“Take it easy, learn the course and remember nobody wins an event on their first run.”, wise words and often heard during the drivers’ briefing.
However, today was the day this advice was wrong.
The normal format for Atherfield is the first few runs are very slow as drivers slip and slide over the short lush grass and as the day progresses a nice dusty and grippy trail gets cut into the surface and the times plummet and the final run is often the quickest.
After weeks of unbroken sunshine, club members were looking forward to the fast open and often dusty unsealed surface event but this Sunday was awash with heavy rain and high winds. 14 competitors braved the conditions and lined up at the start of a very wet grass field.
Wayne Hole is known for being one of the first drivers to put a time on the board, while others prefer to stand back and watch drivers go round because they are not yet sure of the course. Wayne posted a respectable time and with this time topped the table at the close of round 1 in his class 4 Ford Focus. So far nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
By the mid way point, drivers were still slipping and sliding, knocking over cones. This was made even more difficult for class 1 and 2 cars as they are required to run on standard road tires and with those grip was non existent. But it soon became apparent that not only were cars still struggling, everyone’s time seemed to be getting slower.
Where normally the grass would have been ripped out from the top soil, the grass was just being compacted and making a mushy boggy mess.
Studying the timing screens at race control, competitors were amazed to see Wayne was still top of the leader board with that first run of the day.
We also welcomed the return of Vicky Cox who has been absent from the club for over a year but who put the lads in much more powerful cars in their place by not only claiming fastest lady of the day award, she was also the highest placed driver with a passenger (PCA) and 4th overall.
Despite it being a miserable and horrible day, it also proved entertaining, in part due to Jamie Duff, who, after his MX5 died soon after round 1, went home and returned with a Mercedes SLK AMG and in front of amazed onlookers drove the car around the muddy field on its rev limiter as it was stuck in first gear.
With the event coming to a close, and the rain still falling, the final runs seemed impossible to drive the event closed with an amazing realisation.
As far as we are aware Isle of Wight Car Club history was made where the first car out in round one also produced the fastest time of the day. Now that’s a record Wayne can be proud of. Second place went to Jo Moore in his all wheel drive Subaru Impreza and Andy Williams claimed the 3rd step in his class 5 single seater special.
Thank you to Young Plumbing for sponsoring the podium and supplying the bubbly.
The next Isle of Wight Car Club event is the Autocross weekend on the 11th and 12th of August. This is an event not to miss. Spectators are more than welcome and if you are quick you can even enter as a driver. Please go to our website www.iowcc.co.uk for more information.