Dutton Kit Cars and their owners

Standard post-autotest blog entry

Good evening chaps.

Currently sitting here with a very sore right arm. Nope, not had a romantic evening in with myself, just been autotesting all day. Christ, that Phaeton's a fair shift to hustle around. Think I'll sleep well tonight! Anyway, had another cracking day. Car continues to be completely reliable in the face of absolutely no maintenance. Takes a beating from a couple of dickheads all day long and just keeps taking it. Very impressed.

Had a good day driving, too. Double-entered with co-owner Steve again, two of us in a class with a Rover Special - basically a Metro with the front wings, bonnet, windscreen and not much else. The guy driving it can really pedal it, so the odds of a class win were pretty much nil. However, we had a couple of Mazda MX5s and the usual selection of front drive tin to play with.

The first couple of tests I pretty much botched - kept hitting penalty markers which was ruining my pretty good times. A good way into the day I was sitting stone dead last while Steve was looking fairly handy. Luckily for me, he managed to cock up pretty well with a double-WD just as I got into a rhythm. It seems to me that this is a car you need to find your mojo with and settle into, it's hard just to hop into and pedal it.

So, having left Steve behind I started closing on my pal John's 14 year old son in a Micra. Might sound like a sorry state to be chasing after a junior, but he's a fairly decent upcoming driver and a Micra's a much easier steed than a Phaeton! One of the tests just suited the car down to the ground and I posted the 2nd fastest time, took 20 seconds off John Jnr and got past him. Next up the chart was the slowest of the MX5 guys - most of my times were quicker than his, but my howling start to the day was still counting against me. With a few tests to go, I'd just about got on level terms with him, when he went over a cone at speed and ripped off his crankshaft sensor. Him and his partner were out of the running, although as they'd done more than 1/3 of the tests they would still be classed as finishers, just taking WD penalty scores for the tests they didn't complete.

Next guy up the scoreboard was 12 seconds ahead, and driving pretty solidly with 2 tests remaining. A big ask, but I'd give it a go.I think from memory I got 6 seconds back from the penultimate test, but he then got 5 ahead again on the last one as I ended up losing the back and doing an extra doughnut on both attempts. Ah well, never mind!

Still, 7th out of 11 is a damned good result as far as I'm concerned - the tests with reversing and j turns do not suit the car at all, but the all-forward ones with lots of 360 degree turns? The car's just made for it. Pretty chuffed with my driving in the afternoon, too. Definitely getting the hand of RWD!

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Comment by Roy Kemp on May 2, 2016 at 21:50
Yeah. And he won the event overall. Damned good driver. There was two blokes sharing the other Mazda - one if whom I'd have probably beaten, the other guy would have been ahead of me. I'm a bit lighter but I'm jealous of their power steering, modern gearboxes and two decades of suspension development!

Need to be sharper out of the blocks next time, the early penalty scores had me on the back foot all day. Goal now is to get in the top half of the field next time. All depends on what competition shows up. Anyway, getting better. Still not especially good, but definitely improving every time out.
Comment by James Doulton on May 2, 2016 at 20:57

Well done. So only one rear-wheel drive ahead of you at the end.

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