PH FLEET UPDATE: MAZDA EUNOS ROADSTER
The suspension is still in need of fettling but Dan's been too busy driving other people's Mazdas to care
To be fair, he should accept a fair portion of the blame/credit for me buying the thing in the first place. Back in 2009 when the current car was facelifted and the original was celebrating its 20th birthday Mazda UK bought a fleet of Mk1s much like mine and sent them out ahead of every press booking for the newly facelifted Mk3 - and the Mk1 was, predictably, the hottest ticket in town.
Jota Sport run Mazda's MX-5 GT, a nifty 275hp, 850kg super MX-5 mixing it with Ginetta G50s and SEAT Leon touring cars. 'My' car, identically liveried, was about 100hp down and 200kg up but still promised to be loads of fun.
With not much power to play with Mike told me to get bolder and do all I could to maximise apex and exit speed. It worked, and I managed to dip into the high 1:30s. Then my first collision with motorsport bureaucracy - a last-minute rule change meant I was no longer eligible for Britcar. An invitation to join Ma5da Racing's Mazda MX-5 Cup was my lifeline and, it turned out, probably a better deal than having to dodge flying Moslers and Ferraris in the Britcar.
I might have been down on power and a bit heavier (you mentioned that already... - Ed.) but my brakes were miles better than anyone else's and, cheered on by the watching Jota boys, I made the most of this by goading faster rivals with heroic last-of-the-late-brakers brinksmanship. Several fell for it, and I was having an absolute ball. A chasing group towards the end of the race caught me out though, falling for the late braking trap but then capitalising when I got too greedy on the throttle and lost a load of ground in a spectacular slide that looked good but cost me dearly.
And I was able to put the experience to good use a week later in my own Mazda on an extended road trip around Scotland with another MX-5-owning pal. Not four-wheel drifting round corners, of course, but using the same technique of driving around the lack of power by carrying speed rather than trying to build it.
Riggers would certainly agree with you there - Ed).
With just 115hp to play with you can enjoy them in relative innocence too, the open spaces a temptation that might lead to serious trouble in a faster car. And there's real satisfaction in carrying speed in the little Mazda.
previously commented on - and still 'work in progress' - the suspension is also rather tired.
But you know what? I don't care. Because it's mine. Because, despite costing just £1,250*, it shrugged off being ragged senseless for 1500 miles and required nothing more than a gulp of oil. Even driven like that it'll do over 30mpg too. I really must get that suspension sorted though. I'm sure I was going do that last month though...
*Bloke logic dictates that when making such boasts any subsequent expenditure is, of course, discounted from the equation.
Photos: Dan Trent, Zak Loney