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UK Caterham Track Day - Angelsey, Wales


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In the latest instalment of doing UK/European track days in a Caterham, this time we are at Anglesey, Wales. It is way oop northern end of Wales – a 5+ hour drive from Heathrow airport. You can get closer by flying from the USA into Manchester but I have had enough of third world airports this year. Ideally you would double head this event with an Oulton Park Day – about 2 hours away. Anglesey is only 70 something miles from Ireland across the Irish Sea. This location on the Irish Sea presents problems and opportunities. Opportunities, as this is one of the most scenic circuits on earth perched on top of the cliffs above the crashing ocean. Problems, because of that ocean, winds can be sweeping across the track at gale force and it is highly likely it will rain while you are there.

 

Naturally, I was rolling eyes the day before my event when I discovered it was perfect sun, no wind as I knew then that I was going to have a crap weather day the following day…guaranteed.

 

Anyway, I was last at this circuit in 2014 running a rental R300 race car at here

http://www.usa7s.net/vb/showthread.php?9660-On-Track-with-Croc

and here

http://www.usa7s.net/vb/showthread.php?9675-Caterham-R300-at-Donington-and-Anglesey-Circuits&highlight=anglesey

 

 

This time would be with more hp with a 420R under my seat.

 

For an overview of the circuit we have the map:

 

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There are two basic circuit configurations – International GP with the second long hairpin and Coastal which cuts that phallic portion of the circuit out and introduces the corkscrew to connect the hill to pit straight.

 

In case you wonder why I come this far for a circuit? Its exciting. No other circuit puts as much G forces on my body. By the end of the day my neck hurt, I had bruising from the side bolters of the seat, my fingers hurt from throwing the car into corners. And for all that it is not a very fast track in average speed. Its also very pretty around the Anglesey peninsula.

 

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We ran International in the morning and then Coastal in the afternoon to give some variety.

 

The day before my event there was a Plop Race going on. This name, more commonly associated with the short sharp sound of a fresh log playfully slapping at water in a toilet bowl, was actually referring to a completely different kind of shit in that it was scooter endurance racing. Yes! Who knew that 8 hours of 50cc racing could be so exciting. I pissed myself laughing at the crashes, the collisions and the “I am unable to avoid the tire wall” moments on the circuit with the most run off of any circuit out there. The rules are simple – you must use the correct engine with its limited displacement. No mods of brakes or chassis allowed. Fairing/bodywork is free to modify in that you can remove it or run it. Streamlining is not allowed. Engine is free to modify but folks, keep in mind that if you give a 50cc engine a compression of 7 then it will not last one lap of the circuit let alone 8 hours. There is no point being the fastest on the warm-up laps. One team in the pits I chatted with had burned through 5 engines by 3pm. He hoped they would finish as he had no more engines…oops!

 

So with that in mind, my track overview photos will include many examples of “plops” on the track.

 

Turn 1 after the start line is a fast left hander. Tight entry but opens up nicely on exit with a good run possible into turn 2 – just watch the cars exiting the pits here.

 

First photo is of the “The Banking” i.e. a banked turn 2. Background is the Irish Sea and the mountains of Snowdonia (BTW very good twisty roads in there on your way to and from Anglesey).

 

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Banking is probably only 5 degrees – nowhere near as extreme as the 15 degrees on Lightning Circuit at NJMP.

 

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Fairly simple – late turn in, apex 2/3rds of the way around, power out.

 

Then you have a straight heading down towards Church which sweeps right in a curving straight.

 

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It looks tighter than it is. You need a full lift of throttle or light dab touch of brakes to get the car to turn in but then its back on full power, accepting that there will be some front end drift/understeer as you track out.

 

So why do they call it Church? Well, if I faced 180 degrees and looked out with my back to the circuit then you see this:

 

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The Church is only accessible by foot at high tide or anytime by Shane in his Stalker.

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Back to the circuit, out of Church, the track curves right. Keep the foot mashed through here.

 

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And up the hill to Rocket corner

 

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Now Rocket corner hides a secret, seen in the next photo. Hidden, just over the crest, is a second gear tight left turn.

 

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Those skid marks in the braking zone tell the “oh shit” moments of quite a few drivers (or riders).

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Assuming you get through Rocket then you have an almost immediate right tight hairpin corner, seen in the following:

 

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Then you exit the hairpin and prepare for one of the best corners on the track, Peel.

 

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Peel is iconic because it is a fun corner and the views are epic. It’s a tight right entry but once committed it opens up on exit, just like the view. Most drivers hold tight to the right fearing the lefthander below the crest, but that is just optical, plenty of time to exit Peel properly out left and then come back right in readiness for the next lefthander, Seaman’s, out of sight down the hill.

 

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The Seaman’s corner is critical because it is where the track divides from International layout or Coastal layout. If International then it is a slightly off camber brake and dive to the apex then favorable camber as you put the power down on track out.

 

If it is Coastal circuit then you hold left for the instant right into Corkscrew then try to hold to the center or right to be ready to turn left onto the main straight. The photo below shows the confusion – the track is the right most tarmac. The left side tarmac corner is actually pit entry. More than one ended up in the pits by mistake.

 

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If we are continuing onto the International Circuit then we proceed along the Tom Pryce straight to The Hairpin. Naturally it is a hairpin.

 

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Then blast back along the straight to the last corner before the pit straight/start/finish line – The Bus Stop. Its tight and slow – second gear. There is a patch of tarmac around the apex out to the middle of the track – this makes it off camber and tricky. Very easy to rotate the car here if power is put down aggressively. Also easy to rotate the car left into the pit wall.

 

As always, my trusty steed was my 420R

 

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Naturally, my weather was a light drizzle in the morning to wake me up, “sea mist” was the affectionate name by the locals, followed by dreary gray overcast skies, eventually turning into rain at around 4pm. The locals said it was “quite a nice day.”

 

Needless the say the drizzle in the initial session led to lots of spins, me included, before I at least managed to get my act together.

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Video shows the afternoon sessions on the Coastal Circuit using the corkscrew to come onto the pit straight. First 5min34 mins are clean laps. At 5min35 I am wearing a bee on the camera as I play tag and hang onto the back of a Caterham 620R. I was 210hp. He was 309hp. He would just disappear away from me on the straights but I would claw back by being brave elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

On circuit photography to follow once I receive it.

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Hi Bruce. That is a Ginetta. 2L Zetec. Space frame chassis with shell body. Quite a nice little car.

 

That specific Ginetta though is special. It’s the one that Jeff H on this forum rented for Spa-Francorchamps in March this year. The one the Bookatrack mechanics took to calling the Love Shack because he and his special friend Stacie would steam up the windows while out on track. I suppose it could have been from driving fast....

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Hi Bruce. That is a Ginetta. 2L Zetec. Space frame chassis with shell body. Quite a nice little car.

 

That specific Ginetta though is special. It’s the one that Jeff H on this forum rented for Spa-Francorchamps in March this year. The one the Bookatrack mechanics took to calling the Love Shack because he and his special friend Stacie would steam up the windows while out on track. I suppose it could have been from driving fast....

 

Thanks Mike. Jeff must be quite the driver if he can do a track day and steam up the windows with his girlfriend at the same time!

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  • 1 month later...

This type of curb does not do good things to the inside front suspension....wheel is a little airborne.

 

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The BAC Mono was incredibly quick but the two this day were plagued with electrical gremlins.

 

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The license plate of this R400 has a backstory. The owner chose "DCP" in the plate as it referred to the lurid pink metallic of his car. So what does DCP stand for? Dog Cock Pink. Truth in advertising I suppose....

 

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The beauty of Anglesey is the view over the Irish Sea at various points around the circuit.

 

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