Thomas Carrington - MK1 Ford Escort
Firstly watching, then learning and finally helping Dad most Saturdays and during School holidays I picked up the basic knowledge.
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MK1 Ford Escort
Owner of Specialised Engineering
Rally and Race car Engineering, Servicing, Repairs
Bespoke fluid line specialist
Fuel/Brake and oil lines made to suit
As with all of you reading this, I have had a passion for cars and motorsports for as long as I can remember, as a small boy My Dad managed his own workshop, maintaining mainly HGV,s and the occasional car. This is where my passion began and grew!
Firstly watching, then learning and finally helping Dad most Saturdays and during School holidays I picked up the basic knowledge. I remember the tools being much bigger and heavier than I actually was, but over the years I learned a lot from Dad In that workshop, by the time I was a teenager I was able to confidently carry out services, brake changes etc on a variety of vehicles.
The passion grew, due to a friend’s dad who was re-building a 1968 Mk1 Escort for rallying, I became a Marshall travelling to different locations including the British round of the World Rally Championship held in Wales. Fast forward a few years, leaving home and 2 children later everyday life took over, Unfortunately rallying was a passion that had to come second until last Summer, catching up with my friends dad who was now competing in that 68 Mk1 Escort.
Following lengthy discussions and lots of thought, I agreed to join his team as a service member with only 2 rallies left, both ending prematurely due to electrical problems, the decision was made to give her a winter rebuild as it hadn’t been for a few years.
Those harsh forest stages of the Yorkshire and Welsh rallies had taken their toll and really beaten the old girl up. We originally planned on removing the gearbox and diff to be sent away for rebuild, fix the electrical problems, change the fuel and brake lines for stainless steel braided hose as soon as I began removing parts the damage became clearer.
The diff had a chip out of one of the teeth on the crown wheel, the rear axle was curved like a banana causing the car to run excessive negative camber, a new rear axle was now added to the to do list. December arrived and with it the bug for my rallying life returned, this time with a fiancé showing a keen interest as well!!
Children grown and now with spare cash we to decided to get our own little rally car, after a fun search, we now own a 2004 Suzuki Ignis Sport (I secretly always wanted one after seeing them complete in the British Rally Championship)
In exchange for working on the Mk1 my friend let us keep and work on the Suzuki in his workshop. Word soon spread! I had workshop space!! So not only was I working on the Mk1 and Suzuki but now carrying out services and repairs for family and friends as well.February this year I had been working 7 days a week since November, Monday-Friday doing my full time job as a Hydraulics Engineer and then weekends at the workshop.
Enthusiasm and passion for what I was doing in the workshop I decided to turn it into a business. With help from my fiancé we created the website, social media had business cards printed all ready to start.March – LOCKDOWN game over for the rallies, car shows to promote the new business, my ideas and plans all brought to a sharp halt!!! I continued as before with the Mk1 and Suzuki, and occasional work for a friend.
As more and more rallies were cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic, the owner of the Mk1 decided he would strip down and rebuild the car, and rebuild his rally team. I was promoted to Service Chief, my fiancé would become co-driver, but more help was needed with service, I approached one of my most oldest and trusted of friends, he was happy to join us the team was now complete (be it a quite inexperienced one apart from our driver of course)
We had our first rally date October 4th, with our co-driver busy learning what was required of her to become a co-driver, it was up to the rest of us to rebuild our rally car. Everything removed and just a painted shell, the new braided fuel and brake lines went in, quickly followed by the almost indestructible new rear axle.
Engine was next, a beautiful 2.1 pinto. The top end was pulled apart, cleaned up and rebuilt with new gaskets and seals, the bottom end was checked for excessive wear then put back into the freshly painted engine bay. Front suspension was refreshed with new poly bushes back and front. A faulty electrical plug between the cabin and engine bay (cause of previous rally stoppages) was replaced with new, some rewiring and just for good measure a new battery and alternator.
It was all coming together nicely, our co-driver was as ready as she could be, the Mk1 just needing an MOT and some shakedown miles before competition day.MOT ticked, miles under her belt, she was ready just as well October 4th was upon us. Travelling from Essex to Fulbeck Airfield! What a sight at 4am in the morning the Mk1 on a trailer in front of me.
Its new rear axle lit up like an art exhibition, its aluminium rear brace reflecting the light from my headlights. Arriving at just before 7 service set up and breakfast cooking, we were all buzzing and excited for the rally to begin.
Car warmed up and ready to go, our co-driver donned her fireproofs and crash helmet, we were ready for stage one both car and team ran perfectly all morning and in the afternoon, putting competitive times and climbing the order (other competitors running into problems) our mood was good, unfortunately on the second from last stage running 4th in class a loose bolt on the rear brake calliper sheared off causing the car to stop mid chicane.
That was it, rally over, a broken car and deflated team heading back to Essex. Not to be put off, a new plan in place, upgrade the brake calliper fixings to the axle all ready for next year's season In the meantime we have managed to acquire some exciting winter projects
A 1972 VW Beetle, 1988 Renault 5 GT Turbo and a Mk2 Fiesta XR2.
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