Welcome to Team BugSplat's Site

We are Team Bugsplat, We take part in the Scumrun rally and run the official Scumrunvideo youtube channel

29 Apr 2013

Scumrun 2013 - Preparations - Part 6 - leaks

So with little over 3 days until we kick off we decided to do a bit of a service on the bugzai. We wanted to change air and oil filters. Engine oil, and spark plugs. The other day it had started misfiring and on checking the ht leads it appeared to have a little water that had got in where I'd sprayed the engine bay so I dried it out replaced the ht leads and all seemed well.

The filters and draining the oil was easy of course and we had this done in no time. Then we removed the spark plugs...

They weren't supposed to be black... Let alone dripping with oil !

So with other tell tale signs of minor oil leak around the rocker cover it was clear the gasket was not doing much.

Some hunting around the local parts places found someone who could get one in that afternoon and we picked it up together with some sealant.

We did the job and fingers crossed all appears to be running well with no leaks now. I'm just glad we spotted it before takeoff as we did most of the 2011 event on 3 cylinders and it was not pleasant!

28 Apr 2013

A bit of pre event housekeeping

Well with only a few days until we take part in this years Scumrun it seems a good time to remind everyone of Scumrun squadron communication protocols and radar data availability

We shall be transmitting coordinates and mission status through the top secret platforms code name 'twitter' and 'Facebook' as well as updating this site

You can navigate the encrypted security protocols of the mainframe by visiting

Www.twitter.com/teambugsplat (Search for hash tag #scumsqn )

Note that we are very grateful for all the donations received so far. If you would like to help wellchild and sponsor us the address is


Ok I hope you understand the top secret nature of this mission and endeavour to salute your superiors who have given you the honour of a level 3 security clearance to access this information

Scumrun squadron command

Over and out

23 Apr 2013

Scumrun 2013 - Preparation - Part 5 - The time draws near...

Now the veil falls, the opaque hue of midnight falls by the way like turbulent air a midst the wake of our combined company.

We all hold to ourselves the valour and courage to conquer...nay, dominate the skies and let no enemy grace itself with such foolish erroneous thoughts of victory against us.

The time for dusting down of switches and fettlements adjust of ailerons new and past has come and now we must make final preparations for battle...

Calling my wing men, from the unkempt wastelands of the world, give forth your rally cry to me like the true blooded Squadron that you are!!!

We are the Scumrun Squadron! In Spumae Nos Confidimus!

12 Apr 2013

Scumrun 2013 - Preparation - Part 4 - Livery

Now one must 'come clean' early on in these communiques and state that I do not plan to reveal a picture of the car now until the Launch in a couple of weeks time. This forms an obvious challenge when blogging about our rally preparation...however I will keep this short, to the point and at a blistering pace akin to the winged beauties of which our theme is based...

But hoping it is less...

and more...

Fundamentally, our planned livery is made up of 5 layers

2.Detail graphics
3.Text graphics
4.Official event graphics
5.Squadron livery

All sounds much more grand than it is, but on such a small car it does take some planning...add to this that I plan to have the roof down for the entire rally (barring extreme weather) and our space for visual identity is limited...

So far I have completed the paint layer, received graphics for 2 and 3 from willing suppliers, have received 4 from the event guys and just waiting to contact recommended source for 5.

Obvious to say that it would be nice to get some warm weather some time soon to facilitate the graphical transformation, if you've ever tried applying vinyl in the cold you will understand...

But watch this space, I will post a final picture on the morning of the launch from the secret mission briefing location in Dover...

Squadron leader...over and out.

5 Apr 2013

Scumrun 2013 Preparations - Part 3 – Role call...

We hear rumour of rumours, rustling of whispers in corridors of uprisings and sprouting of the rebellious, collaborative and flatulent.

There are those who look to evoke the winds of the east (and the gut)
There are those who look to the highest altitudes and fastest airspeeds
There are those who seek to capture the days of the past
There are those who barrel role with an eye on the earliest of our kind
There are those who join us from other genres but salute our cause
And then there are those who seek to overwatch and document.

At times the squadron will dwell in formation, laying fear (and perplexity) into the hearts of those we cross, but also our group have missions of an individual nature, do not be surprised to see solo missions being delivered with precision and gile. 

But do not be fooled, while solo they stand not alone...

Eclectic, yes, Dynamic, of course, stupid, without question, formidable, I dare you...

We are the Scumrun Squadron – In Spumae nos confidimus (in scum we trust)

Cmdr J.”Bugsplat” Richardson

Scumrun 2013 Preparations – Part 2 – Cometh the hour...

Europe knows not what fury she inspires from the depths of her past interpreted by those who choose to follow chaos and who’s recent endeavours have colluded and corrupted to culminate in a simple spark of ‘I wonder’ism. She sleeps content with her fruits of consumption, her results of sun baked vines and tumulted dairy. She knows not what fury...

As 88mph flaming tracks go it isn’t a notable size but I’ll take you back to the glorious days of 2009, when winter was winter and spring was spring. As the richochet of war stories rattled around the returning ferry pinging off the clinking pint glasses like the stray bullets from a p-zero, one summarised story stuck with me...

2 limousines at 10 o clock and 2 o clock respectively cruised in lanes 1 and 3. A little green mazda known to some as ‘bug’ to others as ‘that exhaust’ hovered in shadow of the 2 behemoths it trailed.
A local in situ behind in an aesthetically modified Honda challenged the might, and squeezed past. One call over the radio from one of the behemoths changed the course of our future forever...

“Unleash the spitfire!!!”

The behemoths peeled aside to leave space for the “bug” to breath, the Honda did not stand a chance and at around 110 knts abandoned his challenge and went wimpering back to the carrier from which he came.
Back to the ferry, the group of merry brothers from the 2009 Scumrun were grouped together and as the story unfolded the idea emerged...The Scumrun Squadron...

Different cars modelling different aircraft...

The idea was there, however this was where we let ourselves down. The idea did not become reality for any of the 2010,11 or 12 rallies.  I cannot offer explicit reasons why and only hope that you forgive us for this lack of action.

However 2013 is the year...cometh the Scumrun, cometh the idea, cometh the hour...

Cmdr J.”Bugsplat” Richardson 

Scumrun 2013 Preparations - Part 1 - A very adequate 'Plan B'

So on chatting with Kev (see previous post) it became clear that it would be a good idea to sort out a Plan B for this years rally. They guys are doing an awesome job on the bug and the last thing I'd want to do is apply any time pressure so I started the hunt for an adequate temporary Scumrun replacement.

I considered many vehicles, from falling in line with the crowd and choosing a BMW through to Imprezzas, various other Marques and some more obscure classical routes including a Rover 800 at one point.

But then I realised that with prep time rapidly diminishing I may be safer to 'stick to what I know' and so started the hunt for another MX5.

It turns out that fate was smiling on me...What I found with only 2 days delay was a beautiful 1994 Japanese Import 1.8 eunos roadster with only 60k on the clock! With a bit of dealing I managed to get it for the requisite £500 and while it wasnt in perfect condition, the engine (and I hope this doesn't come back to haunt me) sounds barely broken in.

Now finding this kind of motor for this kind of money is rare and so let me explain a bit about why...On tracking back through the recent history it can be summarised as follows...

Imported 2001 - 1 lady owner until summer 2012 - px'd into trader, sat for 6 months (getting a bit soggy in the process) trying to be sold at too high a price, passed on to smaller dealer to clear... - Team Bugsplat's new Scumrun Motor!

So basically all it needed was a couple of fuses and a good dry out...and it was a great car.

The challenge however is...great cars don't tend to stay great in my ownership for very long...

This was proven yet again the other day when forgetting about the ridiculous cold weather making the rear window plastic very brittle I managed to split it all the way across...break out the gaffer.

But with less than 6 weeks to go, we had our car, I sorted some tax (it had MOT left until after the rally) and It was ready to start the 'prep' proper for this years event.

Let the Scumrun Squadron Commence...

Bug to Superbug - Part 1 - Choices and a rather kind offer

Bug to SuperBug – Part 1 – Choices and a rather kind offer...

So I’ve always had big plans for the little MX5 which is affectionately known as ‘The Bug’ (team bugsplat derived, nothing to do with the bubbly air cooled rear engine Herby lookalikes). The grandest of these plans always involved some kind of engine conversion.

The choice was not as simple as I first thought. Many people when opting for more power go down the route of Forced induction...that is to say find a way of ramming more air into the engine by effectively bolting a hair dryer to the engine (or other more refined applications).

This option alone gave multiple choices... Do you go turbo, or supercharger, there are kits for both, and for a while the plan was to find the supercharger from the new mini cooper and bolt that on. Then I had a 180 and decided the FI route wasn’t the way to go and started looking at Bike throttle bodies, there is a developing trend of bolting GSXR throttle bodies to the block to unleash some potential.

Then I changed tack once again and decided Turbo was the way to go...but sticking to the teambugsplatscumrunarian way of things I wasn’t going to just go out and splash the cash on the infamous ‘Flyin Miata’ hardware that claimed 200 odd ponies of power and awesomeness. So I started collecting second hand parts. Turbo from an 80s mazda 323 turbo 4x4, injectors from a 1.8 mx5 etc etc.
It was about a year ago today that something happened to change all that...

It was something no less innocent than I slight facebook comment. Mentioning I’d been looking at options for more power for the bug. I jokingly put that I should whack a whopping great V8 or V12 in the thing and be done with it...
Bit of context...On the Scumrun there are many types of people, some relatively normal, others not. All share one thing in common though, a distinct love of either cars or driving or both...some take this to the level of tinkering around with spanners at home, some pay others to do it, but Mr Kevin Marshall takes this to a new level. He is in the interesting position of working at a College which has a huge automotive engineering training department, with some serious workshop equipment to boot. Sir Marshall as he shall now be known to me innocently comments on said Facebook that he’d do the work...I stated not to taunt me and he said ‘who’s joking, find me a donor car’... I should point out here purely for context that Kev was completing the 2012 Scumrun on a 50cc moped...

It was at this point that the obscene descent into insanity began...after a little more probing on the very generous offer from Sir Marshall it was clear that he was serious and that after the 2012 rally all I needed to do was give him the bug, a relevant donor vehicle and then let them do their stuff...So I started hunting around for donor cars.  The limitations on the donor vehicle were as follows...
Kev said It needed to be rear wheel drive and front engine in order for the drivetrain to be more easily transferable
I said It needed to have enough ponies to warrant the work
I also said it needed to be something ‘a little bit different’ but a fairly modern engine.
Most people who go down this ‘lets shove some cc’s into an mx5’ route go to a trusted source...US V8s
They stick a chevy short block in with a massive carb on it and join a fairly small club of small car big power enthusiasts.

This is going to sound altogether wrong to those who have seen my previous rally activity but I wanted something a little more refined, and ideally with electronic injection. But I don’t mind admitting the draw of a V8 was calling...
When you throw in the need for a little representative patriotism and the fact that the car had also been known as the spitfire for a while due to the noise of the exhaust I hit on one word...
I will momentarily digress to another conversation with Sir Marshall that I will somewhat paraphrase but you’ll get the idea...
Me – “how about a Jag V8, will it fit?”
Kev – “be a squeeze, but anything is possible with a grinder”
Me – “erm....ok then”
So I did what any sensible chap would do and went and bought a Jaguar XJ Sport.

“What! Not the 460hp XJR” I hear you cry...”only a piddly 3.2 v8” I hear you moan...
Let me explain...quite simply...I want it to actually be driveable. Yes I did consider the 4.2 V8 also, but alas I decided that the 240hp produced by the 3.2 was a good compromise between refinement and ludicrousness. There is clearly little point in creating something with more power than 1.the chassis can cope with and 2.won’t be able to get it onto the ground anyway, and I don’t have plans to fit 435 width tyres on it...
So we had our donor vehicle. It had no tax or mot but was in good condition apart from a damaged front wing (didn’t need that bit anyway) and the engine only had 81k on it. So I got it trailered up to Kev’s empire and then post Scumrun drove the Bug up there also.
The scale of the task was immediately clear when we put the cars up next to each other in the workshop...the engine was big...really big, the mx5 was small...seemingly smaller than I first imagined (comparatively)...

We all laughed at it and the noises from the mechanical nutters in the workshop were positive about the possibilities but I left them with no illusions as to the scale of the task they had undertaken!

The Plan...

Well, to be fair that might be putting it a little grandly, again back to our good social medionic friend and enabler of all things motor enthusiast communicative, Facebook, Kev and I discussed thinking on what might be involved in making such a machine of rareness and wonder.

The first realisation / insight was that we could not find evidence on the web of anyone else having completed such a transition, there was 1 jag V12 miata in the states we found but other than that it would appear that V8s used were either the chevy one or the LS lexus v8.

So Kev would be pioneering (again) in his endeavours...

We realised that the most important part of the plan was not to have too strict a plan, Sir Marshall has a certain way of working, it’s something akin to scrapheap challenge with a smidge of the Krypton Factor and a dash of genius. The bottom line was...leave it to them and they’ll figure it out.

One thing that was clear was 3 key bits that definitely needed swapping...Engine, Gearbox and Differential. Everything else had a ‘let’s figure it out as we go’ tag over it.
This was no better demonstrated than when people asked “I hope you are going to fit bigger brakes?” , the response being “we’ll worry about stopping it once we’ve got it going”
Initial thinking was the whole rear end (sub frame and all) from the jag might need to be used and it would end up with some 50 50 chassis of the 2 cars... It became clear later on that that wasn’t the right approach but for a while I imagined a rear end with a 28cm wider track than the front...

The other big question was electronics...use the Jag loom? Or go for external...cost said we should try the Jag one before opting for the expensive alternatives but this one’s still being worked on as I write so watch this space.

What I didn’t realise early on (although no doubt they were well aware) was just the number of parts they had to custom fabricate themselves! Engine mounts, gearbox mounts, oil cooling, diff fittings all totally fabricated by the welding skills of Kev, his team and his students. Fair play.
The engine mounts alone looked like they could hold a Jet engine onto a 747!

The guys view of these things was nicely summed up with a recent conversation with Kev where he said “oh we’ve just been doing a few little jobs”, “few little jobs?” I enquired, “yeah we just had to fabricate an oil cooling system for the gearbox”....he cracks me up.

So anyway, things have progressed further now but I will save that for the next update...Continued massive thanks to all the people working on the car!

2 Apr 2013

Scumrun 2012 - Part 12 - Heading home at a leisurely pace

So here we are, It's taken a while to reach this final installment, and as the sands of time ebb ever closer to the launch of the 2013 event it seems only fitting that I get off my satirical arse and close the book on 2012.

So we pick this up having just had one hell of a night, which started with 'LED porn' and ended in...ended in... ah even 10 months later its hazy... I woke up with one hell of a hangover, but luckily we had already established Andy was driving...especially as it was quite a long way to the ferry from where we were and we had a checkpoint on route, so we got up bright and early and headed off.

I have foggy memories of the sun burning through misty skies and chilly roof down cruising through close to zero temperatures with the realisation that we had a bloody long way to go in one day to make the ferry. The route this year was a real toughy and it was at this point that I took a poignant moment to reflect on the awesomeness of Japanese engineering.

The Bug...a Mazda MX5 built somewhere far away in 1992 with Japanese engineering at it's roots. I wonder if the engineers designing it or the robots building it ever considered for a second the obscene usage it would see in its lifetime.  But whether they had this unagi-esque foresight or not it's fair to say that they built a bulletproof warhorse of a car. It was somewhere heading through the French back roads that the little monster clocked over onto 150,000 miles. Ok so it's not the highest mileage you'll ever see, but given that the last 30,000 of so of those have been in my ownership and switching alternatively between 'flat out' and 'sideways' I can only bow down at the skill of the Mazda engine builders.

So as a tribute to the awesomeness of the engine I (post rally) of course decide to have it ripped out...but that's another story for another day...

So I'm not sure if it was the lack of breakfast, hangover or just my nostalgic self but I was feeling rather poetic about the ol' Scumrun...

Our first and only checkpoint of the day was the welcome sign in a little place known more for its output than anything else, and to continue the theme of the checkpoints on this years event we pulled up along with loads of other runners in Cognac.

This was a quick stop for a photo opportunity as it was still a mighty drive to the ferry.

After some roundabout drifting with our buddies in the white MR2 and some phone hunting with the (i was now realising) useless at remembering where he'd put things Andy. We got onto the main run to the ferry. About 600km of motorway blast.

As the 'blast' was just pushing the needle up the indices of mph and we were engaging FMWD (French Motorway Warp Drive) we spotted something.

It was blue, white, small and hazy on the distance, joining from a slip road at pretty slow speed.

The good old French constabulary looked at us like they'd just bitten into their ham and cheese baguette and found a turd. Not sure if it was the fact that we were mid stamp on the brakes or the fact that we went past them at exactly 1 mph under the speed limit that annoyed them more...

But just as we were reveling in our English smugness we watched them slow down, indicate onto the hard shoulder and stop behind us on the motorway...

S$%t! we thought, we'd just effectively set a trap.

You see, in our eagerness to leave early, travel moderately and catch teams on camera as they caught us up we had indeed been one of the front runners at this point. Which meant that 'Le Rozzers' were no doubt radioing all their buddies and lining the spine of France with as many cars, cameras and coppers as were available... Neurotic? maybe, Paranoid? perhaps, Damn right! indeed!

We tweeted, We Facebooked, We CB'd, we'd done all we could to warn the other runners of the possible impending doom...

It was noted by some 'fans' (well a parent actually) that our radar 'blips' on the gps trackers had decisively slowed in progress...this was as the word spread through the airways that we were being stalked by our friends in blue.

All in all, by the time we'd reached the end of that day I'd heard of around 10 'stops' by the local forces. Not many in fairness ending with fines...although one particular team who shall remain nameless were a little bit OTT and suffered the consequences I hear.

About half way to the ferry we pulled in to get some fuel along with the Orange Brigade...The event cars plus the Orange Audi, which I guess was seeking camouflage with the others to avoid further police presence (they had been one of the unlucky ones) were also stopping.

One gap in our footage so far was the event cars on the road. We had seemingly missed them on the other days and so we took full advantage on the run after this stop. The great thing about CB's is that they are great for coordinating 'Fly Bys' . After 4 or 5 backward and forward we had shot plenty of great footage of the cars and then headed off.

The ride to the ferry was fairly uneventful from there on in. We came across various scummers on route, and a couple of the beemers heading past us at least 130+ with ship fog horn blasting was quite amusing. But it wasnt until we were approaching the port that the concertina effect meant we bumped into loads of teams. Including the neanderthalic flintstoneesque snozzwangers who are always good for a laugh, and some footage. Mr Stillwell take a bow, one scumrun short of a funny farm if you ask me...

...so it was with this crazy rabble we rolled into the finish at the ferry port. there were about 10 or so cars there already and merriment was well under way.

The cars came rolling in one by one, but when Suped, the little moped carrying the now even more legendary 'Big Kev' rolled in it was somewhat emotional...all I can say is fair play... although seeing as he had agreed to take on my less than simple engine conversion and as I write this he's throwing a motorbike around the sahara desert...I'm starting to get a real insight into how he works... probably best summarised as 'bring it on'

On the Ferry the usual post event party was good, although looking round at the 300 or so band of brothers you could really see the fatigue as well as the joy...let's make no bones about it, it had been a challenging one this year.

The awards were given out, Best dressed to the Virgin girls, which nobody could argue with, enough beer and any one of us would have copped off with them...The coveted Spirit of the Scumrun went to the well deserved Pirates...who had been in costume and character for the entire event and were brilliant...other awards went to the guys who raised the most for charity, including the miles for matilda chaps who raised an eye watering 8k alone! others to the Gavin and Stacey (and don't forget Nessa) and the NYtaxi peeps who also raised awesome amounts. Kev and Suped got a special 'your so mental we didnt actually think you'd do it, let alone get round' award. and the best car awards (dressed and modified) went to the Jolly boys death race lexus and the just incredible Batmobile 3 series bmw with the chopped lack of roofage and real jet engine in rear (well space heater but looked the same!)

The exit from the ferry was the usual cacophonous auditory assault on the senses, only mildy tempered this year by the fact that they had split us onto 2 floors. and to top the whole thing off, I got a rollocking from the passport control people for revving my subtle exhaust notes too much...

So that's it... we'd seen Roads to never forget, People we'd always remember, another year of fantastic experiences with amazing fellow 'believers' in the way of the Scumrun.

And as I write this in a particularly cold spring start to 2013 I have the warming but mischievous sparkle in my eye of someone who gets to do it all over again in 4 weeks time...

2012 was an awesome event, Long live the Scumrun.

Joe 'Bugsplat' Richardson - Signing off...