I’m a great believer in asking the experts, so I’ve sent a few emails out to men with far greater driving skill and expertise than I’ll ever manage to acquire. The responses so far have added to the enthusiasm and slight concern about our upcoming adventure!
Steve Wheeler, ex-racer, car enthusiast & jolly good chap started the ball rolling………”I suggest be gentle on your little egg at first, until you both become acclimatised to the new regime, let the tyres and brakes ‘scrub in’, be easy on her, always (ALWAYS) change gear like you’re going to Sainsbury’s! If your pedal setup allows it, practise heel & toe on change down, to save both Gearbox and engine stress and avoid locking the rear brakes (If they’re good enough to lock!).
At the end of the first couple of stages, gauge your pace against those in your class, or those against whom you feel the need to compete / BEAT! Then adjust your pace from there, not all of your competitors will finish… and as you know ‘to finish first, first you have to finish’!”
Alain de Cadenet – Alfa aficionado, Vintage car enthusiast & Le Mans racer generouslyoffered the following comments………….”Such a good idea for you to be doing all this; perfect car too. Make sure your people change out your brake fluid for fresh before you go. It’s hygroscopic and can be nasty when it gets hot if it’s old; bit like us too!
I only run a 165 section tyre myself with a 1720cc big bore engine. Have good run on your 195’s to feel the steering isn’t too heavy etc. The folk on the run are a good lot and not in the least intimidating. Also, take plenty of water in the car as it gets bloody hot out there!!! Maybe a quart or two of whatever oil they put in too. I run Pennzoil 20/50 that Dave’s Lube uses. You might seek a GPS on board just in case your co-pilot gets you lost.”
So – on the plus side, I have the right vehicle. On the slightly more negative……I have absolutely no idea how to heel/toe, need to be thinking about avoiding shopping carts every time I gear change, anticipate recurring nightmares of us lost amongst the tumbleweeds desperately looking for cell-phone coverage as the desert sun beats down & feel duty bound not to let these guys down by coming last.
No pressure there, then!!!