Lets hear all your Mallory track action stories here.
Thanks to MoT running such a great event. I guess it must be one of the largest turn outs of MX-5s on track together at the same time ever. And I have to say, considering there were people on track of very mixed experience and abilities the driving was some of the most courteous and friendly I have seen. I had a great time in the morning open pit lane session and will definitely be back to Mallory again, its a great little track, with some lovely corners. I particularly liked the hairpin as being somewhat of a hooligan it did afford the opportunity to put the tail out a bit!
Disaster struck when Roadster Robbie, my co driver in the morning came in with a flat tyre! But have no fear, there were at least another 4000 plus spare wheels at Mallory yesterday so on a borrowed wheel, we were soon off again (if you spotted the 10AE in the carpark sitting on 3 wheels and a jack then thats why!) Thanks to Smiffy for the wheel loan and to Capt Muppet as well for the next spare to get me home without having to use a space saver.
A great day all round, lets do it again soon…
I had a lot of fun in the morning session and really had a blast.
However I have to disagree about the comment of courteous and friendly driving. I think some people needed to pay attention in the breifing as there were some who couldn’t have given a f*** about the rules and acted like it was their first time on track.
There were plenty of times where I came up behind another car in a corner where I was going a lot faster, I would back off and put my indicator on early to show that I wanted to get past on one of the overtaking sections. I would pull out alongside, and the car in front would stay stuck on throttle and not let me by, meaning I have to slot back in behind them and negotiate the next set of curves at their pace. This is not exactly a major thing, though, it happens anywhere, especially when all the cars have near enough the same amount of power as was the case yesterday.
That is, except the turbo guys, the guys in faster cars, and these guys were the worst. Passing cars JUST before the hairpin, passing cars on the outside just before devil’s elbow, etc. I saw pretty naff moves from several guys, including the orange Mk1 with white stripe and black lights, the red BBR Mk1 with white stripe, and the banzai Mk1 (rising sun paint scheme, big spoiler) also displayed pretty odd behaviour. The orange silvia cut me up on the chicane, diving in under braking to pass.
The etiquette of some yesterday was 10 times worse than I came across on a Novice day a while ago, there’s just no need, these guys had more than enough grunt to wait until the straights like everyone else.
I was also a bit astounded also that I wasn’t license checked, sound checked or even ticket checked. I never had a wristband for main admission
Well first If Ive upset someone then Im sorry.
There were occasions when I stayed on the right to let fasters cars come thru (which is standard on every other circuit Ive been to)
Only to realise that i should have kept the fast line myself (the Left) and made the other cars go off the racing line.
Id been to Oulton park On Wednesday to give the car a shake down and Get some behind the wheel time.
and overtaking is only on the LEFT There and every other MSV circuit (cadwell , snetterton ,brands etc)
Didnt realise my Behaviour was odd… I was asked to lead one sessions sighting laps because they deemed I was suitable.
I completed over 170 miles on the circuit (125 + Laps) and Only had one incident at at the hairpin (too much power slide)
Im on a standard 130 bhp engine so can only really make ground up in the corners.
As said before if Ive upset anyone Im sorry…But I had a great time and felt everyone else did too
Im sorry your experience wasnt the same.
The Nissan silvia was driven by Al Clark co owner of MOT and probally one of the most experienced drivers on the circuit.
I suspect that Mallory’s rather odd (in my opinion) overtaking rules threw a few people. I have been on a lot of track and airfield days now and its always overtake on the LEFT hand side, everywhere I have been anyway. It makes for more sense to me as the faster car is then for the most part on the outside of the circuit (clockwise circuits mostly) when completing the pass and better positioned to turn in at speed.
Also felt that getting into the pit at Mallory where you wanted to slow down on the right to turn off right was very tricky as if you were slowing on that straight you needed to be on the left to let people pass on the right then had to cut across to pit.! I’m sure they have good reason for being different but it did make it a bit harder, for me anyway.
I had a great time and this was my first time ever on a circuit [:O]. Did not arrive in time for the open session but managed to bag an afternoon session (probably just as well since by the loook of my tyres and brakes a longer session would have killed both).
No problems encountered, the faster cars seemed to get by me okay and I was even able to pass 3-4 people on the straights when I got brave enough to leave the braking a little late. Still for a standard road car I was amazed at how fast I could go round the corners. The Toyos hung on for grim death. Couldn’t hear any tyre squeal but did have a helmet on but I could not feel the car drift at all so I am well pleased with the grip levels.
Once I had been passed by the quick ones and I had passed the ones slower than me I had a pretty clear track and felt I could push it a bit without interfering with anyone else.
One dodgy moment early on when I kept the brakes on a little too long going into Gerrards [:$] but the car looked after me as as soon as I let go of the brake it all straightened up nicely and just kept going round.
Don’t think I have ever stayed at the rev limit so often and can now appreciate why different circuits may need different gear ratios and set up. But boy did the car sound good (at least to my ears) at full chat. The MX5 parts chrome rear silencer sounded great.
My tyres look a bit worse for the experience [:(]with little bits of rubber rolled up all over the tread and these keep flying off as I drive around but I am sure they will recover over the next few miles [;)].
All in all a brilliant time but not sure I could really make it as a racer. Would definitely do it again. Well done to everyone for organising such a great event.
Well as I had to drive a VW van with the merchandise in it meant my MX-5 stayed at home [::(]
But afer setting up on Friday afternoon, when leaving at about 6:30pm I did manage to get a lap of the circuit in the van! and that was great fun.
Now that explains a lot Martin… and could explain all those black flags![;)]
I always thought that you overtook cars on the left and If you are a slower car you pull over to the right.
yeah, on the ,er, left, correct (goes off to amend post [:$] )
I had a very good day… (may be one of the best)
I’m definetly one of the guy who overtaking a lot and may be in the “wrong place” but I did it if there were enough space. In regard of the Right hand side overtaking rule, MOT was clear about it therefore I don’t understand why people whinge about it…
Overall, I think the etiquette was OK. Only thing, I’m very sorry for the lad who crashed his red Mk1 in session 7.
Couldn’t agree more. First outing for me and my car and all went well. So “I went on the track at Mallory and …[:D]”. Thanks to all organisers, and various helpers on the day, MOT who I will see again very soon, and also to Bradly Ellis for his first class instruction.
Regarding etiquette, I think it was only forgotten by one or two (you know who you are,… though are probably not on here!) into Shaws Hairpin, diving down the inside when there was a queue of cars already cornering, because it was the only place they were close enough to overtake. Don’t get me wrong I overtook on the right coming out of the esses myself if I knew there was space ahead. But lets leave that debate.
Everywhere else there was plenty of room.
We were the last to see the lads who had the off in the red MK1, both were well, and in good (to say what had just happened) spirits when they left on an RAC recovery truck (£ouch) sometime after 8pm. The engine was running fine, though off a (broken?) mount, and car still drove (though not necessarily in the right direction thanks to the broken track rod end). I think you may see parts appearing on the forum soon. Good luck to them.
Thanks again all.
I thought the track session was brilliant, definatly great value for money.
As for the overtaking i can understand it from both points of view. I overtook most on the outside at Gerads but there were allot of people not moving over.
However i did not get stressed about this as they had as much right as i did to be on that line, i just waited for the straight.
Overall a brilliant day…
ps i was in the White Kit Car… my Dad was in the Orange MX5 mentioned in the second post. lol it was his first time on track
the kit car sounded great. what engine in there? what car? westy, caterham, robin hood?
The Kit was a Luego Velocity (they went bust) but i only used there chassis and bodywork the rest was all one off.
Both the Kit car and Orange MX5 had SR20DET engines. Nissan 2.0 Turbos
it was allot of fun although i did have a “moment” when the car decided to drift round Gerards at 90+mph
I did the morning session.
I found it rather a hairy track session. I think there were 60 cars when perhaps 40 would have been better (there was never much of a queue at the end of the pit lane), and there was a mixture of very fast and quite slow drivers, which is frustrating for everybody (faster drivers keep getting stuck in traffic; slower drivers spend the entire session keeping off the racing line), especially at the hairpin where 7-9 car queues formed frequently.
The track has a weird layout, so you’d go down the straight overtaking on the right, then reach Gerrards corner where we were allowed to overtake on the left around the outside of the bend. This meant doing a sort of 100-mph slalom, dodging in and out between the slower cars. Bizarre, and way more dangerous than any other track day I’ve been on!
The other thing that was tricky was that some of the drivers were so far off the racing line that you couldn’t just follow a slower car around - they would (relatively to my car) disappear off to one side and then as I passed the apex, they’d (relatively to my car) fling across to the other side, so it took quite a lot of care to judge where their “orbits” would intersect your own and make sure you didn’t both end up in the same place at the same moment!
In the first hour it was easy to just drive around the outside of cars who were hugging the inside line on Gerrards, but by the end of the session they were all going faster and in the middle of the track so you couldn’t pass on either side. The straights were short, so when people didn’t lift off, you just couldn’t get past before the next corner.
By about half way through the session all the faster drivers had stopped bothering with the “only” overtake on the straights" rule, having realised that the only place you could get past the slow drivers was in the chicane before the hairpin - either out-brake into the corner, or go through and nail them on the exit with a higher exit speed. This got very hairy - sometimes a block of 6-8 cars three abreast and 2-3 deep all heading into the corner at 80-100mph.
Quite a few times I would be part way through overtaking, decide I shouldn’t overtake into the corner, so backed off to tuck in behind the slower car, and then had one or two guys hammer past and shove their way in front in the middle of the corner. Very frustrating, especially when I then got stuck behind them after we’d cleared the traffic! So I wasn’t rewarded much for being careful/polite. (and indeed, I thought my etiquette was much lower than normal as I had no choice but to cut others up due to the stupid overtaking rules)
The last confusing thing was that some cars were indicating right as they overtook, but the entry to the pits was on the right, so people were also indicating right to say that they were intending to pit. Once I thought I was behind a fast overtaking car (we were overtaking, so it seemed logical!) and then they stopped dead in front of me to turn off - I had to dodge through a narrow gap between them and the car I thought we were overtaking. Yikes!
So apologies to all the slower cars that I cut up. I did my best to be polite and give everyone loads of room, but on occasions I found it very difficult to merge back into the traffic (I ended up going through on the inside at the chicane and then hairpin twice when I just couldn’t get back into the long queue of traffic after the back straight!)
I also had two odd moments with the officials.
One was a car with an instructor in. Two of us were about to use our momentum to overtake “legally” on the right, and just as we committed, the instructor waved at us to overtake on the left and his car shot across the track into our path - gave me and the other passing car a bit of a shock as we had to both hang out the anchors and change direction!
The other was near the end of the session. I was waiting for the marshal to wave me out from the pit lane. He clearly gestured for me to go, so I went. But as I went past him, he gave me a funny look, and I found he’d dropped me out in front of 3 cars (me doing 30, them doing 100). Luckily I always check for traffic (even though there shouldn’t be any) and kept right over to allow them space to hammer past. I was then wondering if the marshal had actually intended me to go out - perhaps he was just flapping at a wasp!
I almost lost it in Gerrards at the end of the session when my right wrist cramped, I wiggled the steering wheel for a moment (at 85 mph in the middle of a corner) and ended up doing an impromptu drift out of the corner - very glad I managed to collect it up!
This is a report on the “exciting highlights”, so it probably sounds a lot more dangerous/exciting than it actually was. It was all good fun and pretty safe, but certainly the most “eventful” trackday I’ve been on. Mind you, I did 143 miles in 3 hours, which is pretty high mileage, so I guess I crammed about 1.5 trackdays worth of mileage into a half-day, so you’d expect to have more “moments”.
I guess the idea was that the slower drivers would take the afternoon sessions, leaving the morning one to the speed freaks, but there were still about 8-10 newbies in the session. I think moving them into a different session from the fast drivers would have helped reduce the speed differential between the drivers, and so make it a better day for all involved.
But aside from the scariness of the overtaking rules, it was a really fun morning. Can’t wait for the next one!
Surely at a track day, as it isn’t a race, you can just back off a bit to gain some clear track in front of you? Why the urge to pass, when passing is the most dangerous part of track days?
It’s what I’ve always done as all my track stuff (from old CRXs on slicks to my MX5) has been fast through the corners but slow on the straights so overtaking “legally” on a track is near impossible. I’d rather back down in to a clear bit of track and have some fun, than get angry and frustrated. Back off, give then a three second lead and see how long it takes you to catch them again.
More of this please. Links? Pics?
I find in practice that if you slow down you have to wait a long time to build up a decent amount of free space in front of you, and usually some slower cars catch you - so you either have to speed up to stay in front, or let them pass (and therefore be behind some traffic again). However, when you have a traffic jam (as happened at the slow chicane) then you get a knot of cars with a huge empty space in front of them, so if you are patient and courteous you can make your way past after a few laps and then you have a good period of clear track.
There’s usually nothing dangerous about overtaking on track days as long as everyone obeys the rules. Mallory was a bit dangerous because of the weird rules. THere wasn’t much “bad driving” going on, just some really confusing overtaking rules.
I thought the day went very well, particularly as we had 240 individual track allocations to get on and off track. There are always queues on track days and these will always be most significant when there are slow corners.
I think the numbers were right for the track, the track limit is 28 so 20 was OK.
The over taking on the Right rule is because, as people have pointed out, the straights are short and difficult to pass a car unless they have really backed off. So unless a car backs off coming out of a bend, the over taking car needs to be on the right for the entry to the next corner or it would have to cut across the front of the car being over taken and that could get really messy.
The correct entry for Gerrards is the centre of the track and the apex is quite far round. Because the corner is so long, as long probably as Kirby Straight you can over take on the outside, which is the correct side for corners that you can over take on, but the exit will require a car to drift back to the left, making over taking on the right again for the entry into the Essess.
What people so often forget on track days is that overtaking is by invitation only, and so if you are not invited by, you should not over take. If someone is slow and you feel aggrieved and held up, come in to the pits and tell the marshals who will sort it out, after the event is too late. However, my view is if you are fast enough and grown up enough to over take, then you are grown up enough to workout which side this should be and also deal with people over taking you, which people did very well. A couple of people did get spoken to about late over taking, but unless it is reported that it is affecting other drivers we are inclined to believe that people are comfortable for this to happen.
What I find most interesting is that several people have said that they found the track crowded but then go on to say that they drove around 150 miles in the morning, that is the sort of miles that you get from a full sessioned day. If I divide 150 by the track length of 1.4 miles then that equates to 35 laps per hour. A race day lap would be around 58 seconds so allowing an average track day time of 70 seconds that works out at 41 minutes on track every hour, and there were sighting laps, a red flag and a track access stoppage! I have read elsewhere that someone drove 45 minutes without a break. What do I deduce from this? People obviously enjoyed it driving round Mallory.
Cheers NIck - I found this (and the Bedford Autodrome one a couple of weeks ago) very well organised trackdays, and I hope to see you guys more often in future!
I think, as you say, the congestion was due to the track layout (mainly the hairpin collecting the cars together) rather than too many cars. IMHO if the novice and experienced drivers had been in different sessions then the speed differentials would have been smaller and there would have been a better flow - but the congestion really wasn’t too bad. I didn’t get stuck behind anyone for more than a lap, whereas at other tracks I have found myself trapped behind someone slightly slower than myself for several laps, and had to pit in order to get out from behind them.
I don’t quite get what you say about overtaking on the right. Down the main straight we had to overtake on the right, and then at Gerrards we had to overtake on the left, then on the next straight overtake on the right again. This required us to change sides of the track while braking and turning in to that corner. When overtaking 3 slow cars you would usually get past one on the straight (rhs), nip across his nose, and then overtake the next one in the bend (lhs), then cut across his nose to take the third one on the next straight (rhs), before nipping across his nose to get back on line for the chicane (lhs). Hence a lot of weaving in and out of the traffic. This is the only track I’ve been on where the overtaking rule is for the fast car to go off the racing line. I’m certainly not complaining - it just seemed a bit odd, that’s all.
The issue is that the faster car does need the line for the corner. It would end in big tears if the over taking car had to cut from the left across a slower car, particularly if big power cars, brake early and the slower, maybe more nibble car has only just been passed. It is basically saying that if you are fast enough to over take, then you should be competent enough to deal with the following corner.
In Gerrards you over take on the outside, this just happens to be left, if it went the other way, it would be right. You can over take in Gerrards because it is such a long corner.
Again this is assuming that if an over taking driver is competent enough to drive around the outside of someone, then they are competent enough to either get the manoeuvre over and done with by the exit or wise enough to hang back on the exit and then move to the right for the Straight. If over taking was still on the left down the straight then let us say a faster car on sticky tyres was going round the outside of a slightly less grippy car, but that car is on it, or they mess up the exit, then it is going to drift all the way to the left. You don’t really want to be on the left hand side of that as you exit Gerrards.
The issue with track days is that they are not racing or testing and that you, just like on the road, have to wait at times. No one should have been over taking into braking zones, of course peoples perception of breaking zones vary, but it should very much be single file into Gerrards and the Essess, Again, the right hand rule applies to the exit of the first part and up to the hair pin and then round the outside of Devils Elbow, so Gerrards is the only anomaly but it is because the faster car needs to go round the outside.
Basically it works and to be honest it works well. We try to be grown up about things at MoT, we are not a “spin and your in” set up, we will stop people who are obviously a danger to themselves or others but apart from a couple of over enthusiastic lunges down the outside to the hair pin, which were more enthusiasm rather than hoping to get a contract out of it, I thought every one coped in a very good way, certainly I don’t know of any complaints of people feeling they had been recklessly cut up.
The two crashes were unfortunate but it was actually, and again rather unfortunately I was in the first car behind both of them, in both cases that the cars were out on their own and nothing to do with other traffic.