Lowflying Article – If Only Caterhams Could Talk, June/July 2020

I can’t really blame anyone for this article. Even when I was writing up the ECU work on this blog, I had it in my mind that I’d be able to do a Lowflying article at some time.

Then, when Michael Calvert asked members if they could write more articles for the magazine ( because there was a bit of a drought of articles due to the Coronovirus ) that was my cue.

However, like the ECU blog itself, writing this up for Lowflying took a lot longer than I thought it would, and because of its length, it had to get split across a couple of months of the magazine too.

I also found it really tricky to guess the interest from the Lowflying readers – too techie and nobody would read it, too simplistic and nobody would get any benefit. In the end I went with an approach where I left out detail but explained everything from basic principles. Clearly Lowflying readers are intelligent, but they may not all have an engineering or computer background.

The one area that I didn’t know whether it would stick or not, was the use of Russian dolls to explain how internet communications protocols get embedded inside each other and have to be unpacked to get to the real data you’re interested in. I think the metaphor worked but only time will tell if that is evident or not.

The full article can be read in Lowflying, June and July 2020.

LowFlying June 2020 – If Only Caterhams Could Talk
LowFlying July 2020 – If Only Caterhams Could Talk

* These articles were first published in the June and July 2020 editions of Lowflying, the magazine of the Lotus Seven Club for Caterham and Lotus 7 enthusiasts.

Lowflying Article – Nervous Novices, April 2020

It was Brian’s fault!

The local Bristol and Bath AR (Area Representative), Brian Hall had suggested my name to the Lotus7.club track-day co-ordinator Simon Maitland. Simon was looking for someone to do a piece in Lowflying (the Lotus7.club monthly magazine) about how good the club’s novice track-days are.

Brian knew I didn’t mind putting pen to paper (or at least pixels to screen) and suggested Simon contact me.

Nervous Novices – Four page article in Lowflying, April 2020

Simon and I had a few conversations over the phone about what sort of “angle” he wanted to achieve and so I set to writing something up. We then had a few back-and-forths to make sure the political side of things was on-message (nothing untoward, just making sure I didn’t offend anyone). Then it was off to the Lowflying editor, Michael Calvert, with the word doc and photos, to be “processed” through his DTP (Desk Top Publishing) software and the article appeared in the April 2020 edition of the magazine.

I won’t reproduce the whole article here – you’ll have to be a member of the club to access the archives – but I basically covered:

  • Intro
  • The Briefing
  • Sound Check
  • Instructors and Intercoms
  • Ducks and Drakes
  • Isn’t it all a bit much?
  • Club Rules
  • Fuel
  • Passengers
  • Who Attends?
  • Running with the experienced brigade
  • What did I learn?

I covered the two novice days that I attended: Rockingham (now sadly closed) 2018 and Castle Combe 2019. You don’t have to be a complete novice to attend a novice track day, just be on the novice side of the curve and willing to learn.

Hopefully, the article encourages track newbies to have a go in a fantastically run day of blasting, or pootling (delete as appropriate), around some of the UK’s great tracks. And as our roads get more and more congested, track-days are a great way to experience the thrill of blatting.

I’ll leave you with my parting paragraph from the article:

But, overall, the most useful take-away from my novice track days was that I better able to drive my car. I’d like to think I became a better driver, but I definitely became a better Seven driver.

* This article was first published in the April 2020 edition of Lowflying, the magazine of the Lotus Seven Club for Caterham and Lotus 7 enthusiasts.