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Boys UK Road Trip

Well I can't exactly call it a Euro trip any more...

For the first time the MX-5 went into a road trip fully functional. No warped brakes, no broken suspension, no engine check light and associated over fuelling. It went in fully functional and came back out the other end still working. To say I was happy about this turn of events was a good thing. The other two cars on the journey might not have faired as well, both rocking engine check lights, but both actually behaved themselves.

This was the first time the new suspension was used in anger, and I can report that not only did it work very well, it was an absolute revelation. To the point that knowing what I know now, I'd have swapped the standard 2.0 suspension for the 2.0S suspension even if it hadn't been completely broken. Never in my ownership had the dampers behaved as correctly as they did on this trip, settling the car almost immediately on big dips and rises. Unlike before where it would bounce or worse, bottom out then bounce, unsettling the car. Now it rides and it handles. I can only assume that the bigger wheels of the 2.0S are the thing than harms the ride of it (it being reportedly worse than the 2.0), because with the 16" wheels everything about the ride and handling is better than the original suspension. It's easily the best 500 quid I've spent on the car.

The new wheels and tyres were predictable enough. There's not exactly a boat load of grip there, but it at least is progressive enough to feel what it's doing under you. I suppose that brings us on to the first time I've really been able to lean on the setup that the Blink guys put on my car. The turn in is insane, it just bites and goes. There is no understeer that I can find. Admittedly I asked for that as I just don't like it, but reach it's limits and it's the back that's gonna go first and that's what you want because it's way more controllable. It's not lairy, it's just super pointy and it does what you expect it to. The only downside to it is that it chews up the insides of the front tyres, so I've got to remember to rotate the wheels every now and then to even out the wear, otherwise the tyre people think the tracking is out and want to 'fix' it. It isn't, I suspect it's just got way more agressive camber and toe than usual.

Otherwise the trip re-affirmed to me how the MX-5 remains my answer to everything. It's the first time it felt at home in Scotland on those roads. Again it has some issues in terms of ultimate grip compared to the other cars, but this is always the case. I tested the limits a couple of times and even got air more than once, it all coming back down to Earth as it should. It just worked as I hoped it would when I got the thing, it's just taken this long to get the balance of it just right.

There are odd things I'd like to do of course, but it's unlikely I ever will. Leather seats ultimately is something I can live without. Likewise I'd like a radio with a sat-nav built in, but it's easy enough just to Blu-tac my phone into the car when I need that. Oh, and I'd love that module that allows the roof to go up and down on a single press while still moving, but the cost of it is stupid. Nah, it'll stay as is for a while. Helping with that is that for a moment I have a garage to keep it nice and dry in. Probably won't last, but for now I'm mostly pootling around in the Jag and the MX-5 is used for playing with. Which is great as time away from it makes you forget just how communicative it is.

As for the trip, it was wet... Easily the wettest Scotland trip we've ever done. It was still good. We mixed it up a little this time by having a base cottage in Dornie and doing runs out from there around Skye, to Ullapool and what have you. But it was still grim and the lid only came down a small number of times.

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