Welcome On My Journey

Having spent a year fulfilling a childhood dream of building and registering a Kit Car I finally got it on the road in June 2010. I subsequently spent the next 6 months driving it. That took me to Christmas 2010 and I upgraded it to where it is today.

I don't want this blog to be about the technical aspects of upgrade'itus. I want it to be about the adventures I have in it, the good bits and the not so good bits. In short I want to remember it and share it. I'm sure no-one but me will care but if it inspires one person to act on their dream then it'll be worth it.

So welcome and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

5e Rallye des Jonquilles 9th & 10th April 2011

My inept vocabulary will not do the following justice at all but I have just come back from a weekend in France "competing" (I use the word advisedly) in the 5e Rallye des Jonquilles at Bethune. as SKCC we had 13 entries of the 130 car event and boy what a weekend.

The plan was for all of us to  travel together from the tunnel to Azincourt, Vimy RIdge and onto Bethune. As is the blatequette on these occcasions the group is subdivided into smaller manageable groups with a pack leader responsible for each group should we get seperated. It is almost impossible to keep 13 cars together across a couple of hundred miles of France so Mark led one group and I took the other.

I have to admit I was somewhat overcome with trepidation about the whole weekend before we went as I'd never done anything like this before and more importantly neither had my 13 year old son been a co-pilot - navigator and in France to boot. Saturday started badly with my group getting seperated from Mark's group at a set of lights following a deviation from the agreed route to avoid a blooked room. Then the Sat Nav started throwing me a curve ball, it was my fault really as I hadn't deleted the original waypoints before pointing it at Azincourt so it tried to send my back to the start. So long story short Azincourt was lost and we went straight to Vimy Ridge as this was one place we were not going to miss. Moving experience:



Suitably humbled we pointed for Bethune and arrived at the fuelling station in the town just as Mark's group came out of it. So to the hotel. Check in, dust the car off (Mer is my friend), cover it up, a quick wash for not the car, and off to the town square for food. No1 son and I were in bed by 11.30pm not like the hardcore boys who made a night of it.

7am rendezvous by the cars to head into the town square for the days proceedings. We were there early and got lined up by the organisers, at which point a cardboard sheet was placed under all the cars to stop oil dripping on the cobbled town square.... bl**dy cheek. What a beautiful morning in a beautiful location as the sun cracked the roof tops:


Having gotten the road books, placed the stickers on the car and got in line to avante. We got waved off and into the day. All nerves soon went and a couple of cars grouped up and off we went. Funny to see the number of cars crossing each other for the first few km's while we settled into our stride. We missed / misread (French is NOT my first language) the "games" sheet and didn't capture the numbers we were suppose to record as we were looking for signed put up by the organisers but in fact it was the yellow painted concrete road markers were were meant to read.... nil points. We also messed up on the Stage 2 game of the village names by scratching out the ones we went through instead of circling the ones we didn't. oh silly us. To be honest it didn't matter a jot. We had a fantastic time and saw some beautiful scenery, roads, cars and people.

The weather was perfect and when we got back to Bethune at the end where we turned the corner towards the town square to be greeted like "proper" drivers by a huge crowd and to be interviewed as we crossed the line was a memory we'll keep forever.

Couple of pictures to end with, but suffice to say, I'll be signing up for next year if not sooner.:







Wednesday 30 March 2011

It's All Going On

Sorry I haven't posted for a little while but it doesn't mean I haven't been out and about. I have covered a number of miles since the last post. Been to the New Forest, JD Classics (Essex) open day, Powerspeed (Kent) open day, Bexhill (breakfast) and out to take a few photos. I was also meant to open my 2011 track account with a taster at Brands Hatch... yes you noticed the meant to statement which translated means it didn't happen as the fog came in and the session was cancelled... gutted. However I have now booked to do an evening session (open pit lane) on the 5th May but I'm getting ahead of myself as I have Goodwood this weekend (see seperate post next week) and the following weekend I have the Bethune Historic Rally in France which is my first excursion onto the continent this year (4 last year). I have enlisted No.1 son as co-pilot and navigator for the rally and we are making a weekend of it with 12 of the 120 car entry list made up from SKCC it should be a hoot.

ssooooo excited and the season is only just starting.

soon good people.................. Neil

Sunday 6 February 2011

Look To The West....They're Coming

If you have a scratch you should itch it. Well my itch has to do with not being out in the car all week and having significant "I need to drive to clear my head" syndrome. What better way then a 300 miler on a Saturday morning. When I say Saturday morning it's debateable as to technically whether it could be described as Friday night. Anyway back on topic, the destination was west

Early start left home at 4.45am, heads up on the weather by the way, blustery but suprisingly warm. Met Mark at Clacket Lane Services on the M25 and headed down the A3 to the rally point. Like a scene from a Guy Hamilton film, 12 pilots appear out of the darkness and mingle awaiting the call to arms. At the alloted time we scamble and head off in our grouped formations with the team leaders faces illuminated in the dark by the all important Sat Nav scenes lighting the journey ahead.

The roads were good but slippery in places and the groups criss-crossed each other throughtout the drive as seems to be the way in these events as each Sat Nav picked slightly different roads occasionally to get to the same weypoint around a detour or road closed. Keeps it interesting though and not a little comical.

First stop, Newbury Racecourse for some photos just as the morning broke into daylight. The banter was also free flowing which is not only essential but also the law.

Photos in the bag (for some but more of that later) off to the zoo and some group photos but only of parked up "beasts" Not sure anyone will have any competition winning photos to submit from that stop today.

The run between the Zoo and Camberley was a mixture of A and B roads and I think its fair to say if they were dry and had a little less traffic they would be stonking roads. These roads are definately on my "to do again" list.

We stopped at Blackbushe Aerodrome for breakfast where one of the crew, Andy, had to peel off and return to reality while the rest of us braced for impact of a cooked meal. The menu sported a Large, Small and "Polish" cooked breakfast but no-one was brave enough to try it. The "catch up" time at the end of these runs is a highlight of the day only surpassed by the driving itself as its a time to wax lyrical about the adventures just had, the particular road, turn, twist, twitch, dip, rise and how the cars performed against all of them are important recollections and validations of the day. The time spent is also good to discuss club matters if needbe as we are always looking for ways to improve participation and the quality of events in what is fast becoming recognised as a very active club. Not to much of that official stuff (I use the word in its lightest sense) as we don't want to get to serious on what is for me anyway downtime from my very different real world.

The car performed very well today and now with getting on towards 1800 miles on the new engine package installation I am very pleased with the car itself. Although I'm not looking forward to cleaning it after this trip as the odd farm track detour around closed roads did resemble a ploughed field that my 4x4 would have been better suited to. Thanks Trevor ;-) .

So to the fuel saga. I filled up at Clacket and I didn't fill up again until Farnbough on the way home. I did 166.47 miles on a tank of fuel today with 25 litres used that works out at 30.27 mpg on the varied conditions of today. ..... quite chuffed with that.

All in all a great day out that would have been a great contender for my top 5 blats for the year if the roads had been dry. Some memorable roads and to get 12 cars out this early in the season bodes very well for the yeard ahead.

Sunday 30 January 2011

.......and the sun shone

I had to dip out of a club run this morning much to my frustration, especially when the day dawned dry and there was a significant chance of sunshune later on in the day. I finished my domestic duties by midday and decided I needed to clear my head with some fresh air, even if the emphasis was on fresh. No sooner had I pulled the car from the garage then the sun broke cover and all was well with the world. 

Where to go, Lap of the Lyddring, a hoon down to Rye and return via Military Road sounded favourite. So off I tootled through Ashford and out onto the Brenzett Road. Roads weren't to busy and with the sun shining I actually had the darkened lenses in the Shades.

Lyddring was outstanding and only a couple of cars to contend with and on the hoon into Rye I duly slowed to 30 on entering the port on the Camber side of the bridge to be greeted by Mr Plod with a hairdryer. He smiles as I burbbled by at 25mph. Have a nice day.

I love Rye as a location anyway but when its bathed in sun its a beautiful place. Had a quick chat with a couple of bikers at the chip shop carpark and then headed out of town via the Miltary Road. Can you sense the childish grin in my writing?! For those that don't know the Military Road then you need to discover it. For those that do know it, you know what I mean!

I got back onto the Brenzett Road at Appledor and started picking my way through the traffic back towards Ashford. Managed to get the Indy sideways as I dropped to third and toed it to get past a car that was dropping some liquid. Clearly the fuel of satan was coming out and covering my tyres as well as my glasses! Thanks for that! I gathered my thoughts and gave them the universal sign for "you are leaking fluid young man and need to investigate at your ealiest opportunity" and headed home.

Now I had a great afternoon and got home feeling slightly better about myself then realised I had missed a number of photo opportunities during the run! D'oh! This year SKCC (Southern Kit Car Club) are running a photo competition for us to get our cars photographed in a number of different locations corrosponding to all the letters of the alphabet.. I passed at least 4 opportunities today. Note to self, extract head from orifice and get clicking!

Oh well, just have to do it again another day!

Saturday 29 January 2011

This Year (2011)

So here we are at the end of January (where did that go) and already I've covered close to 1000 miles in the car since its winter upgrade. A lot of these miles have been to run the car in and a trip to Norfolk to get it Rolling Roaded and mapped. I have however had two club blats (more of that elsewhere) in th freezing cold (I secretly love it) which means two cooked breakfasts.

The rest of this year's adventures are coming together nicely and I will cover them in detail as they occur but to whet the appertite so far the car and club social diary looks like this:

1. France for the "5th rallye des jonquilles" in April
2. A trip to Ypes for the WW1 experience in June
3. "Up the East Down the West" UK road trip for 5 days in later April
4. Stoneleigh Kit Car Show in Later April
5. Detling Kit Car Show in May

This listing doesn't include the weekend breakfast blats and evening runs in the summer. So all in all my blatting diary is shaping up nicely.

I mentioned ealier about a club, well I am a member of the SKCC (Southern Kit Car Club) and they can be found at http://www.southerkitcars.com/ . I have to declare they are the reason I love my car so much. I have made some great friends in the club and we are all like minded and dedicated to driving our cars the way they were intended to be driven. I will no doubt refer to the club a lot on this blog.

So enough waffle for now, I will be back to describe progress on my adventures presently.