Features: What makes the perfect driving road?

Avid petrolhead and keen enthusiast Corey Isolda has been on the hunt to find out what makes the perfect driving road, an activity that many on us go about by doing intentionally or finding one unintentially. Is it those roads that we remember best? Or is it those that are most famous that are better drives? I’ll let Corey do the rest of the explanation.

What Makes The Perfect Driving Road?

It’s Sunday morning, the sun is shining and you have nothing to do. Suddenly the car keys catch your eye; you head outside and fire up the engine. In a second you’re gone, tearing up your favourite road admiring the views and listening to the engines burble. To most petrol-heads this is a dream, but what makes the perfect driving road?

Is it a diverse mix of swooping turns and inclines, or endless straights with no one in sight for miles? Perhaps it is the scenery and lack of traffic that makes the drive so good, and not the road itself.

A favourite drive of mine is from Waltham Abbey to Epping in Essex, the drive is about 11 miles long, through rolling countryside and quaint villages. For me there is nowhere I’d rather be on an early morning with a great CD as the roads are empty allowing you to have a good blast. The start of the drive is a large roundabout, great for zipping around in either an Aston or a Mini(not the BMW kind!) you are then launched onto the crooked mile, a road that pretty much describes itself, covered in tight bends, with only two overtaking opportunities you have to be pretty aware of what you are doing. But what if you were in a bland budget box, would you really be able to enjoy the road as much? I would say yes, one of the best drives I have ever had was in a rental Micra, where the only optional extra was seats, constantly on the redline making the supermarket trolley spec one litre work like crazy!

Following the challenging corners you meet an open straight, cutting through hills to the top of the valley with dips and dives causing your car to leap slightly into the air whilst passing beautiful country houses and manors, when the straight ends you meet the most challenging part of the drive; a narrow country lane that descends the valley with a 90 degree corner, it must be my favourite turn in the world, causing   your tyres to screech and giving you and perfect for using ‘a dab of oppo’ . After this the road soon opens back up onto a long straight leading to the town of Epping, where you can grab a nice coffee from a bar before heading home. The best bit about this route is that it has gives plenty of opportunity to break the speed limit, but is still great fun whilst being legal.

(To view the route go here http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wle)

Although I love ‘the crooked mile’ I use it all the time on the daily commute. So does a drive become more special when you stumble upon it on those magic Sunday afternoons? Only last week when in the seaside town of Eastbourne I discovered the amazing cliff top roads past Beachy Head and through the Sussex downs, even in heavy rain and a slightly dreary 4×4(readers, please don’t hate me for that statement, a Series 1 Land Rover is one my dream rides)yet it was still remarkable.

Section of road on Beachy head

To me the drive was just as good as one of  the most famous roads in the world ,the Stelvio pass in Italy, the road is made up of steep hairpin bends, threaded through the slopes of the alps. The pass  is an iconic image and brings to mind the opening sequence of ‘the Italian job’ a movie I’m sure you all remember, where a Lamborghini Miura meets a very untimely end, this made me think is it the fact that a road is so iconic makes it good to drive? Movies such as the Italian job can be such a great inspiration to all petrol heads, ever since seeing a 308 rush around an Paris at sunrise. I’ve forever hankered after a 308, but do the drives inspire us to find roads, and create the dreams for our bucket lists? I’m pretty definite all petrol heads will answer that with one word,‘Yes’ and one day I will drive a mini in a sewer and a Lamborghini in the Alps (preferably without turning into fireball in a tunnel and then being thrown down a mountain!).

The Stelvio  pass.  Need I say more?

So the conclusion of my petrol obsessed ramblings seems to be that roads leave a huge impression on a petrol heads life, and a driving road is a matter of time and place, and create those unforgettable moments.

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3 responses to “Features: What makes the perfect driving road?

  1. Re: Is it a diverse mix of swooping turns and inclines . . .

    Oh yes sir. And I like a bit of up and down as well. Max speed about 80ish is fine with me.

    When is the 1st Retroandclassiccars-Tour?

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