Notes from the future : This post is pulled from an original page on my old site, it was written sometime around 2000-2001, therefore the information is likely out of date or flat out wrong. I’ve tried to update links, but I’ve left prices etc. at their historical values – the MSA Go Racing pack is now £104 in 2018 (a 197% increase..)
Please note – this is what I did – it’s not necessarily a recommendation that you do the same. In some cases you’d be f**king stupid to follow my example 🙂
First thing is probably to have an interest in cars.
No, perhaps we’ll start with an interest in real cars, and a spoonfull of mechanical aptitude (a table spoon at that – I could barely change a wheel 2 years ago).
And an interest in racing? Nope. You don’t have to, I personally found car racing as boring as christenings. Although, and I have to admit, I do now occasionally watch touring cars on the telly. I suppose it might help, but how should I know?
I bought a Triumph Spitfire Mark IV about 3 years ago. CKO 581K it’s called. It/he/she is red although it has been (badly) resprayed from it’s original (and hideous) mustard yellow. The engine block is not original either. Other than that and the odd bit of tin-worm it’s not too bad.
I ran the car for 2 years pretty much as I bought it, and made (I thought) some pretty epic journeys in it. Of course, at this stage I couldn’t cope with simple everyday occurrences such as adjusting the points, and the sticking choke cable. The latter of the two causing an embarrassing breakdown on Waterloo Bridge just as they were uprighting the Millennium Wheel.
Anyway, as time went on, I began to learn some basic mechanics by changing the oil, adjusting things, hitting things and so on. After all, how hard can it be?
Mistake Number 1
I bought a book. ‘A Guide to Racing Your Triumph Spitfire’ by the (surely by now?) legendary Jon Wolfe. I didn’t buy it with the intention of racing my Spitfire at all, just making it faster.
Mistake Number 2
A friend helped me fit a ‘Performance Sports Exhaust’, which made a notable difference and set me wondering about what else I could do to make the car really ‘go’.
Mistake Number 3
Went to Brands Hatch to watch the Triumph racing, just for a day out like – and I didn’t get addicted or anything.
So, according to my self imposed ‘three strikes and you’re out rule’ I now had to race my car.
Firstly, I did some research on the intercybernetweb. This pulled up a few sites about racing Spitfires, some in the UK as well. Most of them should be included in the links section of this site.
They’re all good, but none of them answered the following question…
Q. What am I supposed to do now I’ve made my mind up?
A. Well, here’s what I did, you probably don’t have to do them in this order, but it seems to be working for me.
1. Join a club.
All Triumphs these days seem to race with the TSSC (Triumph Sports Six Club) and the TRR (Triumph Register). They run a joint championship (The TRR/TSSC Race Championship). For this exercise you’ll need to join both. Membership to both will probably cost you about fifty quid (in total).
2. Buy the MSA’s excitingly titled ‘Go Racing’ pack.
This costs about 39 quid. You have to fill out an application form and send it to them. In return you get a free Demon Tweeks Catalogue, a video, the magic ‘blue book’ (which is basically a book of rules, regulations and the like for most types of motor sport) and a medical form.
3. Go to the Doctor
This cost me about sixty notes. But I suppose it depends on your arrangements. Basically, you have to have a full medical to prove that you are not likely to die and that you can see things. I passed.
4. ARDS Exam
This is a sort of driving test with both written and a theory parts – I haven’t done mine yet – so I’ll tell you more when I have.
I do know, however, that you need to book in advance, take your Driving License and your medical form along (or else you’re on your way home again).
This cost me about 200 pounds – it depends on your venue – I’m going to Brands Hatch because it’s half an hour down the road and I’ve already driven the circuit.
17/06/2001 – Done the ARDS test – it is relatively straight forward – however, I’d make sure that you have at least some experience of circuit driving before attempting to take the driven test. It’s not hard, but people do occasionally fail. The theory test is very straightforward – watch the video in your ‘Go Racing Pack’ and learn your flags.
5. Email some guy…
The TRR race secretary is a guy called Mike Hughes, his email address is [probably no longer accurate]
He should be able to send you a copy of the regulations and an entry form for the TRR/TSSC Championship.
Rules, Laws and the MSA
The TRR/TSSC regulations are there for safety, fairness and to keep the costs of the sport down. They are based on (and often refer to) the MSA Blue Book.
The class regulations are mostly to do with permitted and disallowed modifications for each class (removing the dashboard for instance), where as the Blue Book regulations are more usually safety related (such as fire extinguisher types and fitting).
None of it is rocket science, and even I understand most of it. Most what I need to do to enter in class A is covered in [another post].
Basically, there are 8 Classes as follows –
- A – Roadsports up to 2 Litres (excludes TR-7)
- B – Roadsports over 2 Litres
- C – Tuned to 2 Litres (excludes TR-7)
- D – Tuned to 2.4 Litres
- E – Tuned over 2.4 Litres
- F – Modified up to 3 Litres
- G – Modified over 3 Litres
- H – Invitation
I don’t know much about the other classes yet, but the serious Spitfires (such as Jon Wolfe’s) are all in Class C. I could, in theory enter my car as it is today with very minimal modifications, however part of the fun (for me at least) is putting new things on the car so I’m not going to.