There is more to come on the March Spa trip with Javelin and Bookatrack – but this post needs to lead the pack for chronological and psychological reasons.
You see, I had a bit of an incident. I made a big mistake and only by luck did I escape unscathed. Afterwards I told the tale to others, but all that happened before I had a chance to review the video footage, and I still haven’t. So I thought it might be interesting, given my past history of mis-remembering track events, to post my recollection of events *before* I check the footage.
Now, of course, it’s not representative, because I *know* I’m about to check the footage and post it here, so I can’t exaggerate, misrepresent, or do any of the other pub-talk-bollocks that we can all inwardly admit happens when we know we can’t get called out on the facts.
But that’s the point. It’s an experiment. I’m going to write it *exactly* as I remember it. Then, and only then, we’ll all find out together what actually happened. And my faulty memory will be hung out to dry in front of you all.
I know you won’t believe that’s what I’m actually doing. I wouldn’t, if I were reading this. There’s nothing I can do about that. It’s *my* experiment. I’m doing it do learn about myself. I’m genuinely curious.
Right. Here goes.
So I was coming out of that nameless left after Rivage, approaching Pouhon. Immediately before that, I’d just caught and passed a green Exige that seemed reluctant to let me past and seemed equally desperate to keep on my tail. So I was filled with that stupid big-balls-just-passed-a-faster-car-what-a-fucking-hero bullshit that always precedes an “incident”. Leading onto the straight I can see the blue Clio and 997 GT3RS 3.8 ahead of me. I’ve seen this Clio before at the start of the session, he seems to have no way of letting people past (indicators, visible wave), so he seems to just move over and lift. So I’m expecting that to happen before Pouhon. I also know from earlier in the session that his straight-line performance is much the same as mine, so from that I can tell when he’s lifted. Happy days.
So I’m halfway down the straight towards Pouhon and I’ve caught the Clio, so I know he’s lifted for me, so I move to the left and pull alongside. There’s a gap in front of him before the Porsche, which I don’t have enough time to catch, so my intention is to drop between the two, take Pouhon, then take the Porsche before Fagnes. But now I’m alongside I’m thinking, actually, that Clio didn’t lift, he just got a poor exit. And he’s still not lifting, despite the fact I’m alongside him.
Oh crap … now it’s getting worse … the Porsche guy (I assume, projecting myself into his cockpit) has been watching this chavvy Honda bearing down on him and thinks that this cockbucket is going to make a desperate lunge down the inside. So he’s braking hard. That, combined with the Clio not lifting, means that the nice big gap I was aiming for no longer exists.
So I now have no choice but to brake as hard as I can and take Pouhon with the Clio outside me. I’m already outside the rules because I’m “overtaking” in the braking zone (a big no-no). I can’t dive down the inside of the Porsche because I might have read the situation wrong and he might turn in. Oh shit. Anchors a-go-go.
But I can’t.
Well, I did, but I still can’t.
You see, we’re on a drying track. My head was in the braking zone for the dry line on the right. But I’m not on the right, I’m on the left. The left is still piss-wet. The left is still in the state in which we were all doing 30-second slower laps because you can’t accelerate, turn or, most importantly, BRAKE properly on pissy tarmac. So I’m all wanked up. I lock up, I release, I lock up, I release, I lock up, I release, I turn, I pray to fuck the Porsche guy has seen me otherwise he’s going to have a big H imprinted on his passenger door that I’m going to feel compelled to pay for because this was all my fault.
And then it was all fine. The Porsche didn’t turn in. I carried on. I took a deep breath. I took the next chicane as if nothing had happened. And the guy in the Porsche behind probably thought, justifiably, what an utter bell-end that Integra driver was.
I made a point of finding him afterwards and apologising. It was, without a doubt, my biggest balls-up in nearly 20 years of track driving. And thank you, Ben, for being aware enough to let me get away with my cock-up, and for being such a gentleman about it afterwards. I hope my error didn’t put you off what is such a rewarding hobby. You did everything right – keep doing that and you’ll be just fine, even when loonies like me try and take you out!