I am a vain and insecure person. There you are. I said it. It’s not a usual start to something like this, granted, but I think it’s probably true, at least in a small way.
For a start I compete in a tatty rat bag of a Mazda RX8 – and whilst it is one of the biggest hammers in the class power wise…it is also the fattest.
So the only reason you would race one is the fact that it is a bit different (and I bloody mindedly insist on that ) when sense demands you should start with a French hot hatch of the sort that has kept me 5th all season – and so there is an element of attention seeking involved, really.
At the start of the season, and in moments of weakness even now, I found myself making endless excuses to provide some sort equivalency formula in my head – wondering how I would fare in a world where my car wasn’t so damn fat….
I suppose we all start this because we are competitive fellows. There is going to be a degree of ….needle, when the chips are down. We like to drive fast and we like to win – and prove we are good at the sport we love. Who doesn’t want that at the end of the day?
However I was guilty I think of letting it get the best of me, I have to admit. I even threw a bit of a hall of fame hissy fit in the top paddock at Shelsley on one occasion – something that my classmates in their infinite discretion didn’t buy a plastic tiara for me to wear after, which I am thankful for! It doesn’t matter of course…and I feel like a plank for letting it matter.
The last weekend at Loton was something of a revelation really. There is always something of an end of term feeling of Loton, especially when everyone has their tails up because of lovely grippy tarmac and PBs and class records are dropping like flies.
It is however a chance to have a really good socialise with your fellow drivers and chew the fat over a meal and a pint or three – this blog is sponsored by Allswage incidentally – and until this is done, the real beauty of this sport will be lost to you.
Anyway – I did drive rather than just imbibe things. My first timed run was the absolute highlight of my season – not because I took 1.75 seconds off my PB (about par for the course for the new blacktop), but because I got out of the car at the top with the shakes, knowing I was right in a great fight with Nick West for 4th – the fact the class lead was 3 seconds away didn’t matter. Nick eventually won, enjoying his own Senna at Monaco moment with a 62.5 – whilst my pursuit was cut short by getting two wheels on the green stuff on the outside round Keepers after sliding wide (I thought I could do it on a microscopic lift….I cannot).
But I don’t care. It was a good fight well fought, Nick deserved his position and I know that I didn’t leave anything out there. What more could you want?
At the end of the day, anyone who does hill climbing is a competitive soul. But amongst all of the competition with your classmates, once the gloves come off the key word, I think, is mates.
And if that’s not the case, you’re missing the best part. Honestly.
(Thanks in no particular order to the great folks I have met through hill climbing; Big Dave, Nick, Rich, James, Scottish Dave, Paul, Duncan, Ben and Sammi, Phil, Olly and Anna, Scott, Alex, Will, Ian, Clio Dave, Jamie, Cossie Dave* and last by no means least the original, Carpool Dave and Cheryl – all for making the paddock such an excellent place to be all year). That was excellent; I think I’ll do it again.
*why are there so many damn Daves?
Where’s the drill….you’re going on a diet rat bag!