April 2002 ramblings

Cot death call to arms, Colerne airfield day, fruity Palm, first track day of the year.

Cot death call to arms

Robert X. Cringely wrote the excellent book Accidental Empires, and made Triumph of the Nerds, a TV series about the development of the personal computer industry which was an enjoyable trip down memory lane for me. He also writes a weekly tech opinion column which is on my regular reading list. This week he diverges somewhat from his usual formula.

Robert's baby boy just died, 74 days old, of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Naturally he's grieving, shaken and pissed off. He wants to do something about SIDS, and he might just have the influence to pull it off. The medical world seems to have failed in their attempts to find a cause or cure, so perhaps the technologists can do better? If you can help, please contact Bob. If you can't, please point to his article to increase the chance that someone who can help will read it.

Saturday 27th April 2002. Link to this ramble.

Colerne corrections

OK, so I shouldn't have published at 1:30 in the morning.

Wednesday 24th April 2002. Link to this ramble.

Colerne airfield day

By the time I got home yesterday I was shattered, having done 160 track miles at Colerne (plus probably another 100 road miles), at a day arranged by BookaTrack. It was a good layout - several high speed corners, a tight one with lots of run-off, and plenty in between.

Yoko 32s

As expected, the 32s were excellent. If anything they're a bit too grippy, because I couldn't really provoke the car into doing anything other than go round the corners, not without being stupid anyway. Of course, the real answer to this would be to get more power but instead I'm going for less grip. The tread was running low anyway, so I ordered a new set of A021Rs from George Polley (£252.61 all in). Excellent service again; the tyres were delivered just after 9am on the the correct day (specially arranged so that Susan would be in to sign for them). After Colerne all of my tyres were illegal, so I prayed that the lovely Berkshire plod didn't pull me over while I was on my way to Bracknell Tyres this morning.

Click on a chart for more detail.

Front left

Front right

The front tyres had done 5977 miles by the end of the track time. I don't think it'd be fair to include the miles home seeing how the tyres wouldn't have passed even a cursory glance by anyone who cared. Without the track time that would have been well over double the lifetime of the rears, and possibly more if the suspension geometry had been set correctly from the start. This (second) set of rears only lasted 2704 miles, although they were set to last 3000+ miles again, without the track time. Just the one day at Colerne took 1.5-2 mm off the fronts, and 1-2 mm off the rears. Gulp.

So if I stuck with 32s, that'd be two (possibly three) sets of fronts and four (possibly several more) sets of rears, every year. Wow. I hope the 21s last longer.

Yoko 21s

First impressions are positive. They are more compliant than the 32s, giving a more comfortable ride. There's still plenty of grip, but I didn't get chance to test it properly today.

Brake fade

I don't think I mentioned this before, but the last couple of times I've been on track I've notice some brake fade, and it happened again at Colerne. When the brakes worked properly the feel was great, but at other times the pedal required far too much pushing. A quick check in the pits (hand next to the wheel) showed that the rears were getting much hotter than the fronts, which were barely even warm. There's been much talk about overheating rear brakes on the Sevens list over the years, but I haven't paid too much attention. I guess I will have to do a bit of research. I don't want to fit big brakes at the rear because that would risk disturbing the excellent balance I have now. Hopefully it's just a case of needing different pads.


I thought my car was quite noisy at the moment, because the exhaust is blowing a bit, and there can't be much left inside the silencer by now. The BookaTrack crew were testing cars before they went on track. Apparently there was no official noise limit for the day, but they were doing this so that they could fend off any angry residents who complained about loud cars being let out. Anyway, my car registered 93 dB @ 4000 rpm (at some unknown distance from the exhaust). Ian endured the ultimate put-down when they elected not to even test his M3, and just waved him through :-)

Lap Time Max. speed
1 1:30 103
2 1:26 104
3 1:28 105
4 1:34 105
5 1:32 95
6 1:30 103
7 1:34 104
8 1:38 105
9 1:28 104
10 1:28 106


Ian brought his Palm m505 with Navman GPS system with him, set up to record the raw data for later analysis in a spreadsheet. The table shows the first batch, from a run near the end of the day, with Ian as a passenger.

The top speeds tie nicely with the readings from my bike computer. The two highest speeds I saw were 105.7 and 105.0 mph. I think the fact that the tyres had a lower radius because of the lack of any meaningful tread accounts for the low readings. Still not far off though.

Starter motor - cooked?

Just before I got home I stopped at a garage. When I tried to restart the engine, nothing happened; just a "click". "Not again", I thought. I put the car into 5th, pushed it a few inches, then tried again and it started fine. The same thing happened this morning when I stopped to get my new tyres fitted.

It can't be the battery again. I'll try to take a look this weekend.

Tuesday 23rd April 2002. Link to this ramble.

Fruity Palm

I accidentally spilt blackcurrant squash over my Palm the other day. Disaster! It only went over the bottom bit (missing the screen) so I soaked up as much as I could with tissues, then put the Palm in the airing cupboard for a few hours. It still works, but the buttons are now a bit crunchy. I hope I won't need to open her up to clean out the sugary residue.

I have also dropped my Palm portable keyboard and now one of the corners won't close properly. I think I can see what's wrong, and a dollop of superglue should fix it, but I'm not very impressed with its resilience.

Monday 15th April 2002. Link to this ramble.

First track day of the year

All being well, my first track outing this year will be at Colerne (near Swindon) on the 22nd with Bookatrack. If my brother gets enough work done (he's in his final year at uni) then he'll be coming along as a passenger. IanT's coming too in his M3, so it should be a good day out. I've got to order another set of tyres (A021s, hopefully), because there won't be much left of the 32s after a day on the track.

It's JohnC's stag bash on Saturday. We're going karting in the afternoon, at the Reading Trail Park, which will also be fun. That'll be my lot for a while because I'll be on standby until Splodge2 pops out.

Monday 15th April 2002. Link to this ramble.

This page is http://www.strangely.org/diary/200204/index.html. It was first published on Saturday 27 April, 2002 and last updated on Saturday 27 April, 2002.