Month: August 2018

Safari Rally and Kirup

First order of business was to see how bad the engine was.  With the help of a mate, it was pulled apart and was in a very sad state.  Note to self – you have a second to shut the engine off when oil pressure is low, if you spend a few seconds thinking about it, then its too late.

Have two options now, put in just enough money to replace what I have to, and get it back in the car, or wait a bit longer and make it even better than it was.  Either way, the standard engine needs to go back in, as 3 weeks is not enough time for me to build a new motor, as I need a lot of external help.

I have taken the decision to build something more serious, but this will take me more time to afford it all, and to run the rest of this year on the standard engine.  It was a hard decision as the standard engine is over 50hp down on power compared to the good one – it is a lot!

The Boddington event was next.  The event has a slippery surface, and a lot of tight corners, and so the power deficit wasn’t that noticeable – other than the 2km straight run down the fence line, where the car topped out at a speed well below the previous events!

In terms of the 2wd class, we won the first 4 stages and had a bit of a lead.  The next two stages were a repeat of the first two, and they were now very rough, so I backed off on these two stages to ensure that we didn’t get a puncture, or do anything silly to damage the car and loose the lead.

We pushed again on the last two stages, with another two stage wins, retaining 1st two wheel drive, very happy with the car and its performance and had a great time at the event.


Thanks to Blake Rattenbury Photography for the image.


Over the next few weekends, I did nothing to the car – it was all in good condition.

Its now the weekend before the Kirrup rally, so I completed the usual routine, checking and changing the required oils, making sure everything is still tight, making a couple of performance enhancements.

Pretty much finished checking everything, its Sunday night, all looks great, until…


Long story short, this piece here is the part that attaches the wheel to the rest of the suspension, and that large crack in it should not be there.

It would have been really nice if I’d seen this 3 or 4 hours ago – #rallylife

So it’s well after midnight, but there are two new knuckles back in the car and its now really read to go.

The week before the event saw a lot of rain fall, but after Recce the roads looks really nice.  A couple of very vet/muddy corners, but 99% of it looks awesome.

Stage one, first real corner, got off the road – it looks nice, but it’s really greasy at speed.  Stage two was no different, with me making lots of small mistakes, getting very wide, small overshoots and even a spin – first one in this car.  Was worried that I may have lost a lot of time one these two stages, but it turns out everyone was having similar issues.  5th outright and 1st two wheel drive at this point.

Stage three was a very different feeling surface, and was so much more fun to drive – the first two were more scary than fun.  Stage 4 was a repeat of stage one, and this time it was a little slippery, but more consistent with grip than the first pass.

The last two stages were a repeat of stage two, again more fun this time, and then a repeat of stage 3, but in the dark.  Came close to throwing it all away on the last stage of the event, overshooting a junction and lucky not to get bogged.

Finished 4th outright on both of these stages, and ending up 4th outright and 1st two wheel drive.

On the last transport back to the finish she would not shift into 6th gear, so something to fix before the next event….


It’s been a long time – Forest Rally 2018

Getting here to type has been a struggle recently, so this one has been a long time coming.

When we left off, the car was in pieces again, after a successful event – who would have thought….

The weekend after it was on at full speed, with less than 4 weeks before the next event, so in real world time that was 4 to 5 days.  At the end of day one I was in trouble, again.



Over the next few weekends there was lots of late nights, and with the help of my beautiful wife putting in hours and hours of sanding and assembly, we ended up here, the day before scrutineering:



So that was all completed, and now it was time to modify the car.  For a while, I had wanted to try a different spring rate, as I felt that the handling could be improved.  So pulled the shocks out, swapped springs, re-greased the front inserts and put it all back together.  Time will tell if this was a good idea or not!

Then, we were off to Busselton for the next event.


The first two stages were a bit of a struggle, the car needed to be driven differently, and the brake bias took a lot of fiddling to get right, but it felt like it could be driven faster.

Four stages in, and I was getting the hang of it, and at the afternoon service I was closer to the usual faster guys than before – time for a bit more of a push on the repeat stages.

The Koala repeat stage was good, everything felt right, was fast but not taking any big risks.  Next up was Ferndale repeat stage, about a minute into the stage, we rubbed the ground in a compression, nothing hard, just the usual rub that happens when you are in deep ruts.

Dash starts flashing, Oil Pressure Low – How, that wasn’t a hard hit, surely that was not enough to hurt anything, maybe a wire fell off, or the sensor broke…..  Side road here, pulled off the road.  A quick open of the bonnet and the sump guard is crushed up into the sump, with the sides of sump being bulged out – flattened.  The knocking sound was a sure indicator that she was very unhappy inside, and we are out for the day.

After the stage is complete, we get towed out of the stage and we wait for our trailer to arrive.  Its nearly sunset by the time we are loaded up and are on our way back to Busselton.

I’m usually not one to give up, but the fact that I am a computer programmer, and not a mechanic, means that an engine swap, or a partial rebuild is not a fast process.  Its 6pm now, so 9pm by the time I get the car home (yes, i left the other engine at home…..).  It is going to take me a minimum of 6 hours to swap it, as everything needs to be swapped over, all of the intake, water pump, all inlet and outlets for water and oil, all of the sensors, wiring, crank angle sensors etc…  So that takes us to around 3am, if all went well.  2.5hrs to drive back to Bussleton and that brings us to 5.30am, giving me an hours sleep before getting up for day two.  Add to this the fact that the tune for the standard motor is going to be very different to the tune that is in the car – its a risk that we decided not to take, a day’s competition on no sleep with a car with a bad tune wasn’t worth it.

So that was it for the event, day two was not going to happen…



A huge thanks to Powertex Solar and Energy Solutions for coming on board and sponsoring us for the event.