Tuesday 26 April 2011

Bank Holiday Blat

Up with the lark - well, up when my wife elbowed me in the ribs for snoring, I pulled on the clothes I'd heaped up outside the bedroom, indulged in a quick bowl of "own brand" Frosties & headed for the garage just before sun-up. The air was crisp, the Fury nestled purposefully on the drive in the early light, serenaded by "the squeaky bird", I have no idea of it's species, but it goes "eeeeeeeee EE, eeeeeeee EE, eeeeeeeeee EE, ALL DAY LONG. I need to either teach it some more notes or shoot it.

Waypoints in the satnav - check, GPS logger on - check, camera set - check, say a quiet apology to the neighbours & push the starter .............

I headed into the pale dawn as quietly as a short single box exhaust will allow & down the A281, a wonderful road when there's no traffic & after about an hour, reached the rendezvous, a petrol station just off a junction on the A22. I knew I was in the right place because even through the bushes I could glimpse cars glittering bright green, red, orange & yellow.

I took my place on the end, next to a Sylva Riot & said my hellos - once again the only car with doors. By now the sun was climbing into a glorious blue sky, so the ski jacket was stuffed into a footwell & after a short chat, the assembled throng mounted up & headed out. I've not been on a warm dry blat before, so in the past the Fury's lack of power has never been an issue, the other cars being grip-limited, today would be different.

The colourful Caterpillar of cars set a cracking pace through the Sussex weald on ribbons of tarmac threaded between fields & villages, & joy of joys the Fury could keep up. There were inevitable hiccups, the SKCC is a young organisation, but it already has it's traditions, the whole chain of cars WILL have to turn round, we WILL find a wet & muddy farm track, we WILL disintegrate into three groups taking different routes to the breakfast stop. I ended up at the head of one such after I had no opportunity to overtake & lost the lead two cars.

Oddly my group arrived first & had just dismounted, when the main cadre arrived, followed about 1/2 hour later by the stragglers. The breakfast venue was a cafe attached to a fishery & caravan site, our leader bought my breakfast in exchange for a starter motor, & we sat outside discussing the weather, the adventures we'd just had & the bikers among us critiqued intensive care units they'd known & compared scars. The sun climbed higher, the mist lifted off the lake, all was well with the world.

All too soon I was heading home, a short de-tour up Box Hill - awash with cyclists since it became part of the Olympic cycle race route & back to Guildford - where the Fury broke down. Strangely the fuel pump just stopped, but a tap soon had it going again & for once I was home a little earlier than promised.

Sunday 24 April 2011

And ............... Relax

Well at last the paperwork for my new job came through & was signed & returned the same day. I've been having all sorts of physical symptoms as the stress washes away. The cars have taken something of a back seat as we've been looking into kitchen units, but there's a blat on tomorrow, so Hurrah! I say, up with the lark & off I'll go.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Taking The Fifth

Well, I took the Ranger into work today. Yesterday evening the reverse lockout was "persuaded" out of the old gearbox by drilling a hole in the front of the casing & drifting it out with a punch. I drifted it into the new one & it all worked properly.

That's the good news.

The bad news is it still won't go into fifth so it'll probably have to come back off the car. Oh well such is life at the moment, one step forward, one back.

Monday 18 April 2011

It's Spanner Time!

So I got home from work at 13:00, started working on the Ranger at 13:30. By 17:00 I had the old box out, the clutch checked for the Fury engine swap, the bellhousing, release bearing & arm swapped, the new box in & bolted up.

The following morning I re-fitted the starter motor, the speedo drive & the clutch, bolted the prop in place "prop"erly & took it out for a spin.

Disaster. There's no reverse lock-out & it won't stay in fifth. Feeling a little deflated I sat thinking about it, took the gear stick out again & immediately noticed that a small clip was fitted the wrong way round in the selector housing of the new box compared to the old one, so I swapped that & also realised that the reverse lock-out cam was missing from the new one altogether. This seems to be a press fit so I can't just swap it from the old one. I'll see what devious means I can come up with to "persuade" it out.

Friday 15 April 2011

The Next Phase Begins ............

The Ranger is officially for sale in the RCOC forum "marketplace" & I've started researching & spending money on the Zetec for the Fury. In the week an 1800 flywheel was delivered (it's a lot lighter than the 2 litre one) & last night I had a pleasant blat down to another SKCC member's house to pick up a powerspeed built exhaust manifold, which is made from enormous pipe & is a thing of beauty.

Still no confirmation of a job, but fingers still firmly crossed - I've started spending the redundancy!

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Weekend In The Country

There's four of us in our family, My wife & I & two daughters. The chance of a weekend at a Center Parc (why the Franco American spelling??) led to a friend for each daughter being invited, but how to get there? Well, we have a seven seat car & all my luggage fitted in the same small holdall I took last weekend, so just the Zafira would be OK yes? No, there were five women in this party, so we needed both the Zaf & the Rickman (with it's roof rack on) to carry all the luggage. To be fair, part of that was due to the dietary requirements of one of our party, so we needed to take a great deal of specialist food with us, & all six bikes would have meant that the Zaf was somewhat festooned, but no - two cars it had to be. So two weekends away in two kit cars, both went splendidly well, averaging over 35mpg.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

IoW Again

In my first 50 years I went to the Isle of Wight once, since turning 50 I've been twice & it's only been four months.

The occasion on this occasion was a fiftieth birthday party for a bunch of school friends. My wife hadn't been looking forward to the journey much, she's not keen on the Fury, but we loaded up & set off for the charge down the A3 to the ferry port, I kept the speed down, but there was still a little "turbulence" shall we say? She was cold, it was bumpy, she was uncomfortable .........

We did a tour of the island on arrival as we had some time to kill before we could get in the house. We stopped off near Sandown Pier which had looked lovely in the sunshine only the week before as it formed the back-drop for a photo of the Rickman, but today it looked rather down-at-heel in the murk. After a hot drink & a sticky bun the world seemed a little brighter, & we moved on to Freshwater where a local pub "The High Down Inn" http://www.highdowninn.com/ provided a spectacular lunch at a very reasonable cost, made even better by the arrival of a job offer while we were eating it - just as the sun came out.

Next stop was the house. Tapnell Manor was just what the doctor ordered after six months of employment related stress, splendid grounds ("garden" doesn't seem adequate) & plenty of room for all fifteen of us. The next couple of days were spent driving the island, chatting with old friends & erm drinking - a bit.

My wife slowly got used to being in the Fury & even at one point said it was "fun" which was nice.

So again not much actual blatting to report, but a VERY pleasant weekend away turned into something of an adventure by taking the Fury  - rather too "interesting" on one occasion in Godshill when Tony-the-twit left the lights on resulting in a dead battery & my wife having to push start the car (three gallant bystanders saw her struggling to reach the roll bar & helped). But there were no further problems.