Rallying with my Sabre Six

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chrisgallacher
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Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by chrisgallacher » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:23 pm

It’s been a number of years since I last campaigned my Sabre Six on any sort of road rally. This one dates all the way back to 2003:

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I’ve done a few sprints and hillclimbs in the interim, but neither the car nor driver is really set up for speed events – so after too long a break it’s back to some Historic Road Rallying for this season.

Club member Steve Joyce from Bristol answered my plea (Slice 273) for a Navigator, and we’ve registered for the HRCR’s 2017 Clubman Road Rally Championship. This comprises up to 13 one-day events around the country, each organised by a local motor club under the umbrella of the HRCR. Both crew need to be HRCR members, have a competition licence and just as with sprints and hillclimbs there are technical regs for the car. This needs to be MOTed, taxed and insured but otherwise the regs aren’t too onerous – basically you can use what was in period but don’t push your luck with modifications.

Events like these are good value, grass-roots motorsport – around £130 per car to enter which gets you a full day’s rallying and usually lunch and an evening buffet. They’re Regularity (navigation/timing) events held on the public road, with driving tests etc held on private land and in theory are non-damaging – but I know from experience that the car gets a good shakedown on any event like this, so I’ve done plenty of car preparation. You can read all about the HRCR and the Clubmans Road Rally Championship here.

And there’s a great video of the first round of the Championship, the Tour of Cheshire, held earlier in March here.

The first rally we’ve entered is York Motor Club’s North Yorkshire Classic Rally - next weekend, Sunday 26th March. All the details are here. So keep a look out for us and wish us luck!

I’ll pop some photos of the car prep etc in a bit.


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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by Old and Slow » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:34 pm

Good luck with the rallying, hopefully we will meet up soon;
Bit too far for me to come and watch you in North Yorkshire, so I expect I'll be at the White Lion Hartley Wintney on Sunday 26th.
Can't wait to see the pictures.
Philip


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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by b.c.flat hat » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:54 pm

Best o' luck, Chris. Mrs Pit Crew and I are visiting North Yorkshire that weekend and would love to spectate, we're staying near Pickering so any recommendations are welcome. Regards, Brian.



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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by chrisgallacher » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:02 pm

Steve and I have met up three times now to practice driving Regularities along a given route at fixed speeds, as well as generally shaking the car down as well. We’ve chosen deepest Wiltshire for this, given it’s halfway between the two of us and there’s a great selection of country lanes to choose from.

One of the issues is that the office space in the Sabre is pretty limited. It’s all very cramped and has no door pockets, glove box or other oddments storage at all as standard:

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Soon after I bought the car I made up a simple cubby box which doubles as an arm rest which has been very successful. It just sits over the transmission tunnel and I wouldn’t want to be without it, but it does have a habit of collecting all the cr*p you don’t have anywhere else to put. So after eating the ice cream I adopted this high-tech solution for somewhere additional for pencils, spare stopwatch, compass etc which was readily to hand:

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Other than that, there’s a Brantz RetroTrip dual tripmeter calibrated accurately to 0.01 mile and a time-of-day stopwatch and that’s it.

One of the things I’ve learned from previous rallies is that those annoying little faults you put up with around town just won’t do on a rally. We’re going to be driving over 500 motorway miles return plus ragging the car round the event itself, and I was getting an annoying transmission vibration over 60mph. So it was out with the propshaft which I had balanced by Propshaft Services in Feltham:

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It was fine at the front but the rear took a couple of balance weights, and things are much more relaxed at motorway speeds now:

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It’s very worthwhile doing some decent local shakedown, and sure enough driving home from one session in Wiltshire a couple of weeks ago the overdrive stopped working. My Sabre has a standard SE6a gearbox with J-type overdrive, but with the original Sabre/S6 Coupe Reliant aluminium remote change mechanism thing which sits on top of the gearbox (and which actually gives a very nice change IMHO). This incorporates a normally-open overdrive inhibit switch which closes in 3rd/4th, and I’ve had this problem before where the cable detaches from the switch screw terminal. The problem is that access is difficult with the transmission tunnel moulding in place, and in turn it’s a pain to move that without first removing the seats… Anyway, with a bit of fiddling I managed to do everything up nice and securely and full overdrive operation was restored. You can just see the offending inhibit switch inside the transmission tunnel, to the left of the gearlever. The toggle switch on the tunnel itself is the overdrive in/out switch; this is where the original pull-handle actuator for the quirky Borg-Warner type freewheeling overdrive was, but my car lost this long before I bought it.

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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by chrisgallacher » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:11 pm

b.c.flat hat wrote:Best o' luck, Chris. Mrs Pit Crew and I are visiting North Yorkshire that weekend and would love to spectate, we're staying near Pickering so any recommendations are welcome. Regards, Brian.
We don't know the route yet Brian but the scrutineering is on Saturday 25th between 4pm - 6.30pm at John Ruddock's garage, Tholthorpe. Start on the Sunday is from Hawkhills near Easingwold from 08.30am, with finish at the same place from about 5pm. Not sure we'll know much more about the route until just before the off, and anyway I'm just the driver - I go where I'm told! But would love to see you en-route if you're around Brian - and any other members too :)


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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by jonamery » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:26 pm

Good luck Chris, I hope to get out on an HRCR rally this year in my 5a, if so, I look forward to seeing you.


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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by ScimmyMike » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:24 pm

Good luck Chris, great to hear of you out and about with your Sabre


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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by chrisgallacher » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:55 am

chrisgallacher wrote:
b.c.flat hat wrote:Best o' luck, Chris. Mrs Pit Crew and I are visiting North Yorkshire that weekend and would love to spectate, we're staying near Pickering so any recommendations are welcome. Regards, Brian.
We don't know the route yet Brian but the scrutineering is on Saturday 25th between 4pm - 6.30pm at John Ruddock's garage, Tholthorpe. Start on the Sunday is from Hawkhills near Easingwold from 08.30am, with finish at the same place from about 5pm. Not sure we'll know much more about the route until just before the off, and anyway I'm just the driver - I go where I'm told! But would love to see you en-route if you're around Brian - and any other members too :)
Also: Morning coffee at Green Hammerton Village Hall from 10:00, Lunch at Askham Bryan College from 13:00, several tests at Murton Livestock Centre from 13:55.


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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by b.c.flat hat » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:04 pm

Many thanks for that,Chris. Morton sounds good, have you got yer number yet?



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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by chrisgallacher » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:03 pm

b.c.flat hat wrote:Many thanks for that,Chris. Morton sounds good, have you got yer number yet?
Car 43, so if all goes to plan we'll be starting the Murton tests at 14:38.


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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by Roger Pennington » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:15 pm

Sounds good Chris, unfortunately Yorkshire is rather a long way from the south coast, so I won't be able to see you in action, but I wish you good luck in the rally, hope it all goes well :D


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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by chrisgallacher » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:19 pm

Further checks on the car revealed a couple of other areas which needed attention. In particular, the upper wishbone poly bushes looked worse for wear especially on the drivers side. They seemed to be cracking up and breaking apart:

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The Sabre is an easy car to work on, and I discovered once jacked up it’s possible if you want to remove the upper wishbones without even removing the wheel. The fulcrum arms were in fine condition:

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And the nearside:

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The bushes themselves were not far away from disintegrating. These have been on the car for a long time, and clearly they don’t have an indefinite life. The Sabre’s been recently MOTed and I surprised they didn’t attract an advisory at least:

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A clean-up and repaint, and new polybushes popped in:

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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by philhoward » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:06 pm

The poly bushes on my 5a are in a similar condition too (replaced about 20 years but very little mileage ago).


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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by efi_sprintgte » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:12 pm

There were loads of batches of 'yellow' wishbone bushes for scims that self distructed... worse set I had lasted 50 miles!! It was a known issue at one time



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Re: Rallying with my Sabre Six

Post by heathsabre » Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:13 pm

Good luck on Sunday. We're sure you'll have fun.


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