Hillclimb Round 2
22 August 2017 / Article: Keiran Taylor, Photos: Grant Webber
As a stay-at-home mum of two toddlers, a day at a race track with the MX-5 Club provides a great opportunity to escape the monotony of daily routines and the 24/7 demands of parenthood. It's also a chance to socialise with a group of friendly and inclusive people who enjoy the thrill of driving fast!
On Sunday 9 July 2017, I was fortunate to have some "mummy me time" and join the MX-5 Club for my second event as a club member. The challenge for the day was the hill climb track at Ringwood Park. This track presents as a twisty series of loops, comprising thirteen corners; some of which sit on sudden declines or ascents, meaning your judgements about timing (braking, gear changes and accelerating) can mean the difference between finding your rhythm and undulating through the course, or feeling like you're constantly on the edge of losing control completely. For a track that, on average, only takes around sixty seconds to complete, it sure does require a lot of intense concentration!
My initial run through the hill climb had me feeling like I wasn't up to the challenge and I suddenly felt an urge to retreat to the familiarity of snotty noses and nappy changes. However, as soon as I mentioned my uncertainty and lack of confidence to fellow members, I was reminded that the experience was purely about having fun, so I could just attempt the course at my own pace and focus on using and acquiring new skills. The female club members were especially encouraging, reminding me that I had successfully driven on both the Amaroo track at SMSP and at Marulan Driver Training Centre, so ofcourse I could conquer the hill climb as well! There is definitely a strong sense of unity amongst the female drivers in the club, which I appreciate and value highly as a woman who is just beginning to re-establish an identity outside of the role of "Mummy". It was this support that helped me to summon my confidence and persevere with the twists and turns.
On my second run through the course, I accidentally took a wrong turn, which resulted in me completing an additional loop and scoring a lap time of about ninety seconds. Surprisingly, I wasn't discouraged by my mistake. Thanks to the supportive atmosphere created by the club, I was able to have a laugh with others about how my long lap time would help me secure the "most improved" title for the event. To my delight, each lap time thereafter was an improvement on the last, which reflected the fact that I had managed to relax and enjoy the challenges offered by the track.
My experience of this event was, no doubt, made so positive and memorable not only by the friendly and supportive nature of the people present, but by the time and effort contributed by the organisers and volunteers to ensure that everything ran smoothly. On behalf of all the participants, I wish to express appreciation for the care and detail that went into planning and operating this successful event. Thankyou: Josh Allen, Jean Cook, David Lawler, Diane Miller, Barry Lutrell, Ian Nunn, John Purcell, Christine Cameron, Elaine Gazzard, Stuart McCash, Grant Webber, Nakhil Bhandari, Helen Green, Bob Pimm, Phil Mayo, Greg Byrne, and Yasmin Allen. Thankyou also to the members of the local MG Club who assisted with operating the canteen and the timing system, and helped with the set-up and clean-up of the track. Judging by the smiles on the faces at the event, it was clear that participants enjoyed a fun day of driving and socialising.
See more of Grant's photos here: