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Advanced Driving

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  • Advanced Driving

    Hi All,
    Not sure if your all aware but Sparky(Mark) is able to provide advanced driving instruction, a point which he posted out a while back and offered his services to forum members. Since I got the VXR was looking into brushing up my driving skills and wanted to see where I could improve my control and handling.

    This wasn't about learning how to drive at fast speeds, if I wanted to do that I would take the car on a track. This was about improving my road driving, control and handling so that I drive within the speed limits but, as Mark put it, Make progress where progress can be made.

    So I decided to take Mark up on the offer and book in some instruction. After some initial chats we arranged to meet up on the Saturday before Silverstone.

    Originally I planned to pop out with Mark for a full days worth, as life would have it my car got a flat so we spent the first little while in Kwik Fit whilst I watched £186 go down the pan all because of a screw. Once this was finished we finally set off to begin.

    The first little section was spent with Mark picking out a route as we travelled whilst observing my general driving ability, making notes and pointing out things for me to remember as we would talk about them later, and also generally chatting about this and that as normal.

    After the first half hour we pulled over at a service station so that Mark could go through his observations, advise me on things that were picked up and discuss the things he had said to remember during the drive. During this discussion I learned quite alot of interesting points about my driving style, the way I sat, held the wheel, and things to be aware of when approaching obstacles.

    Mark went through quite a few different scenarios explaining the different approaches and what was the better approach so as to give me a good understanding of the principles being discussed. Once we had finished going through all the information it was time to start putting them into practice.

    Firstly we went through adjusting my seating position and steering wheel hold, and then we were off. As before Mark picked various different roads to give a wide range of oppurtunities to try out the points we had discussed and gain some good practice. At first some things felt a little strange and I had to try to overcome my natural reaction and stick with the advice which Mark was giving as we drove.

    After a while we stopped off for a bite to eat, refreshments and a chance to let things settle in just a little bit. At this point I was already beginning to feel more at ease with the different approach, and found I was slipping back to hold habits less and less.

    Shortly after we were back on the road do more pracitising and have fun with improving my cornering skills. We continued practising for the remainder of the afternoon, with Mark providing guidance all the way and reminding me at time I was slipping back into the old habits.

    Finally we finished up after 5 hours on the road, and had a final chat in the car to go through points to remember and his thoughts on how I did putting things into practice.

    All in all this was a really good experience, very tiring but good, as I learned alot about my driving style, and ways in which it can be improved. I found Mark's assessment to be spot on, and he certainly picked up on some things I wasn't aware of which did surprise me, and at no time did I feel like he was telling me off, more informing me of a better alternative and then providing then explanation why.

    The practice sessions were good fun, even with Mark stating - Don't Brake, Don't Touch That Brake..... . The whole day was fun (well apart from the tyre ), and was certainly well worth the time and investment. I now have alot to practice, and I hope to go out again with Mark and get another assessment to see how well my practice pays off.

    Anyone that has thought about doing some ADI then I would highly recommend a chat with Mark as I thought he did a grand job.

    Thanks for your time Sparky, hopefully next time there will less for you to pick up on