View Full Version : Nigels Bedford report

25-02-2007, 09:27 AM
I`ll sum up Yesterday, AMAZING :thumb: Can I do it again, please ?????

OK, where to start, I suppose the beginning is a good place... ;) I`d suggest you get a coffee and pull up a comfy chair if you plan on reading all this, despite only getting 4 hours sleep, I`m still buzzing over yesterday and I think this report may waffle on a bit :unsure:

Finished work Friday evening, home and jumped in the Golf, it was fuelled, loaded and ready to go, set off at about 6:15, the rush hour had passed but it was starting to rain. I`d had a new windscreen fitted at 4:30 on Thursday after stone damage on Tuesday night and I think there was some sort of coating still left on it, the wiper cleared it, but not brilliantly after a couple of hours, I was ready to stop, I was having to concentrate much more than I would in the Mazda and was relieved when the satnav said only a few miles to go :thumb: . For the journey down to Dave & Clares, Louise and I listened to MP3`s but they were the normal earphones and after an hour, the drone of the exhaust was really starting to get on my nerves, Louise had a loose connection so I decided to wear ear-plugs and she`d be able to use my earphones. The earplugs did make it better, but by then I had started with a slight headache and it was one of those journeys you just wanted to finish as quickly as possible. Arrived at Daves for 8:30, had some Fish & Chips then a few beers, had a thoroughly enjoyable evening catching up but decided at 11:00 it was time to get ready for bed in preparation for the big day. I went to sleep suprisingly quickly considering how much I was looking forward to the next day, but 04:30 and I was wide awake, listening to the rain hammering on the windows and clock watching, managed to get a bit more sleep but finally woke at 6:45.

We had some breakfast then set off for the 30 minute drive to Bedford, I called for some petrol on the way and filled up with Super Unleaded. After negotiating more roundabouts than I think I`ve ever done in such a short time, we approached Bedford, the briefing was for 8:30 sharp and when we were still not there at 8:25, I was starting to get a little apprehensive. Arrived at the circuit but before being allowed on site, you have to pass the static noise test, the golf passed, I asked the marshall what it was reading and he said 87dB, which was fine :thumb: . Arrived just in time for the briefing, said a very quick hello to Mr Teflon, but hoped to catch up with him later.

Briefing over, wristbands affixed we drove to the pits, the first 20 minutes were excleent, anyone who wanted to could go on circuit, no more than 50mph, no overtaking and just cruising round to learn where the circuit went. That is a fantastic idea, I dont know if other trackday companies do it, but for a novice like me it was invaluable. :thumb:

Whilst waiting to go out, had a chat with Floyd, I dont know if he though I was genuinely angry with him over the `Ginger Yorkshireman` comment, but I assured him I wasnt and we got on great after that :thumb: I think the golf is quite recognisable and several northloopers came over to say Hi, including Davetouring, Demoltcrew and gingertim who I`d never met before.

My first laps were with Floyd as a passenger, the first lap was nice and steady, as was lap 2, next I fell into the amateur mistake, I had told myself so many times before hand to take it steady, but I`ll be honest, once you are on track, its pretty hard to keep things in check and I think it was lap 3 or 4 that saw my first spin at the first chicane :shame: . I was picking up speed thinking, `yeah, this is easy` when I exited too fast with too much steering, Floyd was doing his best to offer advice on which way to turn the wheel, but after a right-left slide, I lost it and spun, no harm done apart from wounded pride. Another couple of steady laps and on the quick second to last left hander, I span again, I made a better job of trying ot catc the slide, but it was in vain and I spun again. By now I think Floyd was thinking he`d taken a passenger lap with a fool and I was pretty embarassed. Gave myself a stern talking to and calmed right down. I never span again all day, so I must have listened to myself after all....

The golf was going well, but the nankangs in the wet are quite simply, the worst tyres I have tried to got quickly on, they offered no grip and inspired no confidence for me at all. I was getting intoa groove, then suddenly realised Floyd wasnt jsut a passenger, he`d paid to drive too, after the question of "floyd, do you want to have a drive now?" was met with a "well, i wouldnt mind...." I decided I really should stop and let him drive his own car :(

Floyds impreza is so bloody quick and quiet, I was really impressed, I`d read his build on SN but I wasnt prepared for the acceleration, the pull out of the corners was just amazing and unlike me, he was a much calmer driver althoguh his tyres were not at home in the wet either. Had the moment with the orange exige who should have known better :nono: the briefing had been quite specific about overtaking in braking zones, he dove down the inside making floyd take avoiding action which ended up pushing an innocent toyota driver off the track, Floyd showed remarkable restraint and even though the red mist came down, he backed off, let the elise go and came into the pits a few laps later. Well done Floyd, we all say its the right thing to do, but in the heat of the moment, you did something not everyone would have done and just calmed it down and stopped ..

Floyd in his Impreza:

Went out in the Golf again, only to be black flagged, this was to become the first of 4 and I was pulled in for `putting oil on the track` !!?? I had seen the rapidly increasing line of oil on the track, but didnt think it was me, the marshalls had other ideas and I was told that oil leaks were not acceptable and I should get it sorted, I should the marshall under the bonnet, sat parked up for 5 minutes and when I moved there was a drop of oil on the floor. I agree I shouldnt be putting ANY oil on track, but no way was I putting down the amount that was on track. Anyway, I needed a break so stood and had a chat to Simon, Nick and gingertim whilst watching davetouring giving a very good show of superb car control by getting this huge old mans car sideways lap after lap. Fair play to you dave, you could do it consistently and I can admit to not having that level of skill or car control that you obviously possess. I now am really looking forward to PAX lap in the civic !

davetouring showing volvos can go sideways lap after lap !

Offered davetouring a lap, he managed to squeeze into the golf and out we went, after 2 laps I was black flagged AGAIN. The marshalls still thought I was putting down the oil and despite my protestations to the contrary, they were starting to get unhappy with the amount of oil going down on track.

I parked up and thought I`d wait to see if I was leaking a lot. A couple of parking spaces had huge oil marks where leaking cars had parked, so I thought if I left it 15 minutes, when I moved, I`d have a pretty good idea if it was me or not. Whislt waiting, I stood and watched the others lapping and Mr Understeer himself. Quite when he thought he was achieving by piling on so much lock every lap was a mystery, but he thought it was working ....

MR understeer

Also on track was Euan in his M5, he`d brought his brother-in-law along and they seemed to be having fun in the car, althgouh suffering from brake fade after a few laps

Euan on track

Saw this 205 on track, I think it is jamesfreeman, but I never got opportunity to speak to him in the pits, sorry about that james, althoguh we did have some good laps later in the day :thumb:

jamesfreeman driving his quick 205 on track

The rain had stopped falling by now and although it was wet, it wasnt getting any wetter, went out in the golf again and was starting to get comfortable until I was black flagged AGAIN :angry: by now I was starting to feel a little p####d off, I knew I wasnt putting down the amount of oil I was being accused of dumping, but the marshalls must have had several complaints and were having none of it. Lunchtime was approaching so I used the opportunity to get under the car, wipe off all the traces of oil I could find, then went for a hard drive on some local roads to see how much oil I was dropping, found a good section of road witha roundabout at each end, it was empty and after half an hour or so of going up and down the same road, revving hard in 2nd, there was no line of oil on the road, yet on the circuit, I was being blamed for putting down a line after 2 laps, this reinforced my view that it wasnt me, so I went back to the circuit jacked the car up and saw a LITTLE bit of oil around the crankshaft oil seal, it handt even started dripping off the sump. I know I need to get it fixed, but by now I was adamant it wasnt me, the other northloopers were agreeing with me, not sure if its because I was so annoyed and they were being nice, or because they believed me :blink: , had a sandwich made by Clare :thumb: , but I`d lost my appetite, I expected to be told I couldnt go on track in the afternoon and the day would have been wasted. :( I had a long chat with the marshall and explained what i`d done, he seemed to relent and said I could go out in the afternoon. :)

The track was drying and I took Louise out for some laps, she had spent all morning taking some brilliant photos with the new camera and had been out for same passenger laps with Floyd and twice with Nick in his caterham. She enjoyed the laps in the golf, but said I want as smooth as Nick :blink:

Spoke to gingertim who had let his friend drive his BMW, who then promptly went off track, beached it and had to be towed off :o Car was undamaged, but his mates pride was seriously dented.

gingertim on track:

I`d never been in a 7 before so took Nick up on his longstanding offer of a PAX lap. It was so bloody fast, the braking was much later than I was used to, but I think nicks quick laps are down to his own special `lines` through, or should that be across the chicanes ? ;) The laps were very exciting and we were having a great time.

Nick and Nige in Nicks 7

Nick had managed to get his own black flags through the day and when he recieved another andfer several laps, we both couldnt understand why he`d got it ?? turned out it was MY fault for not wearing a full-face visor. Thats was black flag No 4 for Mr Pinder :ph43r:

25-02-2007, 09:30 AM
Nick jumped in the Golf and as we queued to go out, I asked if he still got butterflies whilst waiting to to out ?. Everytime I was queuing, the excitement was causing that feeling in my stomach, it went as soon as we went on track, but I was just enjoying it SO much :thumb: , by now it was dry and I was getting much more comfortable with the car, I took some different lines to Nick, not because I knew better, just because I didnt know any different !. I`d planned on getting the free tuition but the oil problems had meant I never got round to it. I`d got the braking for the first corner pretty much nailed and even Nick commented on it one lap :o Coming through the fast left hander before the 2nd chicane I kept dabbing the brakes but Nick told me to take it flat :o I suggested that may not be possible, however he uttered those immortal words "just trust me....", so I did and took it flat nearly every lap after that, I carried far more speed into the braking area so that was interesting at first :whistle:
The grip was much much better with the nankangs in the dry and once warmed up, I actually got it onto 3 wheels quite regularly . woohoo...

Back in the carpark and saw Euan, I`d offered him a PAX lap and he jumped at the chance, we had a great set of laps (I thought so anyway....?? ),I was just about to comment how well the brakes were holding up when I locked them coming into the 2nd chicane and ran wideand :shame: we only came in when the tyres started to go off, we could feel the understeer in the long left hander. Followed his M5 for a lap or 2 with the bullet cam running, hope to have some good footage..

Asked Simon for a lap in his Scooby, thats fast too, we were saying that because its so refined, it doesnt seem that fast, yet actually it was bloody flying ! Once his tyres were warm, they offered so much grip, I was suprised how much speed he carried through some corners, he started to suffer from brake fade after several laps so it was back to the pits for us..

Simon and his flying scooby

Took Simon for some laps in the Golf, he said the same thing nearly all my passengers have said (Floyd didnt for some reason, ah, its because I was spinning :ph43r: ) and that was how neutral the golf was, there was very little understeer or oversteer, if I went into a corner too hot it would wash away the front end, but if I went at a reasonable speed, it was very balanced and gave me loads of confidence. The fuel was running under 1/2 and I was occasionally getting a little rear brake locking, so I still havent sorted that issue fully. :(

Had some fun laps following Ian Howell in his 200sx, in the corners, I was pretty close, but once his car got into its stride, I just didnt have the power to stay on his tail. He was having brake issues and I had to back off under braking as I could brake so much later and harder.

Ians 200sx

I didnt get to have a ride with Dave or Clare, but as usual, the clio was doing plenty laps, Clare seemed to do lots this time and I had a good few laps following her round. I said afterwards I knew it was her when I was following, I think she thought I meant because it was being driven slower than when dave drives, but I actually meant I could tell because she is shorter when sat behind the wheel compared to Dave ! :huh:

Clare giving the clio a good workout

I`d told Helen (hippychick) I`d take her for a PAX lap, I`d seen her and Nick in the Elise on track several times, but never got chance to take her out for a lap. I PROMISED to take her out at the ring over springbank :thumb:

Instead, I took Jude for a few laps and set my fastest lap of the day , it was a 1:31 and I was definately getting into a rhythm and not trying to overdrive as much as I had done earlier. :thumb:

Nicks Elise & Helen on track

I was running Low on fuel, asked a Marshall what time they closed and he said 5pm, it was 4:32 so I thought I`d go to the onsite petrol pump and get enough fuel to last until the track closed then fill up at a cheaper one one that way home. unfortunately, it was CLOSED :angry: If someone had told me it closed at 4:30, I`d have gone earlier, I was pretty disappointed and didnt have time to go off site for fuel.

Went back to the pits, Ian Howell jumped in for some PAX laps and we went out with just over 10 minutes to go. Started chatting about fuel and cars whilst driving to the marshall, he wouldnt let us on track, I thought he was pulling me up for the oil AGAIN, but actually just wanted to remind me to put on my helmet :whistle: in my excitement I`d forgotten to put it on! :shame: We were the only ones on track and I was really enjoying the laps, I got withing 0.1 of my best lap with Ian as a passenger :whistle: , on our last lap, the engine hiccupped on the flat 4th gear right hander and I decided the fuel was low enough and slowed down to nurse it back to the pits. I think the marshalls wanted to go home by now and waved the chequered flag at me to make sure I got the message :lol:

Back into the pits, loaded the tools back into the golf and it was time for goodbyes. After the disappointing morning, the afternoon was brilliant and left me with a great feeling that I still have this morning :huh:

I`m really pleased how the Golf performed, the whole idea was to find any faults before taking it to Germany at easter, so I now have 6 weeks to fix the oil leaks, and thats about it. Phew !!!

Went for a meal with Helen & Nick, Ian & Jude and Louise & me, found a great pub who managed to squeeze us in as long as we vacated the table by 8:30, had a beautiful steak and talked excitedly about the day over the meal and a drink, well I talked excitedly about the day, the others could hardly get a word in :lol: .

Had a much better run home and drove the 146 miles home at an average speed of 67mph...

louise took over 2000 photos and some are absolutely superb :thumb: I`ll be posting them all on my fotopics account tonight, link will be posted once thay are there.

Well done for reading all that waffle, but I enjoyed the day so much I got carried away once I started typing :shame: :shame:


Root admin
25-02-2007, 09:33 AM
Great one Nige! Look forward to seeing all of the pics once you've uploaded them.

It didn't cross my mind that I thought you knew it was me driving because I was slow! :lol:

25-02-2007, 10:05 AM
Great report Nige, really sums up the entire day.

As an aside I have a copy of EVO here and as I love to look at statistics, your 1:31 plus 4 secs for Pif-Paf (see Simons comments) puts your car in the same league as EVO's Cooper 'S', Alfa GT V6 and MG ZT260. Not bad company considering they are very fast drivers and your tyres are pooh!

Really enjoyed the passenger laps with you, the way you adapted to the new lines was really impressive, with stickier tyres you will be able to brake even later and hold more speed through the bends, then that Golf will fly!

My thoughts on the Golf- very well sorted, into the hangar hairpin it felt very good under brakes and if you did carry too much speed it simply bounced it off, very docile. Its powerful too, so it will pull a higher gear than you think, more momentum through the bends and you shouldnt have been using 2nd very much, if at all, I reckon.

SO- five weeks to go? CANT WAIT!!


25-02-2007, 01:42 PM
Excellant report Nige, i take it all the prep work was worth it then?????

25-02-2007, 02:35 PM
I wondered how long it would be before dave had his way with the volvo :D

25-02-2007, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by Nige@Feb 25 2007, 10:27 AM
She enjoyed the laps in the golf, but said I want as smooth as Nick :blink:

I think it's a girl thing :whistle: :affection:

Dave G
25-02-2007, 03:48 PM
Great report Nige! :thumb:

Looking forward to seeing everyone again, hopefully in Germany, and even more hopefully in the Civic! :whistle: :thumb:

25-02-2007, 04:31 PM
Dave- you are a GOD!

Lou and Jude, it was a pleasure- would love to say it was all down to my smooth sophistication and damn good looks, but actually the Caterham flatters immensely!

Here's three laps fresh off the press:

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...673368528729214 (http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=6182673368528729214)

ring leader
25-02-2007, 05:08 PM
Great Report Nige :thumb:
what's great about it, is the fact that Nige puts his hands up and is not affraid to listen and question his own ability!

(best way to learn)

Nige , get Bren (if you can get him off his bike :D ) to sit with you at the ring or Maddog!

Both top Drivers, but more importantly they both have a way of getting the message Across :thumb:

What I realy like about your "report" is your enthusiasm.

I cant stand the "Rich BOY" scenario of which most buy a fast car but would never be able to drive it fast as long as they have a hole up their ass :D

Grass roots mate ! :thumb:

well done Nige, looks like you are on top of the V.I.P list :whistle:

so far


25-02-2007, 05:43 PM
Enthusiasm? My God my 8 year at Christmas is less excited than Nige!!

25-02-2007, 06:18 PM
Sounds like you all had fun!

Wished i could have been there, but never mind!

Out of interest, what proportion of the the attendance were Northloop members? Sounds like it could it have been quite high.

Anyway, you lot carry on having fun. And don't worry about me driving around keeping below my 4000rpm limit! :gay:

God, how much longer until I can have my sceaming Golf back?..........

25-02-2007, 06:59 PM
High NLage and very low plankage :thumb:

It was great :thumb:


Gary Kinghorn
26-02-2007, 06:11 AM
My first chance to get on Northloop and check out what happened at bedford since Saturday........

Nige, excellent report, a really good read, I read it all :thumb: It takes time to put these things together I know, but that time is appreciated :thumb:

Sounded like an excellent day all round ;)

26-02-2007, 06:37 AM
nankang ditch finders!!!!!!! nige your allready a hero in my eyes.

Gary Kinghorn
26-02-2007, 07:36 AM
Forgot to say ...... great pictures you two :thumb:

It might be worth you contacting Chris at Circuit days to see if he wants to pass your details onto his other customers :whistle:

26-02-2007, 09:53 AM
Thanks for the excellent passenger laps Nige - think I jumped in at just the right moment when you and the car were fully warmed up towards the end of the day, I was very impressed with both. The suspension set up which seemed nigh on perfect from the passenger seat. Given the tyres you were running, should be superb when it's running on something grippier! And now looking forward to see how it goes round the Ring, put my name down for some laps :thumb:

My brother in law Ben and I enjoyed oursleves in his M5, and it was fun having a wet morning and a dry afternoon. It's got a very friendly chassis and a lovely engine, and various sideways moments were caught by Ben with relative ease, which was part of the reason for coming to explore the cars limits. I drove about 5 laps in the morning, but didn't do anymore as it's such a nice example I'd feel guilty hammering it, especially with Ben sitting in the passenger seat :whistle:

26-02-2007, 12:04 PM
nige how did you get on with the acer? and the virtual cup

28-02-2007, 05:59 AM
Originally posted by dontdobends@Feb 26 2007, 01:04 PM
nige how did you get on with the acer? and the virtual cup
pretty good actually, it was very accurate, I only checked the time on a couple of laps, but it was within 1/2 a sec, so that was fine for me. I`ll upload some lap traces. Its good how I can see where I was faster through certain sections when I either got used to the track or it dried out. I think the only area it struggles is the hard braking and hairpins, the ghps doesnt update quite quickly enough for the slow sections. For teh quick corners, the traces are pretty smooth. :thumb:

i`ll try and get some more info uploaded tonight.

Dave G
01-03-2007, 04:09 PM
Be cool to see some graphs and stuff Nige! :thumb:

p.s. I'm a geek. :)

01-03-2007, 04:51 PM
http://z8.invisionfree.com/Northloop/index...pic=2157&st=176 (http://z8.invisionfree.com/Northloop/index.php?showtopic=2157&st=176)

thats the thread with the info for ya :thumb:

Quite good isnt it, well I think so.... :unsure: