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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The 2017 Motordrive Seats Lee Holland Memorial Trophy Rally

The seventh round of the MSVR Circuit Championship was at a wind-swept Anglesey race circuit on Sunday 19th March. An event organised by the Pendle District Motor and Garstang & Preston Motor Clubs, with Mike Taylor and Martin Haggett planning to consolidate their position in the championship overall and in class D1.
The circuit ran a novel and very welcome rally track day on the preceding Friday, allowing Mike to sample some new parts of the circuit that would be used on the rally and experiment with the amount of speed to carry into the specially constructed “yump”. Unlike a typical circuit track day run on a normal circuit, perhaps with some chicanes, Anglesey was set up in a stage format with splits and merges, and changed during the day, including the direction of travel. It is to be hoped that the concept spreads to other circuits, as this could be an ideal introduction to the world of single venue stage rallies, but with less expense than the real thing.
This extended test session wasn’t without its problems for Mike and Martin, an electrical problem meant a tow in from the circuit, a steering issue was resolved by a power steering pump change and some particularly exciting runs over the yump bent the damper bolts in the rear suspension. Thanks to Keith for changing the steering pump and spending Saturday morning checking the car over and replacing the bent bolts.
The weather was always going to be a feature of this event, with the wind never dropping all day. The Lotusbits pair made a steady start, finishing the first stage in eleventh place. With the wind drying the track the slick tyres went on to take advantage of this for the later morning stages.
Going into stage five, Mike changed to harder slick tyres, not expecting to wait 30 minutes at the stage start, during which the first rain started. Grip was a challenge throughout the stage, with rather more space needed to slow the car down at the first split than was available. In the excitement, a cone became stuck under the car, leading to a smell of burning plastic for the rest of the stage. All this drama meant a loss of around 30 seconds, putting the pair down to twelfth overall.
As with Donington, it was other competitors who dropped down the order or retired, broken transmissions, blown engines and a missed split being typical problems. All this and a push by Mike on the next two stages moved the team up to seventh going into the final stage. With the next crew just three seconds behind, this meant Mike had to keep the pressure on, so more crushed traffic cones, after the first run through the jump.
Mike and Martin held seventh and again collected the trophy for third in class.

In three weeks, team Lotusbits will be in Lincolnshire at Cadwell Park for the last round in the championship. Mike is still sixth overall and Martin has moved up to third. 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Imperial Commercials Volkswagen Donington Rally March 5th Round 6 – Motorsport News Championship

mike and martin car 16

The sixth round of the MSVR Circuit Championship was at the historic Donington circuit on Sunday, organised by the Dukeries Motor Club.
The weather was far from kind, producing varying levels of rain throughout the event. Apart from a brief excursion on to the grass at Coppice, the conditions didn’t trouble Mike Taylor. Quote of the day was, “these Michelin wets aren’t cheap, but they work really well”. OK these may not have been Mike’s exact words, but that was the gist of it.
It was other competitors who had the problems, championship leader Paul Swift wasn’t the only driver to hit trouble at the Melbourne hairpin, spinning off on stage one and being unable to re-join. Another high profile retirement was Alan Kirkaldy, who held a commanding overall lead until he had transmission problems on stage six.
Following the broken gear linkage at Snetterton, Team Lotusbits had beefed up the mechanism in the two weeks since that event. However, there were still problems with this component on stage three, with the car stuck in second gear for the final lap. This was easily fixed by the service crew during the subsequent service period.
Mike and Martin finished eleventh and collected the trophy for third in class. Without the gear shift problem, a top ten finish would have been within reach.
There’s just two weeks to the next round at the picturesque, if somewhat more distant venue of the Anglesey Race Circuit. With just two events to go, Mike is sixth in the championship and fourth in class, whilst Martin is fourth overall and second in class.

 Cathy & Colin Car 41
 Arriving at Donington on Sunday morning only 10 minutes from locking my front door makes a nice change to some of the venues we visit over the rallying season and with the weather looking like it was going to be wet we were glad we had a pit garage.
Our start time was approaching and we had to make a decision on tyres because unfortunately the rain had arrived, wets obviously but do we go for our tried and tested Michelins, which were worn or some newer untested Wets which had more tread?  Donington tends to be a very slippery circuit when it rains, due to it being right on the flight path of East Midlands Airport and water and aviation fuel doesn’t seem to mix.  The decision was made to go on the newer tyres to cut through the standing water.
Heading into the Craner curves backwards was when Cathy and I realised that we should have played safe and gone for the Michelins! It was so slippery and out the corner of my eye at one point I am sure I saw Torvill and Dean practicing their latest routine!  Cathy just couldn’t get any grip and we were losing time and with another couple of half spins the end of the stage couldn’t come quick enough.
For the casual observer rallying must look like 2 people in a car charging around a course all day having fun, which basically that is what Cathy and I do, but behind the scenes we have a fantastic crew and as we headed up to stage 2 start, if it wasn’t for Keith, Dave, James and Brett it would of been the end of our days fun, as it was at this point the car decided it had a water phobia and emptied its entire cooling system over the road.  Cathy and I feared the worst that the day was over before it had really started, but a phone call was made and through the spray and mist of the Donington paddock came the crew, it was like a scene from a Marvel super hero film!
 “Fixed” came the call from Chief Super Hero after approximately 15mins, and we joined the back of the queue for stage 2 start.
Heading onto the stage, instantly we had more grip from the Michelins and as it had stop pouring down, we were now on the perfect tyres and with time to make up, we were soon catching and passing a lot of slower cars.   Cathy was getting more confident using the handbrake where she could and later on the brakes into corners and chicanes, all was going well and until going into the last couple of corners, just after passing 2 cars we out braked ourselves and went straight on, no damage done, finished the stage and despite our off we were 2 minutes quicker than the stage before.

Starting stage 3 we were around the low 60s...So we set about improving on that, again catching and passing cars this was better only 2 corners to go to the finish (9 Right into 9 Left flying finish) but again the car decided otherwise and spun, again no damage done.
Starting stage 4. We were around the low 50s...So we set about improving on that, again catching and passing cars this was better only 2 corners to go to the finish (9 Right into 9 Left flying finish) but again the car decided otherwise and spun, again no damage done.   (Yes we did the same again!)
After the lunch break the stage layout went the other way around the circuit so there was no chance of us spinning at the same corner again, Stage 5 and 6 were much the same catching and passing cars, we were making good progress back up the field.
As we started Stage 7 we were up to around 40th, we were both in the grove and enjoying the day, then came the save of the day, I gave a rather late call to Cathy as we exited a single chicane doing a speed that was fine if were carrying on around the circuit... but Oh no! We should be going into a hairpin right, 100 yards after the chicane.  I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth quick enough. B.B.BRAKE!!! HAIRPIN RIGHT!!!  All the days handbrake practice came into use at this point as we spun gracefully and pointed the direction we should of been going, from the outside I recon it looked as though we were of meant to do that but I can assure you in the car It wasn’t as graceful! But again no damage done.
1 stage to go and the decision was made that we had more to lose than gain so we took it relatively steady after all we didn’t want to spin out now after all the fun and games we had all day.
Finished 34th overall.
Thanks again to the team Lotusbits. 
Next round is Anglesey in two weeks. 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

“Is the bomb hole flat?”

Halfway through the championship and team lotusbits heads to Snetterton for the next round of the Motorsport News Championship, Cathy and I were hoping for a good result here to get our season back on track(excuse the pun) after a poor start to the season.
Seeded 49th it wasn’t the best starting position but Snetterton has lots of space to overtake so wasn’t a big concern. We were both keen to get the first stage done and under our belts to settle the nerves and see what the car could do.
Now Cathy and I tend to measure how well we have done on each stage by how far behind the sister car we are of Mike and Martin we are, so can you imagine the surprise and excitement when we found that we were 3 seconds quicker! Unfortunately it was soon brought to our attention that Mike had been a little heavy right footed into a corner and had a spin. Regardless of that I can honestly say that is the smoothest and most committed first stage I have seen Cathy do for a long time.
12 seconds quicker on stage 2 compared to the same layout as stage 1, the day was getting better.
Where we could go quicker, brake a little later here, smoother here we thought but we reckoned the most time we could gain was through a corner called the ‘bomb hole’, a sweeping fast left hander , could it be taken flat?. So mid stage 3, I give the call 9 left onto track into FLAT sweeping left through bomb hole, we are defiantly going quicker on the approach, the line is good, yes here we go. Then there’s a slight lift and a comment of ‘ I can’t do it’ came back from Cathy. Never mind we still had carried more speed through and set another good stage time.
Stage 4 is the same layout as 3, bit of a tight twisty few corners to start then back onto track, but this time through the twisty bit I felt we are pushing on here, Cathy’s going for it , brilliant! I Thought, I gave the same calls as before, we are now entering the bomb hole , Line is good, speed is good, will she lift? Will she lift? Will she lift? Yes 3 times I said that to myself as we screamed through and out the other side................
......................Now if only they had made Snetterton track 2 foot wider, we ran out off track and onto the mud, Cathy controlled it well and got it back under control for the next corner and at this point I
realised why we had been going quicker as the MK1 escort came past us under braking for the corner. Even with our little excursion we went 1 second quicker than the stage before.
Unfortunately stage 5 was going to be our last stage of the day , not long after the start we heard a sound that to say the least wasn’t good, The differential had let go and was clattering around, Cathy backed off and the decision was made to finish the stage early and come back to service before any other damage was done to the car and see if the crew could do anything, but deep down we both knew the day was over. So Cathy and I decided the only right thing to do in situations like this we to go to the bar !.
Despite the result we had a great day and we weren’t disappointed with our pace running in the mid 20s before we retired.
Thanks to the crew :
Keith, Dave, James, Louise and Harriet

Oh and is the ‘bomb hole flat?’..........NO

Next round Donington March 5th

2017 Snetterton Stages Rally supported by G.& B. Finch Ltd, Hylton Gott and Rix Engineering

On Sunday a near full entry of 83 cars enjoyed the unseasonably good weather conditions at Snetterton race circuit just South of Norwich. This area having strong connections to team Lotusbits, due to the nearby Lotus factory at Hethel.
These events are very competitive and anyone chasing a good result cannot afford to be too cautious. Mike was pushing from the start of the very first stage, expecting rather more grip than was available in the first high speed corner on the main circuit. This meant the car spun off on to the grass , losing around 30 seconds and placing Mike and Martin a disappointing 33rd overall.
At a venue such as Snetterton, the organisers have to make sure that the competitors do not exceed the permitted 75 mph maximum average speed. Their method of achieving this was to build chicanes from old tyres, with three of these just on the Bentley Straight. The combination of frequent braking from high speed and the smooth surface encouraged Mike to change the damper settings, making the car more stable under braking. This and some determined driving saw the team recover to 11th overall going into the final pair of stages, which would run in darkness for the later competitors.
The pressure of rapid down changes proved too much for the gear linkage at the approach to the final chicane on stage 7, with this key component breaking and leaving the car stuck in first gear. Fortunately this was only a mile from the stage finish, but lost around another 30 seconds. It was also fortunate that some inspired work under pressure by the service crew meant that the car was completely fixed within the permitted service time. A competitive run through the final stage resulted in a final positon of 13th overall.
The team are looking forward to the next event in the MSVR championship at Donington in just under two weeks’ time.

MGJ Engineering Brands Hatch Stages

MGJ Engineering Brands Hatch Stages
In the depths of January, Team Lotusbits travelled to the famous Kent circuit for the fourth round of the MSVR Circuit Championship, hoping to make up for the disappointment of a rare non-finish before Christmas at Rockingham.
Chelmsford Motor Club made imaginative use of the rally stage and Indy circuit to construct some challenging stages. These incorporated some particularly unforgiving barriers, which caused the retirement of a number of front runners, but didn’t hinder Mike and Martin in their Lotus Sunbeam.
The freezing cold overnight conditions resulted in ice on parts of the circuit that never cleared from the rally stage section. Previous knowledge of the rally stage and the inspired choice of full wet tyres for the first three stages were put to good use. The pair finished fifth overall and picked up the award for first in class. Their best result yet at this level and just four seconds away from fourth.
The only problem of the day came when the hairpin at the end of the pit lane was taken just a little too tight whilst chasing a Citroen DS, who was fighting for a class award. This caused nothing worse than a dent to the co-driver’s door. May be we shouldn’t have told team mate Cathy earlier in the day that, “bunching isn’t a problem at the front of the field”.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Motorsport News circuit rally result   Brands hatch 21 January 2017 

colour matched gaff tape slippery conditions all day

Mike Taylor and Martin Hagget car 11
1st  in class 5th overall

Cathy sewart and Colin stephens car 38
4th in class 28th overall

Wednesday, 11 January 2017



9000 miles since complete rebuild of engine and all ancillaries   


upgrade of gearbox to UN ONE 028 late V8 spec with ltd slip diff please contact mike on main workshop number 019266 33211 for full details on this car

Lotusbits at autosport show 2017

Cathy,S car all setup at the show stand 6830 British Women drivers club

Cathy and mike will be attending the show at various times over the four days or you can call in at the workshop which will be open as usual on saturday

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

New Product | Lotus HC Oil Pump

Lotusbits Latest!
High capacity oil pump, suitable for Lotus 907, 910, 911 and 912 series engines. Developed, in extreme conditions, on Lotusbits rally cars!
Available now!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Jack Neal Memorial Rally 2016 | Blyton Park

During the winter months, Lotusbits entered both Lotus Sunbeams, supported by DTA in the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship.
The new series, in association with MSVR, has launched with an exciting eight round provisional calendar for its inaugural season.
Here's a few shots from the recent 2016 Jack Neal Memorial Rally, in which Mike and co-driver Louise Gilks finished 2nd in Class and 8th overall.
Cathy and co-driver Colin Stephens finished 4th in class and 21st overall - from an entry list of 66 competitors.

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