Sunday, April 20, 2008

An MG Club Run - for a mile!

Once I was out of the garage, Murray booked us all on a run organised by the Epping Area MG Owners Club. Starting at the Stansted Services on the M11 the run took the backroads and byways to the Bressingham Steam Museum. Because Standsted is a couple of hours from home and the run started at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, Murray & Christine decided to travel to the area on Saturday, have a look around then stay overnight fairly close to the start.

Me waiting patiently in High Ongar while they go walkingThe weather forecast was for a solid rainy weekend but as the weekend approached the forecasters got less and less gloomy until it was only intermittent light showers.

So, Saturday, we left home and went through Epping Forest up to Chipping Ongar and then High Ongar where the two of them left me and went off for a 6-mile stroll through the countryside and then it was time to find the accomodation for the night.

Me and the gang at the start of the runSunday dawned quite foggy so, naturally, Murray drove to the start of the run with my headlamps and foglamp illuminated. As we approached the services my brand new motor started to miss the odd beat and this problem seemed to get worse as we got closer. By the time we had reached the services my dear old engine was really in a sad way, mis-firing, no power, running very rough and so forth. By juggling the choke, Murray managed to nurse me round to the parking area where the rest of the MGs were waiting. We could not make it all the way so stopped as soon as we could park. After a short breather, the motor fired up and ran as smooth as could be, so Murray drove me around to where the rest of the cars were waiting.

The other MGs, off to enjoy the runMurray checked in with the organisers and I sat there lapping up the admiring glances and compliments from the other MG owners.

Soon it was time to head off. Murray activated the starter and simply nothing happened: my battery was flat. No problem, there were heaps of MG friends in the carpark so they gave me a push start and off we set. We left the services and turned right at the next round-about through the village of Birchanger. The next instruction, at 1.6 miles from the start, was to turn right but as we approached my engine gave up again and it was very clear to Murray that we were not going to be going any further.

Scott unfolds his towing frameSince we were on a quiet lane and the road ahead was quite busy, Murray decided it would be much better to wait there rather than on a busy bend. It wasn't long before there were a fleet of MGs stacked up behind us and the wonderful owners pushed me to the side of the road to wait for the AA - once again.

This is getting so embarrassing! Murray thinks I have a soft spot for the nice AA Roadside Repair men and says we have to stop meeting like this. I don't know what he means!

Up the rampsAbout 45 minutes later Scott arived and confirmed that the dynamo or regulator - both of which Murray has just paid to have replaced - was not doing it's job and the run this morning with the headlamps and foglamp on had drained the battery to the point where it could no longer provide suffiicient spark to keep my engine running smoothly. Even though Scott's battery pack would allow my motor to start, without a charge happening there was no way that Murray could drive me home.

So, once again, it was literally "AA to the rescue" and Scott unfolded the most amazing All tied downcontraption from the the back of his van. This marvellous piece of design and engineering unfolds to become a towing frame to carry the front wheels of a car. Scott assembled the farme and attached some ramps then winched my front wheels up on to the platforms. Then he strapped the wheels down, secured everthing, fitted some lights at the rear and off we went, back to London.

Since there was no way for Murray to start me again, and some doubt as to whether I could make it to the garage under my own power, Murray got Scott to take me straight to Bewley Motors.

Back at Bewley MotorsIt is such a pity: Murray took me for a run down the M25 to Brooklands a few days ago and I made it there and back without problems; then yesterday we did another 50 miles with everything working the way it should; and now this! Once again, Murray and Christine are feeling quite disappointed with me.

One little milestone: I have now done 300 miles on my new engine so, when I am running again, I will not be limited to 3000 rpm or 50 mph.

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