car’s track time does not equate to halving the maintenance! Keeping both on point required the added effort to realise the ambition - and they rose to the challenge magnificently with a series of Class podiums. The best performances were both cars taking Class wins at Lydden Hill and Castle Combe. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that without OUMF having the means for any track testing, the Sebring has already taken two Class wins in its first 4 HRDC finishes! Julius’s kind invitation to race with the HRDC in 2023 is a very exciting prospect…
OUMF at the Autosport International Show 2023
The late breaking news from Autosports legendary majordomo Tony Tobias is that OUMF has been awarded a 50sqm stand in the Engineering Hall at ASI in January, which is extremely exciting. It will give the OUMF students the most prestigious platform yet on which to display their race car projects, publicise the OUMF initiative, meet motorsport’s key players, and attract more urgently needed support from the industry in which they hope to find fulfilling and rewarding careers. The ever-increasing numbers of capable, successful OUMF graduates across the industry, and equally, the giant-killing successes of the current student team and their projects in top competition, prove how valuable the OUMF educational model is to the healthy future of British motorsport engineering. We hope that the generous granting of this stand indicates recognition of this fact at last, and look forward to greeting many of our present wonderful supporters - and future ones too - at the NEC in January.
With many thanks for your kind support, and best wishes for a successful, and much more peaceful year ahead.
Ding, and all the boys and girls with OUMF!