Bad Karen (and Adam), didn’t take one single photo on Sunday, so here is a photo of my lovely car when I first got him – when he was shiny and well kept, before the birds took over the maintenance regime and I drove him into things.
Sunday was the last sprint of the season. The end. We were at Debden, in Essex, with Herts County Auto & Aero Club. Another sunny day, another awesome track to drive. Debden Airfield was scattered with piles of agregate, water filled ditches and a massive yellow skip, but the layout was great, fast and fun.
I say fast, I could have gone much faster. I know that. I was a bit hesitant because there seemed to be an issue with my brakes that we couldn’t pin-point – they worked, then they didn’t, then they did. The day was scheduled to have two practice runs and three timed runs, but it didn’t end up that way, frustratingly.
My first practice run was 83.82, there was a lot to remember, my map was in constant and full use! Second practice, 79.67. Much better. I could see lots of places where I could save a lot of time if I just kept my foot down.
My first timed run was 78.69. Better, but really not good enough. Over 3 seconds behind the next car, and slowest in my class.
We stopped for lunch and shared out all the cakes, cookies and flapjacks I’d made for everyone. I didn’t put sleeping pills in them or anything. I’m good like that!
After lunch, as I queued with about 40 other cars for the second timed run, one of the Jedi’s came a cropper and had to be towed in. (Don’t get over-excited, not that kind of Jedi!) It seemed to take forever, probably because the marshals couldn’t get the course repair vehicle going and had to push start it!
I set off with good intentions, started the course well, tried to get the middle part faster, struggled to find 3rd gear at one point, and came in at 79.20. It was only then, after we’d all completed our second timed runs, that the voice on the tannoy announced they would only be counting those two timed runs, and there wouldn’t be a third to count.
Garrrrr! So frustrating! Although it wouldn’t count, they said we could take a third run, if we wanted to. With a shout of, ‘I’m having that!’ I was in the car and back in the queue. I set off on my mission to do something awesome, just for myself. At the end of the first straight I braked for the chicane and…what… no brakes! Blimey! I went through that chicane quicker than I ever knew I could. In one way it was a marvellous lesson on what I could do if I had the nerve not to brake so often, on the other hand I had a teeny bit of fear that I wouldn’t be able to stop, ever! I took it slightly easier towards the end of the course. I came in with a time of 76.42. I wish it had counted!
Being 6th out of 6 isn’t bad you know. Not for me. Some of the other drivers had been there before, the majority have much more beastly cars than me, all of them have uprated suspension, most have more experience, and guts – all of them have more guts than me!
Duncan got another 3rd place trophy for his collection, I did some extra cheering. Xav, Dave, Rob, Nick, and Mads got trophies too.
I’ve not seen the results for the Lotus Cup UK Speed Championship, but alongside this ran the SELOC Trophy, and the results are out. 1st place Xavier Brooke, 2nd place Dave Mann, 3rd place Rob Clark, and, drum roll… 13th place, Karen Harvey! Ah hahha ha! Lucky number 13 hey? I feel lucky, it’s out of 22. Sounds impressive to me!
The LoTRDC gang have been the best to hang out with, I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better bunch of drivers to learn from and to laugh with. I am really grateful to them all for the help, advice and encouragement they’ve given me, and so pleased to have made so many lovely new friends with fast cars!
I’ve had a brilliant season of sprinting, and I can’t wait for next year!
For now I will leave you with my favourite snippet of advice of the week: ‘Just put your foot down and steer a bit!’ – Dave Mann.