The Isle of Man Manx rally was our last round of the year. This was a double scoring round which started Thursday night. Restarted Friday morning through Friday evening, and continued all day Saturday.
We started in the usual Mini Sport Cooper S Thursday at about 9pm with a spectator stage along the front of Douglas. We then went into the mountains for stage 2.
This started very fast into a series of hairpin bends. Then again a fast section which I had the car flat in 4th gear. A chicane came and I braked and went to change down. The gearbox had jammed in 4th gear, and no amount of pushing would allow it to come out.
This seemed like the end of our event. I telephoned Craig to fetch us with the trailer when all the cars had come through.
Craig and Paul my service crew, came in at about 2am when the stage was closed, but told us that Shane Gamble had gone off. (He was also servicing for Shane).
We loaded the car on the trailer, and then went to stage 3 to try and find Shane. As we walked into the stage to where Shane was he came around the corner, the closing car had towed them back onto the road.
We all made our way back to the service area, and started repairing Shane’s car, he had skidded off the road and hit a tree.
We managed to pull the roof out and finished about 3.30pm, then headed for bed.
We were up at 6am ready to finish Shane’s Mini so he could continue. After finishing the repair and checking the mechanics he restarted the Friday leg.
I had made the decision that we should take the engine out off my car to have a look. Adrian Kermode a fellow Mini competitor made a phone call and arranged for us to use a garage, so we took the car and started to remove the engine.
When we started to strip the gearbox we found that the idler gear had stripped and the teeth had dropped into the box. To get the box out of 4th, I had to completely strip the box and get all of the teeth out of it. The garage Hayon Minay LTD offered us a second hand gear to us to use, and an end cover as the bearing had started to going my cover.
The garage even offered the use of a straight cut box if ours could not be repaired.
The reassembly took until about 5 pm and we fired it up and drove up to the service area, as we drove in the other Mini crews applauded us.
The second leg started that evening, and after having the car re-scrutineered we were allowed to start, but last on the road.
All went well until the last stage with about 300 yards to go, I went off into a bank. The front of the car was damaged with the oil cooler, lights, dizzy cap all smashed.
Another phone call to Craig to bring the trailer. When he arrived at about 2.30am he thought he had been hallucinating with the drive at night and the lack of sleep. He had seen a kangaroo cross the road in front of him. You can imagine the micky that was taken out of him.
It was only the following day that we discovered that there are wallabies wild on the island, this didn’t stop the pee being taken out of him.
The following day we were up early to repair the car, it was all hands to help and we managed to get it straight enough to continue.
We were allowed to re-start as the organisers had given us a maximum stage time plus a penalty for the last stage.
We had finished, although we were in last place. I had enjoyed the event even with the lack of sleep due to the problems we had.
To my surprise we had won the Mini cup over all, and with the points collected from the Manx, we have won the class in old stager and Masters championships.
This year I had a lot of pressure to get results, what with having Mini Sport supporting me, and running as favourite on many events, although Mini Sport were very good and said they were not expecting wins on every round, just enjoy the events.
The 8 port engine has been reliable with a change only midway through the year due to water pump gasket failed.
Thanks must go to all the people that have helped this year specially Craig and Paul who have been on all events, using their holidays to servicing for me.
Next year looks even better with more Minis being prepped to come and play, could we have over 25 out on some events?
I have again retained support from Mini Sport for next year and the championship is due to be announced in the next few weeks.
I will keep you up to date as soon as they have announced next years championship.
The car is at the NEC for the classic car show in November and at Gaydon for the HRC open day, please come and say hello.
This blog was written by Clive King.