We all love watching top level motorsport, with all the TV coverage, personalities and 'show' that goes with it. But don't let all these high level events hood wink you into thinking that that's as good as it gets. Get yourself down to your local circuit on a club racing day. No hospitality units, no rows of trade stands and unfortunately no massive crowds. Go there to watch the racing, and more importantly, watch the characters in the paddock and you'll see why we love it.
All Square are local to Brands Hatch and when we get chance we love going for a stroll with a pint or a burger (if the stands are open) around the circuit and watching the racing, and I mean watching it properly. Through the 20 minute races you'll see guys getting to grips with the car, and making up positions by knocking chunks off their times. Lets face it they are CLUB racers, they don't have tons of budget for testing and race when they can. Improvements are made in leaps and bounds and that's all part of the fun. Somewhere in the midfield you have battles where guys are changing position all the time, through little errors where they are under pressure then make up 3 places in one corner with a brave lunge that somehow pays off. Then upfront you get the regulars who have been doing it for years. There's only a couple of tenths between these guys and you can really see them trying to work an opening then struggling with fading tyres and brakes towards the end but that's where you get that race winning move done. It's great! So many stories in such a short amount of time.
After the race I wander around the paddock and the camaraderie is brilliant. Drivers are standing in groups waving their arms around showing how they made their moves (or mistakes) and loving the 20 mins they just had while their mate from down-the-road wipes off CV grease around a boot that's been patched up several times so that they can afford the entry fee for the meeting. It's grass roots racing but its RACING and its relatively affordable.
Championships such as EnduroKA, Citroen C1 racing and the BMW 116 Trophy offer some good amounts of track time in cheap cars. You can build a car for 6k then share the driving and costs with a couple of mates to spread the burden and the racing is immense. You can even pick up a drive in someone else's car for around 1-2k depending on the length of the race. That's not bad to just turn up and drive! If you want to race on your own there are loads of possibilities, 750 Motor Club, BARC and MSVT just to name a few and between those 3 there are TONS of different classes. The community for club racing is great too, with lots of information, pictures and banter being shared. We are massive supporters of Club Racing UK, check them out on Facebook and Instagram to see what the club racing fuss is about. Its run by an enthusiastic group of guys who typify the whole paddock and community.
As a company we love going out to the club racers to set up their cars. We spend as long chatting about their racing as we do working on the car! We've corner weighted cars in the rain (an absolute pain!) just to try and get the thing ready for a race the next weekend, and travelled hours to regular customers to help them get a bit more out of their car for the next race having improved it for the previous one too. The great thing is, they ALL love scraping a budget together to do what they do and they wouldn't change it for the world. Do them a favour, go and sit on the sides, watch their racing and clap them at the end. They deserve it.
Well done club racers, well done