I Like Cars

Lotus Cup UK Speed Championship – Abingdon (Round 5)

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I am a child inside. I dream I will wake up one day and suddenly be an awesome racing driver. Today was not the day!

After an average nights sleep at The Upper Reaches, where I dreamt of bad breakfast buffets and Tunnocks caramel wafers, we ate our acceptable breakfast and headed off to the Abingdon CARnival.

The CARnival is an annual charity Motorsport event, which amongst other things, includes a sprint. Abingdon was different to other events I’ve done, because there were two tracks to be driven in the day, and the best times from each were aggregated to produce our overall competing time. There were hundreds of cars there, from Jedi’s, Sylvas and Westfields, to TVR’s, Porsches and Alfas. There was also a Vauxhall Nova.

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We started off on the Bentley course, and within moments the rain had started to fall. My first practice run wasn’t so bad, it kind of put me in the middle of the pack, but that was the highlight of my day really! I queued up for my second practice, but was told I was too early, so I had to re-queue. When I next got to the front of the queue the rain was coming down so hard that they decided to suspend the event. We took shelter in Duncan’s trailer. There was a nice lady in there reading a book. I ate a flapjack and watched the river of rain wash by.

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Eventually, and amazingly, the sun came out and the water started to disperse. Part of the course had to be changed due to a large puddle, so we were allowed another practice run to see these changes. I had hoped I might get another run, because other drivers had been able to get out three times, and although I’d queued up four times, I’d only been out twice! The rain had held us up too much, and the next run was the first timed run. I was 0.5 seconds behind the next car, but still last. Then the gap widdened as I made a mistake with the brakes on run two, putting myself almost 1.5 seconds behind the next driver, and still last!

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After lunch we moved over onto the Abingdon course. This was by far my favourite of the two, which surprised me, as looking at the maps before I left I really thought I’d like the Bentley more. I enjoyed it, but I was slow! I ended up 3.5 seconds behind the next driver.

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After the times were aggregated I ended up with 117.91, just over 5 seconds behind the next driver, and positioned 11 out of 11 in my class.

On a plus side though, I wasn’t the slowest driver out there on the day – overall I placed 106 out of 130 cars that completed both courses (some retired, so they don’t get counted) and I really enjoyed myself.

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I have to keep reminding myself that I have never seen or driven these tracks before, and I am competing against drivers who have already ‘been there’ and ‘done that’. A lot of people attend track days between events so that they can get practice in, and I guess that makes a lot of difference too. I’m always too busy cuddling cats and chasing chickens!

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On Sunday I got a message from Lynne (wife of another driver, and motivator of me too!) to say that the Motors TV programme with us all in, was now on YouTube and to have a look! We were away in Prague when it was on tele, and I really wanted to see it, so I was very excited, and ta da! Here it is! Go on, have a look! The Speed Championships part starts at 43.45 – that’s me waving my map around, and my car is number 11 – you’ll spot it, it’s the one that’s going the wrong way!