Rookie Phil makes a solid start in first outing

Published on: 31 Oct 2014

After months of planning and preparation, Phil Oliver finally made it to his first sprint at Clay Pigeon Raceway.  Andy Laurence joined the convoy from Downend.  The weather was good and he had three other Mazda MX5s to compete against, all of which were on superior tyres.  Undeterred, Phil put in some solid times throughout the day, improving on each run to finish 3rd of the four Mazdas.  Meanwhile, Andy Laurence was having a slow day, struggling to get to grips with the cold temperatures and a severe dose of “Man Flu” resulting in two spins.  He finished the day first in class, but some way off his best times.

Phil didn’t have long to wait before his next sprint, which was at the fearsome Castle Combe. 

I nearly ended the second practice facing the wrong way on track, however I managed to hold it and later was told I got five out of 10 for the drift around Quarry Corner!  By the time the first timed run was started, the track had dried.  My confidence had increased and so I went for it and got a time I was very happy with.  On the second run, I pushed it more, but I wish I pushed harder!  Anyway, I went faster and ended the day in 8th place in my class of 14.  Not bad for a rookie!”

After the event, Phil had a big fat smile on his face and plans for next year; upgrade the suspension and drive faster!  He’s hoping that he may win a trophy next season.

Also at Castle Combe that day was Andy Laurence, guest driving Chris Buckley’s Radical SR8.  Andy hadn’t driven a Radical SR8 before and was nervous about driving such a powerful car that’s capable of 178mph in the wet on slick tyres.  He took it gently in the morning, but as the track dried out in the afternoon, his confidence built and he pushed hard.  The result was his first ever outright win.

With the end of the tarmac motorsport season comes the start of the off-road season.  Andy will be marshalling at the Roy Fedden Sporting Trial in Old Down on Rememberance Sunday, where cars climb up muddy hills so steep you’ll struggle to climb them on foot.  Two weeks later, he’ll be navigating for a friend on the Allen Classic Trial, which starts at The Bull in Hinton and navigates some of the steepest muddy lanes in the hills around Bristol.  Search Bristol Motor Club on Facebook or your favourite search engine to find out more about the events or to get right up close to the action as a marshal.

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