2007 Track days
Well after a long wait (the last time I did one of these was back in October) we finally got some sprinting in place.
The day started off with meeting both Niall Turner (Zetec Cat) and Eric Johnston (Pinto Avon) at the Fourways services in Corby, once we had met up it was a simple drive to Curborough with the only delays being roadworks around the M42 junction. It also remained dry for the whole journey ? this was not to last.
We arrived just a couple of minutes before Richard Wilkins and for quite a while it looked like we were going to be the only people there. Fortunately a few more people turned up, Mervyn Garner and Malcolm Brown (sharing a R6) arrived fairly soon after, along with Bill Sayer (MR2 Avon), Gary Tame (Pinto Cat), and Matt Gregory (Pink R6).
Gary had a problem with finding Curborough which is fairly common as it still isn't very well signposted, and then discovered that he had stopped at a fuel station filled up the Cat which was on a trailer) and some fuel cans and left the fuel cap on the rear vinyl panel and it had blown off somewhere on the M6 toll road ? worse of all it meant he had lost the ignition key as well so had to resort to to smashing the steering column lock so it could be used.
Once everyone had signed in the day started as usual with people doing as many or as few runs as they wanted to, however throughout the morning dark clouds kept going over the site fortunately without dropping a lot of rain.
Unfortunately Bill Sayer's car suffered a split cooling pipe. Due to the rear engined configuration there are two metal pipes for the radiator running down the centre tunnel. He had recently fitted a foot rest and the rivet which held the rest in place had worn through the wall of one of the pipes venting boiling coolant onto his left foot. Fortunately he stopped quickly and didn't suffer any lasting damage although once the car had been temporarily repaired he decided to drive home gently rather than risk any more track action.
The other problem of the day was on Eric Johnston's Avon which kept blowing fuses, well it kept blowing just one but this one fed the instrument panel and wiper motor not what you want on a wet day. Despite the best efforts of the rest of the crew we couldn't track down the problem and it was still affecting the car at the end of the day.
Once we broke for lunch it was still dry at the circuit although when I ventured out to get some more fuel it was raining fairly heavily on the A38. But we had lunch in the sun and it looked like we were going to have a good day...
Well until five minutes after lunch when the heavens opened and dropped a huge amount of rain in a few minutes, this was made worse by the fact we had decided to do some timed runs, now everyone had had plenty of time to work out their dry lines ? but with a wet track that all changed. The worst part about Curborough in the wet is that the start line gets very greasy with pieces of rubber and various fluids that fall out of car engines when they are waiting to do a run. As you can probably imaging this results in some interesting starting practices ? I prefer to start in second gear and as little as throttle as practically possible, however the track was really slippery and it is still very easy to sit there spinning the rear wheels whilst going nowhere fast!
We did manage to get some timed runs in though and I got the fastest run in a single cam car ? the first time ever. After we had finished doing timed runs we went back to normal runs (between the rain storms) until the end of the day.
Finally it very wet conditions we left for home with myself and Niall running either side of Eric's car. The fuse problem meant that he was without wipers for a lot of the journey luck was on out side though as the rain stopped near the M42 junction and it stayed dry until we reached Fourways in Corby. At this point I said goodbye to Niall and Eric and then headed back home to Peterborough.
Some photos from the day...
Barkston is an unusual event in that it is the only meeting on the race calender where the non racers get to compete. It is also nice in that it only takes me 45 minutes to get there unlike spectating at other race courses.
The day started off nice and easy with a gentle drive to the venue - well relatively gentle as I had David Sneesby following so couldn't be to slow. Unfortunately a large lorry with ERA written on it was blocking the road and it took me several miles until I could get past. The only other point of interest was that we were using the main entrance and not the crash gate we had used last year to gain access to the circuit so it was reversing down a single track road before going into the other entrance!
Once everyone had arrived then everybody had a safety briefing and their equipment checked before starting on some practice laps with various degrees of "success" or should that be cone clipping. There were some fairly heavy water barrels around the circuit which marked the corner point and if you hit them during a practice run slowed you down. Hit a barrel during a timed run and it was a 5 second penalty.
A couple of barrels did get clipped during the day and Adam Wilkins managed to rip most of a rear wing off but it was repaired with some duct tape and the car was out again 10 minutes later. The clutch cable on my car also wandered out of alignment and had to be reset to allow the car to continue - I have since locked it securely in place.
We had to stop for an hour for a lunch break and Laura Dudley provided a full spread for us to eat our way through (supprisingly there wasn't much left at the end).
After lunch we then all did three timed runs on the basis of we were awarded points in different classes. When the result were totted up I had got 3rd in class for a single cam non-racer, Piers had 2nd in class (and beat me by 4 seconds) and Richard Wilkins in the racing Avon got 1st in class.
On the way home I had to make a quick diversion as the Tiger was slightly low on fuel (it took 22 litres to refill the tank) so turned north up the A15 instead of south to get to the nearest filling station. David who was following me didn't realise and wondered how I had got such a jump on him that he couldn't catch me up!