|The pit lane|
19th March 2018
Spaces: Sold Out
Cadwell Park Track Dayby John Pycock, photo © Jim Gaisford
“The difference between men and boys”, my wife Mary said, as I took down the hood of the Yellow Peril, my MGB “is the cost of their toys!”.
I smiled, I get more smiles per gallon out of that MG than any other car I’ve owned, and set off for Cadwell motor racing circuit to join more boys (and a few girls) with their “toys” for the MG Car Club’s annual track day.
With over 80 drivers turning up, signing on seemed to take an age, but we were finally lining up to go out for our first stint on the circuit just as the rain came down.
They were sending us out in groups of 24 and I was in the second group, sitting in the car, helmet on, full harness seat belt secured, but with the hood unclipped waiting for the gate to be opened. (MGB roadsters are brilliant to drive, with the hood down. With the hood up they are claustrophobic, rattly and the windscreen steams up, but then no car’s absolutely perfect!).
Once we were allowed to go, I pushed back the hood and headed down to the start line, where a marshall waved us through a couple of seconds apart. The revs quickly rose to 5,500 and the big bore exhaust barked at those behind, before I flicked into 3rd to climb the lefthander that is Coppice. Bearing right into Charlies, the car goes light and drifts to the outside as we crest the hill, accelerating all the time through 4th and briefly overdrive 4th along Park Straight, the fastest part of the circuit, before braking hard and dropping down to 3rd for Park Corner.
The old MG is so well balanced that it drifts round beautifully, balanced between steering and throttle, onto the outside of the short straight that leads into Chris’ Curve, the long, long right hander, accelerating all the time, then feathering the throttle and pulling to the right as we arrive too quickly at that evil kick back left called The Gooseneck. Clip the left hand kerb to pull the car round, then slide the full width of the track down the steep hill, keeping to the right then braking hard for the sharp left hander that is Mansfield. Again we drift across the adverse camber before accelerating through the gears again, past the old timing box towards the Club Hairpin, a 180 degree right hander, braking from upwards of 70mph to less than 20, then flinging the car round, hard on the throttle in 2nd gear, back end snaking as we set off on another lap.
Most of us managed three or four 20 minute sessions (around 12 laps), a splendid lunch in the canteen and the sun even came out late in the afternoon. I can’t wait till next year, when I think I’d like a few more horses; as long as I can still get round the corners! The new “green stuff” brake pads did get a bit smelly at the end of each session, but managed to slow the MG down enough this time! Never mind the weather, this was a brilliant day! What a great car!
My grateful thanks go to Bob Welch and his team of wet and willing helpers; I hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did.