Archive for the 'cross country' Category



What are we up to in 2008?

A while ago I promised I’d let you know what we were planning for the year!  The calendar has been up in the ‘Events’ section for a while, but it might be worth saying a bit more about what we’ve got planned.

First up is rebuild time – every winter there is something new.  Last year’s themes were engine and livery and this year its suspension and wiring.  We passed the point of no return on the suspension front a while ago, as you may have seen on our Flickr stream.  We hacked off the existing 10″ ProComp shock absorber towers and replaced them with some new Tomcat Motorsport 12″ shock mounts in preparation for the new Milner Varidamp shockers that arrived last week.  (Thanks Tony for bringing them back to Oxfordshire for us!). 

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Two of the new shocks are in place and I can’t wait to try them out and start the development process!  Hopefully with some helpful advice from Andy at Milner’s we should be reasonably well set up out of the box, but it would be sensible to do some testing before the first event if we’ve got time!

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Thanks to Nigel and his skills with the grinder, the gas axe, the stick and the torch, not to mention the pop-rivetter, most of the fabrication is now complete and waiting for the axle internals to be checked and re-assembled. 

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Before we can go testing we have also got the wiring to complete – we reached the point of no return a couple of weeks ago with this too – out came reams of spaghetti of unknown origin, to be replaced with reams of spaghetti that we understand and goes where we want it!  Well that’s the plan anyway.  The new loom is loosely conceived and is laid in, but there is plenty of routing and connecting to do before we are ready and the clock is ticking.  There are plenty more photos on our Flickr account.

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As for events we are planning once more to tackle all the UK Hillrallies and the Baja GB in September.  My feet are definitely beginning to itch and I can’t wait to do our first event, but for the meantime its back to the workshop to rebuild the axles and finish the wiring and suspension. 

 

One last look back

With the memories of the 2007 season now beginning to fade a little, I thought I’d allow us one final look back on a highly successful but challenging and interesting season – as well as giving you an opportunity to see some of the team outside of their usual grubby rally attire!

Henry and Sarah pick up their awards at the National Hillrally Championship dinner

Henry and Sarah pick up the prize for top Super Production entry in the National Hillrally Championship at the awards dinner last month.

2007 was a year of firsts for the Friesian Racing team:

  • First engine rebuild
  • First headline sponsor:  Thanks for your help all the folk at Allmakes 4×4
  • First podium finish:  Baja GB 3rd Overall (National)
  • First fastest stage time:  Final stage of Scottish Border’s Hillrally
  • First stage time under bogey:  Final stage of the Scottish Border’s Hillrally
  • First time we’ve met a closed farm gate on stage route:  Scottish Perthshire Hillrally
  • First time we’ve got stuck on stage:  Scottish Perthshire Hillrally
  • First time we’ve completely swapped roles:  Michael Bruce co-drove for me on the Scottish Borders Hillrally (It used to be the other way around)

But third time we’ve come home Super Production class champions in the National Hillrally Championship.

For 2008 – we’ll elucidate on our plans for 2008 further in a future post, but current plans include a full rewire of the car (underway) and interior fettle as well as a fresh look at the suspension. 

Competition wise, we hope to compete in whole the National Hillrally championship and the Baja GB.  Dates and links to more information on the events page –

Just left to say thanks to everyone who helped us out this year:

Sarah Suter for her excellence in the co-driver’s seat.  I’m going to miss your dedication, concentration and giggles this year.  It’s going to be difficult to replace your enthusiasm for the team and the competition in 2008.  Sarah’s going to be a mummy!

Richard Suter for his patience in seeing the love of his life strapped into a Discovery masquerading as a Friesian cow and for his graciousness in defeat! 😉

Andrew, Sue, Joel, Dave, David and Mike for using up their precious holiday to follow us around the country and keep us in the straight and narrow in all conditions – it fair to say that 2007 wasn’t the driest of years and the cold and wet makes servicing all the more unpleasant and a lot less fun.  Thanks guys – I’ve booked the weather for 2008.

Some of the herd prepare for the long trip home after the Perthshire Scottish Hillrally - first time that weekend that the sun had come out!

L-R Sue, Joel, Andrew, Sarah and Henry mentally prepare themselves for the long journey home after the Scottish Perthshire Hillrally last July.

My parents Nigel and Ronnie for doing more than their fair share of fetching, carrying, fabrication, car-building, de-stressing and catering.  Not to mention far too many gearbox rebuilds – I will learn!  I can’t thank you enough.

Michael Bruce for stepping in at the last minute to navigate on the Scottish Borders and doing a sterling job, guiding us to a class win as well as physically dragging the car over an kilometre out of the stage when the steering rod failed in the dark on Saturday night.

To the guys at Allmakes who’ve delivered the goods to tight timescales and panic requests all year long with no sign of a grumble.  Dave, Sam, Grace, and Richard thanks!  Their stockholding was invaluable to us this year delivering quality parts on time!

And to all our other suppliers – most of you know who you are – too many to mention by name just now, but thanks!

Scottish Borders Hillrally – Video

Some video coverage of the Britpart Scottish Borders Hillrally.  MuddyMoo stars from about 2’17”

Press release – We are the champions – again!

Team Allmakes Friesian Racing are celebrating becoming the Super Production Champions of the Matador National Hillrally Championship for the third year in succession.

 

The team finished their year in fine style with a class win and a fastest stage time on the final stage of the recent Britpart Scottish Borders Hillrally.

 

With usual co-driver Sarah Suter unavailable for the last event of the year, driver Henry Webster swapped roles with his former driver Michael Bruce.  Henry spent seven year’s in the co-driver’s seat learning from Michael in his 1954 Series 1 Land Rover, ‘Nessie’!

 

“I’ve learnt a lot from Mike, and owe him a great deal!  But it’s definitely payback time!” said Friesian Racing’s driver Henry Webster, “This time its me behind the wheel and him bracing himself against the imaginary brake pedal!”

 

Typical November conditions of rain, wind and ice meant that the stages in the Newcastleton Forest complex which adjoins the notorious ‘Killer Kielder’ were very slippery and unpredictable.  Many competitors succumbed to the conditions and came off the road during the two day event, but the Friesian Racing duo made it to the end with little damage.

 

That is not to say the event was without incident for Henry and Michael.  A steady start on Saturday morning had them placed 19th after the first two stages, but with a target of a top ten finish in mind and the treacherous conditions to contend with as well as the prospect of two night stages, the team were happy with progress.  

 

Henry’s previous night rallying experience paid off in the first of the two stages held in darkness by the end they had cracked the top ten and were climbing.  Then disaster struck on the final stage of the evening where they struck a rock in a quarry section which broke the steering drag link.  With no steering, a Herculean effort from co-driver Michael Bruce managed to manhandle the car the final kilometre to the end of the stage to gain them a finish and a chance to redeem themselves on day 2.

 

Although the Allmakes Friesian Racing Discovery (affectionately known as MuddyMoo) had dropped to 29th position and second in class the crew knew that a class win was still a possibility.

 

Some spirited driving on day two saw the team claw their way back up to 20th position and that coveted first in class by the end of the day.  Their final stage heralded their first fastest stage time – an impressive effort for a production car against the more specialist machinery that usually reside at the top of the table.

 

That was another challenging event,” said driver and team principal Henry Webster, “We certainly haven’t had it all our own way this year, but I am chuffed to bits to come away from the season with our third consecutive class championship win!”

 

“I hope the fastest stage time is a pointer the future too, we’ve proven when the conditions suit the car that we can challenge the best in Europe!”

 

“We couldn’t have done it without the support of the entire Friesian Racing herd, all of whom are volunteers and give up their spare time and holidays to help us out.  Allmakes support too has been vital.  Their expertise with Land Rover parts has been invaluable and the quality of their products has been proven by the reliability that we have achieved this year even in the toughest of conditions, like last weekend!”

The Hillrally Cancelled

Unfortunately I have to report that The Hillrally 2007 has been cancelled due to insufficient entries.  This is a real pity as it is an absolutely fantastic event with some of the best stages in the country.

We were all ready for the event and gearing up to go, but unfortunately the event could not absorb the big loss that it was due to make.  This must be gutting for the organisers who have put in months of work to get the event to this stage.   The cancellation will also have an effect on lots of local companies who stood to benefit from the event.

Still we must look forward and work out how to ensure that this never happens again and that entry levels grow in the coming year.  There is a good debate going on at the forum over at www.BritishOffRoadChampionship.co.uk in the Hillrally section.  Please take a look we’d value any thoughts.

For us we’re at a bit of a loss.  On the upside the car is ready to go, so we are already well placed for the Scottish Borders Hillrally in November – we already have our name on the list!

Build up to The Hillrally

The list of jobs left to do for the Hillrally on the weekend of the 13th and 14th of October, is at last getting smaller rather than larger. 

Following on from our loss of brakes on the BajaGB we have rebuilt the gearbox again and are now part of the way through reinstalling it in the vehicle.  I’ve still got some brake pipes to make up – now that we have decided to life the ones on the car.  We have numerous other little tasks to sort out too.

I also want to do some road miles in the car after fitting new brake pads in the rear.  I ran out of time to bed the brakes in properly for the Scottish Hillrally and we paid for it in the first couple of stages where we suffered considerable brake fade!  As this is avoidable, I’m planning not to repeat the experience!  Not that it held us up on the Scottish, mind, we still caught and passed several cars on the initial stages!

Got some new tyres being fitted this week to some very ‘bling’ new motorsport spec alloy wheels.  As a lifelong supporter of using steel wheels ’cause you can always hammer them straight if you bend them!’ this is a bit of a departure for me.  Thanks to Andy at Allisport for passing them on to us at a reasonable price, its got to be worth a try.  I’m all for reducing unsprung weight where possible and if they are a little bit tougher then all is well and good.  I am, however, a little concerned because we were using white eight spoke rims with a considerably wider offset.  Whilst these Compomotive alloys run more negative offset than standard they are still quite a long way from what we have been using.  Still, worth a try!  And they do look cool too!

Baja videos

Some video of us overtaking Ben Gott on the long climb in Sweet Lamb/Hafren.  Thanks for letting us past Ben, sorry about your fuel problems.  Pity I made a bit of a horlicks of the overtaking manouevre!  Still didn’t lose us too much time.

Thanks to DavesTaxi on www.BritishRally.co.uk for this one.

Also some video from the official TV crew for the weekend from www.rallytv.co.uk

Right click and download a free taster from the event – you can see some footage of us at about 3m59s

www.rallytv.co.uk/videos/free/Bajamovie.wmv


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