Thursday 23 June 2022

Caterham Track Day Tyres

 These are my thoughts on choosing track day tyres for a Caterham. I have sets of 14" and 15" wheels. I don't know anything about 13" wheels with your low gears and ground clearance, or your tall diffs, or your tall wobbly sidewalls. I also drive my car to track days, so I'm only going to be talking about road-legal tyres.

Toyo R888-R

These are my favourite tyres, as long as there's not a lot of water. They're available in 14" and 15". They're about in the middle of the price range for semi-slicks. They have a very sturdy construction and stiff sidewalls. The grip they provide is excellent and you get quite a lot of use out of them. They're asymmetric so you can't flip them around on the wheel, this does mean that once you have worn out the outside shoulder the whole tyre is used up. The technical documentation for them says that the front suspension should have as much caster as the chassis will support. I think this is to try to get more of the width of the tyre on the ground during cornering. I have done this, but I still always wear them out on the outside.

Nankang NS2-R

These are a cheaper track day tyre. They're available in 14" and 15" They're very sturdy and have stiff sidewalls and you get a lot of wear out of them. They're directional so you can flip them over to even out the wear. I have only got on well with them when the weather is hot, when the circuit is bone dry, and when you've already warmed them up. In the cold they're terrible, and in the wet they're dangerous. What's odd is that people race MX5's on these in all weathers and they get on fine. My guess is that they will come up to temperature OK on a slightly heavier car, but that it's hard to get enough heat into them on a Caterham.

Avon ZZR

I've never used these. I believe that they're the top of the range semi-slick for our cars. I think they're 15" only. They're also too expensive, too hard to come by (I think you have to buy them from BMTR or Caterham), and I'm given to understand that they degrade thermally very quickly.

Avon ZZS

I've never used these. I believe that they're the top of the range all rounder for wet and dry. I think they're 15" only. They're also expensive and they're soft, so you don't get a lot of use out of them.

Uniroyal Roadsport 5

This is what I use in the rain. Only available in 15". The grip is pretty good, and they're pretty forgiving to drive on. They're not a particularly high performance tyre and they have very soft sidewalls. The whole car does feel rather detached and wobbly but you can corner and brake even in standing water.

Avon CR28

Available in 14" and 15". I've never used these because I'd wear out a set just getting to the track, but I believe they're the absolute best for wet conditions. They're a road-legal, soft compound, full-wet motorsport tyre.

Richard "Michelin Man" B

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Quiz 4

 At the weekend I hosted the canteen quiz. It's mostly the same quiz that I did at my niece's wedding. Have a go:

General Knowledge
1) What animal are dogs descended from?
2) What fruit is wine made from?
3) In which town do the Flintstones live?
4) How many games were there in "Squid Game", including the game with the recruiter?
5) How many claws on an ordinary domestic cat?

Music (And The) (give the name of the band leader)
1) And the Pips
2) And the Heartbreakers
3) And the Stooges
4) And the Four Seasons
5) And his Comets

English Kitchen -> American Kitchen (translate to American)
1) Crisps
2) Chips
3) Biscuits
4) Courgette
5) Pudding

Early Work
1) Which guitar god played on “It’s Not Unusual” as a session musician and later co-wrote a song so overbearingly popular that it mustn't be played in guitar shops?
2) Which actor went from playing a hotdog-purchasing condiment snob in a 1987 advert to a lead role in one of the most successful sitcoms ever seven years later?
3) Which film director made both 1981’s “Piranha 2: The Spawning” (tagline: The terror is back...but this time it flies! A new breed of terror!) and the highest-grossing film of all time.
4) Which Booker-winning author came up with the “Naughty, but nice” slogan for cream cakes, then later made headlines by disappeared from public view after an especially bad book review?
5) Which iconic musician, known for his various colourful stage personas, won six Grammy awards in his lifetime. None of which were for his 1967 novelty single, The Laughing Gnome.

Famous Vehicles (give the type of vehicle)
1) Titanic
2) Spirit of St. Louis
3) Flying Scotsman
4) Enola Gay
5) Thrust 2

Explain a Film Plot Badly (name the film)
1) An officer on a space tug saves the ship's cat, but none of the crew, from an aggressive parasite.
2) Plot to assassinate two princesses is foiled by a reindeer, snowman, and ice seller.
3) Schizophrenic man competes with himself for control of a boxing society.
4) A man's car runs out of fuel on his way to disrupt a wedding after he has already slept with the mother of the bride.
5) Local law enforcement and marine biologist disagree on beach safety procedures.

Cryptic Rock

American Kitchen -> English Kitchen (translate to English)
1) Egg Plant
2) Hard Cider
3) Arugula
4) Jello
5) Cilantro

Sibling Rivalry (give the surname)
1) Aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur
2) Novelists Charlotte, Emily, Anne (also Branwell)
3) Musicians Liam and Noel
4) Tennis players Venus and Serena
5) Fairy tale collators Jacob and Wilhelm

Old Jokes Home (fill in the question)
Example: My wife went to the West Indies. _____? No She went of her own accord! Answer: Jamaica?1) My wife went to South Korea to join a band. _____? No they play R&B!
2) My wife's allergic to the sugar in milk. _____? No her feet are fine!
3) I got a job in a bowling alley. _____? No it's full time!
4) One of my wife's sister's children went to the south of France. _____? No it was her nephew!
5) My wife hurt her foot climbing a volcano. _____? No she twisted her ankle!


1) Wolves
2) Grapes
3) Bedrock
4) Seven - recruiter round, red light - green light, honeycomb, tug of war, marbles, glass stepping stones, squid game.
5) 18

1) Gladys Knight
2) Tom Petty
3) Iggy Pop
4) Franky Valley
5) Bill Halley

1) Chips
2) Fries
3) Cookies
4) Zuccini
5) Dessert

1) Jimmy Page
2) Matt LeBlank
3) James Cameron
4) Salman Rushdie
5) David Bowie

1) Ship
2) Plane
3) Train
4) Plane
5) Car

1) Alien
2) Frozen
3) Fight Club
4) The Graduate
5) Jaws

1) True
2) 1964
3) Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson etc. (Name a member of The Band)
4) Yes, moderately
5) Take the Skinheads Bowling (Name a Camper Van Beethoven song)

1) Aubergine
2) Cider
3) Rocket
4) Jelly
5) Coriander

1) Wright
2) Bronte
3) Gallagher
4) Williams
5) Grimm

1) Seoul?
2) Lactose?
3) Ten pin?
4) Nice?
5) Krackatoa?

Friday 10 June 2022

Chequered Flag

 In creative works the more constrained you are, the more inventive and expressive you have to be. For example In a novel the author can witter away for thousands of words to try to get some point across, in a haiku it has to be done in a handful of words. One of the highest forms of art is good-natured mickey taking, and at the weekend I saw someone do it well with only a flag.

I was at a track day on the jubilee weekend. When you're driving on circuit it's loud and you're moving quickly so the only way that the marshals can communicate with you is with flags. I was told that it was a good idea to wave back at a marshal with a flag so that they know you've seen them. On a track day the only meaning that the chequered flag conveys is that the circuit is about to close, they're non-competitive days so you haven't won anything. At the weekend I was the first car to pass one of the chequered flags and as normal I gave the marshal a little thumbs up. In response the marshal started waving the flag in an exaggerated and flamboyant way – as thought I'd just won a career-defining race. I'm pretty sure that the meaning (as well as "please leave the circuit") was "don't look so pleased with yourself, this flag is just a formality".

Richard "Podium" B