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what apex?

Another year, another Eurotrip. These really are the best trackdays there are. Two days in Spa followed by a day at Zandvoort in the company of BookaTrack. Superb tracks, atmosphere and a top social event.

This year we arrived at Spa with the last of our slicks. These are tyres we got with the car and are of unknown age and wear. As it stands we found them to be long past their best. Grip on day one was seriously compromised most aptly demonstrated in the this video when I try to follow Andrew Derodra around a hairpin and end up with it almost on it's lock stops (it only has half a turn of lock!).

With the first set categorically ruined (one of the rears down to the canvas), day two got our last 'good' set of original slicks. Grip levels jumped dramatically as did speeds. Really showing us just how much difference tyres really make. Colin's lap of Spa below was about the best one either of us did that was captured on camera. We had power issues again on day two with the camera, it seem vibration rattles the power plug loose, shouldn't happen again. But it meant we lost a lot of footage.

We're hopefully going to get some newer part worn slicks sorted shortly that should see us for Croft in a couple of weeks then through 2012.

Colin gives Carol some G action

Still the greatest track in the world. Give me a Juno, fine weather and Spa and it really is nirvana. No other real issues to report for Spa, so on to Zandvoort.

going for Steve McQueen, getting Terry Wogan

As good a time as any to introduce our new camper. Is it not magnificent! Sure it's borrowed. But still two double beds make it actually comfortable as hell. It's also a hell of a lot better wired and made than the previous one (English camper mated to Italian van electrics in that case. It was always going to end in tears). At nigh on 40ft in length with the trailer on, it's a lot of kit to keep your eye on. But it tows well and is shockingly economical, managing an average of 28mpg for the trip. Impressive.

Zandvoort found me black-flagged in the first session for noise. We suspect the primary silencer needs re-packing as we were ok last year. Thankfully the add-on silencer dropped us another 5db and with a bit of careful short-shifting, we got through the rest of the day.

Trouble only really started when I braked for the first corner only for the pedal to make it's way to the bulkhead. Unlike last time (air in the rear line), this proved to be the pad material disintegrating on the rear pads. I should have registered that the pedal felt a little odd at one of the previous big stopping moments. As it was it was a major ring-twitcher as I headed towards the gravel. Luckily I managed to get enough braking done to let them off and steer around the corner. From the footage it just looks like I out-braked myself. From the cockpit I can assure you it was a little more tense than that! The flat spot on one of the front tyres as a result was big enough to get through to the canvas and make the car undrivable.

Luckily this was around lunch time, so up on jacks it went and all the pads were swapped. From the remaining slicks we managed to salvage a rear from each and the original fronts from Spa. Not ideal, but kept us going.


Finally we've got the vid below, Colin vs me at Zandvoort. It's interesting to see where each of us is quicker/slower than the other. But overall, we're actually not a million miles away from each other these days. Indeed the laps below are nigh on identical time-wise.

As usual we have a list of things to sort. One more trackday booked this year at Croft then it's possible the car may be laid up for a little while as we give it a damned good sorting to get it back up to scratch. We shall see.

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