At last! They're here!! A bit delayed what with one thing and another - so without further ado.....
The day started with us all arriving around 11:30 at Brands Hatch and having a bit of a gas before going in to register etc. We could see the morning group all going round the track in the VXRs so the excitement was building!
Once we registered, it was time for us to have lunch - a pretty decent buffet lunch as it happened. We'd pretty much taken over one table and were all sat having lunch and a laugh. The racing drivers and instructors were one floor down having their lunch, and different (nicer) food - swines! lol
Next minute, in walks Tom Chilton, carrying lunch on a plate, walks over to the empty seat next to me and asks "Can I sit here?" I kid you not!! So what did I say? Well, the obvious really..... "No off!! This table's only for Vectra-C.com members!!" Okay, what I really said was "Wibble, wibble, err, umm, derr, duh" Okay, what I really (honestly) said was, casually, "Sure, have a seat" And here's the proof!....
How cool was that! - and he sat and chatted to us for ages as well. Top bloke!
The afternoon session was split into two groups - one going on the track first, the other doing the handling activities. We got to go on the track first!!
Thanks to Diane for taking a bunch of pics when we were racing around the track. A selection here, but I'll leave her to post others that she took.
If you'd gone on the Track Day, you too could have worn this cool helmet and fetching red hair net!!
Some fancy pants brought their own helmets!!
A Happy Harry!
Duncan gets acquainted with the VXR8
"So if I push it here does the horn go?!!" I have no idea what I was actually doing there! LOL
Do ya think he enjoyed that? Mark (GSi3.2) after a whizz in a Vectra VXR
At the end of the day, we all got a print of a pic of us taken in the first car we went out in. I managed to collar the photographer and he let me browse through his memory cards to find the original files - so I grabbed mine and everybody else's pics!
Harry in the Astra
G. O'Rilla in the *cough* Meriva
Harry's bro (Chris?) in the Astra
GSi3.2 in the Vectra
VectraV6CDTi in the Vectra
Spoons in the VXR8
Duncan in the VXR8
We all got a good number of laps in the cars and some chose to stick with only two or three models, others tried as many as possible. I drove everything except the Meriva - I just couldn't do it!! LOL
My thoughts after driving each of them....
Corsa - I thought this was soooo much fun. Handled really nicely and just felt very good as an overall package. Could do with a bit more oomph, but it's certainly no slouch. I think I may be able to persuade Mrs Duncan into one of these when she comes to change hers!
Astra - some guys weren't impressed with these, but then they wondered if one of them was duff as a lot of us thought they were great - me included! It handled really well, not quite as tight as the Corsa, but the engine was more of an animal and it took off like a scalded cat when you gave it the beans.
Vectra - Lurrrrverly sound this makes with the V6 burbling, turning into a roar when you put the fut down. Handling was very smooth for a car of this size and it didn't hang around either. Power delivery is very smooth,and deceiving, and before you know it you're going very rapidly.
Zafira - my least favourite. The higher central of gravity just made it not as good a handler as the others and it was the one that I felt least confident in to chuck around.
VXR8 - This has got a beauuuutiful sound and delivers power very smoothly, but still with a bit of a kick. It doesn't give you the same kick in the back effect that you seemed to get with the Astra, which may make people think it's not as quick - believe me, it's quick - it's just very deceiving!! Other guys posted up that on the other track days they were told to keep it in fourth - maybe due to the different tracks. At Brands, the guy I got was happy to get the car revving so told me to change down to third at relevant points, and when you floored it it took off!
What I really enjoyed was having the instructors in the car with you all the time, giving you pointers, making sure you got the best approach for corners and when to stick the gas on etc. - it made you get the best out of the cars and enjoy the day more.
As it got closer to the end of the session, I wanted to make sure I got my hot laps (2) with either Tom Chilton or Paul O'Neill - so as I saw that the queue had died down for that I nipped over. An Astra and Corsa pulled up and I went for the Astra, to then find that it was being driven by Tom - and the Corsa by Paul. So off we went. Got to the first corner and BANG!!! - Tom had flicked the wheel left then right, floored it and next thing we were sideways!! For the next two laps there proceeded to be what can only be described as two nutters playing cat and mouse. At times the Corsa was inches off my mirror, also going sideways, and then it'd come down the inside but Tom then took him on the inside on the exit as he'd got the better line. This went on for two laps and I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it!! How they could do that it a front wheel drive I don't know!!
So, after the session ended, it was time for our handling activities. This comprised of two parts. First was the 'parallel parking' with a handbrake turn. i.e you approached parallel to a gap between two (inflatable) cars, turned the car in sharply and with the handbrake did a 180 turn into the space. That was the idea anyway!!
So, I drew the lowest number so I was first up!! - and here was my first go...
Approaching the gap.......
...getting closer, judging the turn.....
...start turning it in....
....turn it in tighter and starting to yank on the handbrake....
....bosh! - job done!! Not bad I thought! Chuffed to say that I was the only one in our whole group to get it in (ooer missus) like that.
"No Diane, it goes.....I'm a little teapot....."
Paul Swift then proceeded to show us how to do it using two real cars!!
Next part was the autotest - obstacle course basically.
Steve burning off some rubber on one of his runs - later to be crowned champion of our group as he previously posted.
I have no idea where Paul Swift's other hand is, but it's certainly had an effect on Spoons and brought a smile to his face!!
Diane (Mrs Spoons) blags a ride with Paul Swift when he goes to show us how it's done. Methinks she looked a bit apprehensive!!
Woooohooooooooo!!! Faster Paul, faster!! Steve drives much faster than this!!
And that was basically our day - summarised in a few pics and words, but it was much, much more than that!!
For £95 it was an absolute bargain!!!! If I'd known exactly what you got for your money I'd have booked up more than one track!
Thoroughly enjoyed it, Vx looked after you very well, good to meet old and new faces and get to spank some VXRs around a track and try and kill a few Astra 1.6s!!