Story: Randy Stagno Navarra
Certainly for me excitement levels are high. Seems forever since I’ve done a track day. Plus Phillip Island is a great circuit and one of my favourites, I couldn’t wait for the working week to end so I could head down to the Island.
Saturday dawned and it looked like it was going to be a perfect day and, with a shot of coffee to get the morning started, it’s off to the circuit we go.
As always one of the highlights of getting to the track is meeting up with everyone. This is my 10th year of motor sport with the Club so I’ve been lucky enough to build a great extended Club family. One person I always enjoy catching up with as soon as I can is Robert Downes, whom I regard as my mentor. I’ve always enjoyed the tussles we had when I first started and his words of wisdom were, and still are, always welcome.
So, lots of hellos and well wishes, lots of smiles and happy people who were about to take on the Island … and, more importantly, the weather was great. Plus today held a bit more importance for me as my dad was competing as well. Not in a MX-5, mind you … but at least his Mini starts with M!
Scrutineering and drivers’ briefing out of the way and off we went for the first session. Two corners in and I knew it was going to be a bad day in the office. I’d been chasing a miss all week and thought I’d solved the issue. I was wrong, couldn’t even rev the car past 6,000rpm! Ah well, back in the pits to see if anything can be done. Swapping the coil packs around was a desperate measure but it seemed to work. Rather than a constant miss it became a random miss. My day was done. It became a test day for me, trying a few different things to see if they worked out. Still ended up enjoying myself – how could I not?
Turned out to be a great day for quite a few people. Great fun chatting in the pits and hearing what was going on out there. Now, social members might not know this … but we are a competitive bunch. There are small groups of drivers who are always trying to best their mates.
One of the most competitive is the “Noel, Peter and Max Class”. The sledging that goes on between these guys would make an Aussie cricketer blush. They definitely take no prisoners. As always, Brendan Beavis flew the flag in his well-modified aero machine to scare some of the guys in cars with fancy brand names. And per normal Paul Ledwith was hard on his heels, followed by Russell Garner.
Most impressive to me was Colin Denman-Jones (right). I always enjoyed the tussle with Colin in Standard NC Class, but now with a few quality mods on his car he has really shown what a well-driven NC can do. His time of 1:55.7 is tremendous and well worth mentioning. It’s fantastic to see all his hard work finally rewarded. It was good to chat with a few of the new guys and hear about their experiences on a new track. The comments are always positive and you can’t wipe the smile off their faces.
On a personal level I enjoyed spending the day with my dad, from whom I got my love of motor sport. It’s only his second event after a 30-year break and, after each session, he was really happy to have knocked a few seconds off his initial time – which is what our track days are all about. I was lucky to do three laps in his Mini JCW GP, but that is a story for another day.
So, time to get my car sorted and ready for the next track day. Can’t wait!