Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Firstly let me say thanks to the organising team (with the possible exception of Jason - who got me into trouble with McJim) - more later on that, and to all the Marshals who gave their time at the Control Stops, and to all the spectators who turned up, it was fantastic to be welcomed by so many people at so many of the Control Stops.

Anne and I had a great time, and will be doing it again. Anne has added a few words of her own in the section at the end of this post.

As you know the car made it, and mainly trouble free. I never thought it would get round, as its longest trouble free journey to date was its run to the Plough of a 120 miles or so on Thursday night. First long run on a Motorway too. Through out the event I refused to answer questions on how the car was, as I thought it bad Karma to say it was fine and would probably make the finish.

On Friday night / Saturday morning I spent most of my driving thrashing the car unmercifully chasing Dave Pearson in his Courier van. By breakfast Saturday it started to occur to me that the car might actually make it, so we eased off, and completed most of the rest of the run at 60 mph, far more suited to a big estate with an autobox, and far more likely not to break anything.

Sorry for not chatting at the Control Points, I was keen to leave early, and be gentle on the car

The main problem that I had, was with the alternator drive belt, which kept needing re-tensioning. I had a spare, which I was reluctant to use, as it was purchased from the same supplier at the same time as the first one, and it was clearly a part of a defective batch - or a poor chinese copy. The belt finally let go a mile after Gordano services on the M5 in the dark with Anne driving. I wanted her to drive on side lamps to conserve battery life, so she switched high beam on, doubling the battery load!. Fortunately there was another off ramp in a mile or so, so we got off there and I replaced the belt with the other one - which also kept stretching. Finally Andy Roberts gave me another one at Bude.

By late Sunday afternoon, I was hearing a noise from the front offside wheel, so we really eased off, and finally made the Plough 2 minutes before the end of official check in. Still, a finish is a finish. The noise is the CV joint as it now clicks on tight lock.

The front diff was Ok, although I did keep checking the oil level at every stop. A simple job with an allen key and reaching into the front wheel well from under the car.

Consumption figures.

Engine oil - nothing really - dipstick level dropped a few mm
Front diff - 300mm of EP90
Autobox - nothing
Fuel £624 mpg 25.1 - ok for an auto big saloon with FF and fully loaded
Red Bull - 16 cans
Chocolate Chip Cookies - 2 packets
Fruit cake - 1
fig rolls - 1 packet
chicken burgers and chips - 2

Items to be fixed after the RBRR

Front Diff - remove it, unblock breather, and sleeve the shafts where the oil seals bear.
Front right CV joint - replace
Check entire car over
Clean car
Finally have time to set the carbs up and tweak the ignition timing

Not bad for a fresh from restoration car.

That said it wasn't the ideal RBRR car with the autobox and low overall gearing, it had to be worked quite hard to keep up with people driving like Dave. On the really twisty bits the suspension is a bit soft, but give it a good A road with sweeping bends and with the 4 wheel drive, it left many Stags and others behind on bends.  In the wet it is superb, you just cannot break traction, even with full throttle making a start at a T junction turning left or right.

Now its all Jason's fault about the Lamrini and McJim, and entirely Jason's idea to hand over a bottle to McJim, - although I will admit to purchasing extra Lambrini and handing it out to the other crews when we found that no one had bothered to purchase any such gifts! Carter Bar went ok, but when I signed in at Tebay McJim literally grabbed me by the throat, making dire threats of revenge. He was smiling at the time though, and having read his subsequent "Lambrini Anyone" posts is to be congratulated on the spirit (no not the Lambrini) in which he took the wind up.

After the Lambrini challenge we are considering other gifts for McJim (or others)  in 2 years time, assuming that he is foolish enough to run Carter Bar again!

To conclude this post I am attaching a blog post from Anne which I thought many of you would like to read.


I was not too sure what to expect when I agreed to be a co-driver for Mike.
He had at last finished the Triumph Estate and it was all ready to go.
I was a little nervous about driving his car (being so rare and so recently finished).
I am also a rubbish navigator and do not like driving at night, but despite all this he said yes that was fine and that he wanted me go with him.
Before we arrived at the Plough Mike made a very strange request. I was to go to Sainsbury’ and purchase 12 bottles of Lambrini. He explained why and I then decided that some tartan ribbon round them would just finish them off nicely!
We arrived at the Plough; the car was going very well.
I was chatting to various crews and what really struck me was what a lovely bunch they all are. I felt very welcome even though I did not know a lot of them.
Off we went (Mike was driving as it was dark!)
Got to Carter Bar, where we handed over our bottle of Lambrini complete with tartan bow. I was a little worried why Mc Jim was wearing yellow marigold gloves (any ideas anyone) but he seemed delighted to receive a bottle of Lambrini! He and Mike had a banter ending with Jim saying that he had keyed the car!
We motored on to Edinburgh Airport where Bill Murray had come specially to see Mike’s car, he had travelled a long way and it was very late too! I thought then how nice that someone was prepared to make such an effort. This is occurred at quite a few of the checkpoints. Mike had told do not chat, get the book signed and go – but he ended up chatting – which was the right thing to so as people had made the effort to see him!
The car was going very well except the fan belt was slipping (sounded dreadful!) but we carried on regardless with Mike saying ‘it’s a new belt and ‘I tightened it before we left’ many times!
We made it up to John O Groats, where there was the most beautiful rainbow. We had breakfast, cleaned teeth and reapplied lipstick (that’s me not Mike!).
Got to Conan Bridge early so we decided to both get a bit of sleep. I was straight off but Mike said that I kept him awake snoring. Well, he has snored always and the nights that I have been kept awake I have lost count. I do not believe that I snore, and I was telling another driver this when he helpfully told me about an app that you can get for your phone. It is called sleep talk and you can set it and it will record any sound that you make. He gleefully let me listen to his recording of his wife snoring – who says that she does not snore either. I am going to try this tonight. I will let you know at the end of the blog the results!
We were motoring on well, got to Gordano services where the local Triumph Club had turned out and was clapping everyone as they arrived – I thought again what effort and how lovely. It really spurred you on.
 We filled up with fuel and left. Mike was very tired, so I was driving even though it was dark. I was feeling quite proud of myself, however not for long. The fan belt snapped. Mike said go on to side lights. I said do not be so silly, I cannot see that well on headlights, let alone side lights on an unlit motorway at night! He was saying put your foot down, go faster, get off the motorway. I was not happy!!! (Nor was he actually!)
Anyway got off the motorway (using headlights) did go onto high beam once – told off straightaway!
I told him yes I do know that you cannot push start an automatic, and yes I did realise that the battery would not charge without the fan belt. (Not been married to him for 33 years not to know that).
Things were a little fraught but to his credit he did not shout or swear at me.
Told to get off the road and bump up a curb and stop the car half on grass with the pathway under the middle of the car. Honestly! Could not see why this mattered, then saw that he wanted the tarmac to lie on under the car.
I thought that I would be super helpful and clean the windscreen – wrong- when I got in the car whilst Mike was underneath (I hasten to add that it was not jacked up) the number plate dug in him and the exhaust burnt his hand. Still no shouting or swearing, but I felt really dreadful 
Well, all fixed and we were off again. I was still driving! But this time I could I have side, dipped or main beam on – fantastic! 
Got to Lands End ok had breakfast and applied lipstick again!
Got to Bude and met up with Chris Allen. He was taking photos and I pretended to pose, he said that would it be topless I said no too cold! He then topped up his oil.  Met him at next checkpoint when he told me about how he wondered why the car in front was smoking, then smoke came in his car he then discovered that he had forgotten to put his oil cap back on. Told it was my fault because I distracted him at Bude.
 He had his bonnet up at the next stop so I helpfully told him to put it down before he left. He did find that quite funny!
Got to the TR Register check point – got the book signed and the visited the ladies and applied lipstick again. I could not believe it – there was queue for the GENTS! The ladies non – in and out! That was a first for me!
If anyone had asked me would I do it again at 2.30 am Saturday morning I would have said no, but now I think that I might. Not too sure if Mike could though with me – due to my lacking skill of night driving.
I must mention all the Marshalls at the check points, they were all so cheerful and lovely, the drinks and cakes and biscuits were very much appreciated.
The spirit of the event was wonderful.
I cannot explain the feeling of joy when we arrived back at the Plough. Mike has worried the whole way that we would not make it – I KNEW that we would.
It was quite an emotional moment.
I am very proud of what he has done to the car.
 The hours of work, the cold days in the garage, the sourcing of the parts, the endless jobs to be done it, is such an achievement.
I am very proud of him and feel very privileged to have shared the RBRR with him in his special car.
10 countries next perhaps?  Yes, but in daylight please!
Anne Weaver
P.S. The sleep talk app did work and sadly it had proved that I do snore.
I have told Mike that I purr not snore compared to him!

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