Round 3 was expected to be just another normal round of the Isle of Wight Car Club’s forward only autotest season, however, nobody expected it to be so epic.
An unprecedented 41 drivers and 5 passengers signed up to round 3 held at BAE systems in Northwood. To add to this, the course was a departure from the norm with super technical sections that tested each competitor, wondering if using the hand brake was quicker or not, and finally on top of this the eclectic mix of cars from standard front wheel saloon cars, through a varied amount of modified cars to tire shredding drift cars, made it an amazing spectacle to watch.
The competition was very tight with the leaderboard changing as through out the day drivers decided upon the best racing lines and techniques that worked for their car and driving style.
The fastest Youth of the day was Joel Gilby in his MGZR. This was also a fantastic battle between his dad Boo Gilby who was sharing the same car, Boo just staying ahead by 0.34 of a second. However, its only a matter of time before Joel ceases to be the apprentice and becomes the master – watch out Boo.
Class 1 is for unmodified cars under 1400cc and the honour of the class win went to Jamie Browne in his lovely Starlet , who also finished 29th overall.
Class 2 is for unmodified cars over 1400cc and the winning car in this class was a not so lovely looking MX5 but looks are not everything because this rusty standard car was driven by Wayne Hole and his precise smooth driving style gave him the class win and got him onto the podium, however, exactly what step of the podium would be a deciding battle in the closing minutes of the final run of the day.
Class 3 is for modified cars under 1400cc, Steve Staff was having issues with his “No money Micra” and had a plethora of classic minis to contend with – it is great to see these classic cars being used by their owners and still being competitive. Without doubt Dave Goodwin has become a master of autotesting in his mini and this gave him the class win and 3rd step of the podium.
Class 4 is for modified cars over 1400cc and Shane Parry was enjoying the challenge of this technical course in his Ford Puma that he was sharing with Louise Wren, however, a snapped handbrake cable meant that both of them had to adapt their driving style to suit.
Louise managed to keep her competition at bay and took the title of the fastest lady of the day and also finished 13th overall despite the mechanical handicap.
Shane also realised that with one broken handbrake cable, he could lock up a rear wheel in only one direction but would have to drive or, lift off oversteer in the other, this knowledge and adaptation of driving techniques and skill gave him the class win and momentarily put him on the top step of the podium.
I say momentarily as at the end of run 6 there was only one more driver left and it was Wayne Hole. Before Shane’s final run of the day Wayne was provisional event winner and was contemplating having a drive in a classic mini on his final run, however, Shane had just put a stop to that with his decisive blow. Wayne put on his helmet, sat in his MX5 and a genuine silence fell upon the the onlooking spectators as they watched him deliver the fastest run of the day…. but at the final moment the car skidded to a stop just out of the confines of the stop box giving Wayne a 10 second penalty and allowing Shane to retain the top step of the podium.
It was an amazing and dramatic conclusion to a very long day of grass roots motorsport, the final twist to the story was that this was Andy Williams’ last event in his class 5 special. After taking the class win he has decided to sell his car to a fellow club member and try a different car and class. We are all excited to see what Andy decides to campaign in the future.
If you would like to have a go at autotesting with the IOWCC, head over to our club website at www.iowcc.co.uk for more information and a calendar of events.