Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Collingrove - inside information.

Some very good inside information on how to drive or spectate at Collingrove Hillclimb by one of our most popular and skillful devotee's -
John Payne, an experienced Historic Racer and Hillclimb Competitor, as well as a skilled artist and wordsmith, has provided a wonderful guide, both to driving the Collingrove Hill and the best spot to view the action as a spectator. While John is presently “carless” as he has sold his beautiful 1933/39 MG J2 Supercharged Special, we hope to see him campaigning in something else before too long. We thank John for his work and for his agreement to share it with you.
The First Rise is very popular, as it is easily accessible both from the carpark and the paddock area, where one may mingle with the cars and competitors; here you will be able to view the read-out of the times and readily access the excellent refreshment kiosk, all the while being exposed to the cacophony of straight-cut first gears and open exhausts as the cars accelerate away from the start line.
For the more adventurous or fitter spectators, most of the course can be observed from the hill with the old windmill, outside and above “The Wall”.
A slightly easier climb will take you around the rear of the “Timing Box” and up, where the approach to and the action through “The Esses can be enjoyed. From each of these viewpoints, the beautiful pastoral surroundings are sights to behold.
Enjoy the following notes put together by hillclimbing expert John Payne, who very often competed in his rapid 1933/39 MG J2 Supercharged Special, before selling it in 2015.
And thanks to the Vintage Sports Car Club of UK for this idea format.
Start Line
Obey the directions of the starter, who will guide you through the procedure - position your car on the black rubber marks on a dry day and on the clean areas on a (Heaven forbid) damp day.
First Rise (straight + sweeping Right)
Having achieved a crisp getaway with not too much wheelspin, most competitors will make a lightning shift into second up this increasingly steep section, staying right for the approach to the first left hander at the timing box.
Old Timing Box (crest + blind left)
A psychological lift off the throttle happens now as you glance left and turn in to apex this left-hander, the polystyrene marker posts (which must not be hit) are good markers for the unseen track, but tend to make one a bit over-cautious.
This may well work in your favour, as a later apex is desirable and will keep you on the black at the exit.
The quicker cars may well be executing this with a substantial amount of opposite lock, which, deftly applied, may well prevent the discomfort of an excursion into the minefield of gibbers offered off-course.
The Dip
You are now sorted and absolutely flat out in the next gear, downhill and nothing much else to do but contemplate the lift-off point for the turn-in to the wall.
It is now that this next feature seems so aptly named; marked clearly now by a concrete widening on the left hand side: take full advantage of it and stay way left. You will not want to, but you will find that you can climb more than half-way up this section before lift-off.
The Wall (right + right)
You are about to be very busy; as you start your turn-in you probably want to drop one gear, giving you a good bite as you apex this corner with a goodly squirt of throttle to get the back hanging out a little which will aim you nicely at the corner at the start of the contour straight and, should you get it right, will make these two corners seem as one.
Contour Straight
Keep as much boot in as you dare as you exit the bend at the start of this straight, as oversteering off the down hill side of the track will bring certain grief; now point it directly at the opening of the next left-hander in the distance; you are now absolutely flat out going terribly fast and by the time you think “I should go up a gear' you are already over-revving in second and the lift point for the Second Rise is upon you.
Second Rise (sharp left)
This corner seems so very favourably banked that one could continue without a lift: but only for the incredibly brave. Not being so brave, the opposite happens and you have the foot hard down again mid corner and you are approaching the first part (right-hander) of the esses. If your car has good lugging power, leave it in second – for many others of us first gear is appropriate,
but don't lift or change down until the apex is visible. Now do both very quickly!
The Esses (right + right kink + left)
What you just did as you turned in hard for this right-hand first part will either cause huge understeer if your throttle is still trailing or, convert to oversteer if you are a bit too hard or early on the go-pedal through the right kink, or in the unlikely event that the balance of throttle, lock and direction are spot on, you will now be nicely lined up for the left-hand second part of the ess where you may repeat this entire process on opposite-hand. As you exit the left-hand part and before your car is properly straightened up, you will glimpse the FINISH line up the rise and lose your natural caution and floor it.
The Finish Straight (sweeping right)
This little, easy, apparently straight bit is in fact a curve right; you are now very likely at
a heightened emotional level and you are possibly in first gear, a good one for promoting heaps of wheelspin; this is when you notice that this straight has suddenly become a right-hand bend and you will try hard to follow it, wheels still spinning wildly – snap change into second might sort it!
If it didn't, the timing device doesn't care which bit of the car breaks the beam and you won't be the first ever to cross the line sideways or backwards.
Having now crossed the finish line, brake hard to try to get down to a speed which will allow you to turn left and enter the return road: you may also have had time to read the display of your course time after which, you will either be incredibly chuffed, or fairly disappointed. To add to this, as you quietly coast down, you will get a great view of the next competitor ascending The Wall and seeming to do it so much easier, faster and tidier than you just did!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Next time will be perfect!

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