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Brands Hatch  July '02                                   Saaarf London Mob Day Trip!

The Saarf London area club used to meet in The Waterfront, Streatham High Street, and is without question the friendliest meet we have attended. Started by James Madlin, it is now headed by Peter Carmichael. Meet is 1st Wednesday of the month - so if you are in the area go along - great pizza and a great bunch of people.

Anyway, last year we got our act together and all attended a Bookatrack day at Brands Hatch Indy circuit. The team consisted of James & Naomi, Jan, Adil, John, Peter C, Sam, myself and John, a work colleague. Peter was there as chief mechanic and instructor, and his help in all aspects of the day was greatly appreciated by all - for most of us it was one of the first track days we had done.

Brabham Straight - pic by James Madlin

The usual butterflies were added too by the thought of ever going off at Paddock Hill bend. You imagine the car digging in and barrel rolling towards Druids if you get it wrong. Of course within 2 or 3 laps these thoughts change to 'B*gger - I know I can go through there quicker on the next lap - must try harder...'

This was no doubt thanks to the assistance of Peter. Bravely he sat in the passenger seat and using very simple hand signals guided me around for the first session. The use of hand signals rather than shouting was important. It was easy to see the signal to slow down, move to the left, go go go etc from the corner of your eye without losing concentration. Far better than barreling into Clark Curve saying

"Pardon - could you repeat that please, I didn't quite catch it......aaahhh - slow down you say......oops"

Peter also took John out in our car, which gave me a chance to actually watch our car on the track. John had an equally exciting trip with Jan who managed a mighty spin into Surtees!

James 'JamMad' and Naomi both emigrated to New Zealand at the end of last year. James infectious enthusiasm for all things 'car' is missed!

James is now well on his way pursuing a career in photography down in NZ, where he has already been hired by major car manufacturers for photo shoots. You may of seen an example of his work on a recent Low Flying cover. He took some great 'action' shots of our car - some of which you can see on this page.

Our car has always been very reliable at all the events and track days we have done, and we have repaid this by causing no damage...so far!!

Adil going VERY fast down Brabham Straight!!

Me going no where nearly as quick as Adil!

Discussions in the pit - as well as providing advice Peter also provided fresh bread, olive oil and sliced ham, salami and pancetta. Excellent!!

James with his aerodynamic photography equipment attached. Sparing no thought, I might add, for the feelings of the camera in the event of a roll.

Brabham Straight leading to the fabulous Paddock Hill Bend.

Peter driving John in our car. Note our equally inconsiderate video mounting position!

Two years later and I'm back! This time with the 7 Club, and driving the fabulous Grand Prix Circuit, much longer and much more interesting than the Indy Circuit. I have a little bit of on-board footage to put up later as a film clip - obviously these pictures are just in the pitlane!

One session comes in as the other session prepare to go out on track.

Half of the Saaarf London mob from the track day in '02 are here again, swapping banter in the pit garage over Adil's car.

Beautiful original Lotus 7 - great to see it on track. All-aluminium looks fabulous.

Note the extra long suspension link.

Live axle, fuel tank and no need for a boot!

Simple trumpets.

At the other end of the evolutionary scale, Freestyle were there with their new Duratec powered car, complete with their extra wide track, in-board suspension and other aerodynamic mods.

Duratec engine.

Note the vents on the front wing.

Len about to fit the rear undertray and diffuser.

Garage tinkering.

The way to travel to a track day? I can see the advantages I must admit...

Ron's car displaying its 'track day' nose cone.

Ron displaying his 'track day' pose!

Blackbird logo on Matts very quick Blackbird powered car.

Peter and passenger head out...

Some of the 'Alice' crew prepare to go out on track.

Mark heading out...

...looking really cheerful...
...and heading back in again with a clutch that had given up!
Luckily we were sharing cars, so mine took over for the rest of the day and we lost no track time.