Pistonheads Hertfordshire Drive
By James Wong
I’m supposed to be starting on my law revision now, but in the interests of keeping my writing alive and peppy I’ll just slip in a post here now.
Yesterday, I did what most petrolheads would be familiar with: waking up early in the morning for a drive. Usually the starts are just before the break of dawn where everybody would still be thankfully in their beds and held on weekends (which takes out the working crowd and the hang-over zombies), so the roads were blissfully quiet all up till 8am. I was dreading the crawl through London (yes, even at 5am on a Sunday morning) but thankfully very few road diversions and crazy drivers were active that morning.
Reaching the meet-up point I was already greeted by a huge contingent of cars, every one of them the proper ‘PH cars’ that are frequently debated about on the forum. I’m not supposed to divulge too much details of the drive due to privacy reasons, but I can talk about my own car so let’s shift the focus on the MR2.
My group consisted of the Japanese cars which included the MX-5, MR2 Turbo, S13, Starlet and the Celica GT4. It was a nice warm introduction for me to meet some like-minded drivers. We headed off and the roads were – I cannot emphasise enough – fabulous. They were unmarked on the GPS and seemed to cross endless green fields to either side that was akin to a private road. Sometimes, we would cross a creek or a dense forest that is not unlike a scene driving through Germany. Then we would suddenly reach larger roads and onto those flowing A-roads that allowed a higher speed.The route was simply amazing.
I rounded up the rear of the convoy and found the power barely adequate to keep up. Every acceleration run required me to bring the engine to its redline in gears 1, 2 and 3. Can’t complain though – the good thing about underpowered cars is the opportunity to drive them hard at completely sane speeds. I enjoyed the shifting, so precise and measured. The steering also felt a tad better than what I reported before about it being slow, but still I’d prefer more deftness. Balance was perfect though; think that was what helped me through some of the corners where it was the balance and not the acceleration that allowed me to keep up.
Also – unintentionally – I hit the rev limiter once while overtaking (requiring second gear and then third halfway through the overtake) and the 16 year old engine felt as good as new. On the way back I garnered the confidence to try scrubbing a roundabout (if you catch my drift) and finally, for the first time since I got the car, the tail became mobile. One quick deft flick of the steering wheel was all it took to get the car back in line. So natural, I didn’t really feel like it was enough.
More photos and videos soon! Back to my full-time job of studying.
Photo credit: Rob Pepe of Shutter-Life
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