June 16th

Dishwasher to the rescueAlthough I don't think it's strictly necessary, I made catch tank to catch any grot for the track day tomorrow. This was expertly constructed out of a cut down container for dishwasher liquid and a quantity of insulation tape... Hopefully it won't screw up the engine...

I also fixed the driver's seat back down. I have been driving for a while with the seat loose, so that I could sit a bit lower and get the tonneau fixed. I'm not sure but it's possible the track day people will complain about a loose driver's seat. (Normally, it's held in place by my considerable bulk and the harnesses.

June 18th

Oakington, from www.multimap.comYesterday was my inaugural track day. This was an absolutely wonderful time which has left me wanting more. (One particularly nice bit was that someone came up and introduced himself to me. He said he had found out about the track day from reading this website. Unfortunately, I've forgotten his name... If he was to email me I could make sure he comes along to a cam7 outing...)

The day started off a bit miserable as I failed the static noise test and then the car failed to start again. I finally traced that problem to a blown fuse. However, as I'd wired the ECU into the heater feed it took longer to find than it should have done...

The day started out a bit drizzly, but that probably made the track more interesting. I was very impressed with the handling of the Westfield (I wonder what the Dax will be like in comparison?) apart, as usual, from the lack of travel in the rear suspension. Perhaps I ought to try raising the rear ride height.

Here's a lap of the Oakington circuit, which is just the perimeter track of an old MOD airfield:

The circuit was dead slippy at first, I was rewarded with a spin on the northmost part of the circuit where they'd resurfaced some of the track. I was rewarded with lots of grass in the radiator and a silly grin from Tom.

Just after that bit a dead difficult chicane, just at the end of the vestigial runway that was very slippy on the way in and had loads of grip on the way out. I eventually decided that it was fastest through here in third as the 7000rpm in second at the exit apex wasn't too helpful. Of course, some nicer gear ratios would be nice.

Fastest part of the circuit was the long straight on the most easterly side of circuit. Dean's Porsche up to 130mph along here. I only got to 105 which was a bit disappointing but probably a consequence of two fat lumps in the car and having the wind deflectors deployed. All the same, I'm wondering about two Dunnell camshafts for a few more horses before I get the Rush finished.

The problem with field gate (the left at the end of the long straight) is that is was incredibly bumpy on the way in, it was very narrow (it really is a gate) and the straw all over the apex didn't help. The car was bottoming out the rear suspension on the bumps on the way into this corner.

After field gate a glorious blast up the hill before a left over the brow of the hill with the apex marked with a cone in a large pothole. After many laps I worked out how to do this nearly flat all the way but it was a bit exciting if you got Field gate right as you carried a lot of speed over the hill.

Then down the hill, nearly leaving the ground as you hit the dip and try to leave braking as late as possible for the fatest corner on the circuit at the bottom of the hill, and the southernmost point on the map. Turn in early for this so as so miss the sodding great pothole that makes the car jump 6' to the left if you hit it. After just clipping the apex cone with the front wheel use loads of power on the way out but avoid running wide onto the marbles where the car goes all leery.

Nail it all the way down the bottom straight straightlining the kink and then try one of 417 different routes through the right at the end, none of which seems remotely as good as the one the instructor showed me.

Blast along the short straight into a wonderful little right/left/left complex (it looks like just right/left on the map) that was difficult to get right.

Then loads of brakes into Climax Gate (by that rectangle that looks like some more runway) where they had a chicane set up and also had the noise meter, on account of the nearest house being occupied by the organiser of the keep Oakington silent on Sunday campaign. Tootle through here as I failed the static noise test and needed to be squeaky clean here.

Bear to the left (rather than straight on into the paddock) just after the gate and round the long loop in front of the hangars keeping the right foot buried all the way and past all those people who thought that just because it looked like a bend it should be treated as one.

Brake late before the left and zoom through the final gate trying not to spin and go through backwards as that silver Elise did or go round the back of the strange concrete tower there like that M3 did. Then start worrying about that slippy surface again.

One conclusion is that I've waited far too long before doing this sort of thing...

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