Sunday, 17 April 2011
Doune Speed Hillclimb - 17 April 2011
Photo by Kev Clark
They call Doune the 'King of the Hills' - and for good reason! It is probably the most daunting and challenging speed hillclimb venues in Britain. Today was my third visit and the first with the racingPug.
As a competitor, Doune seems to be a place that you either love or hate. At least that was what I thought until today. You see, on my previous visits, I had never managed to get to grips with what it was about. In the VX220, I was very cautious - not wanting to damage that expensive fibreglass body. When I took the Metro last September, I hadn't driven the car in anger before so I was unsure of what to expect.
Today, I had the benefit of several test days and a sprint at Kames and I was getting used to the venue. Even better, the weather was fantastic and this made for a fabulous day's motorsport.
My class, B1 Modified Production Cars up to 1400cc, had 5 entrants - me plus Mike Hunter in his Rover Metro, Jonathon Brown in a very nice 16valved Mini and the double entered Mini of Stuart and Jim Sugden. Against this opposition, my goals were simply to get some times and hopefully beat my personal best of 61.12 secs set in the VX220 (albeit in the damp).
My first run up was uneventful and I arrived with a high 62 sec run so immediately I was looking to beat that PB. Second practice run I got a red flag as Mike Hunter had an off. On the re-run, I got a good start and attacked the course like never before. I had a bit of a slide coming out into the long right-hander of the Meadow and ran a wee bit wide as I turned at the bottom of East Brae (a very scary 1 in 3 hill followed by a sharp, blind over crest right hander). This put 2 wheels on the grass and as I braked for the sharp right, the back end just went and I did a 180 degree spin. Fortunately, no damage done.
First proper run and I was a bit more circumspect but managed to get it home in a low 62 sec so it was all to go for in the final timed run. To my delight, I managed to get up the hill in 60.94 sec - a new personal best and within touching distance of the almost respectable 60 second barrier.
Needless to say, I was last in my class (Stuart Sugden won with a blistering 51 sec run) but I had achieved three things: I had joined the 'East Brae' club, I had set a new PB and I had survived my third visit to 'The King of the Hills'.
The car worked fine although by the end of the day it was dribbling oil all over the ground again so my fix hadn't worked for long. The Yoko A048s are now at the end of their days so their coming off and being replaced by Kumhos that I have from the Metro.
Next outing for the racingPug is the double header sprint at Ingliston on 30 April/1 May but I'll have some news on the racingMetro before then.......