Peter Bramble's MGB Racer

Peter Bramble MGB

My car is a 1966 MGB Roadster in which I try to compete in the COCKSHOOT CUP. This car evolved from several cars, It started as a standard MGB GT which in 1999 competed in a few rallies and then it was prepared to compete in the MGCC Speed Championship with varying success eventually finishing third in class. That winter the GT prepared for racing by ENTUNE 2000 (08700 278378 ) . Many spares came from different cars a banjo axle and a non overdrive gearbox being just two examples.

     We did not compete very well as the car was uncompetitive but it gave myself experience of the race tracks.

   Whilst I was still using the GT I was offered a roadster bare shell which I collected and will one day pay for. As at the time I had no garage it was placed on bricks in the middle of my front garden much to the consternation of my neighbours. This body shell needed some welding but before I could do that whilst phoning about for some second hand or pre tested parts as I like to call them. A very nice man offered to swap my rusty body shell for one that had already been welded and he was going to give me a hard top and plastic bonnet and boot. I snapped his hand off. The reason for this swap was that my body shell was younger than his and he wanted a narrow tunnelled gearbox model. The only thing I wanted was a racing car especially one with most of the hard work done.

       Another MGB GT was purchased to provide spares for the roadster.

      The car was built up slowly in my garden and at Entune 2000s workshop with all the best bits coming out of the two GT’s into the roadster. These included the racing seat, banjo axle lightweight doors and gearbox and out of three cars one was born. A lot of the parts came from adverts in magazines in order to keep costs down. The original GT became a road car once again for a short while until it met an immovable object.

      The roadster came out to play in 2001 with a standard engine to the Cockshoot regulations at Oulton Park on the Fosters circuit it was much faster than the GT but still lacked pace.

       The next race was with the then Total Butler championship at my favourite track Cadwell Park in a double header although it didn't set the world on fire it was much better suited to the Total Butler race series. The car went well in the series until on a very hot Silverstone it self destructed. At the time I did not realise that my car was in trouble, because I was very close to the car in front and I thought the smoke entering my cockpit was his. It was only when he pulled away from me that I realised that I was in trouble or words to that effect.  Number four piston had melted and put parts of itself into the head. The engine was rebuilt to finish the season.

        At the end of the season the engine was stripped down and rebuilt to the Total Butler regulations and had a good season finishing Third in class. Even surviving a spectacular crash at Brands hatch where I hit two other cars at Paddock hill bend. At the end of the season the engine was taken out and rebuilt for the following season.

         The next season went well but we had problems with reliability and once again we finished third in class. At the end of the season we had our usual debrief and it was decided to move back to the Cockshoot cup running in class B road going modified class. In this championship we have had some class wins and have finished 2nd and 3rd overall in class at the end of the year.

         Last year though we suffered terribly with reliability and although nothing blew up the car was not consistent, the fault we think was the wiring harness in almost every race it would start well but then become slower as the race progressed.

          For this season it has been fitted with a new harness, this was great fun as I tried to fit it my self but none of the colours matched the old one? As the dashboard can not be removed because of the rollcage it was a really popular job at Entune 2000.

          The specifications of the car are as follows, the wings front and rear are of fibreglass. The rear ones having just been fitted after a crash at this year’s Silverstone international. The doors are cut down with home made alloy outer skins. The bonnet is alloy from an old GT. The boot is fibreglass with an ST spoiler fitted, and there is also a ST front valence.

           As we don't run with a fan at all there is some tunnelling at the front of the car to direct all the cold air to the radiator.

           The engine has been rebuilt with lots of expensive shiny bits and a custom head from Chris Grooves, I'm not allowed to touch it.

We use a 48 Weber carburettor and this has it's own trunking to funnel cold air to it.

 The gearbox is a standard four syncro with a competition over drive. Hopefully in the near future the gearbox will be replaced with a close ratio one but not until one of my sons finishes university. The back axle is one of the banjo type with a4.1 differential.

          The front brakes are V8 discs and callipers with Black hawk pads which seem to stop it OK. I did try EBC Yellow stuff pads but unless they were hot they had a tendency not to work as I found out at Oulton Park one year. I braked nothing happened I braked harder nothing, then suddenly they worked as I bounced over the rumble strip onto the cross country route.

The rear brakes are standard with smaller wheel cylinders.

         The suspension consists of lowered springs all around with a panard rod on the rear axle.

        It has had many colour variations starting with red then red and black and now blue and white all painted by myself in a standard single garage. Some people have thought that it was painted by somebody famous mainly Stevie Wonder.

        The hardtop is fibreglass with the signatures of Kilsby MG club members on it. The members paid a small amount towards club funds and they are now virtual drivers. Even a grandchild of one of the members has signed it, that was after we had turned him upside down to empty his pockets.

 

      Favourite Circuits, this has to be Cadwell Park near Louth in Lincolnshire this was the first track I raced on. We had been camping overnight and it was that cold than we had frost on the tent and car. It has every thing fast straights, hills the infamous Goose neck and of course the Mountain.

       Next is Brands Hatch there are no words to explain what it is like to go over the top of Paddock Hill bend flat out with hopefully no cars spinning in front of you.

And the third place goes to Oulton Park on the international circuit there are places on that that just take your breath away.

  Favourite hill climbs and sprints, This one no longer exists it was on part of the Isle of Man TT Circuit and you were racing on roads around the start finish area. Also on the Isle of Man the promenade sprint at in the rain and the sicain was where the tram lines crossed it was interesting believe me.

     Olivers Mount near Scarborough is another place I would recommend. You start up hill to a blind right corner then downhill to a 360 degree left to the top of the hill. Top tip here is the marshals watch at the bottom of the downhill section when they start to run away its time to brake.

     Harewood hill is also an exiting hill especially when you can't see the finish line.

 

     Worst race/best race, Silverstone National 2002. We travelled down from Manchester the night before where on the M40 we lost two wheels on the trailer. We realised this when a shower of sparks shot from the trailer scattering the following traffic. I managed to find one wheel and started to refit it. Whilst I did that I sent Jeannette down the motorway to look for the other wheel being a gentleman I gave her the torch and a yellow jacket.

    We discovered then that we weren't covered by the RAC. We had to pay to be recovered to Silverstone, eventually arriving at 0300. We were up at 0700 and after signing on we were off to Northampton to find a scrapyard to purchase 2 wheels and brake drums for the trailer. 

Chris Evans put the car through scrutineering for me. We arrived back with just time to get changed and get ready for qualifying at which point I failed the noise test. On the way back we flashed a speed camera luckily it wasn't my car we were in.

    I didn't do well in qualifying and was near the rear. Afterwards we spent all our time rebuilding the trailer, even forgetting to refuel it, I only remembered as I was on the grid waiting to start. I had a terrible start but after the first couple of corners I started to overtake people in my class and was soon in third place. On the penultimate lap I caught the second place car up and as we entered Luffield there was a MGF that we were both about to lap. The MGF moved to let us pass but only me as it blocked the other driver and I was through to second in class. I crossed the finish line on fumes. In the Parc Ferme we were weighed and we were disqualified for being two kg under weight. That would have been the fuel that should have gone in the tank. Just a perfect day.

  This year at Silverstone International we went out for free practice on Friday and after one red flag incident in the same practice I was hit in the rear by a V8 which redesigned it slightly. 

It was put back on the road with some help from my friends, wielding big hammers. I was entered for the single driver race on the Saturday and the car went well, I qualified second in my class. I had a good start and was going well until after a yellow flag the rest of the class caught up with me and I was involved with another car and my wheel arch was damaged fouling the tyre, end of race. that was another night spent with hammers, until we went to the beer tent to dance the night away with the band and jolly good they were too.

       Sunday was my Cockshoot championship race and it was wet. The MG Metros were also in this race  Practice went well until lap four when going down the start/ finish straight  the car aquaplaning and went off at an angle of 45 degrees towards the concrete wall. I know this wall well I've hit it before but last time was backwards.

        The car hit the wall and bounced off  I managed to nurse it around and complete the lap because at the time I didn't know if I'd completed the three laps I needed to qualify.

         The nearside wheel was at an angle of ten to the hour we were short of time and as there was no visible damage we just re tracked it and hoped for the best. 

         A friend went to collect the times and I was in pole position for our championship and seventh overall behind the Metros. 

The green flag lap started and one of the Metros spun off at Ireland rejoining us before Abbey.

          The red lights went off and we were away except one of the Metros stalled it and I was blocked Ian Witt sped past me. As I approached Copse there were Metros spinning every where one of which had taken out Ian, how I missed every body I don't know. Later watching some body video from Copse all I can hear is screaming. I was back in front I kept going but there was a slight problem the nearside rear tyre was fouling the wheel arch on right hand bends and the smoke and fumes were entering the cockpit. Some how I managed to hold onto the lead and nurse it to the finish in a shortened race which was due to a red flag incident.

     The rest of the season progressed well with the car finishing second in all the races, at the final race at Silverstone, I was one of five drivers who could win the championship. We did not start well because I filled the car with diesel on the Friday night before the race. We usually use Shell Optimax but I had to use a BP garage and there I discovered that there is a diesel version of Ultimate. This was not discovered until practice, it did actually run to scrutineering and back and almost made one lap of practice.

     At first we thought it was an electrical problem and we changed everything we could, on checking the fuel flow Paul Tainton one of my crew said this smells funny and tried to burn it. Then we discovered it was diesel, a major panic to clean the fuel lines, filters and tank later we were ready to race.  Well after I'd seen the clerk of the course and he had stopped laughing.

      I had to start at the back of the grid but I had a good start, some cruel people said too good, I managed to fight my way through the field and after a good tussel with Alan bates I finished second.

      We had finished second in class for the season and third overall in the Cockshoot championship, the main bonus that the car has been reliable.

       In October we were entered into the MG Car Club four hour relay race under team Cockshoot led by Paul Goodman, and we were fortunate to take a class win although I did run two laps with a flat tyre just to make things difficult.

       All I do though is point the car and we would not have had any successes without my sponsors,

ENTUNE 2000, 08700 278378,

Revolution Driver Recruitment of Rugby   01788 575350,

BT Tyres of Rugby 01788 550045.

Also Kilsby MG Club who have an excellent web site and all the team who have supported me .

        Peter Bramble