Autosolo was suggested by a new member to our Cambridgeshire group, Clive who is also an active member of the Cambridgeshire Car club which runs motor sport events in the region. Auto Solo is driving a car around a predetermined course marked out by cones, against the clock. There are various classes in Autosolo and I entered Class B which is for production 2 seater sports cars and all of the cars in this class were MX5’s.
The cost of entry was £31 plus also you have to join a local motor club which was £14 for the year. You do of course also suffer a slight amount of tyre wear. Well here we are. A cold but fine Sunday morning travelling up the A11 from Cambridgeshire to North Norfolk to try my hand at an event being run by the Sporting Car Club of Norfolk. I am nervous, as although I have done a few track days before, I have never tried anything competitive like this. How many cones will I hit? Will I go the wrong way round the course? How slow will I be? As they say, you have got try everything at least once and is this not what these cars are for – to have fun in? I arrive in good time and latch onto some guys in MX5’s who seem to know what they are doing. I follow them into scrutineering where the car is safety checked including battery fixing and steering. It’s then into registration. As part of our instructions we are given course maps so we proceed to walk each test to see how they are laid out. Test 1 seems very complicated but the other two appear more straightforward. We then all attend a driver briefing with a short extra briefing for us newbies. It’s now time to start. Our group starts on test 2 followed by test 3 and then back to do test 1. I am sitting in the queue for my first test, starting off slowly and cautiously I clear test 2 and then 3. Not too bad this auto solo business.
But then onto test 1 – oh dear – I missed cone 10 altogether so max time score. There is a good friendly banter as you wait in line for each test and it helps to gain advice from other competitors. Normally there are three runs in the morning for each test and then three runs in the afternoon at the same tests but run the reverse way round. Due to the high entry and the amount of newbies present we get two runs in the morning and two runs in the afternoon but all in the same direction. With each run you gain in confidence and therefore speed, but I must confess on my final run of test 2 the red mist descended and I miss a cone and gain another maximum time penalty. By the time I did my final run on the dreaded test 1 I was thoroughly enjoying myself throwing the car around. In the end I finished 30th out of 38 overall and 8th out of 11 in the class.
Thanks go to the volunteer marshals standing out in all weathers, who without them we would not have our fun. Will I do it again? Although it may not be for everyone in my opinion the cars come alive in these types of events and given the chance, I will enter some more events and ‘Have more fun’