Prepping for the Mull Targa 2020

Prepping for the Mull Targa 2020

Author
Discussion

dc2100k

Original Poster:

43 posts

103 months

Tuesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Hello everyone,

I've entered the Mull Classic this year with my Father as nav. We are both first time entrants having never done this before. I have an MG ZR that I am using to do a varied calendar of grass roots motorsport this year and I was hoping you could give me some advice as to prepping it to pass scrutineering.

I have serviced the engine and brakes so far and it is going and stopping fine. The suspension is standard (therefore old and 80k tired) and i've had it up on a ramp and all bushings are fine, no play, no leaking from the shocks. I don't intend to change anything there now so I will be taking it easy on really broken up surfaces. I have put the car through its paces a few times and the suspension only seems to bottom out on really big hits at 40-50mph so I think I know roughly where my limits should be on the forest tracks. I haven't got any guarding underneath so I'm going to have to take it easy on the really rough stuff anyway, obviously the sump is the most vulnerable bit but the fuel tank and brake lines all look like they could come in the firing line if the car is bottoming out. The winter tyres give an extra 15 or 20mm extra ground clearance so that'll help.

What things in particular will the scrutineers be looking for:

Battery firmly secured and a yellow negative; Yellow tape on Key or Ignition?; lights working, I have the standard ZR 'double' lights with two standard fit fog lights, I think these are OK for the fog light rule?

Tyres - I have road going Michelin Alpin M+S tyres on the car - I think these are OK?; I'm going to fix two spare wheels to the original spare mount with ratchet straps and my toolkit inside, is this ok?

Spill kit; V5 & MOT (can they check the MOT online or is the certificate required?); no livery/advertising, etc.

Noise: I have measured my exhaust at 45degrees to the tailpipe at approx. 0.5m. At idle it is roughly 90-92dB and at 4500rpm it is slightly less, say 88-92dB but I did get a peak at 95dB. It's not ridiculously loud or anything, are they very strict on this?

Interior: all interior trim to be present, seats and belts ok (I have some harnesses fitted), my drivers seat back is a bit wobbly but the seat is secure - likely to be a problem?; no loose items.

I think these were the main things I can see. If anyone has any other advice I would appreciate it, especially on the following:

1. Toolkit & spares: I was going to bring a basic toolkit (1/2" set, 1/4" set, screwdrivers, breaker bar, pliers, crimping tools, allen set, blowtorch, wooden chocks, bottle jack, cable ties, jubilee clips, amalgamating tape, etc). Is there anything else that will come in handy? In terms of fluids I was thinking just 5L oil & 5L coolant, maybe a little gearbox oil or brake fluid?

2. Rally equipment: I've ordered a clipboard and stopwatch, and the special map of Mull. Anything else required? A compass or roamer thing? I believe the etiquette is to bring lots of sweets for the marshalls?

Thanks in advance, getting really excited!

Drumroll

2,383 posts

78 months

Tuesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Not a scrutineer, but I would definitely get the seat back fixed. You will need to concentrate on your driving, having a loose seat back won't help with concentration.

dc2100k

Original Poster:

43 posts

103 months

Tuesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Drumroll said:
Not a scrutineer, but I would definitely get the seat back fixed. You will need to concentrate on your driving, having a loose seat back won't help with concentration.
I should have phrased this a bit better. It's a 5 door car so not a reclining front seat but if you grab the seat back and waggle it then it maybe moves a cm or two at the headrest. Not noticeable whilst sitting in it or driving, I don't consider it a problem but equally don't want to turn up and find I can't compete.

sungsam

29 posts

36 months

Tuesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Good luck on the event!

A map light.

Also fix the seat backrest. A loose seat back was a scrutineer fail on road rallies in the '80s.

velocemitch

3,021 posts

178 months

Tuesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Scrutineers usually waggle the seats to check they don't tip, but a bit of play wouldn't create a problem.

The four headlight set up on the MG's can cause some confusion, some of them are one headlight with a fairing which makes them look like two. Others are two full headlights, with the latter you may find you are asked to put the fog lights out of use. Tape them up or remove the bulbs, doubt they would refuse a start on that basis.

I'm not sure if there are after dark sections on mull, but if there are you need some light in the car, at its simplest tie wrap a good LED light to the sun visor and check it points downwards at your map. Have you got a Potti?, if not I'd buy a Romarlite C, best you can get and being cordless can be used out of the car too.
EDIT....
More to add
I'd seriously think about a sump guard, even if its just a home made piece of old road sign or something, you dont want to finish the event in a pool of oil as soon as you get a bit carried away.... and you will!!!

Have you looked at trip meters?, Mull Classic has regularities, you can get by with a car trip, but you will not be acurate enough to get close to the times the top lads will be setting. Its an expensive piece of kit, but worth it. I'd go for Brantz by far the most popular. The Brantz Rally timer is also well worth it too, but you would get by with a stop watch.

Cheap but essential equipment is a cardboard map board, large enough for about a quarter of a full OS sheet, perhaps a tad larger. A romar, soft pencils, (I use 4B), Rubbers, pencil sharpeners, highlighters, stick on post it notes (stick them on your dash to remind you of things), clip board with an elastic band around it to stop the timecard blowing about. Speed tables for regularities.

Torch, or headtorch if you can get on with them

Drinks, navigators do a lot of talking and shouting and you get very thirsty.


Edited by velocemitch on Tuesday 3rd March 20:14

thepawbroon

760 posts

142 months

Tuesday 3rd March
quotequote all
Hi,

I’m one of the organising team of the Mull Hire - Mull Classic Rally, thanks so much for your entry, it’s much appreciated. Drop me a pm if you want any specific info. Hope you enjoy the weekend.

I would recommend getting a sumpguard for piece of mind, each test is run twice so by the time you come back again, there might be some rocks pulled out. And take it easy at the start of test 2 it’s really sloppy downhill!

It should finish in daylight but a map light, head torch or poti might be useful. Depends on your eyesight!

You’ll get the navigation instructions on Friday or Saturday this week, so plenty to plot.

All the best, see you next weekend.
Cheers Duncan

sjabrown

1,463 posts

118 months

Wednesday 4th March
quotequote all
As said directly above I'd get something fitted to protect the sump: an old road sign or 2 roadsigns bolted together gives enough protection against loose stones. Fix to where the rear of the subframe mounts, and somewhere like bottom of the bumper or under radiator crossmember if it's solid enough (afraid I don't know the layout of the engine bay of a ZR).

This is what I did when I did targa rallies and never had a problem from rocks/gravel.

dc2100k

Original Poster:

43 posts

103 months

Wednesday 4th March
quotequote all
Thanks sungsam, velocemitch, thepawbroon and sjabrown.

Plenty to be getting on with. I will kit my nav out with a headtorch but I think it’s supposed to be finished by 5pm so hopefully not required. I’ll have a look at the seat but I’m not convinced I’ll be able to remove the play. I think this is a single headlight behind the bumper so I’ll keep a photo in my phone, but apparently daytime events don’t use this rule anyway. I will have a scout about and see if I can find a flat sheet of steel or alu to bolt onto the bottom, will a road sign really do anything if it bottoms out on a rock? Any that I’ve seen are about 2/3mm steel, not much. I would have thought a bit of 18mm marine ply would do more. I’ve bought a tube of aluminium epoxy putty in case the worst comes to it and I’ve got to make an emergency repair.

I have bought a special map of Mull and have an A3 clipboard here. I have also got a stopwatch and the car trip meter to work with, plus an additional wristwatch with stopwatch facilities. I just ordered up a Romer – does anyone know any good online tutorials for doing the navigation part? My understanding is that there is a route which you get in advance that you can plot on your map, and that you have to complete that route between tests to a set average speed for which you get speed tables (perhaps this isn’t between every test, just a few?) and at certain points you need to show your time card or note down some things that might be on code boards. At each test you have to carry out the test route in as little time as possible whilst following the route exactly and not hitting any cones. If you go past two cones incorrectly in a row you get max time. Is that roughly it? Where are the greatest chances to make a real mess of it for a complete beginner?

thepawbroon

760 posts

142 months

Wednesday 4th March
quotequote all
You're well prepared!

OK here's a summary of the route instructions:

On Friday this week (fingers crossed) you'll get emailed the Navigation. That allows you to plot the route on the Nicolson Special OS Map. That route will give you the Transit Sections along the public road between the Special Tests, and the route and timing of the Regularities.

After scrutineering and signing-on Friday night, you'll get a road book with the details of the tests. That is given to you late because we don't want anyone out practising them (which is not allowed).

Timing works as follows:

Transit sections - these are the non-competitive sections to get you from one place to another - take it easy, drive with the traffic. If you arrive a wee bit late, no problem as long as you're within half an hour. They are timed very lax.

Special Tests - these are tight and twisty and timed to the second. Basically, follow the route as quick as you can. If you hit or go the wrong side of a cone, you'll get a wee penalty. But don't stress, everyone clips a few. Also, there will be stop/go points (come to a complete stop then go again) and code boards (marked by CB on the test diagram). Make sure and stop at the code board and write it down on your time card, that's why its there. If you don't, you'll get a time penalty.

Regularities - these can be either on the public road or private road. The aim is to stick to the average speed which will be stated in the Navigation. So don't go as quick as you can. And keep the Navigation handy to refer to.

I'm not an expert, but this might help you (Section 7)
https://www.hrcr.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/...

What I would say is don't stress too much on the Regularity sections, getting them perfect is a dark art that the top boys have spent decade perfecting. Enjoy flinging the car about the tests....

One wee piece of local knowledge - don't worry if you try to plot a regularity route and there's no road on the map, there really is a road there in really life!

OS Maps Ariel view wink


velocemitch

3,021 posts

178 months

Wednesday 4th March
quotequote all
An important point about special tests. Work out as a crew how you are going to call them.

IE if you are coming up to a cone, I call my side, that is pass the cone on my side of it. Some might say LEFT of it, some my say ‘ your door’ others will want it calling as right at cone (on the basis that you will almost always be turning right if you pass a cone to the left.

Once you have a system you think will work, write down on the test diagram a note against each cone with what you will say.
If you don’t do this, it will go terribly wrong.

Depending on the nature of the tests you could well be approaching cone after cone at some significant speed and there just isn’t time to think ‘now which side of this one should I go!’

If in doubt stop.... a wrong test is usually quite a harsh penalty.

Find some of top lads and ask advise on how they go about things, everyone will be helpful.

avenger286

407 posts

61 months

Thursday 5th March
quotequote all
Well done on doing Mull as your first event.
If you can get to the tests with enough time, get out and try and watch some of the competitor's running before you. I would definitely get a sump gaurd sorted as the last thing you want is to go all that way and haul the sump.
Would of loved to come up and do it or watch but I will have to wait till October to visit Mull this year.

DelicaL400

366 posts

69 months

Friday 6th March
quotequote all
velocemitch said:
An important point about special tests. Work out as a crew how you are going to call them.

IE if you are coming up to a cone, I call my side, that is pass the cone on my side of it. Some might say LEFT of it, some my say ‘ your door’ others will want it calling as right at cone (on the basis that you will almost always be turning right if you pass a cone to the left.

Once you have a system you think will work, write down on the test diagram a note against each cone with what you will say.
If you don’t do this, it will go terribly wrong.
This!

A friend of mine did their first targa, they hadn't agreed a system, first test came up which involved going right round an obstacle in a particular direction. Straightforward enough until the nav shouted "go round". Aye but which way round?! Your side/my side worked for me.

Don't be afraid to slow/stop if you're not sure which way you're going on a test. It's better to lose a few seconds getting it right than rushing and making a complete mess of it!

If there are stop astrides then remember you might be on slippery gravel so get your braking right - you'll be penalised if you lock up and sail right through in a flurry of gravel.

As a driver keep a look out for any code boards. Your nav may have their head in the map and not see them. They are often words on number plates on a stake at the side of the road. And they might be placed in sneaky locations eg to check you've gone the long way round a triangle. There might be "not as map" (NAM) sections on route. These are usually marked on a diagram so your nav will need to make sure they know where the NAM sections are - NAMs are popular locations for code boards.

Make sure your nav is ok with reading a map and not puking. Consider taking travel sickness pills if there's a risk. I found a supply of ginger sweets worked as well.

Targas are usually very friendly, the organisers and other competitors will help you if you need any questions asking at the event.

Mull is a gorgeous place, you'll love it, good luck!!

dc2100k

Original Poster:

43 posts

103 months

Friday 13th March
quotequote all
Thanks thepawbroon, mitch, nick, avenger and delica for all the great advice. We are leaving in just a few hours to catch the ferry this afternoon and get to scrutineering this evening.

Car prep has gone ok in the end. I took the car out on a few hard runs over mixed broken/undulating surfaces to see how the suspension coped and the answer was not that well. The front shocks bottomed out pretty quickly on the bumpy stuff and ground clearance was limited. As I don't have a sump guard I reckoned the easiest (and cheapest) option in the circumstances was to replace the struts with a set of low mileage Rover Streetwise struts (£50 for the set!). These have raised the ride height by approx 50mm + a bit from the big winter tyres. Ride is much better, rides the bumps with easy and you could probably lie underneath the car now! It also gave me a chance to go over the suspension and the rest of it seems fine.

Everything else has gone to plan so hopefully scrutineering will pass without incident.

My nav and I have looked over the pre-plot navigation and are going to do the plotting this afternoon. Do we get the test diagrams when we get there?

Thanks again, hopefully have some good photos for you next week.

Drumroll

2,383 posts

78 months

Friday 13th March
quotequote all
Good luck

velocemitch

3,021 posts

178 months

Friday 13th March
quotequote all
Good luck, yes it’s normal to get the test diagrams when you sign on.
Though it does vary. I’ve not done Mull.
Sounds like a wise move with the suspension, it won’t be as stable on smooth stuff, but it’s better than breaking the sump.

avenger286

407 posts

61 months

Friday 13th March
quotequote all
Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

threespires

3,622 posts

169 months

Friday 13th March
quotequote all
avenger286 said:
Good luck and please let us know how you get on.
+1
Have fun.

thepawbroon

760 posts

142 months

Sunday 15th March
quotequote all
Nice to meet you James and well done on a cracking result, 24th overall and 4th novice from 40 crews.


velocemitch

3,021 posts

178 months

Sunday 15th March
quotequote all
Good work James I hope you enjoyed yourselves, it’s an addictive sport!.

I see the Sasanachs won again, you Scots are going to have to get up a bit earlier to beat Andy and Andrew wink

I’ve seen Andy throw that Rapier around from the left hand seat, he really is something else!.