Croft 14 May 2017

20170514_082835Croft circuit in North Yorkshire, famous these days for hosting a round of the British Touring Car Championship, was the venue for Round 2 of this year’s Toyota Sprint Series.

I drove the Giallo up there on Saturday and met with others from the TSS and
Toyota GT86 & Subaru BRZ Drivers Club at a nearby Premier Inn where we all stayed the night. I must say that the  GT86 & BRZ Drivers Club is an exceptionally friendly and welcoming group of people and we had a good afternoon talking cars in the bar before going through to dinner in the restaurant. This meetup ahead of events is apparently a traditional thing which happens before every event. I like it.

Before this weekend I had thought that the Toyota Sprint Series was a relatively new championship, so was quite surprised to learn it has been running for ten years.  All sorts of Toyotas take part including  more than one Yaris (I have no idea what the plural is) and this weekend a Prius, and in Class X. for non Toyota cars, there was an electric Nissan Leaf. But the biggest class is Class N1 for GT86s and BRZs.

It was my first visit to Croft and even allowing for the fact that my car is completely standard and on Michelin Primacy rubber, I was very slow. Still, it was a real joy to drive a fast flowing circuit with high speed bends. So different to hillclimbs and circuits like Llandow and Curborough with which I am more familiar.

Like Round 1, the event was excellent value for money with two sighting laps in convoy, two practice runs and eight competition runs. And then at the end of the day we were allowed some fun runs and to take a passenger and  Alec Keeler and Kevin Atkins kindly invited to me to sit in with them for a few laps. It was a real wake up call! I had been braking far too early for the first corner, taking the wrong line around Hawthorne and not taking Barcroft of Sunny flat.  It also made me realise just how well these GT86s/BRZs handle (and how well others can drive). Now I want to do it all again, but it was a long drive up to Croft from Kinver and I’m committed to other events this year so I guess it will have to wait until TSS 2018.

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Here are some more photos.

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Lauren and Chengyi look for a crack in Chengyi’s exhaust. Axle stands were soon rushed to the scene.

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I include this photo for Ken Morris who has a similar MX5 Merlot. It was also a round of the Mazda Sprint Series.

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My car behind Stuart’s Aero. The compressor and tyre pressure gauge by my front wheel were in constant use as I picked up a slow puncture on my first timed run.  Before the start of one of the runs there was a delay and I jumped the queue to get to the front, worried that if I didn’t, the tyre would lose too much air. I have no idea what everyone thought I was doing.

My journey home was about four hours but I had to stop every half an hour to re-inflate the tyre. This was a bit of a pain, but the upside was that I got to see this place in a service station just south of Darrington on the A1. I hope someone’s slapped a preservation order on that one!

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This morning the tyre was completely flat so I inflated it again and took it to National Tyres. Unrepairable apparently. Holed near the sidewall.  This presented me with a dilemma because I didn’t really want to buy another Primacy but had intended to get wider wheels before buying a better set of tyres. I know someone in the club will probably say they have a spare Primacy at the back of the their garage, but I have no time to sort things out and am racing on Saturday at Loton Park, so decided to get four new Yokohama Advan Sports for the stock 7 inch wheels.

The Italian word for yellow is ‘giallo’, which is what my limited edition GT86 is called. Eight-six were produced and you hardly ever see more than two together, so when two others showed up to spectate we got them together and Adam Delaney, who owns the one on the far left, took a picture.

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The one on the right belongs to Duncan and had traveled down from Edinburgh. His engine bay was quite impressive.

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Adam also took a few photos of me on track…

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Once again I picked up a trophy. First in class and only me in Class N2. Can’t go wrong 🙂 However, with the Yokohamas I will be in Class N1 next time and probably last, so I’ll make the most of this one.

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My next event is this weekend at Loton Park where I am surprised to find myself leading Class 2 of the Loton Championship! So different to Croft.  Then unfortunately I’ll have to miss round 3 of the TSS as we’re driving to Spain. That should scrub in those Yokos nicely.

 

 

 

 

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