Clay Pigeon is one of the easiest circuits to find. It is located half way between Yeovil and Dorchester on the A37. If you are coming from Yeovil, then it is approximately 9 miles south of the town (Yeovil) at the top of the hill after Holywell Village. The circuit is signposted from the A37 and you have to turn left at the top of the hill (mentioned above), and follow the signs for the circuit. It really is very easy…
Welcome to a lap of Clay Pigeon. The track itself is one of the easiest to pickup, and is very quick, but it can very difficult to find the last couple of tenths to be a race winner. Below is a guide that I hope will help you find your way round the track and be competitive.
The following is a corner by corner account of the correct way to tackle Clay Pigeon in the eyes of CLUB 100 Heavyweight driver, Paul Hicks.
Turn 1 – Billy’s Blind
Billy’s blind is a very fast downhill left, which is a nice wide-open first bend. Approach during practice flat with no need for brakes from the far right of the track for a perfect line, but during racing a more central line is required to prevent being overtaken. Turn in late to be near to the kerb at the apex. The kart will be thrown wide as you run through the bend. Try to control this so that you leave the bend about mid point of the track.
“Billy’s is a bend in which overtaking is possible from the long sweeping downhill straight before reaching the kerb, if you get better drive form the previous corner. It is safer to get into position for the next corner, which is one of the best overtaking spots on the track.”
From the fast downhill sweep of Billy’s, move across to the left-hand side of the track for a hard brake. Billy’s blind is the fastest point that a club 100 kart will travel all year into a medium speed double right-hander. The breaking point for this bend is just before the surface change. Turn in holding off the kerbs as they upset the kart, keep the kart within a kart’s width of the inside as you power round to a mid-curve apex. The final exit is wide ready for turn 3.
“This is one of those bends that you need to concentrate all the way round as overtaking is available on the entry and halfway through the corner if an entry error occurs. A common mistake is to brake late and sail past the apex leaving the door open to be retaken whilst heading for the next corner.”
Turn 3 – The Esses
The next bend is now taken almost flat as so much speed is scrubbed off at the previous corner. Approaching from full left, you will hit a slight bump, if taken correctly this set’s you up for a good run through this quick right / left hander. It is important to try and straight line between the right and left kerbs as the exit is critical. Try to be controlled on the power and do not run the kerbs as very are very vicious and will cause you problems. You must be smooth!!
“This is an important bend as the exit sets you up for sturmey straight and the hairpin, which is the main overtaking point on the track. Taking too much kerb on the exit and running onto the mud is asking to be overtaken into the hairpin. Although this is a small section of the track it could possibly be considered as the most important corner.”
Turn 4 – The hairpin
After Sturmey straight which is slightly down hill, you need to position the kart on the left hand side of the track, watching for people who have had a better exit from the esses diving up your inside. Just before reaching the marshals post you need to brake very hard before turning in. Turn in following the kerb for the first part of the corner but allow the kart to run the full width of the track on exit to keep exit speed high. Use the kerb on the exit but keep off the grass. Guide the kart from this full left position to run smoothly across to the right for the next bend.
“This bend can be taken fairly quickly as it is cambered and sucks you round. Watch out for people getting the better run through the esses and diving up your inside. If they are up your inside, concede the corner as you will only get involved in an accident and get them back at the next one.”
Turn 5 – The horseshoe
Arguably, the most difficult bend on the circuit. You approach from the full right with a slight dab on the brakes, turning into the kerb at the first apex of this box bend. Exit part one with power on and allow the kart to run to halfway across the track before turning in for part two flat out. Aim slightly off the second kerb where there is a little more grip. When exiting from part two you should not let the kart go wider than half-track as you need to be hard left for the entry to the next bend.
“It is important be very smooth through this box bend to carry speed into the next bend. By staying on the left hand side of the track from the previous bend it is possible to dive up the inside of another drive if you have had a better exit from the hairpin.”
Turn 6 – Right Hand (Symond’s Grasstrack)
This is a conventional 90° right. This bend is approached from the full left and is taken flat out. A standard turn in is needed, running close to the kerb, which is flat at the apex. Do not use the rumble strip on the outside of the track, as it is worn out and very rutted.
“This bend is not a good overtaking point. If you get a better run out of the horseshoe, do not try and pass around the outside at this corner. The natural line for the kart you are trying to pass is to run to the outside of the track leaving you with no space and in the dirt going backwards.”
Turn 7 – Top bend (Winston’s Flip)
Staying on the left hand side of the track after exiting turn 6, a slight dab on the brakes is needed to settle the kart at the marshals post before turning in just after the arrows on the track. Run round the kerb but not touching it as it upsets the kart getting onto the power halfway through at the join in the track. The fast exit takes you to the left hand side of the circuit making sure you use every bit of the track. Try not to run onto the dirt as it has become rutted over the years and can cause some interesting moments.
“This looks like a very straightforward bend but it is very easy to get wrong. It is very important to get the exit correct or you will not have the speed going into Billy’s Blind. It is possible to overtake going into turn 7 if a lesser driver has made a mistake at the Horseshoe or Symonds Grass track but can lead to accidents.”
Its now foot down, as hard as you can push the pedal, for the completion of a lap heading back down into Billy’s blind, the fastest/”fun-est” down hill kink on the club 100 calendar.