Rally Car Super Day at Castle Combe- 14/8/2004
The 4th Castle Combe Rally Car Super Day meet was destined to be the best yet. The yearly meeting organised by the Mitsubishi Evo club promised Rally stars, past and present, special stages, group B rally cars and of course thousands of enthusiastic rally fans. A whole host of car clubs were pitched out as usual and the GT4OC was no exception.
I decided to travel down the night before and sleep in the car near the circuit. I set off about 8:30 pm from Chester. My journey was trouble free apart from the 1.5 hour detour as I went back home to pick up my driving license - which I had forgotten and since realised I didn't need!
I got to the M4 services near the circuit around 1 am and managed to get a few hours of restless sleep. I woke around 6 am and had an English breakfast and headed for the circuit.
The circuit was empty when I arrived and I was the first GT4 in the paddock area. I got parked up and read the newspaper while waiting for others to arrive. I also thought it would be worthwhile having a red bull - sugar free of course.
Cars started to flood in after 7:30 am and the GT4's were no exception. Marvin turned up in my old ST165 - it was good to see it again, still looking well ;-) Mo also came along in his ST205 sporting a 'fast and furious' black and silver striped nose cone, which actually looks very good. I took onelook under the bonnet at Mo's new engine and nearly fell over with the shock of the size of turbo he has fitted. The turn out was excellent as usual with many of the old faces and some new and far too manay to remember and also ones I have forgotten. It is about time we had photos on the owners club web site - hint hint.
I had two track sessions booked for later in the day but decided to see if I could swap one to an earlier session. I was able to do this and eagerly awaited my 10:40 start time. The noise test was a breeze with K1ANO managing 92 decibels, FROG lent me a helmet - I was set. Unfortunately when I drove up to the track at 10:40 I was told I had to wait another hour due to a bad accident. Apparently a Peugot 205 had rolled several times due to an engine failure (unconfirmed). This put the track sessions back but fortunately the driver was OK.
My car was attracting a lot of attention due to the WRC lamp pod which I had fitted for this occasion. As I drove to my first, and aborted, track session many photos were taken. The GT4 ST205 is unusual enough as it is but I guess with rally lamps it looks even more unusual ! So much so that a roving Japanese Performance photographer was keen to get some shots of the lamps - hopefully K1ANO will grace the pages of this worthy magazine in the near future.
When my first track session finally arrived I had to drive through a huge crowd of people watching Colin McRae being interviewed. I felt like Moses parting the Red Sea as the spectators opened a gap for me to get through. As soon as I hit the queue for the session I was off - obviously I had made it just in time. K1ANO performed flawlessly, the new EBC Red Stuff ceramic pads performed well. I remembered the circuit from previous occasions and thoroughly enjoyed my five laps. Every time I do a track day with Goodyear F1 GSD3 tyres, I marvel at how brilliant they are. The car drifts in such a controlled manner and the power of the car on the corner exists makes for much cornering fun. Also the lowered suspension, only done a few days before, has transformed the handling - very impressive. Can't wait for my next Nurburing trip now ....
I let the car cool down after the first session and enjoyed chatting to some of the GT4 owners. I sold a few bits from my car boot sale of shed clearout parts. This would help make the car lighter for my next track session ;-) I decided to enjoy some of the showcase events going on over the lunch interval including a rally special stage showcase of classic rally cars including some group B monsters. There was also some off-road action with vehicles from the Paris-Dakar rally.
I also had a walk round the trade stands but managed to avoid buying anything - I had only just cleared out my shed and didn't want to start filling it again. A highlight was talking to the Wiltshire traffic Police who were showing off their Mitsubishi Lancer patrol car. There were some smart cars on show including a fully prepared ST205 and some of my all time favourite cars - the Ford RS200.
Karen and Nick turned up later in the Princess, which was good to see. Despite Karen thinking the engine bay had more work to be done - it looked immaculate. The NOS bottle took pride of place in the spare wheel well - hmm a few more horses when this is plumbed in - make no mistake. For GT4OC effect, the Princess was parked strategically next to Mysh and Bubbles car, also sporting the Castrol livery. The combination of ST185 and ST205 in full Castrol colours caused a few MB's of digital camera memory card usage I'm sure.
My second track session was due to start at 3:10 pm but was delayed until around 3:40 pm. Some other GT4's were due to race including Jordan (ST205) and Andrew (ST185). We lined up in the sweltering heat and were glad when we were allowed to go. K1ANO performed again very well. I managed to overtake most things but find that you can end up behind slower cars for whole chunks of a lap due to the 'no overtaking on corners' rule. This is one of the reasons I like the Nurburgring so much as you can overtake anywhere and of course the track is over 14 miles long !
After my final track session I decided to say my good-byes and call it a day. I had a long drive back to Chester to look forward to and was worried about traffic congestion the M5, following a traffic report I had heard. I set off around 5 pm and got back home around 7:45 pm. Fortunately the Motorways were clear and the weather remained excellent - as was k1ANO. What another great day ;-)
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