Last weekend I had a conundrum on my hands – do I take the Alfa GTV6 I’m trying to sell out to a track meeting and risk something bad happening to it? Or stay home and do…. whatever. I ummed and ahhed about it for a few hours, worried about the possible consequences as well as the cost of buying a helmet – and of course, I did it.
I had an incentive, I have to admit. I managed to talk our youngest, Geoffrey, into coming along in his zippy little small-port Toyota Corolla. Of course, I couldn’t let the young bloke down. Our initial plan was that we’d both drive his car, so my conundrum mostly centered around whether to bring the Alfa or not.
I’m glad I did.
Regularity is probably my favourite form of motorsport. It’s on a track, so there aren’t any trees to hit. You run with only a few other cars on the track at the same time and all spaced accordingly, so there’s minimal chance of banging fenders with other cars. And finally, the objective is to be consistent, not to be first. You can go as fast as you like, as long as you’re consistently fast.
We did timed laps in the morning so that everyone could get a feel for their speed. The objective is to determine your nominated time for the afternoon, a time that you’ll need to stick to in order to lose as few points as possible.
You get a point for every second slower than your nominated time. You get two points for every second faster than your nominated time. Your objective is get as few points as possible.
My timed sessions in the morning saw me post the following times (in seconds):
78 81 81 80 74 78 75 76 79 74
The trick is to nominate at the faster end of your range. You tend to get better throughout the day. I nominated 75 seconds for my lap time to match in the afternoon.
Geoffrey’s timed sessions in the morning saw him post the following times:
73 79 82 80 78 76 75 76 78 77
Geoff was feeling pretty confident so he nominated 74 seconds for his lap target in the afternoon.
My afternoon session was marred by one incident in my third session. On the third lap I came in to the last corner a little too hot, messed up my gearchange and ended up sideways and into the dirt on the side of the track.
I decided to head straight into the pits and check out the car, just to make sure everything was OK. The decision to DNF that session cost me 23 points. Thankfully, the car was 100% OK.
I nominated 75 seconds for my lap time in the afternoon. My afternoon lap times were as follows:
Session 1 – 77 76 76
Session 2 – 76 75 76
Session 3 – 75 74 / /
Session 4 – 75 75 75 74
Points accrued – 4+2+25+2 = 33
Geoff’s afternoon session was as smooth as a baby’s bottom. We actually took some video of him driving the car and you’ve rarely seen anyone so relaxed in charge of a car at speed. In contrast, I was wrenching the GTV6 around the track. The differences between 70’s and 80’s chassis design was never more marked.
Geoff nominated 74 seconds for his lap time. His session times for the afternoon were as follows:
Session 1 – 75 75 74
Session 2 – 74 75 75
Session 3 – 74 74 73 74
Session 4 – 75 75 75 74
Points accrued – 2+2+2+3 = 9
Remember, this is a guy at his first ever track event. Geoff’s consistency was outstanding and it didn’t go unrewarded.
Geoff actually took out third place for the entire event!!!
We had a great time. Both cars and both drivers made it home in full operating condition and plenty of fun was had along the way.
Club Motori Italia will host a hillclimb at the same track in the near future. I’m pretty sure we’ll both be there. I don’t think I’ll have the GTV6 at that time, but I’m sure there’ll be something in the garage that’ll make the event memorable.
I didn’t have much time for photos, as you can see.
The only car I took shots of, aside from one shot of my own and a few shots of Geoff, was this wonderful little Fiat X1/9. The owner has had the car for around 20 years and has done a wonderful job preserving it. He had a ball, too.