Feeling sick and snotty, I dosed up on some cold and flu tablets and dragged myself out of bed early Saturday morning to head down to Bryant Park for round two of Nugget Nationals at the infamous Haunted Hills hill climb track.
As per my last post, I’m not competing in Nugget Nationals this year and opted to not enter this event in any car at all. The plan was to help run the day and take some photos.
Shortly after I arrived, I heard the sound of a familiar car driven by my co-organiser TJB. However, this was a Nugget event, so I should not have been able to hear the sound of his car arriving.
As I looked out over the track, I mentioned to Tom that I’d forgotten how fun this circuit looked.
“We’ll it’s not my fault you make poor life decisions and choose not to enter…but someone has just dropped out. Do you want to take their spot?”
Eh? I hadn’t packed a helmet or tools, I was still on my daily tyres and I hadn’t even bothered to fill my car up with petrol prior to arriving (have you seen the price lately? It’s almost a $1.50 for 98RON)!
But you know what’s cool about having a daily driver that’s always ready to track?
Well… it’s always ready to track.
After emptying my car out, Perry was ready to go.
After sign in, I did a quick whip around to say hello to the drivers as they arrived.
It’s been a while since we have run a day at Haunted Hills, and drivers briefing is particularly important due to the elevation change and undulation which is found on this circuit.
The track can be run in multiple configurations and with no warm up runs, it’s up to the driver to make the one hot lap count.
It’s notoriety for being an unforgiving track is for a very good reason. It has caught many a driver off guard and left battle scars on cars which require a little more than a buff to get out.
With very little margin for error you have a choice of run off which is either:
1. Off the side of the cliff
2. Into the side of the cliff
After heavy reinforcement of the “Try not to crash” rule, we all lined up for our first run of the day on the “Clockwise” configuration.
As I walked around catching up with everyone it became evident that we’re all getting a little bit older. The conversations around the pits have changed from going out and partying to buying property/getting married/starting families.
You’d think it’d be a recipe to retire from the silly motor sport thing we do but the field today proves that it will always remain a constant. The passion really never dies.
All our track days are family friendly and also family car friendly.
A while back, I test drove this Silver Roadster for Matt when I happened to be in Sydney. He purchased the car and it then made it’s way to Melbourne via a track day at Wakefield. When Matt decided he wanted to keep his other Red MX5 instead, Steve decided to quit on his other Mazda to purchase this one.
The “Community Roadster.”
No matter how many times I see it, there’s just something super cool and humbling about seeing Nugget after Nugget lining up to go on track.
Perry and I head out for our first run together at this track and my feeble attempt to warm up the tyres resulted in one pathetic wheel making a woeful screech.
The downhill section is always a little sketchy, and maybe it’s because I’m far more confident in a Nugget, but damn this seems like way more fun than when I drove the MX5 here a few years back.
Now if I think this is a sketchy track with 54 kilowatts, spare a thought for Brad who came along in possibly the most inappropriate car for a hill climb…a 2jz powered 400 jiggawatt World Time Attack car with gearing set up for the straight at Sydney Motorsport Park!
Kam took me out for a lap in his GT3.
TBC but it might be a bit quicker than a big block Echo – I know hard to imagine right?
“Prettiest car of the day” award goes to…
The fastest Nug in this configuration was taken by this infuriating Daihatsu Sirion that haunts my dreams.
Heathcliff the Nugget was also suffering from a runny nose this morning and didn’t feel like coming to the track today so Henry the CRX elected to take his place instead.
The black Honda spent the day trying to chase down the pesky green one.
Unfortunately for Tom, the green one was driven by someone even taller than he – Haunted Hills reigning world champion* Rhys.
Rhys PB’d again today and set the fastest lap time for the Clockwise configuration with a time of 58.73.
Full Clockwise results can be found here.
To be continued…
Maybe to repent for the fact that I haven’t posted much in the last 6 months, I’m going to post far too much and make this a 3 part event wrap up.
Part 1: Morning and “Clockwise” runs.
Part 2: Afternoon and “Figure 8” runs.
Part 3: Nugget Nationals Round 2 competitors and results coverage.