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Kames Track Day
Sun 3rd Feb 2002
organised by Central Scotland

Car Count : 7
[ show pre-run info ]

It was my first day on the track and my first day off it too. 4 cars met at McDonalds Newbridge for a 9.30 departure and a one hour drive down to Kaimes near Muirkirk in Ayrshire. As we approached the place, the weather brightened, but only momentarily and it rained for much of the day. Being squalls, there were plenty of opportunities to get on the track when it wasn't raining, but the wind was picking up and saw no reason to stop just because you were standing in its way. I've never had my face peeled off with a cheese grater but I suspect it would be rather like standing in that wind. Luckily, the cafe was open and was somewhere warm with hot drinks. I fortified myself with a couple of bacon rolls then borrowed a crash helmet from someone and ventured out to play.

The first thing I noticed was that I couldn't sit in any kind of normal driving position in a crash helmet when the hood is up. Having the hood down was not an option due to it bucketing down most of the time. The helmet bumped against the rib holding the hood in place causing me to sit in a hunched position. I played around with different driving positions, but looked and felt like the Hunchback of Notre Dame and settled instead for adjusting the rake of the seat so I was leaning back more and moving the seat further away from the pedals. Remember that excuse, Members of the Jury, it becomes important later. The second thing I noticed was that I sounded like Darth Vader. All I could hear was my breath in my ears. It sounded laboured. How nervous was I? Quite nervous actually. Not least because I drive this car to work 400 miles a week and can't afford not to have it so I definitely didn't want to break it.

Kaimes is a tight sprint circuit and I had been told I wouldn't get into third gear. I sat at the gate waiting to go (strictly one car on the track, 3 laps at a time). There was a car on the circuit and one ahead of me so I popped on the radio to listen to Liverpool play Leeds and immediately Liverpool scored! 1-0. A good portent to a Liverpool supporter. My turn came around what seemed like very soon and I switched off the radio and concentrated on what I was doing. I accelerated onto the circuit and into the first bend. Tight, but OK and up the hill. Already I was in third gear and I dragged it around the second bend, right hand and down the hill. It was twitchy, but OK and I never felt like I was losing control. Left then, then a short straight to the next bend which is a hairpin, a thought which doesn't dawn on you until it's almost too late. Standing on the brakes, I turned sharply into the hairpin,. Almost too sharply and I had to back off the speed as it twitched around. I was straight again and heading down past the start line. I had stayed in third for the whole quarter mile lap.

The next problem I found was an inability to count. Had I done two laps or three? I had absolutely no idea. I decided it felt like three and signalled left for the benefit of the driver waiting by the gate and turned off the circuit.

I had a rest and then had another go. I drove down to the gate and there was a queue so I switched on the radio again and hey! Liverpool scored! 2-0! (They won 4-0 but I didn't listen again). This time I decided to stay in second for the whole lap, which I did, but it didn't sound or feel right so I tried a lap mostly in second but changing up to third for the end of the hairpin past the start finish line. I decided that as I got into the first corner I would shift down to second and have maximum power out of the corner for the rest of the circuit. Excellent theory. I went into the corner and took the car out of gear and braked. I put the car in second, let the clutch out and the next thing I saw was grass flying all over the place. A golfer would describe it as a snap hook. What I think happened (and I still don't know) was that I let the clutch out too quickly (remember I was further from it than I normally am so I missed the bite point). The car was travelling too quickly, and it bit. The back end came around, I caught it, then I shot onto the grass on the inside of the corner and off again (at least I didn't do a 180) and completed the  lap with a heartbeat of around 200.

I pulled past the start line again and signalled left. I think it had been 3 laps but whatever, I felt the urge to get off the circuit. I looked across as I turned off and saw great clods of grass on the circuit so I hit the hazards and stopped off the circuit. Checking that the car behind had seen my signal and hadn't started his run, I jumped out and threw 10 -15 great divots off the track, before getting back in the car and leaving the circuit properly.

When I had stopped shaking (and that took quite a while) I decided that I had to get back on the horse once more before I left, so I borrowed the crash helmet again and got back in the 5. This time there was no one on the circuit and no one waiting so I just swung around the gate and onto the circuit at speed. I did my 3 uneventful laps, noticed for the first time that the hairpin got tighter as you got around it which explained the twitchyness I had experienced going around it before and pulled off the circuit for the last time.

The cold was getting into the bones by now and we decided to head for home. I phoned Simon who was waiting to go the circuit again and he said he would make his own way back. We said our goodbyes and thanks to Ailsa who with David Scott, had organised the day and started to go when, stood behind us was Simon, visibly shaking. [in my defence, it was bloody cold - Simon]  He'd also just had an off at the same place as I did and for the same reasons. That corner will have to be worked on I think.

This was my first day on a track in my 5 and I doubt that it will be my last. The sprint track is great: loads of room to mess things up and alone on the track so no pressure. 3 laps does nothing to tyres and brakes so only the driver is under any stress - the car is fine. I'd like to do it hood down so I can keep my normal driving position, but February in Ayrshire is not the place to go hood down. I'll be back and I may spend my pocket money on a crash helmet too so I can play out whenever I want!

[by Graeme Babbs]


First off, thanks to Dave and Ailsa Scott for organising an excellent day at the track!!

Despite the atrocious weather, 5 cars and their respective owners from the MX5 club braved the elements and made their way from Edinburgh down the A70 to Kames.  (It's probably worth noting that the A70 is perfect for the MX5 and provided an exhilerating run back home.)  The event was very well attended by members of the SS-R club.  Cars present from the club included Mitsubishi FTOs, a Subaru Impreza, Nissan Skyline (super/turbo charged), a Peugot 206 Rally, an Audi A6 (?) and a Mazda Eunos.

Quote of the day had to come from Graeme Babbs (who else) :
"That was my first time on the track, and my first time off the track"

This was in reference to his little grass mowing exercise after changing down a gear which provided a little bit too much engine braking, despite being advised by Dave that braking hard at that point would result in the back end slipping out.  Never mind Graeme, Simon did almost exactly the same thing half an hour later (although he managed to keep going!)

Dave and Ailsa, with help from Christine, provided an excellent barbeque style lunch for all the particpants.  Dave also took a few people round the track in his 1.6 Eunos.  If you thought you went fast, try getting in the car with this man (I've just managed to remove the stains).

[by Simon Fraser]


Where do I start.....

Firstly, sorry to anyone I didn't get to say hello to or talk much. Especially Mike who came down to give us all advice on our proposed trip to Nurburgring, but as you know there was no "meeting".


So it's 3am Sunday morning, I've just finished printing off some attendence sheets etc, and I have �0 of food in the fridge. I had serviced the MX5 the previous night and gave it a wash and polish. Had a wee look outside to make sure it hadn't been stolen (as you do). I had received confirmation from about 35 members that they would turn up, the weather report was for cloud but dry, nothing could go wrong, so I went to bed. ;)

Yahooo! time to get up, but hey, what's all that crap falling from the sky???? They said it would.....BA****DS!!!!!!!!.

As I drove to the park to meet the few people I knew would turn up it just got heavier and heavier. Ailsa phoned me and we just had a laugh about it all.

Surprise! 7 cars already there, with another three turning up after me. This could be OK I thought. Marc asked me to lead the way, now I'm not sure if this was to keep everyone down at a sensible speed or because he wasn't sure of the way, maybe he was just intimidated by the awesome power and handling of the MX-5 ;-)

On arrival at kames there were already about 5 or six cars there, with more following in behind us. I thought it would be a good idea to get the Tea urn fired up straight away as the rain was falling sideways by this point, lol. But guess what? Eddie, (the guy who lives in the connecting house) had already filled it up and switched it on and it was bubbling away. What a hero!!

More people arrived.

I took a few newbies round the track to give them an idea of what to do before they ventured out on their own. The track felt VERY nice. Incredible amount of grip despite the torrents of rain.

Even more people arrived.

It was pretty obvious by now that the BBQ was going to be a wash-out, so with my tail between my legs I nipped round to have a chat with Eddie. After several minutes of hysterical laughter at my plight, he very kindly agreed to allow me use of the canteen kitchen. Things just kept getting better ;-) With the help of Christine and Ailsa I immediately started cooking bacon rolls for the early birds.

Still more people arrived

The "kithen staff" are now cooking for Scotland! I glance out the window and there's just a sea of top cars, Skylines, FTO's, MX-5's, Audi's, CRX's, Euro Pocket-rockets, the list goes on. "I have created a monster" lol.

Yet more people arrive.

Finally finish the food duty at about 1pm, so it's time for some track fun.

"Where the hell did all those divets and tyre marks on the grass come from", what have you all been doing while I've been in the kitchen ;-) It seems that some were getting a little carried away and took to the grass, someone even managed to wack a tyre wall but hopefully nothing too serious, let me know POVEY and GUS, hahaha.

We did some timed laps, with Euan, Mark and Neil on stopwatch and flag duties, but the wind was getting colder by the second.

A bit of bad luck with Euans Gearbox leaking oil forced a red card from me I'm afraid, but he admitted defeat graciously. Hope they fix it right next time matey :-(

By about 3.30 things started to wind down and people started heading home, either shaking with excitement, cold or fear lol.

Some kind souls stayed behind with me to clean up the mess. It's only fair that we leave the track the way we found it so we all grabbed a brush or rake and walked round the track, seeping away the stones we'd chucked on to the track and raking the "tyre flattened" grass, you know who you are ;-)

Absolutely TOP day out with probably the worst weather I've EVER seen at Kames. We really are a group of completely insane people, but in a good way lol.

If this is an indication of the sort of turn-out we can expect at an event in deepest winter then just wait for the better afraid, be very afraid.

I'll talk about funds etc in another mail. This one is just to say thanks to all who turned up, especially those who helped out with cooking, money retrieval ;-), urn control, soup supplies, flag duties and cleaning up. If I've missed anyone, I wouldn't be surprised lol.

Quotes of the day:

"It was my first time on a track, and the first time off a track"
Graeme Babbs, Green MX5

"It's so cold, at one point as I was going round the track my BLACK- ICE warning indicator lit up!"
Neil, White Sierra XR-4X4

Dougie, when I drove him round the track for the first time ;-)

See you at the next one people (April the 7th)
[by Dave Scott]

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