Well - I wasn't always last!
The class for small single seater racing cars was very well represented in the Scottish Sprint Championships,
more often than not it was the largest class in the events.
Usually 'Fastest Time of the Day' also came from this class.
There was a fairly even split between the numbers of home built/modified cars and cars manufactured specifically for speed events.
The only Scottish Hillclimb venue to survive the foot-and-mouth scare was Monklands Sprorting Car Club's Forrestburn events.
Initially the handling of the Hawke was a bit tail happy until I
obtained shorter springs and was able to lower and stiffen the
The car tended to 'fish-tail' and could quickly get out of hand - as I found out at Forrestburn where I was lucky not to collect a very solid stone wall, I opted for reversing into a slightly softer earth bank. Fortunately the only damage was a very bent bottom tie rod and a broken ball joint (relatively cheap Mini parts).
Overheating was a problem, especially when the car was double entered (as at Golspie and Knockhill). There was no real ducting for air to pass through the radiator and the engine revs so hard that the water pump must be cavitating most of the time. Eventually I fitted a larger radiator but overheating was still a bit of a problem. We even constructed an external fan to clip to the radiator in the paddock.
The gear shift caused a few problems. originally the gear stick
was just too short and the engine/gearbox was moving too much.
I fitted a longer gear lever and fitted two extra bottom gearbox mounts - a bit of an improvement but, if rushed, it was still easy to miss a gear change. Syncromesh on 2nd gear is almost non-existent on the ancient and standard Allegro gearbox. I'm amazed that the gearbox and differential have stood up to 15 events with lots of standing starts with those sticky Hoosier slicks.
The car had lots of traction off the line, due to plenty of weight over the back wheels.
The engine was fairly quick, it really wanted to rev and had a
very wide power band due to the fairly mild 285/2 Piper Magnum
This all helped as we were not running a close ratio gear box. A lot of people commented that the car did not sound like a Mini - probably because there are no howls from straight cut gears (just good old Allegro helical gears).
The engine got over-revved a couple of times! Worst was at Alford where I was playing about with my Stack rev counter and accidentally set the thing to seven cylinders so that it was reading 4/7ths of the actual RPM - as a result, during the noise test the engine was seeing about 8400rpm (No wonder it failed the 112 db limit - probably just on mechanical noise!).
At Knockhill the engine began to suffer after 20 laps, most of the
time spent at 7500 rpm.
The engine suddenly 'went off' and developed a misfire above 6800rpm.
I checked the top end and reset the valve clearances but the misfire continued.
I had missed the fact that the top coil had broken off the inner valve spring of No.8 valve.
Eventually the extra strain of valve bounce caused the valve stem of No.8 to shear off at the collets and the valve dropped into the engine at East Fortune, whilst following the pace car on the parade lap!
Apart from a bent valve, there is a nice ding in the top of No.4 piston and the valve seat has a bit of a dent on the inner edge.
Oh well - it was a cheap engine and it has had a hard life since it was bought as a reconditioned engine for a Cox GTM in 1990.
The cylinder head wasn't expensive either and really should have been replaced with an unleaded one.
I will have to rummage through my stock of old Allegro blocks & gearboxes to find something suitable to refit.
The Hoosier tyres performed very well, The slicks were very soft
and could start to get a lot of build up on the inner edges of the
loaded tyres. The Hawke induced a fair load on the rear tyres due to
the heavy Mini power plant.
The intermediate R35's were pretty good in the wet (we had lots of wet) these wet tyres were a bit narrower than the slicks which helped when it was very wet. I was always a lot closer to the times of the other class members in wet conditions (possibly due to better traction and to a more flexible power band).
There is no hurry to fix the Hawke as I have now bought a Royale RP26 FF1600 which has been converted to Hillclimb and Sprint specification by the fitment of a Kawasaki ZX-10 engine (997cc, 12,000rpm, 6 speed sequential gears)
In conclusion: The Hawke DL17 turned out to be great
fun, it was never meant to be a class winner
(even though I did collect a 1st in Class (1100-1600cc) trophy at Forrestburn - due to 'real' class winner taking FTD and rules do not permit taking both trophies!).
The car was fairly reliable (up to the last event that is).
There were a few really quick modified road cars (Westfields etc) which regularly 'just' beat me (I like to think of these other cars as benchmarks to how I was performing).
Having run road registered sports cars and also single seater competition cars in sprints and Hillclimbs before, I can honestly say that you are wasting your time and money on trying to make a road car competitive.
The Hawke did not cost much to build and when I fix the engine I could easily recoup the expenditure if I sold it.
I was most satisfied with how the car turned out, it's amazing how a lick of paint improves any component (so long as it is not applied with a tar brush!).
Date Last Modified: 18/12/2004