Firle Hill Climb Revival with James Rainford’s Lenham and Rhodes Mini Cooper S

We attended the 5th running of the Firle Hill Climb Revival and once again the event was well run and excellent fun. This year we brought with us the John Rhodes Mini Cooper S, fresh from Goodwood Festival of Speed, and the freshly built Lenham Le Mans Midget of James Rainford. James’ Lenham has been under construction for a while now so we set the Firle Hill Climb as a target for completion. The car arrived looking great and hit the hill with James behind the wheel. Everyone had a go in the Rhodes Mini and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Triple race weekend. Goodwood FOS, Donington Park and Brands Hatch

This weekend was the busiest one so far. First of all we had John Rhodes Mini Cooper at the Goodwood Festival of Speed with our Charles Rainford driving. Then we had David Griffiths at the Equipe GTS race at Donington Park in the Triumph TR4 and lastly David Moran was out at Brands Hatch with the CSCC in his Mk1 Lotus Cortina. Festival of Speed was massive and a lot of fun. Charles chipped away at his times going faster with every run. We opted to be in the timed competition so Charles could take part in the final shoot out on Sunday. He posted his quickest time of the weekend beating the Alan Mann Escort with a 62.3 seconds.

Dave Griffiths qualified well in the TR4 and with the new spec engine he knocked 2 seconds off of last years lap time. He was running 7th in the race and getting blocked for 6th. He made a dramatic move at the chicane but spun and dropped back down the order. David Moran entered both the Classic K and Swinging 60’s races in his Lotus Cortina. David and driving partner, John Hutchinson, qualified well for both but suffered some axle damage on track. They had to sit out the Swinging 60’s race to repair the axle but starting from 4th for the Classic K race they managed to finish 2nd overall and first in class.

Brands Hatch Mini Festival

Ready to race. Finally our Mini Cooper S historic race car is about to turn a wheel in anger here at the Brands Hatch Mini Festival. We’ve built this car to illustrate a book on building a historic racing Mini. The book is to be published by Crowood press. Thanks to Chris Harper and Minisport for sponsoring the project along with all the other suppliers who helped make it happen and to Bill Sollis for testing the car and helping to dial it in. Pedalling the tiny tin top this weekend will be our own leader Shaun Rainford.

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Mini Cooper S prepped for the Brands Hatch Mini Festival

Final preparations are complete for the debut of our Mini Cooper S race car. The final stickers and badges have been fitted and we’ve made some improvements to the cooling since testing the other week. The car spent some time on the dyno and with modifications to the carburettors, profiling of needles and some ignition advance we’ve found 10.5bhp and increased the power band by nearly 800rpm.

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FIA Mini Cooper S ready for FIA inspection

Now that Jonathan Stevenson’s recent purchase has been refreshed and brought inline with MSA requirements it is ready for its UK FIA inspection. The car came with a Swedish HTP and some of the preparation wasn’t satisfactory. We’ve added counter plates to the roll cage, door bars, harness bar and a new plumbed in extinguisher system. We’ve added the correct badges to the bonnet and bootlid and had the car MOT’d in order to get a UK registration.

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