Following the incredible success of last year's inaugural Sporting Tour, PH headed south last weekend to get the show back underway for 2019. The rolling hills and idyllic villages of Kent were our destination, with 175 miles of winding country roads lying in wait.
Based on feedback from our previous event, a route featuring slightly more accomodating roads was carefully plotted, hopefully meaning fewer tight squeezes for PHers in more exotic machines. Less control was possible when it came to the weather, which demonstrated a full range of seasons in the morning alone - including a brief but torrential hail storm - but gave way to glorious sunshine after lunch.
Another carefully orchestrated improvement came in the form of the autotests; hosted at Brands Hatch, they comprised a cone slalom on the GP circuit and a sprint around the short tarmac 'rally stage'. These proved to be a good yardstick for the more competitive drivers amongst the pack, and a fun exercise for those not in search of a trophy - the full results of both autotests can be found here.
Our car of choice was the new BMW Z4 M40i, which even amongst a field featuring the likes of a beautiful Mk.1 Escort, Boxster Spyder and Golf GTI Clubsport S, stood out in its smart shade of Misano Blue. You'll be able to read more of our thoughts on the Z4 shortly, when we put it head to head with the Porsche Boxster GTS - but suffice it to say that with the sun out and roof down it made for a very pleasant way to pass the day.
The Garden of England was a picture perfect setting, with its fantastic driving roads - although not always fantastic driving surfaces - taking in plenty of stunning sights, from historic oast houses to jaw dropping landscapes. Things are bound to be even more striking on our next Sporting Tour, however, as July will see us head north to Derbyshire and Cheshire for another event. Keep your eyes peeled for entries to open and we'll see you there!
PHers are already discussing our Sporting Tour South here.