One point two miles. It's not a lot is it? On a motorway, you'd cover that in around a minute with little to no excitement. Try the same distance at speed on someone’s drive, and it’s a very different kettle of fish.
The course at Cholmondeley Power and Speed isn’t carried out on just any old drive, though. There are long straights, tight turns that require huge braking force and plenty of bumps. The biggest one of those comes in the shape of a humpback bridge that virtually guarantees air if you’re travelling reasonably quickly.
It all starts with a small stretch just before the start line on which you can warm your tyres (or showboat). After burning some rubber, you’re faced with a start line that’s slightly downhill. Once you've launched off, you’ve barely time to change up before you’re faced with a narrow bridge that’s outlined with a pair of steel barriers.
To make matters worse, the road is already bending to the right as it crests onto the bridge. If you want to accelerate hard here, you’ve got to hope the rear doesn’t step out and smack that barrier. Get across that fine, and you’re faced with Chestnut Avenue, a near-straight that allows you to build some serious speed.
The trouble with this gentle curve to the right is twofold. Firstly, you’ve got to deal with a course that remains narrow even once you’ve left the bridge. Secondly, there are bumps aplenty, which are ready and waiting to knock you off course. Oh, and a bit of rain reduces grip far more than you might initially expect.
By the time you’re approaching the next corner, Lodge, you’ll be travelling at a speed well over a hundred if you’re driving in something with a bit of poke. Then, to make things even more interesting, there’s a bit of a right-hand kink just before you dive through an alley of straw bales.
There’s a good chance you’ll be heading straight rather than left if you’ve started braking on or after the kink. Make it through, and there’s a brief chance to squeeze the throttle before you’re on the brakes again for Vicarage, another left. You’re tempted to jump on the accelerator hard and early but you must resist. Get too sideways and you’ll get the rear wheel on the grass, risking a tank-slapper at best.
A good exit is important, though. There’s a straight section that allows you to build plenty of speed, before you’re hard on the brakes again for the Brown Shipley Chicane. It looks tight, but a ballsy approach that has you skimming the straw will allow you to carry surprising speed.
Negotiate that, and you’re onto the shorter Polo Straight. Don’t get too carried away though, because you’re soon into Chapel: a left-hander made all the more interesting by a crest and yet more narrowness. It’s then a case of being brave and accelerating through The Kink, one of the bumpiest bits of the track.
After a sweeping right – Lozenger – you arrive at the last corner, a fairly tight left. It’s the exit that’s important here. You need to make sure you’re lined up perfectly straight for what comes next, the humpbacked Stone Bridge.
If you’re lined up in the dry, you go as quick as you dare as a bit of pace will see you take off – air under all four wheels is hardly uncommon. There’s then a short straight before the finish line. After you’ve slowed down enough to deal with the cattle grid that comes shortly after, you can relax. Well, at least until the next time.