Despite finishing on the podium, our Ka hasn't received much in the way of attention since the inaugural EnduroKA race at Donington Park. We worked flat out on building the car in the month leading up to the race, so a break from the spanners seemed well earned. It also reminded our respective other halves what we look like.
But with the second round at Snetterton fast approaching, we thought it would be best to dust RF08 XWX off and have a poke around to see what needs doing. Olly had two hours to listen to every knock, squeak and rattle as he drove our Ka home from Donington, so he already knew it needed some TLC - although remarkably it fired up on the first key turn, which was impressive considering how long it had been sat idle.
First up was a new set of brake discs, which had not been changed for race one. With 23,000 miles on the clock, they were probably the eleven-year old originals from the factory, too. On our spanner check we also noticed that the front hub top bolts had worked their way lose; incredibly lucky to spot this before Matt took the car to Crystal Palace.
The Mintex M1144 pads still have plenty of life left in them after two track days and a five-hour race, but we'll probably change them after qualifying this weekend ahead of the race on Sunday. The brake fluid on the other hand couldn't claim to be nearly as fresh, and definitely benefitted from a flush - as did the engine oil which was a long way from the light golden shade it was when it went in.
Considering the three DNFs and other assorted mechanical gremlins at race one, we certainly lucky that the car didn't require much more than a service to return it to race-ready status. The only other pressing issue was the Ka's solitary key, which snapped during one of our pit stops. We taped it back together at the time, but couldn't take the risk for a second time round so a trip to my local Ford garage and the princely sum of £140 yielded a shiny-new spare. No, it's not even a remote central locking key and, yes, that's more than 10% of what the car cost us. C'est la vie.
With everything ready to go, Pete D and I went up to Snetterton for a track day to a) give the car a shakedown and b) to learn the circuit ahead of the race - although probably not in that order. In truth, the Ka already feels as familiar as an old jumper; perhaps not quite as comfy but well-fitted and already half full of happy memories thanks to its showing in race one. It was a good reminder, too, of just how entertaining it is to drive despite the lack of power and close proximity of much more powerful machinery.
I was slightly nervous on the way up that a nuts and bolts track day wouldn't be quite the same after proper racing, but that simply isn't the case. The exhilarating bits feel exactly the same, irrespective of whether another Ka is breathing down your neck. It's still about you, the car and the track, and getting the best from all three. We had a blast - although I'll admit the idea of banking the experience for race day did add another dimension to proceedings...
As for the rest of the team, they'll have to get their practice in during qualifying. There's five of us racing this weekend and we're anticipating two hours stints with one us having to go twice in Nic C's absence (he can't reach the pedals, bless him). It's likely to be our toughest test of the whole series and collectively we can't wait; Sam professes himself to be no less pumped for Snetterton than he was for the Mini Challenge at Silverstone. That tells you all you need to know about EnduroKA.
Thank you to MSVT for having us along to Snetterton.