In January 2008 I went a bit mad, and booked myself something different as birthday treat and booked myself in for a test day in a Legend at the Anglesey Circuit, it was a Thursday, it was cold and windy, really cold, actually really,really cold, but cinsidering the time of year,dry. But when your birthday is in winter and you decide to stand 200 yerds from the sea in Jaunary what do you expect?. Madder still was my long suffering partner who came along to watch her idiot boyfriend go through the ups and downs of motorsport. In the past she has watched me "race" Rebels, perhaps that should be "make up the numbers", crash (sometimes quite hard), but along with my now sadly departed mother, saw my crowning moment of spending 10 out of 15 laps breathing down the neck of a blue top in a Rebels final. Little did she, or I know she (and the other cold and wondering why they hadn't stayed at home) partners would also be going round the track, but faster than most with one of the best drivers in the country..............
After a breifing and some "sighting" laps in a Ford Cougar, we all took it in turns to dive the short circuit in the Cougar with an instructor, so far so good. Next on to the restricted Legend for the 1st session.
The restricted legend proved "driveable" for the better and more experienced racers and although 1 or 2 didn't have the best sessions. Drivers with limited race experience (me) had less sucess, I spun3 times, bringing my session to a stop.
The car was obviously set up for a smaller person and the closeness of the wheel and pedals didn't help me at all. It has 5 gears but 2nd and 3rd were all I could cope with, I spun 3 times and that ended my session and left me wondering if this had all been a bit of a mistake. Even the coffee and endless supply of buscuits couldn't cheer me up. (which could be why I struggled to fit in).
The long sufferering partners of the drivers got an unexpected "treat", a ride in the 2 seater Legend with British number 6 Lawrence Davey, there were no times recorded but it's safe to say the girls went roundthe track faster than their fellas, even if they weren't driving. No one declined the offer!!!
The Legends people gave me lots of help and a little extra time in the car before the 2nd session, the extra time just going from 1st to 2nd and back went well which allowed me to drive the full race car for my 3rd session. This is actually the 2 seater but it gives you some idea of how little room and creature comforts there are in a Legend. The 2nd session went really well and this allowed me try the race Legend for my last session.
The 3rd session was the fully preped race Legend, it was a completely different beast and made me look like I knew what I was doing. The set up was perfect (for me) and very forgiving, small errors were easy to correct and it was the perfect end to the day after my confidence had been badly dented by the other car and my very poor showing in the 1st outing, made me feel like I wasn't a total failure.
The seat was a few inches back, the wheel a tad higher and the pedals were just bit bit further in and apart. A shoes size is 1/8th of an inch (so I'm told) and it can make all the difference, the small changes to this one made all the difference to, I'd never have believed that such samll a addition of space would have made that much difference.
In fact the harder you pushed it the better it went, 2nd and 3rd gear became 3rd and 4th and just a little understeer. It was still like being squeezed in to a shoe box and then fired in to orbit. I wasn't the fastest and perhaps I wasn't the slowest, but who cares about that? It's the fastest thing I've driven (so far) I learnt quite a bit and my respect for all racing drivers doubled. . 0-60 in 4.6 seconds and a top speed of about 125mph. I doubt I equalled those figures but so what?
It's hard to explain just how fast these little cars get up to speed and what a thrill it was to have driven one. I must thank Richard and Lawrence for their help/advice and spending a bit of extra time to get me the bad 1st run. As far as I know the test sessions are still available but aimed more at potential buyers and racers of Legends, but if you ever get the chance for a drive in one, or a ride in the 2 seater TAKE IT.....