Once again our week started early on a Wednesday morning. We had to catch a bus from our barracks in Gutersloh, to the airport in Hannover for our Air Berlin flight to Birmingham. We left a sunny Germany and surprisingly landed in a sunny UK. This time our destination was the 'On Your Marks' Charity Day held by ASDA to raise money for a variety of charities. There were many attractions there, from rides in Hovercrafts to Helicopters and driving 44 tonne artics to driving supercars. But what every one was really there for was the ride in a rally car, also our reason for being there.
Our first move was to head up to Rotherham to pick up Rachael (the car), and bring her down to Bramcote where we were staying for this event. After this was completed our next move was to pick up the rest of the crew from Coventry train station and head on to have a team brief in the bar on camp. With a large list of jobs and a plan set we turned in, resting for the work to come.
Another early start on for us on Thursday, this time heading to the TA barracks in Coventry where we had arranged to use the workshop to get the car ready. So we arrived bright and early, hoping to get ahead on the work we needed to do in preperation for the event. The list of jobs was long, including fitting a new exhaust, a new oil cooler, giving Rachael a good deep clean and full nut and bolt spanner check. Everything went well, including the roof scoof, which took a lot of cutting as the hole saw we tried to use was blunt. After being forced to buy a new one, Lance Corporal Dom Booth got the scoop on beautifully, being the only person he trusted to drill holes in his beloved Rachael was himself. Luckily after a nice run up test there were no leaks on the new oil cooler and only a slight blowing on the exhaust, easily rectified by Craftsman Karl Swales. Also while we where in Coventry, Corporal Nathan Cox got in contact with a local sign maker and managed to secure us some great free signage for the car. Friday was spent doing a clean up of the workshop we used, and making sure everything was ship shape before we took Rachael down to stay the night with our sister car, ran by Team Markku Rallying at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, the venue for the event.
So again Saturday was another early start for us, having to get to Bruntingthorpe and set up our service area and give Rachael the once over before Dom took her out on a sighting lap. Apart from the front left bearing being a bit worn and the brakes again being a little suspect, every thing was looking good so far. After a look over we could do nothing about the bearing there at the event but we were all confident that it would be fine. We also bled the brakes through again and after we adjusted the pedal free play the brakes started behaving again. However it wasn't long before some thing gave, and it did in the form of the front left drive shaft. But it was a matter of minutes before Rachael was back together and ready to rally courtesy of Lance Corporal Stu Alexander and Craftsman Joe Wilkes. After this was sorted the public once again got to enjoy the car and the crew were really enjoying the day and the work. It was a good time to get any minor problems sorted out before they popped up on a competitive event.But it would not last all day as a large pot hole got the better of the right hand tie rod, bending and then shearing it, causing the wheel to turn and pop the cv joint apart. We decied that it was time to retire, despite having a great time, and give Rachael some time to rest.
From here Dom and Stu headed back up to Rotherham, to effect the repairs to Rachael before we headed back to Germany. We liased with the TA centre in Rotherham to once again use their workshops to fix Rachael again. However this time Dom had decided to avoid bales and other solid objects so we did not have the job of fixing any crash damage. But we did have a few jobs to complete. We started first on the tie rod and drive shaft, luckily nothing else was damaged when we looked and both parts were swapped out quickly. After that we thought we should strip down the troublesome brake calipers and bleed them properly. Nothing was found remiss after we stripped them down and after a good clean and a proper bleed we had no further trouble with them.
On Monday it became apparent that the front suspension had past it's prime. We removed the legs and left poor Rachael on axle stands. We took the legs down to a suspension specialist in Newark, called Leda suspension and asked them if they could take a look and see what they could do for us. With not much to do after that we painted the light pod our trademark flourescence yellow and gave our workshop space a good tidy up.
From there we left Rotherham to spend one more night in Bramcote before we headed off to Germany. It felt wrong to leave Rachael not quite complete again but eyes are already on the horizon for the next event. Looking forward to seeing most of you again at the Castle Combe Rallyday.