Mark Thornton's Locust - The Story So Far Part 2 Part 3


Hartlepool – 12 March 06

Getting the car ready for the event I had left things to the last minute to finish everything off. Following the previous event at Hartlepool and the problems that crept in I thought that would have everything sorted easy peasy. The starter had been re-conditioned and the throttle cable fitted. Also to help the fuelling aspect the fuel filter was moved into the engine bay, and the pump lowered to be lower than the outlet on the tank, so theoretically did not have to work as hard.

So with all that done, I went to start it and the pump was not whizzing. When the ignition was turned on the pump would prime then start to pump, but all you could do was feel it clunk. A call to a friend who had broken polo previously said that he had a spare pump, but it was at Newcastle, 35 miles away. After blasting there and back, put the pump in place (by a stroke of luck was exactly the same type) fitted the multi plug and we were off…….brilliant.

I arrived at the test site and hoping for a really good day, why should it not be???? It seemed the other pump was on its way out as this one was much quieter so with that in mind thought that was the problem of the fuelling.

Sat on the line and off I darted, up to the first cone, blip the handbrake & dip the clutch and round I started to go and then splutter cough and splutter, but when off the cone and going straight was ok. Every manoeuvre where it entailed going right at speed killed it.

I soldiered on through the day and finished, obviously moving the pump lower had helped from the previous time but it was still not right. That’s what is so good about the event at Hartlepool, it pulls out the niggles and if it goes ok there, it should be ok anywhere.

At the end of the event I tried a donut the other way and it went lovely. The fuel was at the right side of the tank so plenty there, and that was the conclusion. Fuel Surge. While testing the fuel was getting pulled to the other side of the tank, thus nothing there for the fuel pump to pull through, the car dieing till the fuel came back to the outlet.

So the plan was hatched, we needed to baffle it or put in a swirl pot.

Back at home the tank was taken out again, and ferried over to Phil. The plan was to put a tube inside the tank, which would stick out the bottom by about 50mm, and the outlet would come out of that. A hole twice the size of the outlet was drilled into the tube so the demand in petrol would be met, and this would then hold fuel no matter what the car was being made to do, with the tube going to the top of the tank there would be more than enough juice to let me complete the manoeuvre.

So this all crafted and finished by Phil the tank was reinstated, and the car prepped again for the 30th April.

The only work needed really was a good clean up, and then just cosmetic jobs like stainless chip guards to the rear mud guards and fitting mesh and things, more really finishing and getting ready for MOT.

So all this done the car sat gleaming ready for the next outing. Will this be the end of the problems?

Hartlepool 30 th April 06

After a 400 mile trip on the Saturday to collect a kit car for my friend Mark who has helped with the build, he got the bug and bought his own, then an evening of karting, I felt like I had been hit by a train when I woke up on Sunday morning. The car was already loaded and all I had to do was to hitch up the trailer, load my tools in and off I went.

Upon arriving and parking up the turnout was very poor, but realising that it was the middle of a bank holiday weekend, people would be getting away for a break. All I wanted to do was to see what the Locust was going to go like.

The Car park was dry, which is good as it was going to be the best condition to test the car, loads of grip. After the obligatory signing on we learned the test, and I was allocated No1…..how kind of them.

Here we were, on the line, quick run through the test in my head, ensure fan is on and away, first cone and handbrake, power power power…….cor its worked, then complete the test and park up.

YIIIIIPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE……..we have it, both Phil and I are grinning from ear to ear, so the day continued and with the lack of normal entrants the car was getting a real testing, as we normally get more of a break while the other competitors do the tests.

The car went without a hitch, could not have asked for more. The only problem was putting two tarmac rally tyres right down to the wires, and then the grip was not so good and causing me to spin, but highly entertaining.

At the end of the day both Phil and I concluded that after the day that it had just endured we think it’s cracked. The next test now is to see if it will withstand Phil and me at the same venue on the 21 st May. After all the effort Phil has put in it’s about time he had some fun back from her!!!!

What’s Next……..

Now with Mark getting himself a kit, I want mine sorting so it can go on the road. A few bits and pieces for MOT as this will be the first time in a few years that it will have been road legal.

So there we have it, the rebuild story is drawing to a close, one car purchased, rebuilt and sorted for racing……which takes us nicely into the sequel……….watch this space.


Mark Thornton's Locust - The Story So Far Part 2 Part 3



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