Tuesday 18 December 2012

Merry Christmas from Spookworks!

From all the technical team, advertising and media team, the aerodynamicists, artists, legal people, drivers, mechanics, security guards, sculptors, zookeepers, rodeo clowns and of course the boffins from the Spookworks technology centre; we would like to wish all of our friends, supporters, sponsors, competitors, officials and anyone else we know a very merry Xmas and a very successful and enjoyable 2013.

See you in 2013!

The view from the Spookworks executive dining facility next to the badminton courts and sauna complex.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Drama at Spookworks HQ

As the winter "clearout" at Spookworks HQ gains momentum there was drama when the sign below was discovered in the top secret engine test development bay.

The sign has been confiscated of course and replaced with a sign that simply states;


2 Spookworks Boffins have had their muesli bars confiscated as a result of this action.

Monday 10 December 2012

Thinking about 2013?

In a spin over what to do in 2013?  Is the future not as clear as it should be? 
Whilst Spookworks is decorating the decks with holly or halls with bells or whatever its supposed to be, polishing the tools and cleaning out that room at the back of the Spookworks tech centre that suspiciously smells like artists paint; Spookworks directors have set up a small executive committee or EXCOM.  Well we thought that if it worked for the Cuban Missile Crisis it should work for the 2013 Spookworks Events Planning meeting.  I mean there are a lot of similarities between war and rallying for example:

  1. The othersides weapons always seem to look better than your own.
  2. The noisiest weapons always appear to the most powerful.
  3. The only terrain that is truly controlled is the terrain upon which you're standing.
  4. If it's stupid but works, it's not stupid.
  5. The important things are simple.
  6. The simple things are very hard.
  7. No plan survives the first contact intact.
  8. Prefect plans aren't.
  9. When both sides are convinced they are about to lose, they're both right.
  10. You are not Superman.
  11. Professionals' are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs.
Anyway the message to get across here is that if you are thinking about 2013 why not set up your own XCOM?  Or alternatively visit:

And leave the crisis to someone else. 

Lets be clear.  This is NOT going on in Spookworks HQ.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Spookworks caught in secret test session!

The 2012 season may well be over but there seems to be no rest at Spookworks.  The team were captured yesterday by an amateur photographer at a secret Spookworks Test Facility somewhere near London.

More details and pics to follow..

Smile your on camera!

Sunday 11 November 2012

Spookworks sees the light!

Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you - John Ruskin

Fix that %$£* light before the next event - Anon Spookworks Boffin

Following a much slower car not only costs time it can cost money.

On the final stage of the Fat Albert Stages the mighty Spookworks Impreza got stuck behind a Vaxhall Nova in a tight section of the stage and there was no room to get past.  Whilst this cost us plenty of time, a rock kicked up from the forementioned vehicle smashed the Spooworks drivers side light and made a dent in the Spookworks fighting fund, as a new headlight had to be sourced and fitted.

Luckily this is actually a 5 min job as opposed to a normal 5 min job that actually takes 2 hours.

So this was the situation after the event  the car with a bandaged up headlight.

The raw wound....painful

Old headlight removed....

New headlight in

It works.....and not a boffin in sight.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Spookworks win 2012 RAF Rally Championship! - Full Report

   Spookworks finish 18th overall and 4th in Class to win the RAF Rally Championship for 3 years straight!

The final event of the RAF Rally Championship saw the Spookworks Rally Team trailing the Championship Leader Phil Bruce by 31 points.

With only a start required to gain the necessary points to secure the 2012 RAF Rally Championship title you would think the mood around the Spookworks Camp would be one of celebration and joy.  Instead the feeling around the Spookworks Motorsport Complex was one of quiet focus and determination.  It had been a long season and the Spookworks Impreza was feeling tired and battered after a hard year's rallying.  Only 70 miles and 7 Stages around Keevil Airfield in Wilts remained and the intensity that the team started the season with would remain until every last mile is complete.

Seeded at 18th the Spookworks Team would be in for a tough event - if only they knew how tough!  All around them were extremely capable and quick machines, many former WRC cars now in privateer hands but just as fast as they were in their prime.

Some last minute dramas saw Spookworks outsource a specialist exhaust repair to CC Motorsport.  A long time supporter of the team what these guys don't know about rallying is not worth knowing.  The exhaust was returned with days to spare and the Spookworks Impreza lined up at the start of the Fat Albert Stages raring to go into battle.

Stage 1 saw an early incident as shortly after entering a tight and twisty scrub land section locally known as the 'nadgery bit' the Spookworks Impreza left the road due to the extremely slippery conditions and collide with a small collection of branches.  No damage was done but the following car encountered exactly the same problem and also left the road colliding with the rear of the Spookworks Impreza and damaging the newly repaired exhaust.  Whilst the crew managed to extricate themselves from the excursion the damage left the exhaust back box dragging on the ground behind the car and valuable time was lost as the crew limped back to service.  Spookworks set a time of 12:22 and dropped from 18th to 24th overall.

Do not adjust your set - Spookworks Impreza dragging a newly repaired exhaust (again) around Stage 1 of the Fat Albert Rally  after  being  hit by a wayward Ford Escort.

Upon reaching service the service crew lead by Iain "Boost" Duncan, jumped into action and had soon effected a sound repair noting how little damage overall had occurred but also how unlucky that the small amount of damage that did occur was so concentrated on the exhaust thereby knocking it from its mounts.

Boost and the Boys get to work to repair the stricken exhaust and get the Spookworks Impreza ready for battle on Stage 2
Fully patched up and ready again for action, Stage 2 was another identical 10 mile test around Keevil Airfield. With the tyres and brakes up to temperature the Spookworks Team pushed on eager to make up lost time from Stage 1 and stay in touch with the Top 20.  It was during this push that saw the most dramatic incident of the 2012 season.  On a sweeping left hander the Spookworks Impreza once again left the road at about 60mph into a field and headed straight for a large tree.  Thankfully the bracken and assorted airfield weedage absorbed the forward motion of the car similar to a sponge and the car emerged unhurt and back onto the stage.  Needless to say had the bracken not intervened the result could have been catastrophic.  Almost as amazingly and perhaps as a sign of how hard the crew were pushing, Spookworks came in a full 21 secs faster than Stage 1 even with this incident.

This could have REALLY hurt!
Stage 3 saw a much more considered approach and a resulted in a respectable 11:13, the 18th fastest time as the Spookworks Team began to move back up the field.

Nerves now repaired after Stage 2 it was back to business.

Stage 4 saw Spookworks beat their previous time by 7 secs with a 11:06 and the team moved back into contention for a Top 20 finish. Only 3 stages and 30 miles to go!

Stage 5 saw a complete reversal of the Stages to go clockwise and proved to be a great leveller.  Spookworks posted a Top 16 time and moved into 20th overall and 4th in class.

Persistence pays off - Spookworks moves up to join the Top 20 and 4th in class.
Stage 6 saw Spookworks switch to survival mode and with the next car in class over a minute ahead and pulling away there seemed no place for useless heroics.  Whilst there was no pushing there was no cruising either.  17th fastest shows they still meant business and moves them to 19th overall.

Not sure if the crew understood survival mode.  This looks very similar to full attack mode....

 Stage 7 and was all about getting the car home in one piece to fight another day.  A nice straightforward run with thankfully no dramas apart from some brake vibration saw Spookworks finish the event  and move up to 18th overall.  The result grabbed 117 points for the RAF Championship securing the title by 88 points and  thus began the celebrations of Championship number 3.  To add icing to the cake, Spookworks picked up the award for 3rd in class as the overall rally winner came from Class E and was therefore not included in class results.

Can you say Three-Peat.  Three Champs back to back is a new RAF Record.


To the winner goes the spoils. A new battle honour is won...

Sunday 28 October 2012

Spookworks 2012 RAF Rally Champions!!!

Spookworks have finished 3rd in class and 18th overall in a dramatic season finale on the Fat Albert Rally at Keevil Airfield in Trowbridge this weekend.  After a tumultuous first 2 stages including not one but 2 significant incidents (see pic below), Spookworks settled in and clawed their way back towards the top of the leader board to equal last years best ever result at Keevil.  The result sees the Spookworks crew crowned RAF Rally Champions for the 3rd year in a row; an historic achievement in RAF rallying.

Full report and pics to follow......

The RAF Rally Team of the moment - Spookworks are 2012 RAF Rally Champions!

Although there were a few incidents....like heading straight for a large tree - this could have been disaster for Spookworks.  Amazingly they emerged unscathed with absolutely no damage!

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Spookworks seeded at 18th for season finale!!!

Spookworks will start 18th out of 81 entries for this weekends finale to the RAF Rally Championship - the Fat Albert Stages at Keevil Airfield in Wiltshire.

No proof of age required here - just proof of entry!
Spookworks will be one of 4 RAF crews undertaking the event and Spookworks only needs to cross the start line to lift the trophy to set RAF history as the first crew to get 3 championships in a row. The Spookworks crew have tackled this event 4 times previously and last year brought a treasure chest of silverware and this year might hopefully yield similar results - only 70 miles and 7 stages to go for 2012.

Remember you can catch all the action live on twitter on @spookworks

The Spookworks RAF Rally Team Impreza being put through its paces at a secret location prior to this weekends event. 

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Spookworks prepares for battle at Fat Albert Rally

Final preparations are now in full swing as Spookworks gets ready battle it out for 2012 RAF Championship honors at the Fat Albert Stages, Keevil Airfield, Wilts on the 27th October.

Whilst it is too early for seeding, the team know that no matter what the rally throws at them then this year should be an easier year (in theory) than last years effort to retain the title for the 3rd year running.  With the Spookworks nemesis Phil Bruce absent for this event but still leading the Championship on 347 points to Spookworks 316; simply starting the event will net the crew 50 points for just crossing the start line and seal the 2012 RAF Rally Championship.

Maximum attack - there is only one way RAF Spookworks Rally Team knows how to compete.
As this previous pic shows from the Fat Albert Rally

You think the mood in the Spookworks camp would be ecstatic with the prospect of such an easy task.  Spookworks Chief Executive Officer explains its not that simple:

"Mathematically, its just a case of turn up, cross the start line and enjoy the rest of the day but I afraid we can't think like that.  Phil Bruce is as tough a competitor as it comes and you don't win 4 RAF Championships unless you can really pedal a rally car.  Yes, obviously he won't be there to compete which makes it easier; but in rallying anything can happen - even the best factory WRC cars can fail to start the morning of a rally.  So we are approaching this like any other event, full preparation, full commitment and we are looking for a strong finish.  We will not be making up the numbers or looking to drive safe to the finish; we are looking for a good result.  We can think about what that means when the rally is over. "

Looks can be deceiving - inside Spookworks boffins are preparing the Impreza for battle.
More info can be found at http://www.fatalbertstages.co.uk/

Tuesday 9 October 2012

In the Heat of the Moment - a Brakedown

Spookworks Boffins take a brake to talk about heat and er....the Sun

Those big shiny things behind the wheel are called brakes.  They make the car stop. 

We have let one of the Spookworks Boffins out of the labratory and asked him to come and talk to you about brakes and heat and how the Spookworks Impreza brakes cope with heat.  Fascinating stuff, so I suggest you either grab a  pillow and some strong coffee and sit back and enjoy....

Thank you, well the first thing we need to do is become familiar with the partial differential equation.  Using the Cartesian co-ordinates against a time variable you can see the laplace variator and its corresponding thermal diffusivity.   

You put the coffee in first, then add the milk and sugar; then stir...

It is the prototypical parabolic partial differential equation and is connected through probability theory to the Brownian motion and the Fokker Planack equation. Now taking into account "donk"...

Mark 1 hammer - useful for so many things.

Sadly the Spookworks technical boffin has had to take a brake so I will carry on on his behalf...

Spookworks is fortunate to have Alcon on board as part of the team, and as we all know they simply make the best brakes in the business.  Here at Spookworks we have been having a bit of an issue keeping the brakes cool and every 3 or 4 events we end up cooking the brakes and warping the discs. 

Only to be expected in a 1300kg rally car hammering the brakes for 50 -60 miles each event. So in conjunction with Alcon we set about trying to measure how hot brakes actually get and having conducted measurements during a live event we though we would share the data with you. 

First thing is you need a new set of discs with some of this really cool heat temperature paint on them. You can see it on the top of the disc in green, orange and red. These colours change with heat and therefore you can tell how hot the disc is getting by the different colours.  Easy! You will notice 3 stickers on the top of the caliper, the side of the caliper and the disc bell.  

Nice new Alcon disc with temp paint at top of disc and temp stickers on caliper (top and side) and on the disc bell.

After each stage the crew would immediately jack the car up and record the colours of the paint and the temps indicated on the stickers.  The green turns white at 460 degrees, the orange turns yellow at 550 degrees and red turns white at 630 degrees. If it gets any hotter than that, the indicators are the car is on fire or a liquid metal puddle underneath where the brakes used to be.

So after 4 stages here are the results:

So what can we make of this information.  The brakes get pretty hot at 550 degrees Celsius.  For example the front brakes on the Spookworks Impreza are:

89 degrees hotter than the hottest planet in the solar system (Venus 462 degrees C)

1/10th the temperature of the Suns surface and 1/27,000th the temp of the Suns core. 

16 times hotter than the hottest place on earth (Dallol, Ethiopia)

15 times hotter than a human being

Just under half the melting point of steel (1370 degrees)

1/1,000,000,000 of the hotness of Sky News Presenter Sarah-Jane Mee

 Here are some pics of the brakes and you can see the colour changes of the paint and the temp strip on the caliper.  These will now be monitored for the next few events to determine why we seem to be warping brake discs.

The sun - only 10 times hotter than Spookworks brake discs after 11 miles.  That's actually pretty cool...

Friday 5 October 2012

Spookworks have confirmed entry on the Fat Albert Stages

Spookworks HQ issued a press release this evening announcing they had officially entered the 2012 Fat Albert Stages.

The announcement made in front of the waiting world media confirmed that the Spookworks Impreza was battle ready after the dramas at Woodbridge and that the event could see Spookworks claim the 3rd successive RAF Rally Championship Crown.

The press release stated:  "Whilst motorsport and rallying in particular is unpredictable we are quietly confident that we will achieve our stated aims at the upcoming Fat Albert Rally. We are 32 points behind n the Championship and with our main contender sitting on the sidelines this should be the rally equivalent of putting from 2 feet away - but we are conscious it doesnt always go in! However, the Spookworks Impreza is back to full fighting fitness after the exhausting time at Woodbridge.  We would like to thank the team for repairing the car so quickly and for all the extra effort they have put in."
The media eagerly await the latest Spookworks Press Release
As city bankers will know, past performance is no indicator of future results but Spookworks has a good track record at the Keevil airfield event with the last 3 years bringing a 4th, 3rd and 6th in class respectively. Whilst the entry list looks like a who's who of British rallying; the team will be looking to continue their success and better their strong result from 2011.  The car is in good shape, the boffins are exhausted and there is not a Fanta can in sight.

On route to Championship number 2 and 4th in Class and 10th overall at the 2011 Fat Albert Stages

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Coolest Pic of an Subaru Impreza Ever!

One of the Spookwork boffins was playing around with his amateur camera (instead of working) and by sheer fluke came up with this amazing pic of the Spookworks Impreza.  We told him it was rubbish, smashed his camera and docked his pay but we thought it was so good we thought we would share it with you all.  Remember this is an actual photograph and not some fantasy nonsense cooked up by the Spookworks artists.  Makes a great screensaver - not sure about print on a black t shirt though. Enjoy!

Best ever super awesome Subaru picture. Just look up close it is a photo.
 Go on - print on for your wall.  We won't tell anyone.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

A GAME OF TWO HALVES - Spookworks proves the potential but ends up exhausted at Woodbridge Stages - Full Report

The Spookworks Rally Team was in action on 23 September on Round 4 of the RAF Rally Championship; the Woodbridge Stages.  An important event for vital championship points, Spookworks last visit to Woodbridge in 2011 proved to be a great success and a critical result for their overall championship victory.  With all the development on the car since their last visit and a recent good run of results, the team was justifiably upbeat about getting a positive result at one of the UKs best single venue events.  With 60 stage miles spread out over 6 stages the format was similar to last year but the firm prediction of heavy rain for the afternoon made for a distinct contrast to last years’ experience.  Seeded at a surprising 32nd out of 73 starters, the team were disappointed not to be starting closer to the front but this event had always drawn a strong field and looking at the entry list most of the cars were all highly competitive machines with the kind of budgets that you would look to buy a house with instead of a car to drive flat out around some tree lined tarmac in Suffolk. 

Ahh - the night before.  Everything working and connected - for now.

With the Spookworks Impreza ready for battle with a few new weapons in the arsenal (including a fresh supply of killer Alcon disks and pads) expectations for a strong finish were high.  At 0911hrs with a swift wind blowing and dry tarmac the Spookworks Impreza blasted into stage 1 and completed the 10.7 miles some 12 minutes and 33 secs later. A time which saw an immediate move up 21 places to 11th overall and 5th in class. 

Stage 1 and Spookworks comes out fighting...

Stage 2 saw Spookworks go 24 secs faster round the same route but despite going faster the opposition had started to wake up and the time was 15th fastest and saw Spookworks drop 2 places to 13th overall but holding the line with 5th in class against their contemporaries. 

Stage 3 saw a slightly longer and varied route over 11.2 miles with Spookworks continuing to charge headlong into enemy ranks and punching hard with the 10th fastest time overall with a 12:42 moving Spookworks back up 2 places to 11th overall and consolidating 5th in class. 

Stage 3 and just outside the top 10.  Everything seemed to be going so well....

At the halfway point of the rally things seemed to be going according to the plan and the afternoon strategy would see Spookworks mopping up any remaining opposition before consolidating the positions for the finish.  A blowing exhaust was causing some concern and with plenty of time left in service action was taken to see if the leak could be sealed.  Initial examination showed the leak at the top of the joint just aft of the gearbox and typically inaccessible.   With exhaust proving difficult to repair the decision was taken to remove it, affect a repair and replace – good in theory but the reality was somewhat different.  With the exhaust system removed, the offending open joint in the exhaust was easily repaired with some nifty and strong arm spanner work but returning the exhaust back to its original lair was to be far more troublesome.  As the minutes ticked away panic began to set in as it appeared the exhaust had no intention of co-operating with the Spookworks crew.  Only with considerable duress with only 2 mins to go did the exhaust finally wriggle into place and the Spookworks Impreza was fired up and dispatched without delay directly into Stage 4. 

Exhaust firmly refitted it was back into action.  Did anyone check the front tyres? Anyone?

 Stage 4 was both the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end.  While the time was respectable with a 13th fastest 12:46, it was surprisingly 4 secs slower than the previous run and a quick examination of the tyres provided the explanation; the highly abrasive tarmac had reduced both the front tyres outside edges to a medium more suited to the resident Spookworks artists than rally rubber, with enough canvas on display for one or two original masterpieces.  Ironically even though the Spookworks Impreza was capable of a far better time, several of our competitors desire to park their cars in the scenery rather than drive around it saw our ascent to 10th overall. As the car pulled into service the heavens opened up in a biblical fashion and monsoon ensued.  Fresh cut wet tyres were fitted and the team sought refuge in the service vans while the next stage was prepared.

The beginning of the floods - it starts with a few drops then....

Never mind intermediates or wets - we should have fitted a rudder!
Stage 5 proved to be the low point of the day.  With the stage now literally flooded with lakes rather than puddles; a decision was made to consolidate our gains and play it safe and get to the end. If only things could have been this easy. After only a few miles into stage; the grinding and clattering sound of an exhaust dragging on tarmac accompanied by a noise akin to self-destructing jet engine diverted the team away from the original script and enter full on survival mode, hoping to limp to the finish.  After what seemed like an eternity the finish line appeared and the Spookworks Impreza hobbled into service and into intensive care.  Upon examination it appeared the exhaust had decided to jump ship early in the stage leaving a small battered half connected pipe about 3 feet long to rattle along the ground.  With no spare and no chance to recover the remnants of our exhaust it was time for improvisation.  With the rain continuing as a tropical monsoon, the crew donned snorkels and lifejackets to enter the deep water where our service bay used to be in order to assess the situation.  With vital championship points at stake the only option seemed to be some token attempt to mask the 1000db sound just enough to get through the time control and start the last stage without being excluded.  In desperation, a soft drink can was suggested as a possible temporary muffler and a member of the crew was dispatched to the burger van for a suitable article.  A can of Fanta was duly purchased and placed over the end of the remaining exhaust pipe and secured with a jubilee clip. It seemed like a ridiculously far fetched solution but when the Spookworks Impreza was fired up the noise was incredibly substantially reduced and replaced with a rather rattly and tinny noise. 

No....its not meant to be like that and its not an aftermarket pro drive 'turbo' exhaust.
No rude comments either - its just an exhaust or whats left of the exhaust hanging on for dear life. The missing bit is somewhere in the undergrowth....

As the Impreza checked out of service for the final time and crawled towards the time control the rain had become our ally meaning only the absolutely essential marshals were at the time control increasing our chances of getting through.  Although a few strange glances were present, we managed to slip through the time control like James Bond into an enemy lair and took up our place on the start line for the final 11.2 miles of the event.  As the countdown began 5, 4, 3 I could see in the mirror some pointing and concerned looks at the back of our car but as the lights went green the throttle was floored launching us into stage and forcing a hollowed out Fanta Can high into the air behind us!  Like a getaway car leaving the scene of the robbery we disappeared safely into the stage and immediately focused on bringing the car back to the finish to get vital Championship points.  Despite a minor spin a very relieved but deafened Spookworks crew coaxed the car across the finish in 14mins and 44 secs to secure 7th in class and 18th overall.  

Introducing the new Spookwork super lightweight exhaust muffler - available in a store near you...

Not the ideal result we had hoped for at the start but a far better result than what we thought we could get at the finish.  With the emotional rollercoaster now over we waited for the rally to finish and once everyone had gone home we did a final lap in the service van to recover our decidedly second hand and now battered remains of rear exhaust from a bush and leave happy to fight again another day. 

Just because we didn't have an exhaust didn't mean we weren't trying.  Plenty of beans here.  
The next and final round is the Fat Albert Stages at Keevil Airfield in Wiltshire on Sat 27th October.