This was organised by the MG Car Club Lincolnshire branch (but held in Norfolk) as a warm up for the California cup, the big autotest at MG live in Silverstone. For me, it didn’t go as well as the first one.
The courses were much more complicated and I frequently screeched to a halt on the line to be told I’d gone the wrong way. The courses look complex before you start, some even involved reversing into boxes, but as soon as my brain was also engaged with driving as fast as possible it became difficult to remember which cone to go round next or how many times I had been round the last one. At one point I had to stop and ask a marshal which way to go which didn’t help my time.
Apparently one of the things that amazed Michael Schumacher’s team bosses was his ability to drive a ten tenths and still have a bit of brain left over for thinking about tactics. This autotest proves, as if any proof were needed, that I am not Michael Schumacher. I’m not even Ralf.
Of course I could have tried going slower but as with the other events I tried, as soon as I catch site of a stopwatch the red mist descends and I suddenly develop very weighty feet. Especially the right one.
From watching more successful rivals there seem to be two approaches. Of the two fastest, Bruce and Nigel, (both who drove Midgets), one drove on tarmac like I do on grass – engine always screaming, rear wheels almost always spinning, car slewing gracefully from hanging out on the left to hanging out on the right.
The other driver was incredibly neat and smooth with hardly a chirp from the tyres. He looked like he was doing some kind of insanely speeded up driving test.
They traded fastest times all day.
Overall I didn’t do very well, partly because of all the wrong roundings but I did manage to fluke a fastest time of day on one of the courses that was simple enough for me to remember. This was made all the sweeter because the people I was competing with then went on to perform brilliantly the next weekend and win the California cup.