Took part in a Midland Automobile Club sprint today at M.I.R.A. (Motor Industry Research Association) near Nuneaton. It was a chilly, windy day but the rain held off at least until after my runs.
No cameras are allowed at MIRA, (no spectators either) for fear that we will leak news of a new model that’s there testing – and mobile phones had to be stickered as you can see. So, apologies for the lack of photos this week.
There were only two MX5s – myself and Tony Thomas (who holds the class record (61.48). My previous best time was 65.05 last year and I was pleased to better that with 63.40 and Tony also bettered his previous best with a new class record in his 2 litre Mk 3 of 60.72. I do find it frustrating though as I’m a slow learner of tracks and four runs a year isn’t enough for me to really get to grips with the place, but it’s the same for everyone so I can’t really complain.
While spectating after my first timed run I witnessed one of the worst accidents I’ve seen in hillclimbing and sprints. Sure there have been a few big accidents at events I have attended but this one happened right in front of me.
Darren Spooner carried a lot of speed through turn two and got out of shape entering the straight that leads down to the control tower. His car, a Peugeot 309, left the track, took to the grass and headed down towards the control tower at great speed. There is a timing display on a service road in front of the tower and his car careered into this, hit the road, flipped into the air and rolled, landing the right way up. Thankfully the driver’s door opened and Darren got out unharmed. The car appeared to be a write-off and if it had been left hand drive he might not have been so lucky as the windscreen popped out in the roll and the A pillar on the left hand side collapsed. He had a rollover bar but not a full cage. Now I understand why Paul Webster fitted a full cage into his MX5. Mira seems to be unforgiving if you get onto the grass – this is where John Gallagher rolled his MX5 in 2009.
Next week – Wiscombe Park in Devon with no fewer than eight MX5s entered. Should be fun.