Finally the big day came.
The day started with me driving from west London to Gerrards Cross where I met up with my Ride-Drive instructor Jamie. At this point I should explain that Jamie is, as all Ride-Drive instructors, a driving instructor for the police. We talked about what I wanted out of the day and then he took me through the itenary of the day.
We drove through the winding B-roads of Bucks, oxforshire etc towards the Bruntingthorpe race track which was the destination for the day.
The most important priority Jamie rammed home was safety. Reading the road ahead right up into the far distance on the horizon heightens observation and gives time to make a plan. I was encouraged to straddle the white line to increase my view of the road and open the view up as much as possible. A lot of the time I was on the other side of the road when approaching left hand bends. This gave an earlier view down the road through bends allowing very high speeds to be maintained where safe. Of course if there was oncoming traffic, there was plenty of time to move back over to the left without any drama.*
After a couple of hours hard driving I was taking the Alfa around bends with speeds that previously I would not have dared to. Quickly, calmly, smoothly whilst always maintaining a safety margin.
Quite an surreal experience having a police officer sitting sitting next to you saying faster, faster, now hard on the brakes, now put your foot back on the throttle during the corner, increase throttle, now absolutely cane it out the corner.
We then arrived at Bruntingthorpe. This was my first time ever on a track and I was fearing having powerful Porches and TVRs whizzing around my ears at twice my speed, however we had the entire track to ourself, couldn't believe my luck.
Now this was seriously good fun. I was learning about racing lines, the differnce in handling with the traction control switched on or off, taking the car well beyond its limits to see what happened etc etc.
I can safely say that my fairly new tires are now well scrubbed and run-in. At the end of our track time (about 2 hours) my dear Alfa also informed me that it would be good to change the front pads soonish. Ah well she is booked in for a service next week, she deserves it after today.
There is a long long straight on Bruntingthorpe, I managed to get the Alfa to just a whisker under 130 MpH (speedometer speed) think that is pretty close to the actual top speed there wsn't much left in her at that point.
Finally a note on the Selespeed, almost the entire day upshifts were done between 6k-7k revs and it never missed a beat in fact it seemed to be even better than normal when driven in this way for an entire day. And the downshifts with the noize and the throttle blip and everything is just so addictive.
Late afternoon we had been driving for around 8 hours and clocked up nearly 200 miles, and I have had a fantastic day and felt that I've learned a lot about myself and my Alfa. Gone to the limits of the car and my driving ability, and well beyond it in a safe environment, and expanded my comfort zone quite significantly in the process.
I really enjoyed the day and would recommend the Ride-Drive experience to everyone!
*Most of that paragrah was nicked from here
, sorry - but my way with written English is not that great and I thought he described it very well.