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Last Minute Panic

Be prepared for the last minute panic is my usual advice to newcomers to the sport, and its good advice as far as it goes.  Its not always easy to prepare yourself for something that crops up out of the blue at the last minute, but you can guarantee, as eggs is eggs, that there will be a last minute panic.

I had sneakingly suspected that really organised and experienced teams didn’t have this problem, but as the years go by, we seem no less challenged by the last minute panic!

Anyone who says that cars, especially rally cars don’t have a sense of humour is wrong!  Mine, MuddyMoo, certainly has a twisted sense of humour designed to keep us on our toes.  In the past four years we’ve done everything from chassis welding to changing A-Frame bushes at the last minute when we should have been loading up.

As it happens it seems that the latest member of the Friesian Racing herd is also inflicted with the last minute panic disease, only this time it is terminal.

Following a slight missfire at the Longmoor Loco stages just before new year, we took ShammyMoo for a session on the rolling road as we suspected a carburation problem. A compression check later and it turned out that a poorly seated valve was in fact the culprit and a top end engine rebuild was the result. With less than a month before the event, given that the winter modification list was a long one with a run at the Kiloli British Historic Rally Championship in the offing, we had no time to lose in firing the engine back into the car and getting back to the rollers.

The second session with Andrew Bradley at Bradley’s Garage in Shipton under Wychwood was equally concerning. This time Shammy’s head cried enough with a hairline crack in the water jacket spraying a fine jet of coolant anything over 7500RPM.

Engine out again to get the head welded. Re-assembly was last weekend’s task, the last before heading out to the Bulldog Rally on Friday. Unfortunately, although we got the engine back in and running, it wasn’t running at all well.

Having gone through the whole ignition system without curing the problem, our attention then turned to the intake. We then found that the inlet manifold was distorted where it meets the head. We don’t yet know whether this is our problem, but with the cut-off for withdrawls from the event looming at 2100 PM on Sunday night we decided that we would be better off saving the money and taking our time getting to the bottom of the problem.

This is immensely disappointing given the amount of effort that Nigel in particular has put into the car during the closed season. We can’t wait to get out on the stages and take up our side of the two car Imp onslaught on the British Historic Rally Championship. Instead a slightly dejected Nigel and Henry will be heading up to Welshpool to provide support for Geoff Taylor and Steve Greenhill, in the hope that they may be blessed with better luck this weekend.

My theory stands – always expect a last minute panic! Usually they can be sorted, but occasionally they will totally catch you out. I guess its one of the things that make Rallying such a compelling hobby, you never know what’s around the next corner!

ShammyMoo all stickered up




Put ShammyMoo’s smart new Kololi British Historic Rally Championship decals on at the weekend, just in time for the obligatory last minute panic on Monday morning, of which more later.

Longmoor Loco Stages 30th December

Sadly Shammy Moo was the only one of three ‘Imps’ entered, to complete the Longmoor Loco Stages rally yesterday. Our brilliant service crew Mike Dent, Robin Human and David Werrell were kept very busy with 6 half hour services and one 1hr 20 service by a process of checking and verifying various modifications and ‘playing’ with damper settings, tyre pressures, brake bias, tracking and camber settings. We decided to do this single venue tarmac event to give us the opportunity to tune brakes, suspension and steering.

We achieved all our ‘testing’ targets but in stage seven ‘Shammy Moo’ (who has his own Facebook page) decided to test us – immediately after the last chicane on the 1st to 2nd changeup, the pinchbolt holding the gearchange tube to the UJ dropped out leaving us in the neutral position and we coasted to the side. Henry immediately leapt out, put the ‘OK’ board out and lay down in a puddle trying to poke the selector input shaft in a gear with a screwdriver through a slot in the transmission / gear selection guards. He managed to get first and we were able to complete the stage one minute before the end of the stage target time. The service crew quickly solved the problem and we were able to complete stage 8 in a reasonable time. The other problem we had was fuel surging which we had not encountered previously – easily solved by foam filling the alloy tank which already has baffling!

Unfortunately we have no photographs to publish because of a total ban on photography. However we saw plenty of sneaky mobile phones being used and there will be some from the official photographer. If any appear in the public domain (Flickr or YouTube etc) we will publish a link here.

New Year Rally for Shammy

New Year Rally for Shammy

Shammy Moo is gearing up to compete with 2 other Imps in the Longmoor Stages Rally near Liphook, Hampshire on Friday 30th December. This two wheel drive only single venue stage rally round at the Longmoor Army Camp is the final preparation event before the 2012 British Historic Rally Championship. Much work has been done to the front suspension over the last few weeks to try and rectify a few issues that we had over camber and ride height.

Sadly the event is not open to spectators for military security reasons but anyone keen enough to watch this event can of course sign on as a marshal.

The event website is at:

Video – So close at the Scottish Borders Hillrally!

After a weekend of ‘what if’s’ at the Scottish Borders Hillrally – it seems that one of our closest calls got caught on the official video.  Here’s a taster.

Don’t forget that you can pre-order your copy of the DVD from

As we carried their in-car camera there will hopefully be some footage from inside Muddy Moo!

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