Saturday, 14 June 2008

Barbon Speed Hillclimb - Fantastic

14/06/2008, originally uploaded by kevham.

The hillclimb course at Barbon is one of the shortest in Britain but it has a great atmosphere and is set in wonderful Cumbrian countryside.
It's quite a distance to travel but the atmosphere makes it worthwhile. So it was that Is set off at 5am this morning and trundled down the M6, stopping only for a comfort break at Southwaite.
I arrived at Barbon in plenty time to get unpacked and scrutineered. The weather looked promising and everyone was sure of a good day's sport.

I set out with three aims for today:
1. Beat my best time from last year of 34.35 secs
2. Beat my championship competition, Andy Suter in his Saxo
3. Get home in one piece without any damage!

There's only three corners at Barbon. A blind left hander just off the start line, a third gear 'flat left, maybe' with some eye watering old trees right on the trajectory of errant drivers and a very tricky right handed, uphill hairpin. Lots of folk focus on the fast left but I reckon the hairpin is where lots of seconds are lost (for me anyway!)


My first practice was fairly good. I got off the start without too much wheelspin and pulled good speed through the first bend. I lifted early for the fast left but it's a real confidence corner so I was quite happy. Coming up to the hairpin, I forgot I have to change down to first and had to snatch it. This caused the rear wheels to chirp but I kept it tidy and fired over the line in 34.82secs. Not bad - only half a second off last year's best.

Then the heavens opened and it looked like the day might be a washout. Second run was very wet and after a poor start (I am rubbish in the wet), I managed only 36.65secs.

Andy in the Saxo had managed 36.25 on the first run and 37.32 on the wet second run so I was hopeful that if I could keep it neat I would beat him.


Lunch next and I made the mistake of having a burger and chips. I put tomato sauce on the burger but it wasn't tomato sauce - it was chilli sauce!

First timed run and the track had dried up a bit. I got away ok but again, I lifted way early for the fast corner and I muffed the hairpin. My time was 35.07. By this time, Andy was on 35.67 secs - the competition was hotting up.

By the time of the final run, the sun was back out and the temperature was hotting up. I made some minor adjustments to the tyre pressures (26PSI all round) and was ready to go. I got a reasonable start and kept on the gas through the first corner. I lifted a little less for the fast left and headed up to the hairpin. Later on the brakes, down to first , a chirp from the rear wheels, turn in and floor it. The car gripped bettter than it ever has and i could see the clock at the line was on 32 secs! Up to second and over the finish line in 33.78 secs. Objective 1 complete!


I got up to the top paddock and headed down to watch the rest of the batch come up the hill. I got there just in time to see Andy and waited with, on tenterhooks, as he crossed the line. A short delay and the commentator announced his time - 35.5secs. A cheer from me and Objective 2 complete (sorry Andy!) . The result gets me 25 class championship points which takes me to the top of the class by 1 point.

So, a good day in all. The car felt great - the Toyo T1-Rs are bedding in and hopefully the trackday at Llandow next weekend will shave off enough tread to bring them to their peak.

On the journey back, I got to thinking of some new ideas for extra speed. Maybe I'll be able to implement some before my next competitive outing at Scammonden on 13 July.

I got home at 6.30pm - in one piece with no damage - objective 3 complete.

No comments:

Post a Comment