Erm, it was cold and very windy at
Bentwaters that morning!
After the mayhem of Combe there was yet more madness to come in the form of Bentwaters. It was an early and almost reluctant start but after Toni and I had a 7am breakfast the boys joined us and we were off. We arrived to a very windy and desserted Bentwaters airfield, though it wasn’t long before fellow IMOC’ers and MK1 Club members appeared on the scene.
After the usual briefing from the Bookatrack team and a mental note from me not to get black flagged like last time (!) the parade laps started. What Bookatrack do is offer Novice, Intermediate and Advanced sessions. You decide when you book your place which session you wish to go in. Novice is designed for those new to trackday and those who don’t want to go too crazy. Intermediates’ is generally the class that is suited to those who want to go a little faster and generally have been on a previous day.
Advanced is of course for the nutters! I should stress though that Bookatrack do make a real effort to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable day. The Advanced session is also where ‘non’ MR2s’ must go. At Bentwaters Adrian in his 2.0 Turbo Corrolla (400Bhp!) was there as well as a souped up Supra and a R34 Skyline
Anyway, back to the action. I quickly secured myself a ride in Chris Dooley’s Supercharger to see where the course went and also to get a feel for his very modified car which didn’t seem to be running too well (of which more later!). The circuit layout was excellent being 2 miles long with some very good sweeping high speed left/rights and a particularly nifty chicane in the middle of the backstraight. This chicane was excellent as it had this kind of ‘sacrificial’ cone on the exit where if you weren’t going to make the turn you could abort and skip across a flat piece of grass and miss the cone (maybe!). Towards the end of the course there was the ‘Staircase’ which consisted of consecutive left/right turns reminiscent of a slalom course. This really suited the MK1’s so there was lots of time to save here.
Mark losing his 'virginity' at
Bentwaters! picture courtesy of picman
Unfortunately there was one incident involving a really stunning very rare burgundy SC who managed to lose control on a very technical fast left/right sweeper where the run off if you really got it wrong was some pretty rough looking muddy/concrete ground. No-one seemed very clear as to what happened but a lower wishbone on the front strut broke leaving the car to be trailored off and another safety briefing for everyone followed. At around the same time Nosmo in his SC conversion was having his instruction session, this went well for a couple of laps at least until his battery made a bid for freedom in his boot! With a boot full of battery acid and sparks flying Nosmo was ready to make a run for it though luckily no damage was done and a quick pitstop later he was back on track.
My sessions went very well with the car running near perfectly with no heat soak from the intercooler and fantastic handling from the Koni’s, I was on a roll. Better still I had a brilliant session having a friendly tussle with Fazza who has a very well sorted MK2. This was brilliant as every lap we changed places as we kept pushing harder and harder. This didn’t go unnoticed though as at the end of the session we were put into the ‘sin-bin’ and given a black flag for ‘racing’! Andrew O’Brien was my victim in the passenger seat and he even managed to film the session whilst simultaneously hanging off the grab handle!
Chris Dooley had some bad news when we got back to pits as his new Levin SC engine turned out to be a dud with some serious knocking coming from the big ends. Luckily the engine was under guarantee so we hope to see Chris back on track soon. James Mathews who left his piston rings at Brands Hatch back in March was in attendance in his new SC. Though unbelievably he suffered much the same fate as Chris! This is terribly unlucky as if your engine is in good condition trackdays won’t cause damage. Alan Head who’s car has done 245,000 miles and at least 8 trackdays was still going strong!
In the afternoon and promising to be on my best behaviour after the ‘black flag’ incident I managed to accidentally go on a bit of an unprovoked cone killing spree! This was best described as trying to make the turn after the fast chicane on the back straight with the inevitable car meets cone at around 80mph! Luckily no damage done. I also managed to be a little too optimistic into the first corner, managing to get two cones stuck under the front of the car and dragging them up the straight for a while with a slight diversion onto the grass which truly flattened them! Toni even managed to wrap one around her driveshaft with not much being left of it after her session!
There was some spectacular spins for the spectators to watch as well as the Skyline showing off to the crowds with some spectacular tail slides Tiff Needell style past the pits. All in all it was a brilliant day and with a professional photographer there many people went home with some very nice piccies. These events are a great place to meet what has become a very friendly and active web based community.
It looks likely that the next IMOC action day (MK1 Club members welcome) may be in August either at Llandow or Anglesea in Wales. A very big thanks to Jamie and Rogue from the IMOC for organising the event.