We’ve missed it!
Alas, this might be the last season for the Clio Cup but at least we get one final chance to race at this truly stunning venue.
Knockhill oozes wow factor – whether watching trackside or in a car.
Not for nothing is its lay-out referred to as a rollercoaster rider thanks to a combination of steep descents and compressions, plus rises with blind, twisting, off-camber crests.
Watching cars being ‘leant on’ through Duffus Dip and then tamed through the following left-hander, Leslie’s, is something else.
Likewise as they aim to ‘straight line’ the top of the Arnold Clark Chicane – blind to the drivers as they head uphill towards it…
A large kerb on the inside of the following Clark Curve (also ‘blind’, uphill and off-camber) is perhaps where cars achieve their greatest lean angle and draw the greatest gasps.
Heck, even the sharp Taylor’s Hairpin at the end of the lap is a challenge thanks to the way it suddenly climbs mid-corner on to the (you guessed it) uphill start-finish straight.
With little in the way of run-off, there is also an ‘element of peril’ making this a circuit not to be toyed with – errors and any disrespecting of its limits rarely go unpunished.
To cap it all, Knockhill is surrounded by lush Scottish countryside and views of iconic landmarks such as the Firth of Forth and its new road and old rail bridges (the latter famously used in Hitchcock’s movie classic ‘The 39 Steps’).
Nearby is the vibrant city of Edinburgh while don’t be surprised if drivers head to Dunfermline of an evening for a round of crazy golf (two giant courses exist) or to watch stock/banger cars at Cowdenbeath Racewall.
Finally, forget what they say about the weather: like anywhere else Knockhill can be as rainy or sunny as anywhere else.
The other reason…
Oh, yes, we’ve got a very genuine title battle to rave about and Knockhill comes at a crucial stage of the season.
Just as before Thruxton’s most recent rounds, six points are all that separate top two Max Coates and Jack Young and both will be acutely aware of how rapidly Jamie Bond – now up to third in the standings – has closed on them of late. A once 72-point deficit has come down to just 32 and at this rate Bond will be joining them in Brands Hatch’s season finale in October with a chance of the title.
Brett Lidsey also remains very much in touch in fourth and will be fired up having ‘won’ for the first time at Thruxton (later denied by a penalty for a jumped start).
Inevitably, the pressures of a title fight always present opportunity for others with less to lose and, judging by Thruxton’s form, several names here spring to mind.
Ethan Hammerton, remember, took a breakthrough maiden victory at the Hants circuit and his confidence will be up.
So, too, should be that of Ben Colburn who led for the first time there and Jade Edwards; both were right in the mix and it could have been either of them instead of Hammerton celebrating a first victory had it not been for late spins.