Firstly This is a prequel to my Brands blog, so my apologies if everything is out of order. It can't be that bad though as Star Wars managed to do the same.
So my sister lives in the west country and she was kind enough to put us up the night before so that we could have a short journey to the track. So my thanks goes to her.
Now the first thing to mention is that I had never driven Castle Combe before so I expected it to be more a day of learning than anything. The second thing to also mention is that Castle Combe is fast, very fast. It's essentially a combo of 3rd gear corners and 3 long straights. 2 of which are split by 3rd gear chicanes. So not the most pleasant way to turn up to race on a very fast track having never turned a wheel in anger.
As I had never driven the track I had to go to the "new" drivers briefing which was immediately before qualifying. Luckily my brother took the car to the assembly area whilst I sat down in the briefing and was told not to drive like a bell end. This was absolutely spot on, as I turned up to the assembly area I would be 2nd out on track leaving me some free air to get on with the job.
As I pulled out onto the track and made my way up to the first real bend (Quarry Corner) my first impressions of the Combe was "Wow this is bumpy". Especially for such a fast track I just hadn't anticipated that.
Despite this, there was a great feeling as the car skipped and hopped coming through and out of the bends. It felt consistent and gave me great confidence to feel the edge of the grip right away. It clearly meant something too as I eventually qualified 10th my best so far. Queue happy faces :-)
So for the first race I lined up alongside the Colonel (the blue car in the video). And as the lights went out I got a good start. However I was slightly tentative on the brakes at the first corner due to my lack of experience at the circuit. But the benefit of this being that I could set up the exit of the turn every day of the week. I got a good run and then was promptly cut up, leaving me fairly peeved, especially as we were travelling in a straight line at that point. Any way I won't explain too much more as the video is posted below, but to explain that we were all queuing up behind the Colonel leaving some exciting racing between those involved and I eventually managed to finish 7th.
Unfortunately I didn't manage to record the second race. I think that being a mistake on my behalf. However I had another good run out and I actually think my driving improved quite a bit more despite only finishing in 9th. This was mainly due to a couple of quicker guys coming back through despite suffering problems earlier in the day. This wasn't such a bad thing for me as I could follow their lines and it meant that I could pick up a lot more speed. There was no point trying to fight them but to try and learn something. Which I did and was pleasing as it was the very first time I could run with some properly quick guys. Although I had got stuck behind the red car for a lot of that race as I did above.
Any way thanks for taking the time to read.
Ignore the date and time on the photo as was taken on the 5/5/14