Rallying an MX5

Thanks Andy. I plan to ask a few questions and see how forthcoming they are. Definitely looking at some ‘road’ tarmac events, and not just circuit events. Some airfield events are very rough, as you say. Charterhall up in the borders was a car eater for years.

I was spannering an Avenger at Epynt a couple of weeks ago, and have navigated at Otterburn in the distant past. Those are the sort of events that really appeal - some lovely scenes to look at as you’re going past, or waiting for a tow :slight_smile:

I was thinking I should go to a couple of race meetings and see what’s for sale too.

If you use FB, look up Paul Gorge, he usually helps Paul Sheard out with the social media responses and won this years MX5 class in the circuit rally series.
He will be helpful if you PM him and said i recommended that you get in touch.

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Will do - thanks. I met a guy at an event who’s running a Mk3 (Nigel Brain) that seems to go pretty well, but I haven’t spotted him on Facebook or the forums yet.

I don’t know Nigel, but I do seem to remember him on a couple of events.
Where are you based? I am taking part in a circuit rally at 3 Sister kart track on 10 Oct (albeit in an Escort). Paul Gorge will be there to (but rallying a BMW Mini for a change), not sure if PaulSheard will be here, but he might be. They will all be at the Oulton Park rally (Neil Howard stages) in early November, I am sure.

I’m in East Midlands. I have a mate called Erdinc with a mk1 escort who’s planning to be there at Three Sisters. I welded a bit of that car (badly) for its MOT in about 1989 :joy: My shoddy effort has since been redone, I’m glad to say.

Where in the East Midlands? I am in Castle Donington. Have seen Erdinc’s name on the entry list; we both took part in the Compbrake Stages at 3 Sisters, and in the same class, earlier in the year; we were very closely matched until his clutch went, generally he was 1-3 secs a stage faster than me until SS5 when I finally got the better of him, maybe his clutch was starting to go then?
Going back to MX5s - it might be worth thinking of rallying a Mk3. I suspect that they may be easier to get hold of these days and possibly not quite so bad with rust. I think the hard top fits more easily over the MSA approved roll cage than in a MK1 or 2 and there are lots of tuning parts available for the Duratec engine when required.

I know what you’re saying but I definitely want a Mk1, even though the Ford-compatibility of the mk3 might have some advantages. I want to start with the lightest one. I’m an old school purist I guess, and I don’t like modern electronics. I work on complicated modern sh*** for a living. :smiley:

Custom Cages offer an approved cage for the mk1, or there’s the Paul Sheard hard top to fit the race cages I think, so options there…

If I can pick up a mk1 racer and a breaker Mk2.5, I think that’s the way to go. Stick with stock bottom ends and Chuck in another one when it blows. Skimmed head, cams, mappable management, light flywheel, lower ratio diff. 180 bhp but feels quicker with low gearing, 1 ton dry weight.

Double skin the underfloor rails, triangulate / gusset the front rails, a few skid plates, lines inside, seam weld the shell, then see where it breaks.

I’m near Daventry, in terms of location. Do you know John Hillon in CD?


Yes, I know John very well, we share car storage!

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So I bought a donor car at the weekend - a mk2.5 1.8 VVT euphonic. It’s got rot in the usual places, but I’ve decided to fix it and sell it on in the spring. Much too nice to break, and only 82k miles. :innocent:

Hopefully will turn a profit that can contribute to sporting efforts.

I want to the event at 3 sisters yesterday. Had a chat with Paul Gorge. Completely forgot to come and find you, Andy. Sorry! Something to do with waking up at 4am, maybe :wink:

Thats fine as I wasnt there!! Had to withdraw my entry for work and family reasons. Hope that Paul encouraged you to get the car built and taking part. I still say that MX5s are probably the cheapest way into the circuit and closed road type rallies.

Fair enough. It was a nice day out in the sunshine, and my mate did fairly well in his old escort.

I was following the times via the internet - Your mate is Erdinc, isn’t it? Last time out in May, we were within 1-5 secs of each other on most stages until he retired so pretty closely matched. It would have been interesting to see how things panned out this time as our cars are probably closely matched, mine being a 150 bhp Pinto Escort.

Yes that’s right. He’s got a bit more power than you, but his suspension needs dropping down for tarmac events. I’m nagging him to buy a set of tarmac suspension rather than chasing more power :slight_smile:

I think he should keep his suspension as it is!


7 x MX5s entered in the Neil Howard stages rally at Oulton Park on Saturday 6 November. 5 in the MX5 only class and 2 in the “normal classes” for some reason. Probably the best turn out for MX5s there has been on one of the circuit rallies.
I am out in my old Escort for my just 4th ever rally, and first time rallying at Oulton Park.

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I am reviving an old thread here, but having just bought a 1990 Eunos I’m intending to use on historic road rallies in the future I thought this might be the place to ask for some guidance on what others have done. My current car is a very well prepared BMW 2002tii, but it’s not longer competitive against some of the more modern machinery that’s creeping in. Yes, now Category 4b has moved to cars manufactured before 31/1/1990 so they do count as “historic”!! Weird for an old guy like me as I think of even the MX5 NA as “modern” :wink:
These events are run on MSUK road rally permits in the UK, so the cars are not full stage spec, and we don’t wear helmets, HANS, etc. They’re mostly regularity sections run on open public roads interspersed with special tests on private land. These can be on a variety of surfaces in a wide variety of locations, from forests and farm tracks to car parks and airfields. Some are just like a full forest stage, others like an autotest, so cars have to be prepared for all eventualities where strength and reliability over longer, endurance events like LeJog or Winter Trial are paramount.
So, I’m thinking sump guard, roll cage, suspension upgrades (but not lowered), strengthening, spot lights, trip meter, clock, etc.
Would a 1990 Eunos have come with a LSD?
Any suggestions from anyone who has already done any of the above very welcome. The build won’t be starting until later in the year, but it would be nice to start gathering the necessary parts.


It’s amazing how time flies by. Anything with electronic management and a catalyst is ‘new fangled’ to me.

A lot of the mk1 Eunos models (not sure if it’s all of them) had the viscous LSD. Some of them will be a bit tired by now. Assume you know how to test for an LSD?

I finally bought one. An ex racer that I’m going to convert for tarmac rallies. Good colours for a St. Pat’s Day purchase as well. Has some good bits on it, but needs a bit of work to convert to rally spec. Strengthening, lines inside, sump and tank guards, bashed frame rails repaired and reinforced, and about 50+bhp more than the 1.6 engine delivers at present :joy:

Got 2 sets of team dynamics race wheels too.

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My 1990 Eunos had a viscous diff but it was probably u/s by the time someone rear ended the car and cracked the casing.
I had a second hand torsen fitted for not much money.