As ever for a motorsport event it was a early morning start for the Debden autotest, though it wasn’t a bight morning, it was very wet during the drive to north Essex. Luckily though by the time we arrived the strong wind had blown the rain away, and the airfield soon dried out and the say stayed dry.
The first test was a real wake-up call for me, this being the first time I have driven the car in anger for over a month, and the car was very light with no sump-guard etc… Also I was using some nice low profile wets on the front which help improve the gearing. The car really does take off very quickly like this, and it was enjoyable using this acceleration. However I got caught out by this as I ended up locking up and hitting a cone… Not a good start to the day with a +5secs penalty. Really i needed a warm up test before the real thing… The other two tests in this batch were a bit more conservative to ensure I didn’t clout any cones. By the end of the first run I was third in class and third overall in the autotest event.
The next two batches of tests before lunch were re-runs of the same tests, this allowed me to improve on times and get some confidence back in the car especially under braking.
By lunch time, I had moved up to second in class, but still quite a distance from John in his autotest special mini which is very quick (as is John!).
After lunch it was time to walk the tests again, as they reverse the tests for the afternoon runs. The afternoon runs was good fun as the tests seemed to flow better and in places were a real fast challenge.
By the last run of tests, I had quite a lead over 3rd in class and was still quite a way off first in class, so the last three tests were a case of ensuring good pace, but also to ensure no wrong tests or cone penalties as all runs were counting.
At the end of the day I ended up second in class and second overall in the Autotest event, and would have come 8th overall in the combined Autotest / Autosolo event, which is pleasing.