14 February 2020
Yeah me again.. Seriously bitten by this motorsport bug and Jo Mawson has asked me to write about my Motorsport Australia (CAMS new name), OLT experience (Observed Licence Test).
Creeping up on joining a racing series and this is a big step forward. Well, as usual, sleep was hard to come by due to my excitement and all the heel and toe and start practice (at the lights right?) to make sure the day was as good as it could be for me. A day off work to go to the track is just tops.
Preparation is the key in most things that are important and for this day - it was no different.
With my first race suit, fireproof under garments, balaclava, socks and HANS from Revolution Racegear organised with a check over of the car by Graeme Bell at Bell Motorsport and I was as ready as ever. Quick revision of flags and I felt pretty good to go. I didn't realise that it was a Vic State Championship practice day as well, so I was a little shocked but excited to see so much fast metal on trailers as I got to Sandown. Thought it was just us!
I made my way to OLT scrutineering. There were no issues there as Eric (the clear coat vanishing, platinum green series one E30 coupe) with his historic registration sails through. I was told that due to no roll cage (coming) don't wear the HANS device as you can't duck your head in a roll over or impact on the roof. Makes sense but I would have thought it was more likely to hit a wall at turn 1 or 4 or Dandenong Road so a Hans would be good then, right?
Anyway, in for a brief of the day ahead and then out to the track. Helmet on, gloves on, and I'm in my happy place.
Out for a 15 minute session with others doing the same thing and in for another brief with the 6 or so observers telling you what they noticed you doing and how to improve.
Another practice and debrief.
Hopefully you've listened and then implemented the recommendations from the prior debrief. They like it when you do that.
Last session was after lunch. A real start with lights from a grid! My first. Really happy with how mine went with a couple of fast cars (Formula Ford, XD Falcon V8 ex TC Masters) missing the start and Eric and I sailing by. Soon overtaken by them at the first corner but a nice feeling for 15 seconds or so!
There was to be another session but the heavens opened and it would have been entertaining for all except those of us out there.
A last minute chat with Chris Bell as I drove past the E30 guys and girls to the marshalling area (my heroes) was extremely well appreciated "take it really easy out there and stay off the curbs, it is really wet". I felt sorry for the Formula Ford driver as it would have felt like standing under Niagra falls in the marshalling area.
Back in for a chat, flags quiz, an understanding of who's who at a race meet, complete the questionnaire and told we'd passed!
Such a cool feeling to know I now have a licence to race but also importantly, a licence to learn.
Now to get Eric up to scratch and cause havoc (joking) at the back of the E30 series grid with our trusty M10 4 pot. Eric, me and the M10 are becoming a great little team. Learning to drive a slow car fast is the best advice I reckon so when Eric eventually gets his M20B25 and G260, with a 3.91 diff, I'm not that guy with all the gear and no idea. Just a fair bit of the gear and a hint of an idea!
Thanks to Graeme Bell and Jo Mawson for getting me sorted for this, and for the advice and encouragement. The journey is as much fun as the destination.
An E30 series start, from the back!
Darryl O'Neill | Member #52
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne