© Text and images on this website are copyright Paul Orton unless otherwise indicated   In the Beginning  Because it wouldn’t be right to put the Midget through the racetrack experience, a project car for competition purposes seemed to be the solution. In late 2005 the opportunity came up to finish off another enthusiast's project. This was accomplished by the end of 2006 and the car has run in the 2007-2011 NSW Combined Sports Cars Association supersprint series. The car in question is a 1963 Australian-delivered Austin Healey Sprite Mark 2A which had been repainted with engine, drive train and brakes reconditioned over a ten year period. It needed radiator, seats and trim, windscreen, wheels and a measure of sorting to finish it. Having 'lived' with Bob Rowntree for the ten years of its very slow restoration Bob would finish the Sprite off. This all seemed to be as it should because Bob had restored ABP 102 in 1997 and my first Sprite had been a Mk 2A.  The first task was to fit a radiator with electric fan and oil cooler to keep the Morris Marina-derived 1275cc engine cool. The alternator had become coated with light surface rust so it got a coat of silver paint. A set of Panasport minilite replicas and Yokohama Advan tyres replaced the temporary wheels while a roll bar was fitted. Over following weeks the interior took shape with Sparco seats, harnesses and steering wheel from Brett and Geoff Morse at Peninsula Sportscars. Because the plan was to drive the car to supersprints as well as on club runs, the windscreen was fitted and as I was keen for it to present as a roadgoing car, Bob fitted a carpet set from Colin Dodds' Sprite Parts while I fitted interior trim using boards cut by Neil Scott (based on the trim from one of his Sprite and Midget 'fleet' as a template) and trimmed by Craig Wall. 2007 Supersprint Season Thus began the 2007 Combined Sports Car Clubs (CSCA) supersprint season starting with the February sprint at Oran Park. At this event Martin Ingall who is expert in Sebring Sprites having a replica of his own was visiting from England and came out to catch up with Sprite Club members and fellow enthusiasts including Joe Armour and Neil Blaney.     Subsequent preparation of the car for events at Oran Park, Wakefield Park and again at Eastern Creek during the year have resulted in replacing the battery isolator switch and alternator - the charging circuit for which had burnt out, replacing the starter motor (you can only convince obliging officials at the Jaguar Drivers Club- run Eastern Creek event to push start you once or twice), fitting an engine breather and replacing the rubber hose between fuel filler pipe and the tank.  The highlight of 2007 has been attending the driver training day held by the Triumph Sports Owners Club in conjunction with its Wakefield Park supersprint in September and reducing my previous lap time by 5 seconds. For next year the task is to fix the engine malfunction which occurred late in the afternoon of the last supersprint of the year - it is a burnt piston. Just as well the car had been trailered! More on this as the engine is pulled down and examined! And I'll resolve the 'is it for competiton as well as road use or not' question by removing the windscreen. Most of the other Sprite and Midget drivers have done so and it should improve lap times somewhat. More importantly the driver needs more practice to get those lap times down to where they should be. But the best part of supersprinting is the camaraderie with other competitors all doing something they are keen to do - none of which would be possible without the contribution of volunteer marshalls, timekeepers and officials who make each event function so well. 2008 Supersprint Season Taking up the story in the first instalment (scroll down to see) the engine stopped at the final supersprint in 2007. Over the break prior to the February 2008 start of the new CSCA supersprint season the car went back to Bob Rowntree for investigation. Number 4 piston had melted and the block had cracked between numbers 3 and 4 cylinders. This was beyond reliable repair so another 1275 block was found. All the internals, cylinder head and ancillaries were transferred except the camshaft which had pitted on a couple of the lobes so it was replaced with a new one ground to Vizard VP3 specs. At the same time new pistons reduced the compression ratio to 10.5:1 to make easily obtained 98 octane fuel the standard. The oil pump and cooler were replaced due to the amount of metal that had circulated and a remote filter fitted. To make absolutely sure that timing was accurate and to provide a number of timing curves from which to choose, a 123 Ignition distributor was sourced from the Australian agent. This is an electronic unit with in effect 4 timing curves to choose from, selectable on the unit, depending on which A series motor it is being fitted to. Some extra work is required to source and modifiy a right angle cap for right hand drive Sprite and Midget installation but the info is available from the Canadian performance firm, TDC Performance, who specified it. Also from the same source tuning and curve selection advice. For a general description of electonic ignition principles this Octane Magazine article is a good start.   To cure oil leaks a Peter May Engineering gearbox front cover with oil seal was installed, the rear main oil seal got special attention and all other seals were carefully re-assembled by Bob. After 5 supersprints including the Sprite Clubs' National Challenge in March at Morgan Park (the car was awarded best racecar in the Concours), this engine is still oil-tight! And this time the engine has been dynoed to ensure that it is not running lean. The Weber's jets were changed to avoid this. For general interest this Octane magazine article on Weber carburettors is a good place to start. Now it's up to the driver to keep improving lap times! 2009 - 2011 Supersprint Seasons More detail to come on the Sprite and its engine refresh at the beginning of the 2011 season. These photos are the most recent. On the left shows the borrowed aeroscreen used for the 2011 season which gave at least 1.5 seconds around Eastern Creek while on the right is a photo from the first 2012 CSCA round with the windscreen back on as I needed to return the aeroscreen ot its owner. At Wakefield Park the full screen cost approximately 0.6 second compared to the previous best time.      At the now closed Oran Park Competition Austin Healey Sprite Experience in preparing and running a Sprite for competition Latest Update here - more soon Photo taken by then SCCA Club Captain, Paul Norris, at the Eastern Creek CSCA Supersprint, 23 August 2008 Photo www.123ignition.com.au All British Day August 2011 showing aeroscreen with Denis Best's Lenham in background. Wakefield Park coming out of turn 2. Photo by SCCA member, John Needs. Wakefield Park coming into turn 2. Photo by SCCA member, John Needs. All British Day August 2011 showing aeroscreen with Denis Best's Lenham in background. Wakefield Park entry to turn 1 - photo by John Needs.