Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 Season Approaches...

Went to Brands on Friday. A chap from Blatchat had bought a day with Lotus on Track. It was cheap anyway at £99 (well, it is February), but he was selling for just £75. Couldn't resist that ... until I got to the track and it was chucking it down.

Morning wasn't a lot of fun - I spent much of my time sitting in the tow car doing some work (thank heavens for Mobile Internet). But by lunchtime the rain had pretty much stopped. The track was still wet, which made for some fun slidey-slidey action, but without the "I can't see a thing - where does the track go?" that you get when it's actually raining.

The only nasty bit was the bottom of Paddock Hill, which had enough water down to cause aquaplaning. The far left of the track was unusuable - the middle was OK as long as you went straight across it and didn't try to steer.

Talking of Paddock Hill, they've made some changes. There used to be a huge concrete apron over the kerb, which many people used to consider as normal part of the track. Now they've dug that up, and there's only a couple of feet of concrete before the gravel trap. Go "four wheels off" and you'll be in the gravel. Seems like a good idea to stop the cheats, but I do wonder if it'll lead to loads more stoppages to drag people out of the gravel. Seems directly contrary to what they've been doing at Spa - where most of the gravel traps have been replaced with concrete or tarmac aprons.

Speaking of Spa ... did I mention I won? My first race win on four wheels (indeed, my first podium) . It was all a bit odd, though, and somehow I didn't feel like I properly deserved it. Picture this ...

Qualifying was on a decidedly damp track. I used to hate this, but recently I've come to enjoy it. You can get the car nice and loose, and constantly drive it on the limit. However, I was quite astonished to come back and find that I'd qualified second, just behind Trev (Trev, if you haven't met him, wears a spandex suit with his underpants over the top and a big T on his chest). That was my real achievement.

After that, the race was something of an anticlimax. Trev got involved in an incident at the first corner (the second major incident - the first having happened on the starting grid!) and that left me playing with the Megas and desperately hoping that Paul Turley who qualified third wouldn't catch me up. A 10 minute pace-car session due to the first-lap incidents helped with that, as did a red flag with two laps to go. I could see headlights in my mirrors, so knew he was catching up. Hey ho, I was leading the Supers at the end of the race, and that's what counts. I got a luverly pot, a big bunch of flowers, and a bottle of fizzy "boisson au flavour de vin".