32 drivers competed at the Isle of Wight Car Club’s first unsealed surface event of 2016, held at Knighton sand pit
This is grass roots motor sports at its best. Drivers are required to memorize a simple course set out using traffic cones and the natural features of the venue. They then take it in turn to drive the course and better their time. Touching a cone incurs a time penalty, so it is just as much a test of driving skill as speed.
This venue twists its way through giant piles of broken tarmac left over from the island’s road resurfacing and multi coloured cliffs of quarried sand. This not only creates a spectacular backdrop for the event but also provides a mix of challenging surfaces for the drivers to contend with. Gravel, grit, deep soft sand and even a water splash have to be mastered to stand on the podium at the end of the day.
Each driver has six attempts to produce their perfect run. Round one proved difficult for many. Remembering the course was the first challenge and the second was that the loose stones on the surface of the track acted like little marbles. The reduced grip was not conducive of a fast time but produced some dramatic drifting on the corners.
The cars used are varied and in this environment one would assume that four wheel drive would be the weapon of choice and indeed 7 competitors were driving 4wd Subaru Imprezas, however, these cars are heavy and initially Steve Brett led the field in his front wheel drive classic mini, proving power to weight ratio coupled with driving skill cannot be underestimated.
By the mid day point, the small stones were being swept away as each car passed, providing traction for the more powerful cars. Now the lightweight rear wheel drive cars of Will Thomas and Chris Wilson were trading places at the top of the leader board.
You don’t need a performance car to compete at one of these events and a lot of enjoyment can be had from using a normal road car. Ian Jones and Joe Booth experienced a great day of motor sport in their shared MGF, as well as Joshua Jacobs in his MG ZR180 and Dean Long as always drove his standard MX5 with amazing skill to obtain 7th place overall.
The ladies of the Isle of Wight Car Club are very competitive and often show the chaps how it is done. At this event Jill Broomfield drove behind the wheel of the mk1 Ford Escort rally car of John and Dan Cheek as her normal car was out of action. On that note, Sue Mitchell was faster than John Cheek in her Fiat Punto and Marion Brett was the fastest lady of the day in her classic mini, achieving 18th place overall.
With the sand section becoming deeply rutted at the end of the day, the 4wd cars came charging up the leader board and displacing the lighter 2wd cars, all except Chris Wilson who stood on the top step of the podium at the events close to be crowned the event winner. Dan Morgan claimed 2nd place by producing his best time of the day on his final run in the car he shares with his brother Ben Morgan who came 3rd.
Another day of successful and enjoyable motorsport on the Isle of Wight. The next event will be a tarmac event at BAE systems in Northwood on the 24th of April. If you would like to see a full list of results and information on how to compete at a future event please visit the relevant sections of this website for more details.