I'm pleased to announce that on 18th September 1999, I achieved my ten-month goal of driving my self-built Dax round the race track at Donington Park.
Despite a foreboding weather forecast of strong winds and heavy rain, I decided to brave the elements and set out for Donington with my brother Jim on board, in convoy with three other cars (no sevens unfortunately) from the Cam7s listers. We arrived, still dry, and parked up with ten other Rushes in the Dax Rush Owners Club compound, right outside the main entrance to the kitcar show. Spookily, my car Q366 MAV ended up parked next to a black Rush, Q336 MAV. I didn't see the owner. Jim and I met up with my friend Rob at the Dax stand.
Since rain imminently threatened, I collected my track-pass, attended the drivers' briefing, dumped excess weight (luggage) in Rob's car and unpacked the crash helmets. With Rob in the passenger seat, I nudged through the crowds and onto the road leading to the pits. In the pits, a group of cars was held by a marshal until the previous gang came in, then we were waved out onto the track! It was a very happy moment as I first accelerated out of the pit-lane and headed down to the first corner on a dry track.
Racing isn't allowed at this track day and you can overtake only on the straights and only on the left. Despite this, I managed to sail past one or two slower pieces of machinery with ease. Thank you big V8 :-) Lest I sound too arrogant, let me also say that the manufacturers' demonstrator cars, some driven by racing drivers hired for the day, were sailing past us whenever I wasn't at full throttle. Technique counts, and I was more concerned with having a good time and not stuffing Jadzia into the armco than getting every last milli-gee of lateral acceleration! One Ultima in particular went past me twice in a three-lap session. That's quite a monster! I had a side-by-side race with an NG TC V8 demonstrator down the entire length of the pit straight. Neither of us could gain, due to identical engines and similar brick-like aerodynamics. At the end of the straight I backed off and let him through the corner and was acknowledged with a quick grin and a nod of the head.
I took Jim out for another 3-lap session, which was halted after two laps when a Ferrari-lookalike called a Karma spun into the gravel at Redgates corner. This Karma started from the pit lane just ahead of me but I went past on the first straight. I hope he wasn't trying to keep up with a Dax Rush ... :-) When the Karma was dragged out of the gravel and the session restarted, we finished our abortive session and got an extra lap for free!
The rest of that weekend I spent in Yorkshire, where it tipped it down with rain all night. The new tonneau covers, aided by a blue Halfords car-cap, kept all of the rain out and Jim and I could get into a dry car on Sunday to come home. It drizzled steadily all the way home, except for the bit where we had to come to a halt when leaving the M1 for the A14, when it chucked it down heavily for those vital few minutes.
We had on all of our thick jumpers, waterproofs, gloves, scarves and helmets, so we didn't get wet at all really. When moving at a steady 60mph, most of the rain went over the top. The dashboard stayed dry and only a few drops hung on the inside of the windscreen. The wipers have now been well and truly tested! That rain coming in the sides bounced off us and we kept the seats dry. The footwells are always too hot and your outboard elbow is always too cold, but we weathered the journey home in fine spirits. Jadzia went into the garage with a fan-heater inside the cockpit. The seats went into the airing-cupboard to gently steam dry and the pieces of floor carpet were hung over radiators.
Jadzia and I appeared in the November 1999 issue of Which Kit? magazine.
I had filled in their online SVA questionnaire a few weeks previously and added the picture of me sitting on the side of the Dax at Donington. I was quite surprised when I leafed through my copy of WK? and found half a page giving my answers to their SVA questions, followed by the photo!
They printed this website address, but it's a pity they got it slightly wrong (http://listen.to/v8da instead of http://listen.to/v8dax). However, booking v8da and a quick bit of redirecting should see any interested bodies show up here.
I've also been added to the Links page of Dax's website. Interestingly, they have the build-up of a Rush De Dion LX ongoing there too.
We went to the meet-up of the Seveners from the Sevens List at Oxford on the 21st November.
Jadzia and I went in convoy with Tim Hoverd and his brand new yellow Westfield 1800 Zetec and with Dave Hooper in his red Caterham. After a chilly drive cross country, we met with the other 25 or so cars at the Oxford service station on the M40. There were many Caterhams, several Westfields (including a SEiGHT with a very similar engine to mine), a Tiger Super Six, a Locust and two Robin Hoods.
There was a mass convoy around a circular through-the-lanes route during which we progressively lost and gained convoyees due to several navigational challenges resulting in U-turns. However, we all ended up at the right pub and had a welcome lunch together.
Tim and I convoyed back to Cambridge where we arrived just after dark had fallen and just as the rain was starting. The new sidescreens worked brilliantly. Almost no wind buffeting got through to me and the few spots of rain I saw just passed overhead without me feeling anything at all.
Go on to 2000's happenings ...