Masters Historic Festival, Brands Hatch, 26-27 mei 2018

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“if I wanted to write something for the SLOC”?

Sure. I love to write. I might be a bit rusty, I mean, been ages since I worked international and therefor wrote and spoke English all the time. But I suppose you will forgive all the errors I will make. And then for a Sunbeam Lotus club! Such a lovely idea. Since a Sunbeam Lotus is the car I am racing now for aprox. 20 years.
Let me briefly introduce myself; My name is  Anita Renes, 46 years old. From the Netherlands, married, and we have one charming daughter, age 15. Almost 16, she would say. My husband Ron also races the Sunbeam now and then, and in that case I take the Lotus Esprit SE Highwing, a factory build racecar from ’91. We have one other Sunbeam Lotus, which originally was a street car (Black-Silver) but this will be transformed into a racecar also. When? No clue. It’s standing in a corner. We did fit in a beautiful new cage, but that is all.
The Sunbeam Lotus we now race was originally a (Dutch) rally car. We bought it around 22 years ago. Initially we did…”Slalom”. NO clue what that is in English. Google translate says “Slalom” So Slalom it is! Those were nice times. WE had the Sunbeam Lotus, in the beginning I had a Sunbeam TI (But someone was really a fan of that car and bought it from me), so I then drove the Sunbeam Lotus, and my husband built a Sunbeam 1000cc where he putted a 2.0ltr Opel engine in the back. Now that was a car! Not for the track though… as it was simply not made for that. Unfortunality that car, when we sold it, went from hand to hand, and at the end some smart guy built in a Lotus Engine. SO now the 1000cc Sunbeam, where the complete suspension in the back was removed, a hole from 1m2 was cut in the floor, is sold as Sunbeam Lotus. It is a turquoise car, so be aware. It even was offered for sale to us… As original Sunbeam Lotus of course.
Anyway. Everyone around us started to get their race license, so we thought.. let’s do that too. And so we did, in 1998! Since then we adapted the car more to race usage, and around 5 years later (when the engine died for the so maniest time.. we weren’t running with a dry sump in the beginning) we bought the Lotus Esprit.
We drive with the YTCC, a youngtimer club where all cars between 1960 and 1990 are welcome, as long as the looks are time-period, and preferably the technics also.  Although that last thing isn’t not the main priority. This results in a field with 40% Porsches, 10% BMW’s and then “the rest”. I can tell you, it is the most varying field you will find anywhere all over the world! Trabants drive in the same field as 800BHP cars! And all this without (big) crashes. Ofcourse, sometimes things happen, but basically this is gentlemen racing. Erm. Gentle-lady racing! Whatever. I am sure you get the point.

So I am so lucky to drive with this club, the last 8 or 9 years, visiting tracks such as Hockenheim, Le Mans, Spa-Francorchamps, Dijon, Nürnburgring, and this year, for the first time, Brands Hatch!

Must admit, the club has been there years ago, but then I thought..  no. Really way too far, too expensive to travel and too much of a hassle to get there.
But I was told, if I get the chance, I really should drive there. So all right. This time we made plans, booked the boat and there we go! Off to Brands Hatch.
The journey was more then ok, a 4 hour drive, halfway coffee, and then you hop on the boat, again time for coffee and then just an hour more to the track. DIdn’t took me long to decide that when I will visit the UK this summer with my daughter, it won’t be with my car! This driving on the right side is really complicated. While in the past I was often for work in the UK, but I suppose in the back of a taxi its easier?
Anyway, we made it to the track, where one of our racefriends kept some space for us. He has, just like us, Mike Taylor from Lotusbits.com as supplier (and for him also as engine builder) and we thought it would be nice if we could finally meet at Brands Hatch. So we putted the tents next to each other, just like the cars.
And then you are on an English track with an English car! It really felt good.  And such a lovely people everywhere! Also with the briefing, it showed how nice the people are. And, that this person understood where it is all about at the YTCC; having fun!!
Qualifying was the next morning, rather early. Difficult! As aprox. Half of the corners are blind. And then really blind. It was that bad that up in the forest, one corner really didn’t show where it went, as it was slightly on a hill. And then you are happy a few drive in front of you.
After a few rounds I got the feeling I knew it for the largest part, so I started to push a bit. But no. Again I made a mistake in the track, what corner was where..so I again closed the line in a little train of cars. I suppose I better take the time to learn the track then try it on my own and end up in some wall or tires!
Last round I really thought I new it, so tried again…and was immediately 4 seconds faster. Well. Faster.. I should say “less slow”. Before that last lap I was positioned somewhere all in the back! And now it was ok, in the middle of the field. Ended P 44, 1.56min fastest laptime.
The 2 races were the next day. First and last of the day, I suppose that is what happens when you are a guestclass, and coming for the first time. But lovely, there were already so many people so early! So spectators enough!
The day before I studied the video’s that I now had of my own qualifying again and again, and I felt I now knew it really. So at start of the first race, I felt really confident!
I had a great start! Took over a lot of cars, and yes, I knew the track. Each round I managed to drive faster, ended up with a fastest laptime of 1.50:3, and finish…18th! Could even have been more to the front, but ended up behind a Capri, and well. Being fast is one thing, take him over is really an other step. I had the feeling he didn’t really see me, when I finally manage to position my car next to him (at the top, before you go into the forest) he came to me..and came.. and then I thought.. Never mind. Not gonna let him bump into my car.
Later on, I went to see who was in the car, introduced myself. Nice older fellow. But when I asked, allright, so are you gonna let me alive? Sure, he said!! And then said..ok, but I was there and there next to you, but felt as if you were gonna push me off the track. He answered “oh. Never saw you”. Allright. Clear.
So for the next race, where I was standing next to him, I HAD to take him over in the first corner. If I wouldn’t do that, I might not get passed him again.

So…race 2! End of the day, so it was a long wait again. Weather was still brilliant, I was feeling fit.. So lets go for it.
We always do a rolling start, and in most cases I do fine. This time I was more or less sleeping. Because suddenly the capri was in front of me! Now I am a careful, some would even say timid driver. But now I got very determined! I HAVE to take him over. Now! So in Druids it has to happen. I brake less, let the car roll next to him.. More throttle then normal, fingers crossed that the car wouldn’t start to drift.. keep him there.. next corner inside.. and great! He is behind me! And suddenly I could make even more speed, and ended up behind one of the really fast guys in our field, a beautiful red Porsche 964. And I could keep up with him! Really made me feel good. Unfortunality he made a little error, leaving the track into the deep gravel and that was it for him. After that I was behind a big Dodge Challenger.. He was just a little bit faster than I was, but great to follow and make more speed. 
 Ended up that race with a fastest laptime of 1.48:2, finish 14th. Really happy with that result!
Then the less good part begins, packing everything.. And hurry to the boat. This time we would take the night boat, and we thought we had time enough to eat somewhere underway. Well. Yeah, it was underway, but just the MacDonalds I am afraid. The traffic was really bad, so lost a lot of time there. The boat was fine, and at 8AM Dutch time we were back in to theNetherlands.
And.. one month to go! Then we are racing again. At the famous track of Spa-Francorchamps!





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