Another fantastic day. Typically the first track event of the year and usually the best, 2012 did not disappoint.
Started on Thursday as Muu arrived outside my house and we set off north to rendezvous with Ian on the M40. Travel is never simple with me and IDG, every year there is some kind of issue. This year, Ian’s car had some noises (ultimately benign) that meant a pitstop at JSR whilst I diverted to drop my eldest at my sister’s. Running a little later than planned we hit the A5 (at a somewhat more sedate pace compared to previous years). Once in Snowdonia it was very beautiful with quite a bit of snow at high altitude. Kinda startling that in the space of a couple of hours to have gone from an industrial estate in Dudley to somewhere that felt like a scene from Lord of the Rings.
After a couple of pints and a bite in the bar at the Premier Inn, someone insisted that it was sign-in at 8am for a 9am circuit open…which was wrong. At least we got to the circuit nice and early.
Since Donny at the end of last year I’d felt that my car was down on power. It just seemed to have lost that manic top-end head-scrambling thing it used to do. The journey up with the N/A Honda’s of Muu and IDG confirmed this was still the case as it was only very marginally faster as I tailed them out of roundabouts. Out on circuit it still revved-out smoothly and the handling and brakes were mint so ultimately did not dent my fun. As I got in the groove, it was clear other S/C Hondas and 211s had the legs on me. I was also in lower gears in a few places when compared to last year. I actually think the second cam might not be coming in, it honestly feels 50bhp short and around 240-250bhp rather than the 300+ it was dyno’d at. One to investigate another day…
Had some tuition from Stuart mid-morning which really helped. He struck just the right balance of stressing the positives whilst outlining the ‘improvement’ areas. My main issues seemed to be consistency and going in too hot. Being fast is a function of being smooth and accurate he tells me…amen to that.
Had a couple of great on track meetings with IDG, Sean and Phil’s Diesel Elise,…oh and of course Christian who made me go off at Church by harrying me I’ve got some great footage of it all apart from the off where I’d neglected to turn the camera on (honest!). I’ll post some highlights up when I get a chance. Towards the end it was really coming together, and with Stuarts guidance about smooth and accurate in my head I was flying,…although not as flying as I would have been if I’d found my escaped horses, ho hum.
I have to say something about Chris B’s harlequin coloured M/S Elise. After his lap1 spin I went out with him. Both him and the car have been off the circuit for a good few years and this was his first time at Anglesey. That car is mental and like no other Elise variant I’ve been in. Very light, angry K, sequential box, slicks, pure racecar. As we trickled around at 5/10ths it was awful, hesitant and truculent. As Chris picked up the pace it came alive and was quite a sensory experience. So fast but in a totally different way to mine which is positively civilised in comparison. He went too hot into Church and round and round we went,…and I have to admit it was with some relief we came in. It left quite an impression on me though and I can now fully understand why a sorted lightweight K car (like the Fenn’s) can be so competitive. Fook me though, you’d need a proper lie down after any duration in one of them at race pace. Note that Chris’s missus Kate was also piloting the car at times and as a total newbie to circuit driving she did struggle a bit with such a visceral car.
Back in the bar we had a cracking night where a ‘diverse’ range of topics were discussed from squeaky bollocks, childbirth and birthday entertainment (you had to be there). I was planning to get over to Con’s family celebration back on Anglesey but fatigue hit and I stayed put.
The final word should of course be in memory of Con. I still felt he’d come bowling across to shake my hand at any time,…or be filling my mirrors! Wonderful though to see so many of his family there, and for them to experience first hand something that we all know Con loved. I think we did him proud.
Sorry for rambling on, I’ll post some vids soon. Great to see everyone as usual. Also great to see a few cars like Christian’s, AndyD’s and Will’s that have been in gestation for a long time finally make it on to circuit.