Last time I took the MX-5 to a skid day was out at Meremere last year, and it was the first time I had ever done anything like it before. My palms were sweaty and I couldn’t even eat breakfast I was so nervous - I was out of my comfort zone, and very aware of it.
But afterwards it felt great, and I knew I’d overcome that fear of trying something new for the first time. Ultimately it was the fear of failure that made me nervous, but the experience made me realise that when you are already starting at square one, there isn’t such thing as failure. The only option is to get better and better and enjoy the feeling of improving at something!
When I did my first track day the following week at Taupo, that same nervous feeling crept up on me again, but I gave it a try anyway and discovered that I really enjoyed the feeling of driving on the racetrack too.
So when a few friends invited me out to a skid pan day at Hampton Downs on Saturday, I accepted the invitation without hesitation. I spent last week getting the MX-5 back in shape in preparation for this, which meant taking the car down to Waikowhai Auto Services to get a new ignition barrel fitted (after some dimwits tried stealing it) and raising the suspension back to cert height so the car could actually make it in to Hampton (and the gas station on the way) without any major dramas. Just FYI, the following are only iPhone quality photos, but I promise Part 2 of this has some actual high quality images!
We swapped the Watanabes for my old set of wheels to avoid wearing out the rubber on my nice Bridgestone tyres, and my trusty mechanic Patrick also installed a power steering cooler, as last time at Meremere I busted the power steering pump from having the car on full lock for extended periods of time.
While we had the car on the hoist we got to take a look underneath at some of the (self-inflicted) damage from when I had it slammed on its ….
Only minor scratches really… no dents or anything.
The main reason I’ve decided to raise the car, for now anyway, is that the sump was showing minor signs of damage and I don’t want to risk breaking anything – I’d like to put in a bash plate and perhaps raise the motor slightly too, but this isn’t top priority just yet.
On Saturday it was time to put the Miatasaurus back to good use and get out and develop my driving skills further...
... stay tuned for Part 2 to see some high res photos from my Hampton skid pan experience. For now here is a sneaky shot of Adrian's S14 on Work VS-XXs.