Lotus Elan

Three Castles (not) Agian...2015

PostPost by: jimj » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:47 pm

Three Castles 2015
Competitive? Blokes? These days if you mention you have a cold, someone will claim to have pneumonia. If you had 2? of snow in the winter, someone will have had 3?. If you say your Indian meal is a bit spicey, well, clearly you`re not a real man, unlike the hero who likes Zindaloo, and if you mention you once met someone famous then some crass name-dropper will claim a personal friendship with whomever.

Ladies, thankfully, don`t seem to be so afflicted but my wife loves competitive rallies so that`s why we did the 3 Castles again, honest?..and don`t tell me that you`re even more honest.

This time there were just 4 crews from our pals; us in the Elan, Roger and Barbara in their Volvo 123GT, Tony and Rodger in Tony`s 100/4 with its rebuilt engine and gearbox going really well, and John and Victor in John`s lovely DB2. R`n`B were favourites to win our personal HVR cup and I`m just glad I chose not to buy a model Volvo to stick pins in. I felt guilty enough just thinking of it when they, really sadly, had gearbox trouble by the end of day 1. So did the other Elan in the rally, Graham and Sean`s super fast Elan lunching its gearbox, and before lunch

Day 1, for us began really well. We were in a class of 7 and, unavoidably, as classes are based on 3 criteria; age, engine size, and experience, sometimes you`re classed with faster cars or vice versa. This year our car, irrespective of driver ability, really should be quickest on the tests and it was, pretty much?subject to errors?not necessarily the driver`s. My navigator; Sweetipants, was not infallible. We started with a test, scoring zero being fastest then a regularity or 2. They were horrible, on single track roads with blind bends and, often, high hedges. Trying to maintain averages of 25 or even 30mph was downright dangerous and if, or rather, when, a car came the opposite way, frantic reversing to a passing place then making up time was just ridiculous. We were dead lucky in not being held up, or crashing, and by late morning were still on zero points. Effectively in joint first place. We were glad to have those narrow single track roads behind us.

The scenery was fabulous, the Marshalling brilliant and the red mist tests just marvellous. The regularities weren`t.

Some years ago the 3 Castles ran regularities on similar narrow lanes when good or bad luck with traffic played a big part in the results and feedback from entrants resulted in a firm assurance that that wouldn`t recur. Mmm.

The best part of doing these events is meeting up with like-minded people and you see a lot of those with start numbers just ahead or behind. This year especially those around us, in our class of course, were great company. You tend to meet up with people from other events, other years, firm friends, acquaintances, and people who`s name you don`t know but you know you`re pleased to see them. I remember one year the organiser; Ian Crammond, describing the 3 Castles as a 3 day party with some motorsport thrown in. There`s a bit of hyperbole in that, there`s no opportunity to throw a few shapes dad dancing, well more grandad dancing given the average age, but it is (meant to be) a very sociable occasion. That`s why we`ve entered so many times.

So, there we were, still in joint first (with many others) at a tight, grippy, go-kart track. It was split into 2 loops, each to be completed twice, then a slalom into a stop inside a box then a stop astride the finish line, LEFT of cone ?E?. I was really pleased with how we, that`s me and the Elan, had done as we stopped in the box then Sweetipants shouted RIGHT of ?E?. The mantra ?Always obey the navigator? rang hollow as we accumulated 60 penalty points. It was through gritted teeth that I reminded Not So Sweetipants of the other mantra; ?Put mistakes behind you and move on?.

Oh, no, more regularities on impossibly narrow lanes, surely not. Yes there were. In fact I`d guess 95% or more of the timed sections over the 3 days were on these, the type of lanes you`d avoid in day to day driving as they give no pleasure. As it happens, on day 1, we made a number of errors but weren`t held up by traffic and were incredibly lucky. On days 2 and 3 I`d guess that on at least half the timed sections we accumulated huge penalties through no fault of our own. The worst was when traffic was not coming towards you, that just lost 30 seconds or so, it was when the traffic was going the same way. They`d be doing a safe 10 to 15mph when we`re meant to be doing twice that and there`s no chance to overtake. It was just so disheartening. These sort of single track tourist routes would be fine for a night time rally, with no-one else about and the the glare of headlights to warn of oncoming traffic.

There is a minority, I know, who will win through. So determined, I`ve heard them boast of hand-on-the-horn, headlight-flashing, driving through front gardens, just bullying other road users out of the way. Well, good luck to them. I overhead, in the sombre (not party) atmosphere in the hotel several usually quite successful crews refusing to behave like that. Hooligan driving might save penalty points but it gets the rest of us, and the sport, a bad name.

The route even took us through farm yards and in one the farmer had clearly had had enough. He closed the gate across the public road and when we went to open it insisted it stayed closed while he moved some sheep. I tried a bit of Welsh with ?Elan-fair-goolies-big? which I think has quite a clear meaning, but he was unimpressed, unamused?..and big. We and others, lost several minutes. ?That`s rallying for you?. No it`s not.

Day 1 finished around 7p.m. Our start time had been 8.05a.m. so we`d been up since 6.45. Day 2 started at 7.05 so we were up at 5.45a.m. What fun? Where`s the party? And we didn`t get back to the hotel until nearly 7 at night. Some were nearly an hour later. What fun? Or rather; What? Fun? I won`t go on, you get the idea, unlike the routemeister.

We didn`t enter an endurance rally, there was no happy buzz in the bar late afternoon as we weren`t back. Everyone seemed a bit depressed with penalty points accrued through no fault of the crews . A big disappointment. It`s `cos blokes are so competitive, you know.

We`d made some silly unforced errors so probably didn`t deserve to come 33rd out of 67, others must have had worse luck. Next time I feel the competitive urge, I`ll have a game of cards.
Jimipants
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PostPost by: jimj » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:49 pm

P.S. before I get sued I should add that many people had a different view and thought the 3 Castles better than ever. Also that`s not how you spell "again".
Jimipants (I quite like that name)
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:17 pm

Thank you Jimi Pants; as usual a great read and good fun. However, it must have been rather disappointing for you and Mrs Pants.

In fact, sounds like this year's 3 Castles was, well, pants!

Tim
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PostPost by: jimj » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:26 am

Tim, yes, I thought so. Apart from the unlevel playing field the mood was just flat.
I`m reminded of one of England`s greatest writers. To paraphrase; " well why don`t we play cards for it? he sneeringly replied. And just to make it interestin` we`ll have a shillin` on the side."

I omitted to mention that the car was just great, sweet, fast, and just perfect for this sort of thing.
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PostPost by: peterexpart » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:51 am

jimj wrote:. To paraphrase; " well why don`t we play cards for it? he sneeringly replied. And just to make it interestin` we`ll have a shillin` on the side."

I omitted to mention that the car was just great, sweet, fast, and just perfect for this sort of thing.
Jimipants


Next you will be claiming to "drive the fastest Lotus in the West" :)
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PostPost by: jimj » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:56 am

Peterexpat, as a student of literature you may appreciate a poem I recently wrote for an HVR competition;


You can hear the tyres swish round as they race across the ground
The sparkle of the wires as the wheels go round and round
As he raced into Shrigley Hall wearing an Aston crest
His name was Roland, the fastest DB5 in the west.

Now Roland had a rival to beat him and that man
It was Lotus Carole from Foolow, driving a Lotus Elan
She said come on let`s have a race, and put it to the test
Will Lotus win or Roland, the fastest DB5 in the west.

Tricked up like a Mini Cooper Roland looks the part
there`s Carole and the Lotus, 2 things close to my heart
The time will come to have the race and see which one is best
Tony says Carole`s looking good but Roland is the fastest DB5 in the west

Come race day Carole decided, to do a race car swap
She didn`t want an easy race, the Lotus clearly top
She lost the race convincingly and now she feels quite sore.
Instead of winning in the Lotus, Carole lost in John`s TR4

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PostPost by: peterexpart » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:43 am

Jim
What a shame they have already appointed a New Poet Laureate !!
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