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Back in the groove...

Mr Sylva races

...and so as if I didn't have enough to spend my money on, before I knew it I had bought the overalls, helmet, gloves and boots and was racing at Kirkistown and thoroughly enjoying it!

I have to say that my friend Kieron made a comment the very first time he watched me drive: 'You race like a Rally Car driver'.

To be honest, I didn't see that as a negative. I thought it was quite cool to have a recognisable driving style, but the truth of the matter was that I threw the car in sideways before every bend, scrubbing off speed and trying my best to get the car sideways, all the time thinking this was the way to go. How wrong can one man be?

 

It was a little while before I really started to understand - the best way to get a good lap time wasn't to go as sideways as possible, it was to go as quickly as possible - not always the same thing. The quickest way through a corner wasn't sideways, it was accurate, careful lines. And I wasn't doing that at all. I was all over the place, loads of opposite lock, playing to the crowds, but not really quick. I was loving it, but I wasn't very fast.

Learning the lines

The lines that I really needed to learn, in order to be quick, took a bit of getting used to. First of all, I couldn't get my head around the speed with which the Sylva turned in. I'd always driven metal cars, and so had learned about the weight and delay of response before anything happened, but this little plastic car was a revelation in the way it responded.

Turn the wheel and the result was instant! I couldn't believe it, but it worked every time. To say that I cut the corners a few times would be a massive understatement, as I was across more kerbs than a BTCC touring car for the first few races.

But learn I did, and eventually I started to get the hang of it, and so my times came down, and my lines improved, and I gradually started to have races with people rather than driving round in amongst the racecars.

I certainly wasn't the quickest on the racetrack, but my word I was starting to have fun!

 
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