Lotus Cup UK Speed Championship – Curborough (Round 9)

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Sunday was an awesome day. We joined the Aston Martin Owner’s Club for a two lap sprint at Curborough. The sun was shining and it was such a lovely place to be, with masses of luscious green trees, and one very impressive, gnarly dead one.

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It was really quite special to be able to see so many great cars, and so many Aston Martins together, from the classics of the 1930’s to modern day cars like the Vanquish. Many of them were worth at least half a million pounds, (seriously!) but their drivers were still happy to razz them round the track and compete for little shiny trophies.

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Possibly my favourite car of the day was this BMW 2002Tii Alpina, and not just because it says ‘Elf’ on it’s bonnet!

I did only like this classic Porsche because of the cat sticker though.

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Over the tannoy we were treated to the commentating delights of Mr Hugh Beckwith. What a charming, witty, and slightly mad, gentlemen. In his velvety black corduroy he sauntered over to me and said in a beautifully plummy voice, ‘So, you’re the only lady driver with the Lotus team then? I hear your quite the hot dish!’

Ha ha! I don’t know who he’d been talking to, but he obviously didn’t have his hearing-aid turned up!

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We were all allowed two practices, and two timed runs. Curborough is  a short track, our two lap sprint was just 1557 yards (0.88 miles), and the layout is a simple pattern, so I was able to remember it quite easily. I didn’t even use my map once! Of course I still needed to work out how to approach it.

My first practice run was a slow one, 77.79, my second practice was much better, 74.91. There were things that I knew I could really improve on, I was braking too early at some points, and not driving fast enough the rest of the time!

We stopped for lunch.

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I had a chicken and gravy sandwich and watched the Porsche 914 drive round a corner on three wheels.

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After lunch we began our timed runs. I decided I could leave my breaking much, much later at the end of the straight, so I did, and locked up! My new brakes are bloomin’ amazing! I carried on, of course, but my time was 81.56. My lovely friend Rob gave me a camera to put in my car, so I was able to film the whole thing. Adam edited the footage, it’s worth a watch just for the sound effects!
http://youtu.be/vd2GyNVWOhU

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The second timed run was faster, obviously, but not the best I could do, not at all. A golden DB7 had popped a hose on the finish straight, the marshalls went out and spread cement dust over the fluid to try and clear it up. As we all queued for the start line one of the marshalls made his way down the row and spoke to us all. ‘The good news is, it’s not oil, it’s water. The bad news is, there’s something in the water that’s making it more slippery than oil!’ and off he went, spreading joy/fear.

It did make me a little hesitant, and I wished I’d not listened to him. 74.68 was my time, and rather excitingly it put me 6th out of 8. That’s really good for me. I was over 4 seconds faster than the 7th place car… Go Karen! (Don’t get cocky!)

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I had great fun, and I felt pleased with myself. I was pleased I’d locked-up because I felt that at least I was pushing myself and being less of a wimp. I was happy to see all my friends, yes friends (whether they like it or not!), we’ve only got one sprint left this year, and they’re such a lovely bunch, I really will miss them! And I was chuffed for Duncan who won another 3rd place, even though he had a dodgy stomach (tell the world ha ha!), as well as Rob, Xav, Gary, Dave and Dave who all got marvellous trophies. What a great day!

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