Keep In Touch
  • RSS
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • You Tube
The Mini Specialists: Official Blog
Official Blog

Blog Archives

Aprils Mini Run – Over £600 raised for Charity!

Mini Sport is happy to announce that ‘Aprils Mini Run’ has raised over £600. Rob Hadley contacted us lat year , explaining the cause and asking for a small donation to raffle.

The event was created in aid of his mum who was diagnosed 2 years ago with a rare form of bone cancer that she then fought, only to then be  diagnosed terminally ill with lung cancer  last year.. She is still fighting her battle now but with lots of scans and check ups. The Mini Run raised money for Macmillian Cancer Charity. They started at Goodwood Motor Circuit with a parade lap of the track and then a drive through the countryside to a lovely pub in Midhurst called the Royal Oak where a raffle and quiz was held, with all proceeds going to the charity.

90 Minis attended the event of which was enjoyed by all. You can find more photos here on the events Facebook page.

Posted in: Mini Sport News

Mini Seven Newletter

mini7The New Season is approaching!

The first race of the Mini Seven Season is nearly here, with Rounds 1 and 2 taking place at Castle Combe on the 21st April.

You can get catch up with all the pre-season news, view the favourites and read all the latest pre-season news right here, with the Mini Seven Newsletter.

Posted in: Mini Sport News, Mini Sport Racing

North Yorkshire Classic 2014

STEVE Entwistle has established himself as a serious contender for the HRCR Clubmans title after a startling result last weekend.

Well-known for his giant-killing performances in the little Orangebox Mini, the Rishton rallyman finished third overall on the North Yorkshire Classic, beating two Porsche 911s!

And Entwistle paid tribute to his navigator, Bob Hargreaves and his contribution in the car.

“It was a full-on day with 13 special tests and 6 regularities, but Bob was faultless and our result was as much down to his navigational skills as my driving,” said Entwistle.

“I’m pretty chuffed with third, especially as I didn’t really enjoy the event that much. We had lowered the suspension and put on road tyres in anticipation of the test surfaces. But they turned out to be very rough, so we should have left it with knobblies on.”
Originally a 997cc Mini, the car has been transformed by a new 1293cc engine, built by sponsors Mini Sport of Padiham, which has boosted power output from 70bhp to 100 bhp.

entwistle_yorksThe pair were leading the rally well into the afternoon, only to be pipped at the post when Entwistle dropped ten seconds after clipping a cone.

But Entwistle and Hargreaves were the talk of the post-rally presentations, getting the biggest cheer of the night when they went up to collect their trophies.
“Orangebox has a long and chequered history when Roy Mapple was at the wheel in the 1960′s, and looks like a bit of a mongrel. I’m certain some people have under-estimated how serious about winning this championship. I’m not sure they do now.

“Even Matt Warren, the winner and reigning HRCR champion went up to get his trophy and said ‘ I think we have some real competition this year with that Mini’.

The result has propelled Entwistle up to fourth overall in the driver standings, with the next round, the Ilkley Jubilee Classic taking place on Sunday, April 13.

Posted in: Mini Sport News

Posted in: Mini Sport News

Tour of Cheshire 2014

Last week Mini Sport regular Steven Entwistle, who we are proud to say we support, enjoyed another outing in his ‘Orangebox’ Mini. The Tour of Cheshire was the chosen event to start 2014 and follow his outing at the Rally of the Tests.

For the Rishton-based rally driver finished eighth overall and first Mini in the fiercely-contested event.
As the first round of the HRCR (Historic Rally Car Register) Clubmans Championship, the one-day rally attracted the top crews from all over the UK.
And despite having had a five-month lay-off since his last event, and a field packed with Porsches and Ford Escorts, Entwistle was happy with the outcome.
“It’s an ultra-competitive event which combines the speed of special tests and the discipline of timed-to-the-second regularities, and to get a top ten result you have to be very good at both,” explained Steve.

“We achieved what we set out to do, which was to get some mileage under our belts with the car and pick up some points for the championship.

“We had a couple of problems during the day, which included a debatable penalty for stop astride on one of the tests in Delamere Forest, and we picked up a penalty for booking in early at one control. Without those, I reckon fifth could have been achieveable.”

The Tour of Cheshire saw Steve’s iconic Orangebox Mini make its first appearance in 1293cc guise.
Originally built with a more modest 70bhp, 997cc engine, the new motor, built for him by sponsors Mini Sport of Padiham, boasts a significantly higher 100bhp.
“With the extra torque and top speed, it’s a different animal. The car was much quicker in the tests, particularly on tarmac, but, most importantly, the engine ran perfectly all day.” he said.
Enwtistle and navigator Bob Hargreaves, from Cumbria, will contest the next round of the HRCR Clubmans Championship, the North Yorkshire Classic, on Sunday, March 23.


1 Andrew Mallagh/Paul Harley (Porsche 911)
2 Howard Warren/Iain Tullie (Porsche 911)
3 John Ruddock/Andy Pullan (Ford Escort Mexico)
4 Matt Warren/Guy Woodcock (Ford Escort)
5 Andrew Buzzard/Robb Lyne (Alfa Romeo Giulia S)
6 Paul Wignall/Mark Appleton (Alfa Romeo Giuietta)
7 Jim Deacon/Ian Doble HRCR (MG B Roadster)
8 Steve Entwistle/Bob Hargreaves (Orangebox Mini)

You can see the complete Results here 

entwistle_cheshire_2 entwistle_cheshire_3 entwistle_cheshire_4

Posted in: Mini Sport News

Paddy Hopkirk 50th Anniversary Gala

gala-miniMini Sport have had a fantastic weekend at the Paddy Hopkirk 50th Anniversary Gala and would like to thank everyone who made it possible and also to everyone who attended!

As official supporters of the unique, one-off event, Mini Sport were out in force and took many of our own products with us, along with items from the Paddy Hopkirk Range and the brand new 50th Anniversary Collection. We really enjoyed the event and were amazed at what was a really good turnout for the Cavalcade that rolled through Belfast.


A huge amount of Minis and classic rally cars amassed upon Stormont Castle to begin the Cavalcade and it made quite a sight. Headed by Paddy Hopkirk in his 33EJB replica, the huge convoy took over the streets of Belfast and headed toward Titanic, Belfast.

There was plenty of other things going on too with an Autotest, Signing Sessions, an Auction and of course the Banquet in the Titanic, Belfast to finish the night.


100% of all proceeds from the whole event went to two really good causes of which Paddy is associated with – Skidz Motor Education and the Integrated Education Fund.

We haven’t got a final figure for you as yet but we are sure that whatever the amount, it will be gratefully received and put to great use.

gala-banquetOnce again, Mini Sport would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved with the Gala!



Posted in: Mini Sport News

Mini Sport 7 Port Head Fitted in the Workshop


It may be Christmas but there are still plenty of the Minis on the road and still plenty of work to do in the Mini Sport Workshop!

The latest job was to fit one of our very own Mini Sport 7-Port Cylinder Heads. However, as can happy often, this job turned out to be a slightly bigger job than first thought. The bottom end wasn’t in brilliant condition and to get the most from the Rally Spec 7-Port Cylinder Head we advised remanufacturing the block.

7port1We were given the go-ahead and it was sent over the road to the Mini Sport engineering department – Hi-Tech Engineering. The head was honed and the crank polished with new pistons, big end bearings and main bearings being fitted during the rebuild.

The Rally 7 Port Head is Polished, Ported & Gasflowed, has Unleaded Seats, 37mm Competition Inlet Valves, 31mm Competition Exhaust Valves and High Lift 220lb Competition Valve Springs. This Cylinder Head is the original choice for any A-Series Tuner!

  • Optimises power on all Mini ‘A’ series engines, 1275cc upwards, and excels on the larger capacity engines, 1380cc or even larger!
  • 7port-beforeTested on a standard 1275cc engine fitted with 1.5:1 rockers, it increased the maximum power to 100BHP. This increase is due to the crossflow design and use of 4 inlet ports.
  • Larger diameter inlet ports and crossflow design, overcome the ‘A’ series engines breathing problems, by increasing the inlet manifold air flow by as much as 20%, over an original 5 port head, fitted with the equivalent size of inlet valve.
  • Cast from top quality iron, each casting is fully machined and pressure tested ‘in house’, in our very latest CNC machining facility, to ensure consistent quality.
  • 1.2mm of extra space between valve centerlines, reduces the risk of cracking between inlet and exhaust when fitting BIG or oversized valves.
  • 7port-afterThe 4 port inlet manifold is cast as part of the cylinder head, designed to fit twin Weber/Dellorto Carburettors, or injection throttle bodies, eliminating the use of a separate component.
  • Retaining the original 3 exhaust port design, allows fitment of a wide range of LCB exhaust manifolds and systems without the need to purchase a special exhaust manifold.
  • All A-series (standard or competition) cam and valve train components are used on the 7 port head to avoid extra costs of special components
  • Each cylinder head is individually hand finished to many various specifications, from a bare head to a fully modified assembled complete head, or to a clients individual requirements.
  • This 7 port cylinder head design, attained it’s competition pedigree by returning many first class consistent results in Scandinavian events, and was used and fitted extensively by the Top Danish Team Works Minis.
Posted in: Mini Sport News

NEW STOCK of Yokohama A008s

YOKYO165-70R10The Yokohama ADVAN A008 Tyre – 165/70 R10 is one of our biggest sellers and we always keep plenty of stock! This weekend we had a delivery of over 100 from Yokohama themselves. The ADVAN range is Yokohama’s flagship brand. It’s the name given to Yokohama’s best high performance road tyres, race tyres and light weight wheel range…

Derived from “ADVANCE”, it means using innovation to keep one step ahead of competitors. The ADVAN A008 is Yokohama’s performance tyre developed for the classic Mini, this legendary tyre with it’s unique asymmetrical tread pattern was launched in 1981 and remains one of the best sport tyres available for your Mini.

Developed specially for the Austin 7, Mini 850 and Mini Cooper cars, these tyres feature a high performance tread compound moulded into an asymmetric design that includes a continuous shoulder rib to enhance responsiveness and dry road traction.


Posted in: Mini Sport News

Rally of the Tests Report – Part 5

Continued from Part 4

Sunday morning dawned bright and a bit blustery, MTC3 out in the morning being situated up the road in another hotel, the Belsfield. From here it was a run south on some very flooded  main roads , you came over a brow to find a foot of standing water across the width of the road which made life interesting, but at least the sun was out. The first regularity of the day was ‘South Lakeland’ and we did excellent but a 48 second penalty at a control spoilt what was otherwise a really good run for us, considering we finished just nine seconds off the class leader, a missed opportunity here in hindsight. We then turned north again for the ‘Killington’ regularity with the last bit through a bit of forest we know well, very steep  and loose to start with, climbing to the top then fast downhill to the finish with the bends getting tight to the end. Bob did a cracking job here, third overall, four seconds off the best and ten seconds better than Frank and Cath. In fact we could easily have beaten everyone here as a slight mix up on seconds had me easing off at the end, the lost seconds costing us a ‘clean’. Ah well!

From here it was on to the first test of the day but this was cancelled as the farmer had locked a gate after the first few cars, so we had a fast run in convoy with half dozen cars back up on to Warcop for four tests. The first one was a very enjoyable one, fast and twisty through a wood, fastest in class and third overall behind two 911’s. The next was very much a power test and we and Lenehan were equal fastest in class, and only four seconds off the BDA and the fastest car, a 911! What an advert for a well-built 997! Next was another suited to 911 Porsches but we again had a class win, three seconds up on the next in class Lenehan. From here it was off to a time control at Brough Castle. By now it was midday and the sun was shining, the afternoon regularities would take us past the Tan Hill Inn the highest pub in Britain and through the ford that used to feature in the opening of the programme ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.

RotT-12The first ‘Yorkshire Dales’ had only two controls and though we dropped only a few seconds so it seemed did everyone else, Lenehan/Woodman six less than us.

‘Downholme’ was very tough with six controls and the best crew dropping one and half minutes, we were over a minute down on Lenehan here. From here it was on for more MOD land, this time Catterick Camp for two super tests. The first one very slippery and quick saw us one second behind Lenehan and the 997 Cooper’s only two and three seconds behind the BDA which was pipped by a 911!

Next was a longer one, a cracker with cattle grids, several junctions and two downhill hairpins most of it on loose gravel. We had a storming run, in the top five overall, fastest in class by six seconds from Lenehan and one second off the BDA, its Dutch owner was impressed by the little Orange Mini!

RotT-13Staying on Catterick we started the last regularity of the event, which in reality was just like the night time sections on MOD land, ie flat out. With more junctions on the road than on the map, gravel all the way the little Orangebox was sideways, airborne and flat out all the way, we still dropped two minutes.

From here, with Bob muttering about it being “mental in there!” we made our way to a meal and time control at the services at Leeming Bar on the A1. Suitably fed and watered we made our way to Tockwith for three more tests, the first ‘Jacobs Ladder’ had many people scratching their head, we had worked it out, but could we do it quickly? It was a test from the very early days, basically four ‘boxes’ marked out by cones, which totalled thirteen ‘sides’, you had to cross every one but not more than once! We did the test with Lenehan watching us and as we came off it he gave me the thumbs up! He beat us though! We were third overall on this test. Next was another Kart Circuit where Lenehan beat me by four seconds, followed by one and half laps of a proper Race Circuit. This was fun, though Bob started to look worried when we had it on two wheels, bouncing off the curbs to straighten the corners! Fastest in class for us here, with 911s at the top of the times again.

RotT-14This was the last part of the event and the last couple of tests which I had been looking forward to at Harewood Hill Climb, I had watched virtually the same stage on more than one RAC Rally as a kid, stood with my Dad. Run twice, it ran round the paddock area and down the access road, then on to the full hill climb. Fastest in class on both runs , both times Lenehan was second fastest, with him three seconds slower on the first before both of us going quicker second time, though we pulled four seconds out on the last run.

From here it was a run on busy roads in darkness to the ceremonial finish in Harrogate at the Old Swan Hotel, with photos and interviews.  I was quite elated to get to the finish and for a moment or two got quite emotional while waiting to drive under the finish ramp, we had done it! The black tie dinner was very enjoyable, I never seemed to buy a drink as people just put them in front of me, and we were a merry, happy gang who staggered off to find our rooms at the end of the night!

Final results put us 9th overall and second in class, very, very happy with that. The McClean Anglia did amazing to climb back to third in class and although a long way behind us, the last car in our class over five hours behind us in penalties. I had set out and done what I always wanted to do, and the little car performed superb, really proud of the little car. Of course none of this would have been possible without several people, Bob for his skills, sense of humour and enthusiasm, our wives Suzanne and Hazel for tolerating it all, my parents, Jon Wood, Neil Johnson and Chris Day, and of course all the guys at MINISPORT Padiham, without their help it would not have happened. Want to do it again now…..

Posted in: Mini Sport News, Mini Sport Racing
Tagged: ,

Rally of the Tests Report – Part 4

Continued from Part 3

Saturday morning dawned damp, but at least it wasn’t raining yet! Straight off we were back to Swynnerton for three fast tests there, the last of which had a Le Mans type start for the driver, running to the car! Think it is safe to say Stirling Moss was better at it than me! Fastest on one of the tests, second fastest in the other two.

RotT-9From here it was to the first regularity of the day, ‘Barthomley’, and the sun was out! This was a tricky route with us crossing and recrossing under the M6 motorway, all on narrow twisty ‘whites’. After a lot of scaremongering about this section, it went really well for us, dropping just five seconds over four controls. Next came ‘Cheshire Plains’ and again this went well with the very minimum of penalties.

From here was a run to Oulton Park for a time control in the Chequers Restaurant followed by another test held on the rally circuit, with two laps of the first loop then on to the last part through the trees to the finish. I didn’t particularly enjoy this test, our third in class on here was about what I expected. Next came the last regularity of the morning ‘Sink Moss’, which utilized the wet loose gravel roads of the Cheshire Showground with many ‘slots’ hidden in the tall hedges and open gates to tempt you in to a wrong slot. This ended up being quite quick with us arriving at one control completely sideways with us stopped 90 degrees to the direction of the track, ahem!! This was our worst performance to date, dropping 2m47secs, both of us frustrated with the section.

RotT-7We had time to reflect and chat though as the next part of the event was a long drag north up the M6 motorway to the lunch halt at Hoghton Tower near Preston, which took longer than normal because of a closed junction. Traffic was very slow and heavy and we, as were many others, well into our 30 minute penalty free lateness. My mum and dad and daughter had been standing in the rain at Hoghton for a long time waiting for us to arrive, and a wave and a cheer off them lifted my spirits, especially as I was on ‘home turf’ now, on roads I know well.

After a well needed Lancashire Hotpot lunch we set off east towards an ‘Autotest’ type test on the outskirts of Longridge run by Knowldale Car Club. Fastest in class here by three seconds from the Autotest champion, Lenehan, was a good welcome back to my home area. From here we set off to another regularity, ‘Lancashire Lanes’, and the rain was torrential now, I couldn’t believe the force it was coming down with, the roads and fords along here awash with debris and deep water, its grim up north!!  It went well for us dropping 17 seconds over four controls, and six seconds less than class leaders Lenehan/Woodman.

Next was an excellent fast test round Grize Dale reservoir, and it had stopped raining. Myself and Bob know this Water Board property well, but it was the first time I had seen it in daylight as I am usually charging round here in the dark on night events. We were flying, fastest in class taking five seconds off next in class Lenehan. Next was the ‘Caton Moor’ regularity, with the long steep twisty ‘white’ over Haylots which we both know well, again usually going like dingbats in the dark, Bob’s usual here is ‘seven crests all FLAT seventy then 45 right downhill!’ Anyway, back to the plot, this went quite well but we were beaten by Lenehan/Woodman by the tune of five seconds. From here it was a fast run to the Whoop Hall Hotel at Kirby Lonsdale for a time control and five minute break. Michael Anderson from MINISPORT was here making sure we were enjoying ourselves!

RotT-11Out from here was a quick blast down the road to the next test run by brothers Dan and Alex Willan of Kirby Lonsdale MC, both very quick ‘night’ event drivers in their Protons. The Orangebox’s original owner Roy Mapple was here watching, it was dark again now and a test I have done before on the Devils Own we set fastest time in our class again and third overall, Naaktgeboren fastest in the BDA.

‘Lune Valley’ was the next regularity and as we started this so the rain started to come down heavy again making the roads even more difficult with torrents of water running down the roads almost bringing you to a standstill sometimes, splashing over the bonnet and roof. An amazing thunder storm lit the entire horizon and for a second or so you could see the mountains ahead in perfect white light, very spectacular. Again we were on very tricky lanes made more difficult because of the weather, but we know all the trick slots and hidden brows and we did this one third overall, and best in our class beating Lenehan by fourteen seconds. These sections finished at Tebay services on the M6, where we refuelled and gave the car another coating of WD40!

RotT-10From here a run up over on to Shap and another test well known to me, Waters Farm, which I have done as a selective on night rallies and as a test on historic rallies. Starting under a railway bridge uphill into a 45 right with a couple of cattle grids, several crests, a sharp humpback bridge and immediate ninety right into a farmyard with a hairpin left on the way out then a 90 left on to a wide tarmac road crossing the M6 where 75mph is seen just before the finish. It’s a cracker and all in the dark! Fastest in class here again, taking twelve seconds off the next in class and nineteen off the best Cooper ‘S’. In fact other than Ryan Pickering’s ultra rapid Triumph TR4 there was only a couple of Escorts and two 911’s in front of us. Mind you the Orangebox could probably drive itself over that piece of road.

Next came another brilliant loose surfaced farm ‘white’ road test where we set our fifth in a row fastest in class time, though Mr Lenehan matched us to the second on this one! From here it was a run in very wet weather to the Appleby Manor Hotel in Appleby, a very impressive place. The open fires and smell of good food seemed a better idea than going back out into the dark and rain in a Mini that by this time had about an inch of water inside!

From leaving Appleby it was straight up on to the Warcop Army ranges for another time control night rally section, again with controls one and two minutes apart in places. This was on supplied marked maps to a different scale than normal, with lots of the vagaries you get on MOD land. We had a none too smooth start until it all ‘clicked’ and we again enjoyed it with concrete and loose roads, nineteen controls in 30 minutes, all as fast the little 997 would go, and I could see, it actually stopped raining here!  Coming out from here I was sweating like a madman and Bob was freezing with numb fingers… I always need the window open for a bit of fresh air.

The organizers obviously thought we needed some more (not like these modern WRC boys, clock off at 4pm!) we had some more regularity’s, three all quite quick because of the nature of the roads, and yes, it was raining again! The first ‘Pendragon’ went very well, with me in road rally mode until the last control where we lost 40 seconds, but still a decent performance and second in class again, although without it we would have been third overall on this. Next up was ‘East Lakeland Fells’ and this again went well, best in class and nineteen seconds up on the McCleans Anglia and over a minute on the class leader. Final section of the day ‘Mint Valley’ and best in class again, sixth overall and twelve seconds up on Lenehan. From here it was to a much welcomed shower, meal and pint at ‘The Old England Hotel’ at Windermere, results posted at midnight showed us to have maintained second in class behind Frank Lenehan and Cath Woodman but we had now moved to 8th overall. Feeling very tired but happy, looking forward to the last day.

To be continued…
Posted in: Mini Sport News

Recent Posts

Tag Cloud

Copyright © 2014 Mini Sport. All rights reserved.