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Curborough Sprint 8 Oct 2017

On the Sunday I was back at Curborough but for an event organised by a different club – the Midlands Automobile Club – and using a different configuration of the course – the figure of eight. This wasn’t a round of any championship I’m in but was just for fun and my best time was 72.14.

Here are some photos…

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Curborough Sprint 7 Oct 2017

My best time in the Toyota GT86 prior to today on the single lap configuration was 40.08. The best time I have ever done was 35.78 in the Lotus (which is currently the HSA two litre roadgoing class record).  The day started off dry but very slippery and there were a number of spins but the track soon came good and times fell and on the final run I got a Personal Best of 39.74.  This is well off the pace of the class but I was quite happy with it considering how standard the car is.

Here are some pics…

This last picture is interesting because a stranger came up to me and told me that GH had bought a GT86 and he showed me this photo on his phone. Looking forward to Loton Park next year then 🙂

My next outing is tomorrow back at Curborough, but for the figure of eight course.

Curborough Sprint 10 Sept 2017

I had a good time at Curborough last Sunday with a best time of 40.08. Not quick enough to win anything but the bacon sandwich and the friendly competition more than made up for that.

A very late entry gave me a very high race number, which was very appropriate for a Toyota GT86 and probably allocated for that reason. Thanks!

There was a good selection of cars taking part as can be seen from the following photos.

This is Alan and Nick Mugglestone returning to the paddock in their championship winning Raw Fulcrum. Rumour has it that it might be up for sale at the end of the season.

The shape of the Raw Fulcrum is very unusual and somehow brings to mind the famous Deltawing race car that the Mugglestones also worked on.

Next one for me is back at Curborough on Saturday October 7 for a single lap HSA event and then returning on the Sunday for a MAC event which is a figure of eight.

Belgian Grand Prix 2017

We’re just back from a long weekend in Belgium where we went to see the Formula One Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Lewis won, Seb was close behind but this time avoided running into the back of him on a safety car restart, Daniel Ricciardo surprisingly grabbed third and my man, Kimi, fought back to fourth after serving a 10 second stop-start penalty for not slowing down under yellows for Max’s parked up Red Bull. Ocon and Perez bashed their pink Force Indias together twice and Bottas got squeezed out of a podium finish by Ricciardo and Kimi. Oh, and Alonso gave up and said his Honda power unit had packed up, though most probably he got bored with its lack of power and called it a day. The race was dry. And that’s the race report done, now for a quick account of our trip.

According to Google Maps Spa is nine and half hours drive from Kinver. In reality, with stops for coffee and fuel, waiting for our turn to board the train at the EuroTunnel and getting held up in traffic jams on motorways it took 11 hours each way. We bought the tickets last December and got a cheap early bird deal with CampingF1 which included general admission to the circuit and a pitch at their site which was about twenty minutes walk from the circuit.

For those who are interested, here is a walk through the campsite from our tent to the beer tent. (If you cannot see the five videos in this post, maybe you’re viewing this in your email. Switch to your internet browser instead)

Friday was spent travelling and trying to find the campsite, which should have been easier than it was. The directions I had printed off were to the 2016 CampingF1 site (I was not the only one to do this) and we spent a frustrating couple of hours driving around country lanes near the circuit being directed and redirected by police who had closed half the roads and had no idea where we wanted to go. But in the end we did find it at about 7 pm and got the tent up before having a bite to eat and a few drinks in the beer tent. That night there was thunder and lightening and lots of rain, much of which found its way into our tent, into our bags of clean dry clothes and onto us.

Saturday was overcast but dry and we spent it trying to walk the circuit. I wanted to walk right around with the idea of scouting out a good place to watch the race from. I knew that Spa was a beautiful circuit, situated in the Ardennes Forest, but I had no idea how great the elevation changes were and just how long it is (7km, 4.35 miles).

Our campsite was near the Les Combes entrance and we walked from there all the way down the Kemmel straight, past Eau Rouge and around in circles after the FanZone area at La Source.

Walking down the straight on Saturday.

Despite having an official map that showed public walkways we could not find a way either into the infield from near the pits, which is what we wanted, or around the back of the circuit from that end. We were not the only ones and I suspect the routes we were looking for had been closed off, maybe for security reasons or inadvertently. Anyway we watched qualifying from the FanZone village and saw some of the supporting races on Saturday afternoon from the Straight.

In the FanZone area where we resisted buying any merchandise at all! Eau Rouge in the distance.

The race on Sunday started at 2 pm but we like thousands of others arrived at the circuit early to get a good vantage spot. Having spent the whole of the previous day walking, we decided to watch from the free general admission grandstand near Malmedy. However, after half an hour sitting on the wooden benches without back rests we decided to chance our luck at finding a different location next to a fence to place our camping chairs and we went through the tunnel into the infield and found a place opposite a big screen at turn nine.

The free grandstand we rejected. It’s early and the sun has not quite broken through yet.

The following video shows what it was like getting to our favoured spot at about lunchtime. We had chosen this spot at about nine o’clock when we were able to claim a second row seat. You can see how many people arrived later.

And this is what we saw from there. Clearly not as much as you see on TV, but what we did get was the atmosphere.

They are saying that it was a record breaking crowd with the attendance over the three days being 265,000. If you have an aversion to crowds this was not the place for you, though everyone was very good natured, even all the Max fans in orange to me wearing my red Ferrari cap.

The GT86 was a joy to drive once again and returned 38.6mpg over the 933 miles, nearly all of them on motorways.

Loton Park 6 August 2017

Had another good day at Loton today. Couldn’t beat my PB (65.91) of yesterday but did three 66 second runs and messed up my fourth. The first three were very consistent with two of them recording exactly the same time to the hundredth of a second to Museum (57.13).

So that’s my last Loton of the year. I can only wait and watch now to see what happens in the championship when we are at Spa at the end of the month 🙂

Jacqui and Oliver came along to Loton and here are three of their photos.

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Jacqui taking a pic of me at Triangle.

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Jacqui’s photo of me at Triangle

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The beauty of Loton Park (with Daniel and Colin Mee’s AH Sprite and a recovery vehicle).

Loton Park 5 August 2017

This was round 7 of the Loton Park Championship and going into it I was leading Class 2. There are ten rounds in the championship with the best 8 counting, but as I cannot do the last two because we are going to the Belgian Grand Prix all the rounds I’ll do will count. So today was quite important (as is tomorrow) and as rain was forecast I was not very hopeful of picking up good points. However, despite heavy showers and a wet track at times, my last run was dry and I managed a Personal Best of 65.91 in the GT86.

When I saw my time at the top of the hill I was delighted and thought I would be able to claim second in class to the very fast Richard Brant in his Clio 172 Sport, but just after me came Dave Newall (MX5) who did a 65.73 and when we got back to paddock we realised Colin Gascoigne (MG ZR160) had done a 65.42. So second, third and fourth were separated by under half a second and there was no prize for me, However, 8.67 points,  is probably quite good (Difficult to know as you have to wait for everyone else’s results to be published) and certainly a lot more than I was expecting.

Here are some photos from the day.

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Loton Park 15 and 16 July 2017

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Another great shot by Rob MacDonald. You can follow him on twitter 

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Last week saw the GT86 Giallo on a different hill.

It seems amazing that last week we were driving across the Pyrenees in the Giallo and this weekend I’m thrashing it up Loton Park hill. What a great all round car it is. The great excitement this weekend was finding out what the newly resurfaced track would be like. It was damp on Saturday morning so most people were a little circumspect but we soon discovered that the grip was excellent – much better than before. However, despite this I could not beat my previous best time of 67.75 all day. I think I was a little wary of the edges of the track, which are more defined than before. There seems to be more of a step up to the tarmac whereas before the surface melded into the soil. I may also have been a little too cautious worrying about the bodywork of the car, having done so much damage against a French sapling. The trees in the Loton estate are sturdy old things. Anyway, it was all good fun and I returned on Sunday to try again. This time I beat my PB on both practice runs – 67.40 and 67.26 and was optimistic for a sub 67.75 time (and consequently good points in the Loton Championship) in the afternoon. However, it rained and my first competition time was slow – 70.22. Then lo and behold the sun came out, the track dried and it got hot! 66.58.  Brilliant! I either leave Loton completely elated or in despair wondering why I’ve wasted my whole weekend unsuccessfully chasing elusive hundredths of seconds. But this was a good weekend so after the GT86 is repaired (next week) I shall be back!

Here are some snaps…

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I gave up my single seater because it was just too much work but Mark Dalton seems to have got it sussed.

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Out of focus I know but the only photo I got of Mark on the hill. He set a PB of 52.27 and won his class.

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A better photo… John Cottrill in the same class in his Pilbeam

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It was a round of the Pirelli Ferrari Hillclimb Championship so quite a few roadgoing Ferraris were present. Here’s a 250GT recreation.

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A classic Dino 308 GT4

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And a more contemporary 430. They don’t always have to be red.

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This is the best colour of course. A 308 GTB

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After the second competition run at the top of the hill. Everyone very happy (except Dave who ran wide at Fallow and messed up his run).

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None of us won a prize so Hugh treated us to an ice cream.

I forgot to say… my second competition run was red flagged because of a deer on the track so I got a re-run. That second run though was a 65 second time for sure.