i was there today too, but missed the tractors! i put this little report on babybmw.net [120d m-sport by the way]
made use of the lovely weather in south wales today with a little adventure. sorry, it's gone a bit long.
started off at sytners repair centre, cardiff, just to assess some vandal damage to the wing mirror. car was filthy outside and they gave it a wash!
then carefully up the A470 to merthyr, usually a few speed cameras along here. turned onto the A4060 at merthyr, a wide, open, uphill dual carriageway that lets you carry a lot of speed. nice to open things up. onto the A465 and headed east until the B4560 to llangynidr - an awesome road.
the south side is quite open and sweeping and fast, while the north side is lusher and steeper and very scenic. lovely little crests and sweeps and dips though, a good test for the car which coped beautifully. though i did think that one or two corners felt a bit soft, but i dismissed it as nothing major at the time. i turned round at llangynidr and came back up the other way, with a dozen or so caterhams coming in the opposite direction - would have swapped with them that's for sure. the road was pretty quiet though, so progress was good. then again, the traffic was also slow, so that gave more of a perception of speed.
back to the A465 and onto a small road to trefil which leads to a disused quarry. so it was time for some off-roading! it's very rocky and rough in places but not many gradients so the car had no problems. some awesome photo opportunities here, i will have to go back to do it properly. wouldn't fancy it in the wet though.
back to the A465 and then over to hirwaun and the A4059. as i've said before, a fantastic road which is very fast and open so you can comfortably get passed slower traffic [i could almost hear them tutting]. more crests and plenty of forward visibility round lots of the major corners too.
rejoined the A470 with the crowds and then turned off and aimed towards sennybridge on the A4215. another nice road once you get to know it. and you will always see a red kite here, they don't seem to mind the traffic these days and you can see them pretty close up.
onto the A40 through trecastle and then right at llywel onto the MOD road. not sure if many people know about this road but it's a cracker. mostly narrow but pretty open again and always something interesting to see [usually soldiers or overturned army trucks!]. part of it was closed for 15 minutes for some firing practice, but it was nice to stop in the sun for some fresh air and a break. again, reached the end and turned round to do the road again. it has lots of fresh new tarmac, maintained for the MOD, and it has the best dual carriageway in the world - a very amusing little stretch near llywel.
back to the A40 to llandoery and then the A4069. if you ever go to the road just for the famous mountain bit, then don't forget the 5 mile section between llandovery and llangadog as it's a lovely road. the valley section from llangadog to the bottom of the mountains is excellent, lots of sweeps and cambers and sudden bends to keep you on your toes. had the back out a bit on a couple of occasions, still getting used to rear wheel drive but confidence keeps growing over time. but i had some more nagging doubts that the springs are too soft, sometimes it doesn't feel tight enough.
the mountain itself was very quiet thankfully, so i could cut lots of corners which helps as its narrow for an A-road. great scenery again but i took little notice of it. the famous U-bend loomed and the road was totally clear...but i fluffed it up! just got it all wrong. at the top it's very open again but there are some sudden left/right bends at the top. went too deep into one of them and fishtailed a bit, which was a bit of a surprise. nothing too major though and the car did control itself very well so that gave confidence. but i jabbed on the brakes after just to test them and they were very squishy, they'd had enough! quite disappointed with that, only happened to me once before and that was in a big vauxhall carlton in the french alps. so i cruised gently for a while to let things cool down.
at brynaman i headed up the A4067 back to sennybridge. another fast and scenic road with a couple of long straights to pick up speed but i was taking it easy. some nice bikes were really going for it though. a few miles later an orange biker was doing wheelies :]
back on the A470 gently home to cardiff, but the section approaching nant ddu was clear and there is a mini 'eau rouge' section there so i went for it. the adrenalin when the car lifts up through the slight uphill is such a thrill, but wouldn't want to get it wrong. never driven eau rouge by the way, so i'm kinda guessing.
turned off the A470 around cilfynydd and took the mountain road through eglwysilan. not for speed, it's a lovely open, narrow, moor-like road with some good views and various animals to say hello to that don't mind cars being close.
so i have springs and brakes to think about. i'm more than happy with the damping, grip, feedback and 177bhp is enough for now. not sure if there is a question mark over body control, one left/right flick had the car a bit confused at one point but i'm hoping it was just me / a one-off. possibly an arb would be an idea. anyway, it just shows you can't find these things out over a cold winter and it takes some warm dry weather to really get to know the car. and i'm still learning!
and here is the army truck on it's side: