Hamilton Classic support Triumph TR7V8 Grinnall on Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run
The challenge was simple, but daunting. Two drivers, in one classic Triumph sports car, driving 2,000 miles around Britain in 48 hours, non-stop. Hamilton Classic were very proud to be supporting an entry into the biennial Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run.
The event has run every two-years since 1966 and since 1990 has been run on a charitable basis, raising over £677,000 for various charities in that time. This year’s charity was Epilepsy Research and the 2018 event has already raised a phenomenal £70,000 for them. The entry list represented all Triumphs from TRs, big saloons, Spitfires and even a Standard 10 and a 1930s vintage Gloria Southern Cross. The event remains dedicated to proving the durability and reliability of the Triumph marque, something Alastair Flack, MD of Hamilton Classics is familiar with through his own TR7V8 rally car!
Starting from Knebworth House on Friday 5th October the route took the 130 cars and their crews to John O Groats, Lands’ End via Wales, through Dartmoor and the South Downs and then back to Knebworth, ending on the Sunday at 6pm via a series of 14 checkpoints and controls dotted around the country.
This was the sixth Round Britain Run that our driver Wayne Scott had taken part in (his first being in 2008) and the second for his co-driver Richard Chapman. The Grinnall bodied Triumph TR8 was one of the rarest cars on the run this year, but with its 4 litre Rover V8 engine and various uprated modifications, had all the power and comfort the crew needed.
The team’s Triumph TR made good pace up the A1, to the first control at Wetherby Services. Onwards then up the A68 to Carter Bar control on the Scottish border through some heavy rainstorms at times. Skirting around Edinburgh the next stop was Knockhill race circuit for a passage control before pressing on up the A9 to Skiach services just north of Inverness before making John O Groats for dawn. Here there was a chance for teams to refresh with a cooked breakfast before making their way along the North Coast of Scotland and on into the Highlands to return to Skiach to check in before heading inland to Fort William and then the control at Stirling via Glen Coe where half of the 2000 miles is then covered. It was just after Thurso however, when drama struck.
Wayne Scott explains,
“We were making really good progress through the night and onwards after John O Groats, until Richard got forced wide by an on-coming truck on a single-track road. We bounced over some cobble stones and broke the stem on the rear coil-over shock absorber clean in half. We tried limping on, but the car was virtually undriveable. Luckily in the most remote depths of the Scottish wilderness, we came across local man Andrew McKay working in his barn in the mountains. Luckily for us, Andrew had some welding equipment and without much persuading, he set about welding our shocker back together. I quickly got the unit re-installed and pressed on over a rough, unsurfaced mountain pass as a shortcut to the next control. We were the last car through the Skiatch control and such is the camaraderie of this event, the marshals held on for an extra hour to wait for us. Such amazing local generosity and great support from the event officials from Club Triumph!”
By using the A9 heading south through Scotland to gain time, the team managed to re-join the pack and continue onwards to Stirling, Tebay and Gledrid controls before heading into Wales for the next night stage. By the time our team had stopped in Devon at Okehampton and made it to Lands’ End they had made up most of the time and the car was running well. Crucially, the welding was holding out on the rear shock absorber, despite the fast and twisty Welsh roads.
The route takes teams onwards through Sunday along the Cornish coast to Bude Castle control and then down through Dartmoor to Badgers Holt. Pimperne in Dorset, near Blandford Forum is a favourite with crews because the local W.I come out in force to lay on a huge variety of homemade cakes for the entrants to fortify them! The journey then continued north to Turweston Aerodrome in Northamptonshire before concluding in darkness at 6pm on Sunday evening back where the event began at Knebworth House. The team successfully completed the run in 50 hours, covering just over 2,000 miles.
How we will ensure the shock absorbers never break again!
The car performed brilliantly and achieved an average 23 mpg, not bad for a big thirsty V8. However, the issue that caused the shock absorbers to break has been identified and the TR7V8 will as a result, be fitted with the Hamilton Motorsport rear coil-over shock absorber kit. These will replace the coil-overs fitted in period by Grinnall that simply do not have enough travel to deal with the rough roads of Scotland like the Hamilton Motorsport kit does. Furthermore, it will utilise the original mountings, just as the factory intended.
Wayne Scott concludes,
“There is something special about spending so long behind the wheel of a Triumph, through the stunning and varied landscapes of Britain. The car feels like it really enjoys the long run, the crews and teams all have fun together making memories and tales of roadside mechanical heroics but more than all that is the fact that we are raising so much money and awareness for our chosen charity, through our passion for driving classic cars.”