Last time I went to Abingdon I got road-raged by a tiny angry man in a lorry who, I think, really needed a poo. This time I had other things to think about, like a nights stay in The Dog House where the ‘soup of the day’ was Bean.
We had a lovely evening not talking about poo with Mark and Phoebe, then early to bed, ready for a busy day of driving at the CARnival.
Someone somewhere was having a crap disco, I buried my head under the pillows but my sleep was still hindered by my subconscious awareness that the bed was unusually (I’d say dangerously) high up.
We woke early, climbed down from the bed mountain, and hurried out the door into the sunshine, clutching our breakfast doggy-bags. (I don’t think it is appropriate to bag up a plain yoghurt the night before and expect that anyone is going to want to eat it when it’s been warmed for 8 hours!) We drove just a few minutes down the road to Abingdon Airfield, to the CARnival.
Abingdon CARnival Sprint is a funny one as there are two courses to be driven, (for us it was the Bentley course in the morning, then the Abingdon in the afternoon) with two practices and two timed runs per course. At the end of the day everyone’s best times are amalgamated, and that’s how the positions are decided.
I could barely remember anything about Abingdon from last year. I remember it rained a lot, I remember everyone sheltered in Duncan’s trailer, I remember locking up and hitting the cones, and I remember a girl drawing pictures of Land Rovers and Daleks on the results board. But that’s it, disappointingly.
It was a clear, dry day. Sunny, but with gusty winds. (So gusty that they had to put a ‘hold’ on the sprinting in the afternoon as the course marking cones had blown away!) There were over 150 entries and some awesome cars to be seen.
The Bentley course, for me, wasn’t very enjoyable, so I was glad to get it out of the way. I must say though, because I was wholly impressed – Kym’s first practice was awesome, like a rocket, with control!
It was obvious that the first course suited power, and all I’d got to offer was pure skills… ha! Seriously, you know that’s a joke. My best time was 57.29, Adam’s was 56.06. Rob was fastest with 54.38, and Jez was right behind him with 54.37 – yes, 0.01 of a second – what is that?!
At lunch time I ate my first ever, slightly sweaty, Twinkie.
Mrs Braker was there, and not only did she bring beautiful children and the most friendly teddy bear of a dog, she also brought spectacular cakes. It was a good job she was there with her professional cake power, I’d brought along some biscuits, you know, the aptly named Camel Droppings.
No sooner could I say ‘sweaty Twinkie’ it was time to change over to the second course, the Abingdon. This course was more interesting, and I found it more fun. There were a few random offs from Lotus drivers (Jez, Adam, Mark – the list goes on, but I don’t think it includes Andy Pidgeon, which makes a change!), and this Talbot Sunbeam seemed to make a regular habit of it. I imagine they were distracted by all those switches.
Jay only managed one practice before his car decided they’d done enough for the day and it wanted to go home. It was disappointing, he’d put in some really good times earlier in the day.
After the two practice runs and a bit of assistance from Mark showing me pictures, I had a much better, but still vague, idea of the track. I went out on my first timed run but hadn’t got far when the alternator light came on, I decided to ignore it and carry on, but then the red flag came out. Little did I know when I came back round for a re-run, that Jez, who was the cause for the red flag, also had alternator problems, and other issues… the biggest one being that he’d just taken out the timing gear at the finish line with his car!
Back in the paddock Jez worked furiously to fix his car and get back on track, which he did, ending up just 0.05 seconds behind Rob, who came first on this course too.
I managed 52.79 and Adam did it in 51.19 seconds. The gap is closing… I must try harder! (Again!)
Here are the results, if you can work out what you are looking at (I can’t!) Earlier in the day I borrowed a purple pen and scrawled our names on the colourful grid of confusion to try and make it slightly easier to read.
Overall I was 11th, putting in an amalgamated time of 110.08, Adam took 6th with 107.25. The winning time in Production class came from Rob Clark, who did it in 103.45. Rob went away with two trophies, the 1st, and also ‘Driver of the Day’ for such a successful drive in a car that he’d never sprinted before. Jez Braker was just 0.06 seconds behind him and took 2nd, with Mark Swarbrick coming in 3rd.
The Super Sport class was won by Tony Pearman who did it in 97.32, followed closely by Xavier Brooke (98.03), and Dave Mann (99.44).
The sun shone, we ate cakes and romped in fields of wild flowers… or drove into them. Each to their own.
Now it seems that summer is here, I’m really looking forward to a weekend of sprinting at Blyton Park next month.
Must try harder!