Monday 30th April 2012


PH BLOG: SURF'S UP!

So how was your weekend? Damp? Probably. Though perhaps not as damp as Dan's


Setting out at 6am on Sunday for a trackday at Rockingham I wasn't massively optimistic of the chances of it going ahead. And though a fairly militant advocate of roof down whatever the weather I must confess the Caterham Supersport - the firm's brand new demo car with just 700-odd miles on the clock too - had its roof and doors in place.

The Supersport shivers at Rockingham
The Supersport shivers at Rockingham
Fat load of good that did me. Bouncing along the high street the Caterham literally belly flopped off a speed hump into an enormous puddle, enormous enough that the water erupted up through the bottom of the sidescreens with such force that it then hit the inside of the roof and bounced back down again, drenching me and filling the passenger seat with a small puddle. This, it has to be said, was a new one on me. Just as well there wasn't anyone about to hear my reaction too.

The drive up to Rockingham was interesting too, the only thing more shocking than the number of full-width floods being the way some people at that time in the morning drive. To the bloke coming the other way on the Leighton Buzzard road: if, in the middle of torrential rain and flooded roads, you encounter a little green car tip toeing through deep water with its hazards on in the middle of the road it might be nice if you backed off, just a little bit. Just a thought.

In the pit garage you go ... and there you stay
In the pit garage you go ... and there you stay
I reached Rockingham about the time the chief fire marshal had just completed an exploratory lap to check out the conditions and he wasn't sounding optimistic. "If it was a race meeting, no way," he said, "but I'm not race control today so it's not my call." In the end it was an easy decision for organisers Bookatrack and everyone was sent home with a credit note for another day and, even among the keenest, a quiet sense that the right decision had been made.

A pity though that this meant another delay for the debut of my Alpinestars 'fast hands' gloves, kindly despatched for my sprint at Goodwood but held up in the post by Easter and too late for an operational debut there. I rather like the jazz hands look and was hoping to debut them properly but, sadly, this'll have to wait for another time.

'Fast hands' gloves sadly not needed
'Fast hands' gloves sadly not needed
The journey home thankfully passed without too much incident, a few cheeky little skids here and there keeping spirits up. A few miles from home on a twisty back road a hardy cyclist puffing up the hill motioned 'slow down!' with his arm. Far from a sanctimonious admonishment, the fallen tree round the next corner he'd been warning us of was thankfully not too hard to negotiate and the wasted early start and damp clothing were soon forgotten once alternative, and more sensible, arrangements had been made at the local.

A pity though because I'd been looking forward to my first ever track outing in a Caterham, likewise PH Fleet man Danny Milner who'd been invited by Caterham to drive it back to back with his Elise for a comparison. Ho hum, another time.

Danny Milner's PH Fleet Elise gets cosy
Danny Milner's PH Fleet Elise gets cosy
Fabulous car this Supersport though, a really brilliant balance of all the best bits from Caterham's parts bin and, in that colour, as vibrant to look at as it is to drive. I look forward to further acquaintance! If all goes according to plan this shouldn't be too far off, and in somewhat more suitable conditions.

Dan

Author: Dan Trent
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