:: Bassingbourn Track Day ::
Check out our upcoming Brands Hatch Track Day
Matey-Matey were out in force for the recent
Motorsport Events track day at Bassingbourn airfield in
Cambridgeshire. After much careful planning we had a
team turn out of five. Not all of which were VWs but a
tasty selection of machinery nonetheless.
Dan, my Matey-Matey partner in crime, took my old Mk2 1.9 along for a good thrashing. Charlie, a Matey-Matey regular, out flashed the lot of us in his bright green Kermit-impersonating Caterham (it's Kawasaki Ninja green in case you were wondering).
Alex, a long standing chum and track day buddy came
along in his Escort RS 2000 to prove that there is more
to motoring than VWs:
We drove up to the venue for a 9am start and were blessed with the first dry day in about 2 weeks. Unfortunately there was a howling gale made worse by the exposed nature of the airfield but then you can't have everything where the weather is concerned, especially not in October. Upon arrival, the fabulous mix of cars promised us a great day of both driving and chatting!
How does 2 308 GTBs, Sierra Cossie, 2 Porsche 944 racers, Impreza P1, Raliart Evo 6, 2 Evo 7s, Lotus Elan, Lotus Exige, Alfa GTV, several Elises, Many Caterhams, an RX7, a turbo'd Dax rush, a racing MGF, Mk2 RS 2000 escort, a track prepped Capri, and a fiesta XR2 sound for starters (don't laugh at the XR2 unless you are prepared to put both your car and your driving ability where your mouth is). The usual drivers briefing proceeded a few sighting laps and then it was into the fun stuff.
The first hour was split into three sessions after which it was an open pit lane for the rest of the day. The day was fantastically organised and no-one was left wanting for track time at the end of it. I think that each of us did about 75 miles round the track at 'full tilt' which aint bad going in my book! ! !
Ed Moore who runs Motorsport Events (and is a
shit-hot racing driver to boot) set out a great track
with a good combination of fast sweepers, tight corners
The venue had enormous run off areas and so despite a
few spinners, no one damaged their pride and joy. The
run off areas meant that traffic-permitting you really
could give it your all without fear of bashing into
anything. The only draw back on the venue front was the
track surface, which was a very coarse concrete, and
this caused some pretty serious tyre shredding,
especially when driving very hard and adopting the fun-not-fast
slidey slidey driving approach round some of the
My Avon ZZ1 tyres were falling apart by the end of the day and large chunks of tread had been completely torn off them. The Yokohama A539s on Dan's and Alex's cars fared far better. Although they wore quite heavily (Alex & Dan assure me that this was down to the track surface not their driving… yeah right!) they held together far better and had more outright grip, so a set of these is next on my shopping list.
Everyone's cars held up very well with no breakages
or failures. The usual wear and tear (read utter
knackering) of the brakes and tyres was about the only
thing our cars suffered from although Dan did manage to
momentarily blow the oil filler cap off his engine but
fortunately it landed on the chassis rail rather than in
the cam belt. We probably didn't get through more than
1/4 litre of oil between the five of us and most of this
was to replace the oil that Dan sprayed onto the
underside of his freshly polished bonnet when he lost
his oil cap.
This was the first time I had tracked the Corrado and
I can report that the handling lives up to the car's
reputation. The car's only Achilles heel is it's weight
which does not impair the handling but certainly worsens
the brake and tyre wear as well as the out-of-corner
acceleration. The Pagid fast road pads which I found
perfect for the Mk2 were not up to stopping the extra
mass of the Corrado and by the end of the day the pads
had utterly disintegrated (they were new on the car the
previous week) so I am trying some Mintex 1144s next
The day finished at about 4.30 when the sun started
setting and we were on the track and on the limit until
the final red flag. The overall standard of driving was
excellent with no muppets in attendance which can often
spoil an otherwise good track day. Everyone's driving
showed a noticeable improvement as the day went on and
so it was productive as well as fun. Next time I have
promised to teach myself how to heel and toe, although I
think that some pedal extensions might be required due
to the positioning of the brake pedal.
If you fancy a bit of track action yourself then check out the link below. We have done three track days with Motorsport Events and can thoroughly recommend them. If you are concerned about mashing your car up (which is very unlikely, and if you are still worried then you can get some insurance) then check the back of Evo magazine as there are plenty of companies that rent out track cars on a turn up and drive basis.
If you are interested in taking you car round a track then have a look at our article on preparing your car for track use, as it should give you a few useful pointers...
Thanx to Motorsport Events for the top photo!