By Caroline Lodge
After my crack at driving in a sprint earlier in the year, nothing much more had been mentioned about me getting behind the wheel again, so I started to relax a bit. That was until Geoffrey started talking about me having another go and entering the Kames Classic Sprint in October. I’d competed (in the navigator’s seat) at Kames earlier in the year. So the venue wasn’t a complete mystery.
After a bit of persuasion/nagging I said ‘yes’, and Geoffrey put the entry in before I could change my mind.
To be honest, with the Mull Rally fast approaching and various other things going on I hadn’t had much time to think about the event. Except, that is, until certain people decided to torment me about it. I did however have a look on the site and printed off a track plan so I had an idea of which bits were being used.
Geoffrey, Bill, Barry and I set off on a rotten Sunday Morning, ‘Oh great a little twisty track in the rain’, was one of my thoughts but there’s nowt you can do about the weather, so I just had to get on with it. We walked the course, under our umbrellas, and chatted to the marshal who was digging trenches in an attempt to drain the water off the track!
Above: Caroline Lodge tames the Corsa through the running water
The initial running order put me as 4th car out – I was not looking forward to that, not knowing the track, along with the rain AND having to count laps!!! Luckily there was a change of plan, which put Geoffrey out with the first bunch giving me time to have a look at things before I got in the car.
There was a good mix of cars about, the entry list included, DJ Firehawks, Radical Clubsports, Westfields, Spitfires, Quattros, Sprites, Clios, Corsas etc etc, Just don’t ask me to identify any of the single seater thingies please.
My first practice was a bit wobbly, and the track around the hairpin seemed very narrow. I was very relieved to see that there was nice marshal with a chequered flag, who let you know when you’d done your 3 laps, one less thing to worry about. I got round in 113.07 sec, 5 sec behind Geoffrey.
We then had another practice run, I was 1 sec quicker where as Geoffrey knocked nearly 4 sec off his previous time. By this time it was drying up, Barry and Geoffrey gave me some advice about a couple of the corners where they thought I could make up some more time. Then it was time for the timed runs.
My run included a bit of a clatter around on the concrete at the hairpin and my time was 110.98, this appeared quite respectable. Geoffrey was 8 sec faster, but he’s had loads more practice at this than I have. Then the rain came again, however I was pleased to find out that I’d matched my previous time even in the wet. On the final run I wasted quite a bit of time trying to get away from the start line, I also bottled it again on ‘Norries Corner’ the right leading downhill to the left – ‘Gemmels Corner’, something that I’d done on all of my runs, as I think that I’d convinced myself that I’d go skating across the grass if I’d put any power in there.
Above: Geoffrey Harkness
It was an enjoyable event although I could have done with either a few more runs or doing it on a nice fine day.
Final results :- Geoffrey – 102.86 sec – 11th o/a
Caroline – 110.72 sec – 19 o/a from 33 finishers
(Photos © Barry Lindsay / Spadeadam Motor Club)