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Caterham Seven 1600 Super Sport

Feb 2008 - Second Report

Caterham Seven 1600 Super Sport Caterham Seven 1600 Super Sport Caterham Seven 1600 Super Sport Caterham Seven 1600 Super Sport

Sun Shining, morning spent in the garden (earning brownie points) so it was out for a little blat. First job was to put the new tyres on the back - I’ve stuck with Yokohama 048rs as the Toyo R888’s don’t come in soft compound for 14” and I like to run soft compound on the front and medium on the rear as it gives it great balance. I'm pleased with the mileage I got out of this set. I stick the Tyre labels on the wall and write on the date and mileage at which they were changed, 4200 miles out of the last set of rears - not bad for me.

Drop it off the jack, torque up the wheel nuts, fire it up and out into the warm sunshine. Oh the bliss of top down driving, all those smells you miss in the tin top. Question: why do so many convertible drivers go round with the hood up? Leaves me baffled and, I have to admit, a little cross.

Pottered down to the garage for a top up of Super Plus, it was 2p a litre cheaper than diesel - why? Here's something to ponder, if diesel is so expensive why do so many users spill so much of the black stuff on the forecourt? After all they have paid for it!

Back to the blat - following a rousing send off from the scooter boys as I left the petrol station - “smart mo-ta mate” - oil now warmed through (takes about 20 mins if you're asking), roll up to the island, spot the gap and plant the throttle. You forget just how quick the Seven is... bang - you're off the line and into the traffic with a grin so big it feels like my head's going to fall off. My facial expression is mirrored by the kids in the cars swivelling their heads to get a look at the little yellow car making all the noise. Waves and thumbs up from all the cars around, it does you good to see small kids reacting so positively to a sports car.

Out on to my favourite local road, a couple of big brakes to warm the fronts up, a couple of small wheel spins to help scrub the mould release off the new rears, national speed limit reached, snick down to third and off we go. Left hander just a kink taken flat under the metal bridge then the next left-right sequence over the brow, light up the “SLOW DOWN BEND” sign, break hard down to second and turn right - this 90 degree corner can be taken at the national speed limit despite it being off camber but today, with new tyres, it's taken with a little circumspection.

The next corner is one of the very best. It’s a left over a crest and the road drops away after the apex so you turn in early - passengers tell me it looks like I am going to take to the grass! Keep it nailed in 4th, the Seven goes light, the revs flare slightly as the left rear unloads and you can feel the weight transfer to the right rear. Keep the pedal hard down and you are rewarded with the same sensation you used to get on the swings as a kid.

Down to the roundabout which is always smeared with diesel from all the trucks and has already claimed my friend's Tiger 6, so treat it with respect. Up onto the moors, dispose of slower moving traffic, this is living. I feel so alive - sun on your face, slipstream tugging at your hair, ears assailed with the noise of the engine pulling hard.

The grin is soon wiped away as a flashing motorist alerts me to an incident ahead. I can see the blue light in the distance and around the next corner a biker has had a coming together with a wall - paramedics are looking after him and police are taking notes. I have to say I try and take a pragmatic view to these accidents and put them to the back of my mind and just get on with driving.

On to the Holme Moss road, which is an old Cycle Hill Climb, and what a piece of tarmac - bumpy, twisty, drops worthy of an alpine pass but best of all, most of the corners are sighted so you can really stretch the cars legs. It takes nerve and cast iron concentration but the pay back is massive - a real challenge with dips, crests and off-camber corners to catch you out. People tell me the views are spectacular but I’ve never seen them, my focus is that ribbon of tarmac that snakes up to the TV transmitter at the top and then plunges down the other side to the village of Holme.

The drop down is smoother with a great hairpin corner that you can see clearly from over half a mile away, so you can choose your line and pick out your exit point, smooth or lairy the choice is yours.

On this run I catch up with a Porsche Cayman and an Astra VXR just as the 30mph zone is reached at the bottom and the VXR is popping and banging like a good old fashioned racing car - great. Good to see so many people out in cars and bikes enjoying the sun and the act of driving for fun.

One last little story, on the way back I approach a corner with a Vauxhall Zafira parked on the outside. A little lad, aged about three, is standing on the other side of his mom, trousers at half mast signifying and urgent toilet break. As I approach both mom and son look up to see where all the noise is coming from. The little lad points at me and turns, resulting in him weeing up his mom's leg, made my grin just a touch bigger.

Nick.

Oct 07 - First Report...More

Apr 09 - Third Report...More

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