Everyday Life

Lotus Cup UK Speed Championship 2015 – MIRA (Round 4)

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Last Saturday we were at MIRA, with the Bentley Drivers Club, for Round 4 of the Lotus Cup UK Speed Championships.

It was quite an early start for us, last year we stayed over – remember the that’s not chocolate on the mouthpiece of the phone!’ episode? We couldn’t risk that again.

As Adam drove, and I existed on the passenger seat, an almighty BANG came from the back of the car. Adam pulled over at the side of the road and got out to have a look. I sat, gazing out of the window at the large goat peering round the end of the hedge, watching Adam’s every move with intrigue. The rearview mirror fell off into the footwell, and with minimal shuffling I was able to crush it quite easily. Adam couldn’t spot a problem with the car, apart from that there was no longer a rearview mirror, so we continued on our way. (Later he discovered the alternator bolt fallen out. I’d not stood on that).

Surprisingly it wasn’t raining. It was dry and overcast for the best part of the day. The paddock was scattered with any array of amazing old Bentley’s that rattled the earth and terrified people.

When the scrutineer came to look at our car he said to Adam, ‘One of your dust caps is missing. That could be very dangerous!’ At first Adam sniggered, then smiled, then a look of disbelief came over his face as realised it wasn’t a joke and he rushed off to borrow one from someone else. Disaster averted, we were ready to go!

One minute Phoebe was standing talking to me, the next she’d disappeared off with a Marshal. I spotted her on the start line. ’That’s strange, they’ve given her a giant red glove!’ I thought, and then I saw that it was actually a pair of giant red gloves and she meant business. Important expert marshaling business. They also gave her a lovely badge.

We had two practice runs. The novelty of the Tag Heuer touch-screen-timing-machine wore off pretty soon when I realised that all the prodding in the world still wasn’t going to get it to update with my time – the bane of being a second driver! Eventually I got my times off the internet (I know! The modern age!) 67.56 followed by 64.26. Alright then. I’d already beaten my best time from last year (that’s not saying too much though, as I was 10th out of 10 back then!) and we had our first timed run before lunch.

61.18. Nice. Faster than some of the SuperSport guys, and less than 3 seconds behind Adam (last week I was 7 seconds behind. But still, we are in the same car, argh!)

At lunch time we watched motorbike crash videos and ate chips. I tried not to eat too many chips, because I needed to keep room for cake, biscuits and driving skillz.

The strict no photography rule at MIRA meant I couldn’t document the day, but I did manage to sneak a picture of Martin’s Sunkist and chips combo. (The same combo I’d blamed for last years foot cramp fail!)

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After lunch we took our second run, I improved on my time a little, 60.85. Adam was just over 3 seconds faster than me at 57.61. Surely I could do better?

Just as we were all about to go out for our third run, and pull out our best ever record-breaking world-class supersonic speeds, we were told that it was just a ‘fun run’ and didn’t count towards our championship. ‘What?!’ we squeaked. A swell of disappointment washed over everyone. We’d not all read the regs. We huddled together discussing it, like little animals, squirrels perhaps – sweary squirrels (… okay, that was just me!)

Although the sun had come out, it didn’t feel like it. Most people put their cars away, not wanting to risk a pointless run. I took the third run, it didn’t seem particularly fun, but I knew I could do better and wanted another chance to try, just for ‘fun’. Coming up the the second-but-last corner, and low and behold, the cramp set in – it wasn’t the Sunkist after all!

I was faster, 60.34, I would have liked to have got under 60, but you know, next time! Maybe I would have tried harder if it had counted? Maybe that’s a good excuse? Maybe!

7th out of 12, I think. That’s better. At least I’ll get some points.

I went into the loos to get changed, left my suit on the sink. It must have slipped as the automatic tap kindly, and quite thoroughly, washed the sleeve for me. These chaps know how to look after people. I remember last year I was equally as impressed by the facilities. Where else do you get porta-loos with marble-look walls, tempered glass basins, automatic taps, and a personalised laundry service?!

Trophy time seemed to arrive quite early, and although many of the other drivers had already headed off home, the LCUK massive hung around for the whooping and cheering.

Tony Pearman took 1st place in SuperSport, Xavier Brooke 2nd and Duncan Fraser 3rd. I think last time Duncan got a podium place was when he had a rather bad tummy bug. I’m very proud of him for being able to do it on his own this time!

In Production Jez Braker took the spoils (I do not understand this terminology, but apparently it is correct) with Mark Swarbrick taking 2nd, and Graeme Foley taking 3rd. The ‘Driver of the Day’ award went to… Adam! Hooray for Adam! He did good, and has been doing doubley good in our standard 118bhp Elise. My car. Hmmm, I’ll somehow think of a way to share that trophy!

Another great day with a great bunch of people.

I did want to tell you all about my brilliant experience at iZone Driver Performance training at Silverstone, but I can’t, because it wasn’t brilliant in any way. It was a massive boring waste of time. Turns out my bum is too big for their seat! They stopped directing their sales pitch at me and avoided making eye contact after they discovered that.

No cakes for them then!