HRDC ‘Allstars’ and ‘Touring Greats’ Races
Mallory Park Racing Circuit – September 26th 2015
OUMF RILEY 1.5 - RACE REPORT
We have received an unprecedented interest and support from new students this year - so much that our signup sheet had gone beyond the number of rows we had printed! So, given the enthusiasm that everyone was showing, we were quite ready to have a large team at the Historic Racing Drivers Club penultimate race at the Mallory Park Racing Circuit. A few were under the weather and many others had unexpected commitments, but nonetheless, after a day of race preparation on Thursday, we left the HQ at 4 p.m. on Friday with more than dozen crew members to support the OUMF Riley 1.5 race car.
We reached Mallory Park at dusk and were welcomed by a patch of green grass and a little lake that stood serenely in the middle of the race track. For a few of us, it was our first race as pit crew, and both excitement and adrenaline were soaring high. We quickly set up our marquee and tools, had dinner and at that point many of us called it a day and retired to catch some sleep before the busy race day to come. However, a few of us whose adrenaline refused to die down chose to go for a track walk. After all, it was the day before full moon and the place was flooded with moonlight!
Immediately on arriving back from a successful week in Belgium competing with the Inca Alfa in the Ypres Rally, the OUMF team set to work on the Riley 1.5 racer in preparation for its next event at Oulton Park the following weekend. Sadly - and very unexpectedly given its apparent good health after HRDC Brands Hatch in June - further problems were discovered with the engine at the Monday evening practical session. Despite many different ideas being thrown around, it was clear that the Riley would not be able to race at the weekend and, regrettably, we had to inform Julius that we must withdraw the Riley from the races.
Despite the very disappointing issues with the car, the level of enthusiasm and commitment to the HRDC is such that many OUMF members were still keen to make the trip up to Oulton Park. An overnight stay was arranged at the Maitland HQ in Shropshire, with fantastic hospitality provided for the whole team on Friday evening. There was even a tour of the ever expanding ‘Maitland Engineering’ workshop, and inspection of the current ‘works in progress’ – Tom’s 1930 Ford Model A-engined Amilcar, and his brother Bruce’s potential HRDC A35 racer! Despite an eventful journey up there for a couple of members, a great night was had by all.
At around 1am on Saturday morning - less than two hours after finishing the Ist OUMFMC 12 Car Rally - the OUMF team arrived at a wet Silverstone, for the support race of the Britcar 24 hours– and we were very quickly asleep!
The first ever OUMFMC 12 Car Rally was a long time in the planning…but was definitely worth the wait!
Informally named the OUMFMC ‘WRC Rally’, the weeks of organization, mainly by Dom Norman, Jimmy Allen and Rebecca Ridyard certainly paid off, and the 60 mile route they presented was an absolute scorcher!
One Tuesday evening, after a few pints in the Britannia pub at the weekly OUMF social, the question of entering a 12 car rally was raised. Ding Boston was encouraging new crews to sign up and fill what were at the time quite a few spaces on the next Dolphin Club event. The question was asked whether or not I would be interested in driving and I said ‘Yes, if someone lends me their car!’ - to which the reply was ‘What’s wrong with your van?!’ So what started as a joke in the pub about contesting a 12 car rally in my 1.9 litre, non-turbo, diesel Citroen Dispatch became a reality on the evening of Friday 8th November at the Dolphin Motor Club’s annual ‘Gunpowder Plot’ rally.
With Fresher’s Fair and all of the start of term festivities ‘completed’, the final round of the HRDC Touring Greats was scheduled to be OUMF’s last hurrah in a difficult and sometimes trying season, but also one in which the team learn a tremendous amount in surmounting the trials and tribulations. With much interest shown in OUMF’s activities from new students, the team was swelled with many fresh faces along with some old friends, namely the return of the “Vadaz” ; the ever-popular Kalman Strohmayer was back for the weekend along with his lovely new girlfriend, Zsé Varga. It was also nice to see the return of former OUMF stalwart, James Manners. Everyone was eager to finish the season with a flourish and send their “Grey” rally prepared Riley 1.5 into proposed retirement from circuit racing with style.
After the heartache of coming so close to a fantastic result and a Class win at Silverstone in April’s Historic Racing Driver’s Club ‘All Stars’ event, it was a huge disappointment that we had to withdraw from the next round at Oulton Park. The damage incurred as a result of the blown head gasket which caused our untimely demise was sufficient to require the head to be skimmed and the block to be checked to ensure a flat and correct mating surface – as the distance between combustion chambers was discovered to be just 2.7 millimetres! Once more we are very thankful to our supporters coming to our aid, in particular Dave Knight of Knight Engine Services and Dave Crisell of All-Stage Cylinder heads who used their considerable skills to rework the cylinder head to a capable state.
Our second race of the season was the HRDC ‘Allstars’ race, held at the same Silverstone National Circuit where we had a head gasket failure in practice two weeks ago. The intervening time had been spent at the HQ, addressing the problems we had last time out, and preparing the car for the Allstars race. The head was removed again and new head bolts, kindly donated by ARP Bolts, were fitted. Other changes included a new electric fan regulator from Revotec, new exhaust bracketry and the removal of the bumpers to make our car look more like the Riley 1.5 raced by Alan Hutcheson in period.
Crew- Ding Boston, Ahron Becquart
We left the OUMF HQ on Saturday at around 6.30pm, and on our way to Cambridge, a quick detour saw us deliver the prop shaft for our new Riley 1.5 racer project to Clive Cocks at Bailey Morris in St Neots as he had kindly offered to refurbish it for us. Soon afterwards, and unexpectedly, another detour followed…
I guess the Gunpowder Plot 12 Car rally really started during the previous Monday’s practical evening in the barn, with an overall spanner check of OUMF’s infamous 3 seater TOYO Golf Gti and the fitting of the new TOYO R1R test tyres so kindly supplied by Alan Meaker, TOYO’s technical and motorsport manager. At that point the weather forecast for Friday indicated that rain was likely, so we decided to change the superb TOYO 888’s for something with a bit more grip in the wet, and we were anxious to see if the rave reviews of the R1R’s were justified. This was done, and a further couple of problems were addressed with the brake lights and the feeble sound emanating from the horn. After a quick check in the workshop manual, we discovered the brake light problem was actually due to the brake light switch which was not seated properly behind the pedal. About an hour later, with a couple of well-placed cable ties and a couple of encouraging words, Theo managed to fix it - while new Mintex 1144 rear brake pads were being fitted, glass cleaned and levels checked - and we were set for Friday’s adventure.