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27-10-2010, 07:06 AM
So the old 'Bedford Autodrome microclimate' was up to its usual tricks on Saturday.

In the pouring rain at 6am, I met up with my friend John (the bloke with the blue Clio Cup Racer) early doors and we headed up the M1 with his eight-week-old Ariel Atom 3 300 in tow.
It was forecast to clear up, and be sunny most of the day so John had gone ahead and fitted Avon full slicks before packing it onto the trailer.

Rain eased the moment we arrived for briefing, so we watched everyone else do their sighting laps and waited it out in the pit garages. John had a spare set of Dymags with 888s on, but as he hates them, he was determined to keep the slicks on.

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1413/5117260818_2f35483833_b.jpg

Some nice stuff in attendance, anyway.

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1202/5117261178_d05acbc18e_b.jpg

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and yes, this Ferrari 599 GTB did actually share a damp track with everyone else!

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1048/5116656553_758fb33c72_b.jpg

Clouds passed over at quite a rate, but the wind didn't pick up (or get warm) enough to dry the track out sufficiently before lunch. No matter, somebody would spin their car practically every other lap so it was pretty entertaining to hang out in the pits with a hot chocolate.

A couple of cool little motors were there, I got talking to the owner of this Mk1 Clio.

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1424/5116656721_cf67f44460_b.jpg

Turns out it's been a couple of years or so in the making, and this was his first ever track day in it! The more I learned about the car, the more it impressed me.
It weighs well under 800kg :o thanks to a proper CF roof, full Fibreglass doors from France, CF scuttle panel, and Lexan all round.
Under the aerocatched lightweight bonnet lived a very tweaked 172 engine, apparently now spitting out roughly 230bhp. I overheard a conversation in which a figure of over 10k for the engine was quoted. Epic little car, it ran all day without fault and the owners managed to keep it on the black stuff.

Another vehicle that pounded round relentlessly, overtaking plenty, was this Vauxhall Van.

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I didn't hear any tech details about it, but when the bonnet went up I thought I saw a VXR engine of some sort, and a rather large Turbo. I liked the fact that the bodywork looked stock, even if the wheels gave the game away to guys like us.

The weather really was mental, and there was a lot of standing about, unfortunately.

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Eventually, the track dried out a little more and John tiptoed out for an exploratory lap or two;

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1108/5117258928_46de6bf7f7_b.jpg

He didn't spin it, so that was a good enough excuse to continue :D I grabbed the other lid (custom painted to match the car) and off we went.
I've been around Goodwood in this, so had some idea of what to expect, but I don't think I'll ever truly get used to the acceleration of these cars. For those that don't know, it's a Supercharged Honda K20A from the Civic Type-R, mounted at the rear of a spaceframed car weighing 470kg.

The Supercharger screams so loudly, it makes you think the throttle is much wider open than it actually is, and as a result the power just seems endless. There's always more, and even on a fast circuit like Bedford GT the driver never opens the throttle fully without great care, particularly when it's greasy like this. That said, we were hitting 150mph on the back straight and the slicks did manage to get some heat in after about 5 laps. Not wanting to bin a car that had been 2 years in build though, John was still taking it easy by his standards.
I think the words 'should have brought the Clio' were uttered more than once!

I also snagged a few laps in the passenger seat of a Lotus Elise Supercharged, and really enjoyed it - It was lined in leather, with a few other creature comforts, and struck me as a genuine daily driver. I'd love one.

A few laps in the Atom later, the weather turned and hard, dense rain began to batter down.
We were about a mile into a fresh lap, with nearly 3 miles left until we got back to the pits.
When it comes down that hard, trying to make progress quickly will spin you off the circuit immediately, so we had to crawl back around the track at about 20mph. Needless to say, we got absolutely fooking soaked. I mean proper wet :lol: That was it for the Atom, time to pack up.

And then, in true Bedford schizo weather style, it brightened up and those rocking a li'l 4WD (or even just tyres with grooves in) went back out for a few more laps. There must have been at least 20 spins in the last half-hour of track time, the final and most epic being performed by the Elise that had taken me out earlier :lol: After a few hearty laughs, we buggered off to The Falcon.

The End.

Kev_G
27-10-2010, 08:40 AM
Fantastic cars there by the looks of it always had a soft spot for them clios aswell :)

The combo I'm sure belongs to a lad called beardy from Manchester way - he's a conning c u n t to be polite

Rory
28-10-2010, 10:25 AM
You must have had quite the face-twisting experience in that Atom!
Some lovely machinery in those pics. :thumb:

singmely
29-10-2010, 05:57 AM
:rolleyes:


that's so cooooool, i like it very much.

Gary Kinghorn
29-10-2010, 03:10 PM
I like the Mini :thumb:

Nige
29-10-2010, 04:32 PM
I`ve been in a supercharged Atom at Elvington, they are laugh-out-loud fast :veryhappy:

Nice report, thanks for taking the time to write it :thumb:

Dan
29-10-2010, 05:19 PM
Always a good report dude :thumb: