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Dijon Prenois GP with BookaTrack

All high quality pics courtesy (c) of picman

What a trip! Well it nearly didn't happen at all, but before I get to that bit, I should really start by thanking Martin Holden, for offering me a seat in his MR2 Roadster Turbo on this trip. Martin had booked to do both Dijon Prenois and Magny Cours GP on consecutive days. 

We nearly didn't make it at all though as on the way to the Chunnel just as I was coming up the slip road I could feel a clonking noise, then all of a sudden just about 100m from the check-in the car ground to a halt and nearly swapped ends! We couldn't work out what had happened though the car would reverse, so we did onto the hard shoulder. A call to the recovery people resulted in a four hour wait and us missing our crossing. Eventually we got towed back to my Mum's (only an hour away) and was about to swap cars and take my car, when we noticed that the efficient mechanic at Toyota who had replaced the brake pads and discs a day previously had forgotten to do up the caliper mounting brackets on the nearside rear!! Luckily I managed to borrow a caliper bolt off my car and it fitted okay on Martin's. So after five hours of messing about, well mostly waiting for the typical clueless recovery guy (he was okay, but didn't have much of an idea) we were on our way.

Just the drive to Dijon to contend with then. It was now dark and we had a very long way to go. We ended up shooting through France at 110-120mph with the roof down in a desperate bid to get to the hotel before midnight. We eventually made it tired and exhausted and obviously looking forward to getting up at 6.30 the next morning! 


View out of the hotel window at around 6.30am


Parking at the hotel BaT style!

After typically getting up somewhat bleary eyed, we then had a bit of a tour of Dijon which was a bit like Ronin with the added Deja Vu of other hopelessly lost trackday'ers going in the opposite direction. Pure luck (or lack of it) meant that we were a little bit late for sign-on, which was problematic as I was supposed to be helping!


Sign-on at Dijon-Prenois


Dijon pit-lane before the action begun


J5 holding court as he gives the briefing. Even at 8am it was starting to get hot


As usual prep and a bit of bearding was going on


The BaT crew prepping the BaT Cats. With chief Beard Rich and Scruffy looking on

I was working on the pit-lane on this day but had been promised a drive of Martin's car. All went well and after hearing everyone raving about the circuit I was just dying to get out there. I was also looking forward to getting some shade as it was desperately hot standing on the pit-lane in a hundred degrees of heat. Dijon is an incredible circuit and really is up there with the best. It is punctuated by a very long start/finish straight which runs the entire length of one side of the circuit. Then you get round the back. It is seriously twisty with lots of camber changes and some real gradient just about everywhere. 

All was going very well and I was getting Martin's 220bhp turbo Roadster to slide quite nicely round the first corner.


At speed on the first corner, car went into a nice angle as the camber went away


I obviously found the gooning corner pretty quickly!

Then disaster struck. This was really embarrasing as coming round the last complex their is a tricky uphill right-hander that you end up taking at around 90mph or so. Yep, the car went very light very quickly and the next thing I know i'm going backwards into the gravel trap with the tyre wall scarily close. No real harm done, but not what you want to be doing when it's not your car!


Round the tight left-hander that is very easy to spin on due to it being downhill and of course with the camber falling away from you. I did actually spin here, but it was relatively slow and I stayed on the tarmac!


Beards of the day award had to go to these two for making there own fun by taking their BDA engine out to change the clutch! Everyone who could lent a hand though and this was typical of the camaraderie on the Euro trip

That was Dijon all over though lots and lots of camber changes, bumps and intricacies that made it such a challenge to get right. It's hard to believe that the F1 Turbo cars of the late 70's raced here, it must have been terrifying, but the ride of your life at the same time!

Absolutely fantastic and that's not even going into the four hour sourjourn with the BaT convoy over twisty french style b-roads on-route to Magny Cours.

Last but by no means least an absolute mega thanx to Martin Holden for inviting me on the trip, letting me drive and bin his car and for putting up with the occasional tantrum!!

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