08 May 2006

Racing car fun

I deny it's a midlife crisis (shame on you for such thoughts). I just got an offer too good to refuse from my friend, neighbour and UK 2005 Formula Ford Sprint Champion Iain Houston to use his car for a few events this year. So, after a practice on Friday, and expenditure on fire-proof clothing, helmets, memberships etc, I actually got round to participating in an event at Curborough near Lichfield at the weekend. I knew very little about club motorsport in the UK, but came away very impressed with both the organisation behind such events (very slick indeed) and the incredible participation and enthusiasm of everyone involved.

Sprints are different from races in that each driver goes out for 1 or 2 laps attempting to set the fastest time - a bit like qualifying for F1, but without anyone else on the track. I liked the idea of that - the blame for damage and injury lies only with yourself! There were 86 entrants on the day in a variety of classes from saloon cars through vintage racing cars. We each had 2 practice and 2 timed laps - around 70 seconds each, which means it's pretty much non-stop from 9am till 5pm for that many cars.

I am pleased to say that I finished 4th in our Formula Ford class. Unfortunately there were just 4 entrants in our class that day! I was about 6 seconds off the next fastest person and close to 10 seconds off the fastest. However, on a positive note, there were some drivers that were slower and I succeeded in staying on the track on each lap.

A huge thank you to Iain and Julie Houston particularly for giving me such a fun day (and all the preparation and encouragement leading up to it), and to others at the event who showed such courtesy and encouragement to a "newbie". I will definitely be doing a few more events this year, and maybe reporting back if I manage to make any progress.

I've put a few more photos on my website here.

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