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429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #141 ·
Well done. Every onboard I see of Doune scares me! Forestburn looks amazing to drive! Great driving.
Cheers. Yeah it takes a while to build up the courage there! Forrestburn is great fun indeed, gutted I'm missing the next round there.

429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #142 ·
Fintray 6th & 7th July 2019

Another round of hill climbing at Fintray and thankfully another good weather forecast, after the wet first visit earlier in the year I knew I had some time to find after only getting two runs on a partly dry track, my previous best was a 36.82, with that being almost 2 seconds off the class record so plenty work to do.

With a small entry of MX5's - just 6 of us, I was hopeful for getting a good result.


The weather was dry on arrival but the track was still damp under the tree's from rain the day before so I was back to taking it easy on the first couple of runs, a 37.70 was followed by a 36.18 a nice chunk off my previous PB straight away! A 35.78 then followed but despite most of the track drying out the final hairpin was still very slippy, unfortunately with it being under shade it didn't look like it would get much better.

Onto the competitive runs and I continued chipping away, I was happy with a 35.50 and even happier finding that put me 1st in class, by a mere 2 hundredths of a second! I knew there was still more to come though.


For the final run I got an even better launch off the line, braked later for the first corner and carried a bit more speed round it and the next long hairpin, it was feeling like a great run until I ran just a little wide into the hairpin and lost speed out of it. Crossing the line in frustration I went slower than my previous run by 1 hundredth of a second, checking times later I was over a tenth of a second up at the split so was definitely on for a slightly better run.

Even more frustrating was finding I'd been pushed down to 3rd in class, by just 0.17 seconds and 0.01 to 2nd place! Gutted but good to have such close competition.

Onto Sunday and despite leaving my house in sunshine Fintray was looking very overcast, fingers crossed it wouldn't come to anything. The first run was a steady one setting a 35.98 then of course it started to rain :( A heavy shower passed quickly but the first few in the rain were setting much slower times and the track was very slippy off the line for my run but not too bad for the rest, a 36.11 was reasonable.

Back in the pits the sun was out again!


Time to push on again, 3rd practice and a slight improvement on my best from the day before with a 35.45, still with a slippy hairpin. The day was going quickly so a call was made that we'd be getting a 4th practice run, good news with the sun shining....until minutes before that practice when the heavens really opened. A completely pointless run followed as the track went completely slick, amazing how quickly the track changed as i was spinning the wheels in 3rd gear off the line...I basically just drove up the hill after that.

A frustrating lunch followed watching more showers come and go and a walk of the track found it still very slippy but then the sun came again. By the time the competitive runs started the track was looking ok again and people were setting reasonable times.

Onto my run and I made sure to really warm the tyres as my launches were still a little slower than the others, the car really hooked up off the line and I charged into the first corner trying to convince myself it looked dry... and it pretty much was! I was very happy with a 35.82 and even more so being back into 1st in class 3 tenths clear of 2nd. I now wanted it to rain again!

But it didn't and with others setting PB's for the day it was clear the track was the best it had been... despite some still going straight on at the hairpin, it just wasn't drying. So if I wanted the win I knew I needed to improve...

I set a new PB of 35.43 but frustratingly again was just pipped to first by 0.14 seconds but held onto 2nd, at least this time I'd done my best run at the end, that 1st place trophy will have to keep waiting!

Next up it's back to Kames where I still have some improving to do...

429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #143 ·
Another well overdue update...

Since owning my Eunos I'd always struggled with locking the brakes up easily in the wet and on bumpy roads and after a bit of research found that the MK1's run a lot of front brake bias to keep things safe but to the detriment of ultimate braking ability. The bias is controlled by the proportioning valve so initially I considered changing out the valve for a later spec one which runs slightly more rear bias but eventually decided to go with a fully adjustable wilwood one:




The install was fairly straightforward and once leak free I took the Eunos out for a run to try and set the bias. On a dry road with the R888R's I find it a struggle to get the tyres to lock at all but unfortunately it was of course raining so not the ideal situation for setting the bias, I settled with only a little more rear bias before my next sprint at Kames loomed...

Kames 27 & 28th July 2019

As per usual the forecast was mixed for Kames over the weekend but Saturday very much looked wet! I had decided to drive down on my Toyo R888R's to give them a try and save putting too much miles on the Extremes at Kames as it's such an abrasive track, I wanted to make sure the Extremes were good for Golspie later.


With the weather looking poor I wasn't going to be improving on my PB but was determined to finish higher up the class than previously at Kames, with 16 MX5's entered that would be tricky. I would've been happy to finish the day straight after the first practice run, setting a 102.58 I had the second fastest time but knew others would improve (and I was sure I could too). The R888R's were feeling good despite the wet conditions so I pushed harder on the next run:

Cutting 2 seconds off the first practice I was very happy, especially as this run would count as a competitive run, others also improved and I dropped to third but was still content with that. The rain then got worse before the next run with some getting torrential rain for the run including me, I went some 4 seconds slower and it looked like no-one would improve as the weather didn't change however I still had to push on the final run to see if I could get nearer the top two;

On the final lap I clipped the inside kerb heading for the hairpin which threw the car sideways and in the direction of the marshals post on the inside of the track, luckily I caught it in time.. it felt much more dramatic in the car than the footage looks!

Back in the paddock I was gutted to find out I'd been knocked off the podium and down to 4th place but with 0.4 seconds between myself and second it was very close!


Onto Sunday and the weather was thankfully dry and forecast to stay the same, I decided to keep the R888R's on for the practice run to save the Extremes for later. The run felt quite good despite not going all out, the Toyos don't give quite the same sharp turn in as the Extremes so don't feel as grippy, despite this I was surprised to set an 88.67 with my previous best being an 87.96 on the Extremes. I knew there was more time there too so decided to keep the R888R's on again for the first competitive run:

Despite a small sideways moment and missing 4th gear before the hairpin I set a new PB of 87.42... on tyres which are meant to be slower! It also put me in 3rd place in class. For the next run I decided to try the Extremes again thinking maybe the brake bias adjustment was helping and I could go even faster on the stickier Extremes. It felt like a good run without the previous mistakes so setting only an 88.15 was a surprise.... the toyos were going back on for the final run!

Unfortunately it rained just a little before the final run and nobody improved their times, I set an 87.80 which was the fastest of the final runs and confirmed that the toyos were working well, it raised a few eyebrows from those on the Extremes not least myself! I kept third in class but was left wondering what I could've done on the toyos without the mistakes on the first run.

429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #144 ·
My next round of racing was to be at Golspie for another weekend of sprinting however before that I hoped to get in some fast lapping at Knockhill but the weather and many red flags meant it was a long day of frustrating stoppages, I did however get to dial in the brake bias better getting to the point where the rears were just locking up first then dialling it forward a little more, so onto Golspie...

Golspie 07 & 08/09/19

The forecast up in Golspie was looking good and after the surprising pace I had on the R888R's at Kames I again decided to drive up on them with the Extreme's on the boot rack. It wasn't just me that took along a set of R888R's either with Andy Connell having just bought a set... A few of the guys (Including Andy) also headed up to Golspie early on the Friday for a track day and a bit of cheeky practice lapping so it looked like I might struggle to get close to them!


I was determined to go for it straight out the box and that's exactly what I did in the first practice run, the car felt great on the R888R's but unfortunately I got a bit too confident on the last lap and ran wide out of the first corner, getting the back tyres on the grass and not lifting the car span pretty quickly, it was commented that I'd looked quick up to that point though... Andy was certainly going well on the R888R's setting a 110.87 which dipped under the previous class record (of 111.18) but only the competitive timed runs count towards the class record.

Onto the competitive run and obviously I wanted to get a time on the board with this run, it felt good but frustratingly I made almost exactly the same mistake at the first corner, this time I managed to avoid spinning and just lost a little speed running over the grass, so crossing the line and seeing a 111.60 was a big shock! My best time on the first visit to Golspie was a 113.37 so I was certainly doing something right!

For the next run I dialled it back just a little wanting to make sure I had a clean run which I did but maybe not quite as fast as the first practice run however setting a 110.86 not only put me first in class but also gave me a new class record! I tired not to get too excited with one run still to go (and knowing Andy had almost matched my time on his practice run) but having a 0.25 second gap over everyone else I was feeling quite confident. I still had to push hard on the last run though...

I was happy to improve my time again dropping to a 110.77, I was congratulated by Andy in the pits so I couldn't believe I'd finally got a first in class... until he told me we'd both been pipped by Keith Rose who set a 110.71 on his final run (with a new set of Extreme tyres), I ended the day very happy with my time but gutted all the same!


Onto Sunday and I was determined to do well and fight for that first in class spot, my early excuse is that I've got even less experience of the "Kylestrome" layout after only getting two dry runs on previous visit. For the first practice run I decided to give the Extremes a try not thinking that they hadn't been run for some time since Kames, this was a mistake as the oils which come to the surface of the tyre when hot needed burnt off and hence I locked the front wheels into the very first corner and just couldn't get slowed down just managing to stay on the track, the rest of the lap felt only ok (and was an 87.68, well off my pb of 85.99) so I decided to stick with the Toyos for the rest of the day.

For the next run I still felt I was learning the revised layout so didn't quite nail the run but it was respectable:

An 84.40 was again a good improvement on my PB and put me 3rd in class 0.6 seconds off Andy in first who was flying.

I had to push harder on the next run and did just that, unfortunately too hard! I ran wide at the start of the second lap wiping out a few cones, with one getting stuck under the front bumper and being dragged the length of the straight before finally coming off after the first corner. At the next corner I had a small bit of oversteer, then at the next a big snap oversteer, the car didn't feel right and I thought I'd maybe picked up a puncture. I pushed on over the finish line setting an 85.23 but was more concerned with the damage to the car (frustratingly I later found I was 0.25 seconds up after the fist lap compared to my previous time so an improvement was on the cards).

Back into the pits I jumped out and noticed a trail of fluid behind the car, thinking I'd damaged the sump I was happy to find the bottom radiator hose had been pulled off by the cone dumping out all the coolant onto the underside of the which had then managed to get onto the back tyres, thankfully a simple fix. Filled back up with water and the hose secured I took the car for a quick run on the road to check the water temp and try to get the rest of the coolant off the underside. Things looked good so that left one last run to improve...

Lining up at the start light I was determined to set a good time and the car felt good again round the first couple of corners but into the third I got the same snap oversteer as the previous run, then again into the first corner of the next lap, clearly there was still some coolant on the underside of the car and the run was ruined. Andy took the class win with an 83.30 and surprisingly Keith did exactly the same trick as me on his final run also hitting a cone and pulling off the bottom radiator hose!

It was another day of what could've been and that elusive first in class will have to wait. Some highlights of my slips and trips over the weekend can be seen here:

Overall it was a great weekend at Golspie again and it still remains my favourite sprint track, next time I just need to keep it on the track!

429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #147 ·
My final update for the start of 2020...

Doune would be my final competition round of 2019 back in September and due to my consistent performance on the "hills" I was sitting second in class for the overall Scottish Hillclimb Championship, just needing a couple of points to take first place. Luckily for me most of the class A9 boys had headed south to Harewood for a hillclimb there instead of competing at Doune so only 2 other MX5's would be competing, meaning all I needed to do was finish and 1st in class would be mine, it's only the most dangerous round I compete in so that should be easy...


This round at Doune would again see the actual competitive times being set on Sunday with Saturday just being a practice day, so no room for heroics on Saturday just time to re-acquaint myself with the track. So the first run was a nice steady one to refresh myself with braking and turn in points, a 57.97 being set which is just over 4 seconds off my PB of 54.67. Up at the holding paddock I was out of the car just as the next MX5 came in behind, then it went quiet waiting for the Neil in the next one...arriving 30 seconds later than he should've it was clear from the mud and new scrapes on the car that he'd had an off, and the toe out on the rear wheel showed it was a reasonably heavy impact.


Back in the paddock a fix to Neil's car wasn't possible without some new parts, so then there were only 2 MX5's!

On the next run I aimed to just up my pace slightly but instead found myself missing 4th gear twice and going slower, not ideal bu at least I kept it on the track.


A lot of delays followed with a few of the faster cars having accidents so it looked like the 3rd run of the day would be the last, although still not meaning anything I decided to push a bit more and try to smooth out my gear changes, I did just that and set a 55.98 feeling like there was still plenty to come... although seeing some photos of the run later showed I'd been getting close to the barriers and track limits;



Onto Sunday and the track was looking greasy from the morning dampness so it was again a steady final practice run setting a 57.18, the next runs would be the ones that count! I wanted to set a reasonable first time but without risking not finishing, so doing just that I was very happy and surprised to cross the line with a 54.81 on the first competitive run despite feeling I could still push a lot harder, that time should also give me 1st in class (finally) so on the next I knew I could really go for it.


One last deep breath on the line then it was time for the final run:

It felt like a great run and setting a 53.39 took a massive 1.3 seconds off my PB and not too far off the class record of 52.55 which is getting plain risky in an MX5!

I'm glad I managed to set a good final time as it made it feel like I really earned 1st in class trophy and overall class win too.



I've had a cracking year competing again and really happy to have gotten right on the pace towards the end of the year, class A9 and Eunos Ecosse is a greatly competitive but friendly bunch of guys and girls which really makes the weekends of racing great fun. I might not be competing in so many rounds in 2020 as I'm saving for another project but I'll definitely be back. :thumb-up:


429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #155 ·
Great read and great looking car. Well done on all your and the cars improvements.
Cheers, yeah think both have definitely improved!

I've just spent some time catching up on your updates, great to see how you're getting on with competing in A9. Watched a couple of the trackday videos, looks like great fun (as long as you're not stuck behind a BMW)!
Thanks man. Yeah knockhills good fun, but a bit more power would definitely help (maybe not against an M4 though!), speaking of which...

Not much of an update, at this point I was hoping to have another sprint under my belt in the Eunos but of course the Coronavirus has shut down all motorsport unfortunately. I had done basically no prep on the car since last year and infact the car hadn't moved until a couple of weeks ago since being parked up after the last hill climb at Doune.

An oil and filter change was done and some coolant chucked in (after running only water since pulling the rad hose off at Golspie) before heading for a Rolling Road day at Raceworx organised by Eunos Ecosse.

I wasn't expecting much from my car, it obviously has a few mods but also 107k miles on the engine, so my guess was it making a little above stock power, it in fact made bang on 130bhp -


Or a screaming 98.6 whp!!

It also turned it to be the lowest figure of the day with a couple of surprisingly high figures being recorded:


We also had the cars weighed and again mine was pretty much as expected, tanking away the half tank of fuel it would equate to about 985kg. So it seems I'm being pretty well outgunned even when taking power to weight ratios into consideration - mine equates to just over 131bhp/ton with the highest figure being just under 157bhp/ton. In real world terms, to ballast out the difference the other car would need to have 196kg added!

I had been considering an engine refresh at the end of the year but now no-one is going anywhere that may be brought forward to try and even things out a bit...

Banish a little rust a day people
4,868 Posts
Interesting, what mods did that 163 and 158hp ones have (Ian and Neil)

429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #157 ·
Interesting, what mods did that 163 and 158hp ones have (Ian and Neil)
Yeah those two were the surprising numbers, the cars are a mixture of MK1, 2 and 2.5's (all 1.8) so the other figures are about right. We're also all wondering what (Keith) and Neil have done though! Both have been rebuilt and run the usual bolt on mods, Neil's is a MK2 and also has an electric water pump which may help free up some power, Keith's is a MK2.5 sport... not sure where the power comes from unless he did a really aggressive head skim! ECU's are meant to be standard so no mapping either.

429 Posts
So along with the rest of the country lockdown has ruined my hobby but there has been a benefit of having more free time at home to tinker. I had been planning on doing an engine build at the end of this season but after getting the dyno results above and lockdown coming into force I decided it was a good time to do an engine swap instead, the final nail in the coffin was compression testing my original engine and finding cyl no 3 not looking to be in full health - Results: Cyl 1 - 180, Cyl 2 - 172, Cyl 3 - 158, Cyl 4 - 170 (psi)

After some searching I found a guy breaking a low mileage (40,500 miles) Mk2.5 and agreed a deal to get the engine delivered, I also asked for the starter motor (lighter than the MK1 unit) and throttle cable. A few days later this arrived on my drive:



After removing the clutch and flywheel it was nice to see this -


So at least the swap might fix my constant oil leak!

I then started stripping off the unnecessary parts from the new engine



It was then time say good bye to the original MK1 lump:




With that out it was time to start swapping the required bits onto the new engine. For the class I compete in I have to use a standard ecu and not liking wiring the easiest option for me was to keep the MK1 ecu and swap over the CAS and ignition coils. With the MK1 ecu I won't have the VVT functioning however this should only lose me a bit of torque lower down the revs where I won't be when racing.

The CAS fits after simply popping off a blank at the end of the exhaust cam and the ignition coil even fits straight on with some small spacers with the VVT oil feed removed... since I'm not using the VVT I don't need this line.... or so I thought until realising this line also feeds the cam lobe- so ignore the blank I fitted to the VVT solenoid, that was removed later and the coil pack cable tied to the head!




Blanks for the EGR were however a good idea -


A few other bits were also swapped, clutch and flywheel, coolant reroute, oil pressure sensor and I used a fuel rail from a non-vvt NB with the red injectors too. As mentioned the smaller NB starter motor also came with the new engine, a little comparison here:


So with the engine bolted up to the gearbox my girlfriend was enlisted to help put the engine back in and just before a full domestic the engine mounts finally aligned:


The NB throttle cable was then fitted and the plugs for the TPS and IAC swapped over, the new fuel rail and regulator can also just be seen here:


With everything back together and fluids filled it was time for the nerve wracking first start...


A very satisfying first start! Oil pressure was all good so I then let it get to temp and checked for leaks of which there were none :eek:

A brief essential journey test drive followed and it seemed to be running great, some exploratory runs up to 7k seemed indicate a bit more power had been found!

Out in the daylight the new engine looks ok after a bit more of a (lazy) clean;



The MK2.5 inlet and throttle gives mouch more clearance for the coolant re-route hose with the internal IAC too -


Most wouldn't even notice anything has changed!


I then put the Eunos back in the garage and tried to wait patiently for things to open, with restrictions easing I finally got back down to Raceworx for another dyno run so I could make sure the fuelling was ok on the stock ecu and of course to check if the swap had been worth it!


The fuelling seemed all good and the power:


A peak increase of 17bhp and 15nm almost throughout the rev range was definitely worth it! I was surprised gaining the torque throughout, however only a slight gain in power until 5500rpm was more expected, the gain in power is all above this which reflects not having the VVT functioning.

Now I really can't wait to get back on track to see what this does!! :ph34r:
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