Tuesday 17 November 2015

Track Day

file under: engineering boasting

In the 70s imported motorcycles were invariably fitted with very hard, very cheap, very long-lasting tyres made by Chang Shin. If he valued his life the first thing that the owner would do was to put on a proper set of Avon or Dunlop tyres. I don't know if it's common parlance, but among my brothers "Chang Shin Suicide Tyre" is code for any hard and slippery rubber.

This weekend I was taken on a track day at Castle Combe by my friend in his Mazda RX8. Castle Combe is a difficult and dangerous circuit, 30% of all UK motorsport accidents happen on one particular corner there. It rained hard all day, and unbeknown to us, his car was fitted with chang-shin-suicide-tyres. It was good fun and very instructive and I think we were close to the ragged edge much more of the time than all the people who turned up with really fast cars and good tyres. The only things that we went past were the MGB, the Morris Minor, the Subaru that lost its exhaust pipe, the Clio that popped its oil cooler, the BMW that smashed into the tyre wall and oddly the Noble (probably being operated at that moment by the owner's granny).

The trick to circuit driving seems to be to do everything at a leisurely pace. Don't brake too early, don't turn in too early, don't apex too early, don't put all the power down too early, and when you're going sideways, don't panic too early.

Richard "Avon Roadrunner" B

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