Lotus Elan

Castle Combe Club Lotus fast Driving Day 28th May 2011

PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu May 12, 2011 6:51 pm

Anyone going to Castle Combe on the 28th May? My ticket came through today and I'm looking forward to humbling the Elises again, but could do with some logistical support in the paddock...... ie. somewhere to leave my picnic and deckchairs whilst me and Mrs T hoon it round the circuit!

We really could do with a nice dry day this year after last years washout.

Regards and hope to see some of you on the day.
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Thu May 12, 2011 8:40 pm

Spyder fan wrote:Anyone going to Castle Combe on the 28th May? My ticket came through today and I'm looking forward to humbling the Elises again, but could do with some logistical support in the paddock...... ie. somewhere to leave my picnic and deckchairs whilst me and Mrs T hoon it round the circuit!

We really could do with a nice dry day this year after last years washout.

Regards and hope to see some of you on the day.



Trust thy fellow man, you'll be amongst friends there, even if they may have strange accents; just take your wallet with you & check your change in the snack bar.
You know it's going to be a great day & I hope that St. Peter will be kind to all.
I'm so sad that I won't make it this year.
Wishing a great time to all that will be there :D

John

PS Will it be the Duratec Elan or the humble Zetec +2 going there this time?
PPS Will you show me the way to manage that scary track next year?
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri May 13, 2011 6:36 am

Trust thy fellow man, you'll be amongst friends there, even if they may have strange accents; just take your wallet with you & check your change in the snack bar.
You know it's going to be a great day & I hope that St. Peter will be kind to all.
I'm so sad that I won't make it this year.
Wishing a great time to all that will be there :D

John

PS Will it be the Duratec Elan or the humble Zetec +2 going there this time?
PPS Will you show me the way to manage that scary track next year?



John,
It's the humble Elan +2 with the lowly Zetec plus greenstuff pads, XR4i discs and calipers and Yokohama AO48s that's going to do the honours again this year. The Duratec S4 is minus paint and quite a few other important bits at the moment, maybe ready for Donnington.

I normally park next to someone I recognise on the grass and leave the deckchairs etc in my space when I go out for a run, never been a problem and as you say it's a very friendly crowd.

I will swap you a passenger run in my car next year to show you the lines, you will have a great day.
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Fri May 13, 2011 7:43 am

That's a date then!
Hope we bump into each other at Donington.

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sun May 29, 2011 9:27 am

Well having attended Combe on Saturday I came away with a feeling of disappointment. The weather was crap - cold and rainy with the sun finally coming out at about 5pm a bit late.

The weather obviously affected turn out as there weren't that many Elans on show - to be fair to the 6 and 7 guys they turned up in numbers and I didn't see a roof up on a single one - they are the real hardy ones and certainly show up whatever the weather - if you're reading - good on you!

The paddock was full of racing MX5's which someone told me Alan M had allowed in on 'his' day as otherwise he'd have lost money on the day (this is heresay so if wrong I apologise now)and you cannot blame him for that. The alternative would I'm sure have been a half empty field due to the poor turnout.

I am now fearful for the future of this event and I'm pontificating as to whether it will all get merged into one summer weekend incorporating a Track Day and show and Autojumble all at Donington.

I used to like Combe and I wonder if there are any changes we could suggest to Alan to try and save the event for the future. Guaranteed nice weather would be good but I think that is asking a bit much! Personally I think the Autojumble they used to have there was an attraction in itself and brought people in. I know it was always an unofficial thing but what about making it more organised. If a specific area was allocated and Alan charged a nominal fee of say a tenner (and promoted the event via the Club Mag as also being Autojumble) do you think lots more people would come if there were say 10/15 sellers present? I know this might only cover his fuel but I guess it would take virtually no organisational resources up and is better than a poke with a sharp stick!

Any other suggestions to make this more of an event and importantly to make it more economically viable to keep it on as an annual event?

Just my twopenneth Alan and others may disagree
Steve

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PostPost by: LotusElan+217 » Sun May 29, 2011 11:24 am

I have been attending the event for 32 years, never missed a year, and it is always the first date I put on the calender and as long as it continues I will be at Combe come the end of May.

Maybe I am getting old or disillusioned or cynical or just a combination of all three, but I have to say it was easily the worst Combe meeting in all those 32 years and one of which I will not look back on with fond memories. I have never left the day at 2pm before whatever the weather, generally setting off at about between 5 and 6pm as long as there were cars and like minded enthusiasts around.

Upon arrival at my customary 9am I usually notice a few cars scattered around and anticipate a healthy gathering of all models irrespective of the weather forecast, it seems it has rained for probably 7 out of the last 10 years in my recollection, yet the stalwarts still arrive with their pride and joy.

This year I genuinely had a moment of confusion, was I a day late, had the venue been changed, the proliferation of Mazda MX5 race cars surely meant that something was wrong but sadly not. The few Lotuses that had turned up at 9am had been scattered around in a haphazard disjointed way and it didn't really get much better as the day went on and with a steady flow of other cars turning up, it just felt that the Lotus cars were interlopers to the race series and left me feeling very uneasy and sad.

Of course the weather didn't help and taking the MX5's out of the equation it would have been a very sparse looking paddock, and that probably saddens me even more. I love all Lotuses, I currently have 2 +2s, a 1980 Eclat and a 1988 Excel, I sold a racing Exige and a Turbo Esprit last year so at this point last year I had 6, my first love is the Elan, +2 and Europa, I think I counted about 8 Elans, 7 +2 and about 6 Europas, and I was left wondering where the hell all the classic cars were. I have owned an Exige and an Elise Sport 160 so I still like to see the modern cars but when the contemporary models outnumber the classics then it leaves me feeling rather empty and cheated.

Come on all you classic owners, make sure that this year was a one-off and that future Combe meetings will be well attended even if the forecast is for snow!!!! I myself always try to bring one of my cars to the event, unfortunately even I let the side down this year, having just rebuilt the +2 and MOT'd the car at the beginning of the week I took it out for a long test drive to ensure it would make the 300 mile round trip to Combe, it decided to run perfectly for a couple of hours and about 60 miles blasting around the country lanes then approaching home it died and ended up on the back of an AA recovery truck, blocked fuel line due to resting in a garage for 7 years, entirely my fault and with no time to fix I regretfully had to take my boring everyday car.

I love the idea of resurrecting the autojumble and the ONLY way that this will happen is from official intervention from Club Lotus, as long as it is well publicised then it is sure to bring in extra people, how about also a designated area for displaying cars for sale as well, I am always on the look out for cars to add to my collection and usually have at least one car for sale myself.

Long may Combe continue and we can all play our part to ensure that that is the case
Founding member of the society to eradicate the belief that a +2 is not an Elan by those who really ought to know better :)
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sun May 29, 2011 5:07 pm

I must say that on arrival I was surprised at the almost total takeover of the paddock area by the MX5 race fraternity with their cars, transporters, sundry tents and hangers on, there was even a mobile branch of Tony & Guy International to cater for all the hairdressers :lol:

Seriously it spoilt the whole day as it meant that most cars were spread around the paddock wherever they could find room to park and we didn't have the usual sort of congregation on the large grassed area as this was taken up by the MX5 race meeting guys. The only thing that was similar to previous years was the the excellent Historic Lotus Register display with the now familiar faces and cars, many fine examples of early cars on display, just a shame that their owners generally deem them too precious to take out on track other than for the lunch time parade; there was a notable exception with a green and silver type 14 mixing it with the Elise's and other moderns and making a good account of itself and it's driver.

On track was very enjoyable, I managed to totally overheat and grain my nearside (left side) AO48's on the morning session which proves I was trying hard (perhaps too hard) The various Elise's including an SC an Exige and a seriously mental silver M100 tracked up special were all a bit shocked that they were getting caught and passed..... The afternoon session was moderately moist which meant a less spirited run but still very enjoyable to know that an Elise SC can't mix with a Spyder +2 in damp conditions. I thought that there were two Lotus Sunbeams on track with me in the afternoon, but then realised that I had lapped the same car.

I stupidly forgot my camera, but found a few good photo's on the Castle Combe Forum, the photographer obviously has a soft spot for Elans and +2's in particular going by his comment on my car 8) http://www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4676

How can the day be improved for next year? We need a bigger attendance and take up for the track packages, simple as that. We can then get Alan Morgan to insist on a Club Lotus only section of the paddock and he can attract attendance from parts suppliers or dealerships.
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PostPost by: jimj » Sun May 29, 2011 10:30 pm

"The various Elise's including an SC an Exige and a seriously mental silver M100 tracked up special were all a bit shocked that they were getting caught and passed..... The afternoon session was moderately moist which meant a less spirited run but still very enjoyable to know that an Elise SC can't mix with a Spyder +2".

I wish I`d been there, with you, in your imagination....or maybe you`re superman.
Jim
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon May 30, 2011 7:34 am

jimj wrote:
I wish I`d been there, with you, in your imagination....or maybe you`re superman.
Jim


Jim,
I didn't get passed by anything other than the Lotus on Track 2Eleven and Caterham and thats because I let them past knowing they were faster with very good semi pro drivers, instead of being a pratt and getting in the way. However I passed an SC, an Exige, various Elise's (lapped a few) and said mental M100 in the morning session and was lapping slower cars in the afternoon, including the SC that was furiously wagging it's tail trying to hold me off.
My car is a Zetec +2 with serious power and a very tricked out suspension setup, it's shod with Yokohama AO48's and for stopping I use XR4i discs and calipers with Greenstuff pads, I am also an experienced track dayer and certainly not a dreamer, we were hitting over 120mph on the run up to Quarry and I had a passenger.
There were other twincam powered Elans that were showing the modern stuff the way around no problems whatsoever.

Now where did I leave my cape and why did I put my pants on over my trousers :lol:
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PostPost by: AlanM » Tue May 31, 2011 2:48 pm

Well I can tell you all that none of us at Club Lotus enjoyed the day either - and I'm so sorry to be saying that after many, many happy memories of previous Club Lotus days at Castle Combe.

I can only apologise for all the race transporters/motorhomes that were everywhere in the paddock and ruined our intended display areas and with it the day.

The really annoying thing is that I?d complained for the past two years to the Combe management about how the competitors were increasingly encroaching on our agreed areas. Last year they promised it would be much better this year but it was about 300% worse.

I was not a happy bunny when I arrived on Friday afternoon to set up only to discover we had no space. By then of course there was nothing that could be done about it although we did move the circuit access to outside the Strawford Centre to free-up the road and area up to the Avon Bridge and behind the Tavern for Lotus parking.

The problem is that Castle Combe sell Friday as general testing for the Bank Holiday Monday race meeting. Competitors used to just come for the day but now they want to camp out for the whole weekend. Our agreement with Combe is that we have the paddock on Saturday and they should have been made to move out but Combe failed to do this. They have offered their apologies to everybody who was there.

I made my feelings known to the circuit management on Friday and I?ve spoken to them today. We'll have to see what transpires for the future. I don?t want to drop the day as it?s a traditional part of our year and is usually great fun but
clearly we can't have another day like Saturday.

One possibility is to change the date away from the Bank Holiday weekend ? maybe slightly later in the year ? and avoid a race weekend. That way the parking problem will disappear.

Unfortunately the poor weather didn't help us and I know that several people who were scheduled to come and set up parts stalls decided not to come at the last minute because it was wet. PNM were also prevented from coming by different circumstances. Given the state of the paddock, in some ways I was glad they didn't make what would have been a wasted trip.

To clarify the Mazda business. The track wasn't 'shared' with Mazda - all that happened was that I was asked if I would mind if 5 or 6 of the MX5 competitors could have 2 extra sessions as they'd had problems on Friday. As we were about 18 Lotus cars down from last year I agreed as it was obvious that none of our members would be disadvantaged in terms of track time. It wasn't done to simply 'help balance the books' as somebody surmised although we did lose money on the event. It was also agreed that the MX5's would have separate sessions to avoid any conflict on track or accidents caused by bad driving from the MX5's (they don't have a good reputation....).

Unfortunately with hindsight it seems that this was the wrong decision. Perhaps it was because the paddock was strewn with Mazda transporters but some Lotus drivers (and I can understand why) thought we'd somehow decided to share the day or that they'd have less time on track. Nothing could be further from the truth. There's no way I would be stupid enough to compromise or cheat our members and even with the 6 MX5's we ran 10 cars less this year than in 2010.

In the morning we were running sessions with less than 6 Lotus cars so I don't think anyone can complain (and so far nobody has) that they didn't have the opportunity to get out on track because of the Mazda's. When the sun finally came out at around 15.30 and the sessions were full of Lotus, we postponed the last Mazda session until 17.02 - 2 minutes after the scheduled 17.00 closing time for 'our' day - so that our members would not miss out on a dry track.

I hope this clarifies a few things and that we can put last weekend behind us and look forward to a brilliant Donington and a better Castle Combe in 2012.

Alan
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:58 am

Hi Alan,
Thanks for joining the thread and giving a very comprehensive account of the difficulties experienced with the days organisation. I noticed in the Strawford Centre on the wall posters that Combe used to have less than 20 driving days a year including race meetings before the current ownership; now it seems that this has increased to over 200 driving days a year and consequently generates quite a bit of cash primarily for the owners and adds to the local economy (they only mention the local economy).

The Combe management are obviously lacking in their organisational skills and probably won't change any time soon, therefore I think that the club needs to recognise this and change away from the bank holiday race meeting weekend and move to a non race weekend so that there is no clash like this in the future.

Personally I really didn't mind the MX5's going out in their 2 morning sessions, those guys are total loonies and make me look restrained, but they were driving proper stripped out race cars and they were fun to watch. Perhaps an invitation to similar marques such as the TVR owners club to come and join in the fun should be considered for the future.

Regards (member 31981)
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:33 am

Alan - thanks for coming on and clarifying the position with regard to the use of the paddock and explaining the MX5 thing. In my earlier post I did say that what I'd heard was hearsay and apologised if it was wrong. Am happy to apologise again.

Do you think there is any merit in promoting autojumble on the day in the future? it does bring people in without doubt but whether this is a valid arguement (or income stream to help pay for the event) in itself I don't know.

Are you open to suggestions for any other things to assist or do Combe Management put down conditions that do not not allow much else to go on. Combe Track Day is something of an institution and an event that few would like to see disappear from the calendar and if club members can help to save it I'm sure we'd all try to get behind you and support the day.
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:43 am

Well I for one hope that it continues & flourishes.
I recall enjoying mooching around the jumble & dealers stands & have wondered why they have disappeared.
Castle Combe day must be preserved, it's an important part of the Lotus year.
I've been missing it for the past few decades & it's one of the reasons for my return to GB.
If it goes I might have to revise my moving plans :roll:

Cheers
John
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