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Gentleman Racers - Octane Dunlop Track Day

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The sun shone at Goodwood, and the cars came out to play.

The inaugural Octane Track Day held at Goodwood Circuit in association with Dunlop on Thursday October 30 proved to be a real success.

With numbers limited to 24 cars to ensure maximum track time a very desirable field of classics arrived in time for the driver briefing at 8.30am. Editor Coucher was a bit late as he’d been trapped by a falling duvet. Jonathan Kidd in the E-type roadster claimed it was traffic, but they eventually made it into the hospitality suite for bacon butties and hot coffee.Upon arrival the cloud cover was very low and soon a sprinkling of rain rendered the fast Goodwood track greasy and slippery. Unfortunately this caught out a beautiful Low Drag E-type resulting in a crunched nose. The chief marshal was impressed that the young pilot immediately admitted to driver error. A gentleman driver of the Octane variety.The weather soon cleared and a glorious Goodwood autumnal day emerged.  Our hot shoe racing driver Mark Hales was on hand to test drive Nigel Hulme’s GT40 Continuation, which you will read about in the next issue of Octane. Hales had a passenger with him and could not go at 10/10th because of the noise restrictions but, by the second lap, he’d set a competitive pace for the sportscar race at the Goodwood Revival! Not bad.David Napier was going indecently quickly in his Caterham 7 and Michael Ballard’s famous old racing red Jaguar XK120 was also very quick. Peter and Geoff Johns had brought along their immaculate FIA XK Jaguar that looked magnificent and sounded as sweet as a nut at full chat. These young fellows are grey haired but evidently no one has told them yet.Arthur Smith-Fitchet was peddling his Sunbeam Rapier along with gusto and his father was wearing his deerstalker hat and collar and tie in the pits as usual. One of the best dressed spanner men in Britain.A proper luncheon was served in the Vitra café just the other side of the start finish line. The drivers welcomed the full steak and kidney pie, mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies followed by apple pie and custard. With energy restored the cars were out again at speed. Hales took Toby Foster’s gleaming black XK120 roadster for a test to listen out for a possible engine noise but the car was pronounced fit so Toby wound it up further. Jaguars Porsches, Alfas, GT40s and even Grant Clearwater’s rare Connaught A Series were enjoying the high-speed circuit. After a group photo drivers collected computer sticks of in- car footage of themselves in action, courtesy of the Chasecam boys, and then retired back to the Goodwood cafe for a full cream tea.A superb day out at one of the best circuits available. Fast laps, delicious hot food, action footage and new friends made. Octane will be running more of these track days so keep an eye open. Numbers will be limited but gentlemen drivers most welcome.

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