Start me up.. Starter woes then a great FF Festival at Gurston.


If you take part in any sport which involves machines you have to be ready for the days when said machine refuses to cooperate.  And the July Curborough was one of those days. (So far I’ve entered the 2 lap event twice and both have ended badly.)

This time it was hot, so I left starting the car until after scrutineering.  The engine turned over a good number of times, followed by a grinding noise, followed by a fruitless hour trying to free it.  Then home.

As I now had a free afternoon I watched the GP then removed the starter.  Which on examination didn’t look exactly fresh.  Why hadn’t I replaced it when I replaced most of the rest of the car?  Keith Metro Waters (guest blog spot any time you want it Keith) suggested a modern geared starter, which I didn’t give a huge amount of thought to at that point.

Starter options looked limited, and a discussion with my Dad, a starter motor designer for the Prince of Darkness in the 60’s and 70’s put me off buying another Lucas unit; largely because, apparently, the basic design was drawn in the 1930’s.  A bit of Google searching and Keith’s modern geared starter idea was looking like the obvious course of action.  Having been to Competition Supplies at Silverstone recently the WOSP unit they were offering seemed like a good choice.


I fitted the unit on a day off, its cranking ability was truly impressive. The engine started very quickly.  Amazing what 80 years of development have achieved.  The only downside was that the side panel didn’t clear the new starter, but 20 minutes with the Dremel sorted that out.  I’ll probably re-profile the bulge over the winter.

The Formula Ford Hillclimb festival required a quick turnaround after a short family holiday in Spain, but Friday evening saw me unloading the car and putting up the tent. On my own I might add.  It turned out however that I could do my own seatbelts up using a trick I’d seen other competitors use.  Essentially you sort everything out with your HANS round your neck and your lid balanced on top of your head.  When everything is in place you push your helmet down and do it up.

FF Festival.png

There was a really healthy entry – 17 I think.  There was even another RF84, run by the Hawkes family.  Any worries I had about running the car on my own were soon put to rest; everyone was really helpful, especially Geoff Lancaster’s other half Maureen and Max Hawkes. Thanks to them and everyone else.

This was only my second outing on a hill with the RF84, and its a hill that I’ve never really felt comfortable on. After initially setting a target of getting to the top 8 times and beating my Panda time, I rejigged it to going under 40’s.  Which I just missed out on achieving.  Next time.  The festival was a great event, with a great crowd of competitors. A fantastic weekend.


And no I don’t know why I’m looking at the floor in the photograph.