What I learned at Rockingham
I wish I could go back! I've been saying this so much since I had such a fantastic day at Rockingham with fellow Marmalade Ambassadors, competition winners and some of the team at Marmalade.
The aim of the day was to have fun, but also to learn safe driving and improve on what we already knew; or at least, what we thought we knew.
The day started off with me joining fellow ambassador Amy. We hit the road in the Marmalade Citroen C3 to receive a driving assessment, which includes safety and eco aspects. It was great to be put in an unfamiliar car, as that in itself is learning something new, but as we went along we were told different ways of approaching roundabouts, junctions, hills, and more to ensure eco and efficient driving. Although I didn't always agree with my professional instructor, and I may have made a few bad mistakes, I'm still putting a lot of what he told me into practice a few weeks later.
It did feel like I was back on my driving test, with our instructor having been a police interceptor for over 35 years among a wealth of other driving experience.
We then moved onto the kick plates and attempting to drive with distractions. The kick plate knocks the car into a spin across a very wet surface, and although it was amusing, I also improved on every go. I was surprised, and I think the instructor was too, at how I managed to control the car, and then with each go, I tried different ways of breaking and steering to get it perfect. Hopefully, what I learned stays with me, as in the occasion it's needed (we was told not if, it's always when), it may reduce the overall impact of a spin or collision. But it's not an excuse to drive dangerously in wet weather!
When trying to drive with distractions, it puts into realisation the effect of texting when driving. As you need to be highly accurate on the track because of the cones, one slight wrong movement of the wheel and you've knocked one over. None of us has ever driven using our phones anyway, but I highly recommended people go to their nearest driver training centre and give it a try! It opened up my eyes about how distracting it can be, especially when we tried on the beer goggles too.
Now I wouldn't say I learned to drive fast cars as I think I'll need a few more hours driving, but the Nissan GT-R and the Lambo were amazing. The Lamborghini was too powerful for me, with the poor instructor having to grab onto the steering wheel and help me steer, let alone having to let all the slower cars past. The GT-R is more of an 'everyday' sports car and was much easier to control with no intervention from the instructor. Although, I did think he reached over to a special brake a few times...
The GBS 'cars' were amazing too. I wish I could have driven them round in doughnuts for ever! I've even looked at the cost of one - but I'll be saving up for many years!
I had such a great time, and I'll be sneakily visiting Rockingham more so I can get some practice in if I'm invited back next year. Thank you Marmalade!