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      12-29-2012, 11:52 AM   #1
mob17
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Bedford Autodrome GT track, open pit lane,anyone want to go together in June/July?

Hi,

Im currently thinking to start going to track days so i can experience driving fast, well for a 320d anyway, and just wanted some advice from people who have done this before.

I have already decided on the Autodrome as its close, and pretty reasonably priced, 109 for a day (open pits and potentially 6 hours of driving!). I like the idea of not having sessions. Also with no barriers its just an option im comfortable with.

The questions i have are:

1) Insurance. I have heard its very rare that you'd damage your car, so is this something thats really needed? I need to check if my insurance covers it as its non-competitive.

2) Seat belt. I don't want to be moving around too much in the seat when going around. I have seen two decent options. First is the CG Lock http://www.cg-lock.co.uk This seems good as its cheap but would it be enough for what i want to do? Or on the other hand should i get a 4/6 point Schroth harness, which is a lot more expensive and maybe OTT?

3) Pads, tyres and dampers. I've replaced my pads recently (1-2 months) so not too worried about them. My tyres however have roughly 5mm left. How much would this go down if i thrash it around on a dry day? Also, i still have OEM dampers, with ACS springs. Would one day wear them all out?

4) Other drivers. Are they all decent or do you get some idiots who think its a Grand Prix, and maybe crash into you?

5) On board recording. Would i be allowed to use my iphone to record the action?

6) Anything else you pros think would be helpful?

Many thanks
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      12-29-2012, 12:40 PM   #2
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For your first day I'd recommend a novice only day, you will be grouped with other novices based on your experience and car.
Open pit lanes are cool until a Noble is flying past you with a speed differential of nearly 100mph..
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      12-29-2012, 12:49 PM   #3
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+1.

When you do find a suitable day:

Although not a competition, very few standard policies will cover a track day; special one-day policies are available I believe, but relatively expensive. Really it's up to you.

The standard seat belt will be fine. User your knees etc to jamb you in place in the corners.

Check check check, and check again EVERYTHING. Start with brakes, tyres (especially pressures), fluid levels, and anything that could fall off. You'll probably only do about 200 miles max. so 5mm of tyres will be OK. The car will roll more than a M-sport, but it will corner fine. Just take your time to get used to it. You may run out of brakes, especially if you stay out for more than 15 minutes at a time. If they fade, pull into the pits and let them cool off. You'll wear nothing out except yourself.

Other drivers? Good point. Listen carefully to the briefing and do whatever you're told. You'll probably be expected to use your mirrors and stay out of the way on straights.

On-board footage? Ask.

If you can get one of the organisers to go round with you, do it; it may cost.

Take your time, you've got all day. But most of all, enjoy yourself.
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      12-29-2012, 02:13 PM   #4
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Insurance get it!
Pads are ok. just maybe pit in every couple of laps to cool them down. ( when you do stop in the pits do no apply brakes or handbrake if you can help it)
Dampers and springs will be fine as long as you dont go too hard and hit all the kerbs. even if you do they should be ok. The main issue you will have with the dampers is that due to heat it changes the presures inside the dampers and they will loose their sharpness after a while. again can be remedied by pitting and coling down.
tyres will be fine mate, as long as you dont drift too much. The car is will be able to be driven home with loads of tread left.
what else did you ask? seat belts.... Hmm I wouldnt bother as i doubt you will be pushing that hard?
and be courteous to other drivers, let them go past.

generally enjoy yourself its not a race. just have a few hours and do some good laps.

all the best mate.
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      12-29-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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I'd recommend a novice taster session for your first time. It's a nice introduction in to track days. Also I know you won't be driving on track for 6 hours but that's a long time for the car to be pushed hard. It's also quite physical so you'll feel it after an hour or so.

Other drivers are ok. You'll have more powerful and more experienced drivers most probably so get ready to see Blue Flags.

As for insurance I'd get it. You may not have an accident but what would you do if something does happen?

The next time I'll do it will probably be in someone else's car. I'll hopefully be able to let loose a bit more. By that I mean an experience. I know it means a lot less track time but I want to try it that way.
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      12-29-2012, 02:42 PM   #6
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i have CG lock, i dont do track days, but i would try that first as it holds you in nicely!
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      12-29-2012, 04:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
Hi,

Also, i still have OEM dampers, with ACS springs. Would one day wear them all out?

On board recording. Would i be allowed to use my iphone to record the action?

Anything else you pros think would be helpful?

Many thanks
An average days UK potholed road driving will wear your dampers and springs far more than a butter smooth trackday.

Obviously you can't hold your phone whilst driving!!! Some tracks / organisers ban sucker mounted cameras and insist on bolted/clamp mounts as sucker mounts will fly off in an accident.

I assume you know a crash helmet is compulsory? I use my motor bike helmet, but again tracks are starting to ban these for use in cars, so as a minimum, buy a motorsport approved open face car helmet.

I'm going on a spring bedford day, just looking to book now.....
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      12-29-2012, 06:32 PM   #8
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If a car trackday is anything like a bike one, ideally don't start with open pitlane - some won't let you anyway. Pick a novice group and take it steady. Can always go out on the back of the group until you find your pace etc. Just hard to remember its not a race!

I'm looking forward to doing my first car trackday on 2013 so will be interested how you get on! Bike is getting close to now being a track only weapon so will be interesting to take the Tourer on track!
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      12-29-2012, 08:42 PM   #9
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I used a bike helmet and didn't find it great tbh. You can hire these on the day usually.

I don't think you'll necessarily need a CG Lock. I don't remember sliding around much. But I can't imagine it'd hurt.

Oh and get your tow hook ready. I had a mad scramble to find mine lol.
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      12-30-2012, 10:45 AM   #10
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Thanks for all your replies, made things a lot clearer for me

Giff & Woody, hmmm i thought the novice days/taster sessions were for people who are s**t drivers lol. But i suppose its a good idea for first timers. Did everyone here start with novice days?

I'm really excited about going but I can't find any novice days/taster sessions at Bedford, and the first novice taster i have found is on 17th Feb at Silverstone. This is cheap (39) but you only get 30 mins. Probably less than that driving in your own pace

I just don't want to wait 1-2 months for just 30 mins or and hour of a novice day as i know that if i leave the track with anything left in me i will be disappointed. Thats why i wanted to do the open pit days. I could start off slow for the first hour and slowly get into it by the end of the day? Cars flying past me won't faze me, they will motivate me!

Ed330D & Danny.B, about the seat belt, i'll definately leave out the harness option but might get the CG lock to try it out. If not then I can use my knees like you say. Just thought it would be better to minimise using energy.

Doughboy, yes I read that a helmet is compulsory My plan was to hire one for my first day. When and what type of day are you looking to go?

Bear Yid, as for insurance i will try and get a one day quote and see how much it costs. Tow hook is a good point didn't even think about that!
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      12-30-2012, 11:19 AM   #11
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Novice days are far from being just for shitty and inexperienced track drivers,from my own experience,a high percentage of drivers at Novice days are far,far from being anything of the sort!

I'd recommend a Novice day for a first timer,as a well organised day will give you the opportunity of going out with instructors who are well versed and experienced of driving the track you are attending,and will give you masses of good tips about how to improve your day to day driving,along with how to apply that craft on track.

We all think we are driving Gods,but go on track with a good instructor,and most first timers would change their opinion,and recommend the same to others (doing a Novice day first)

Helmets are generally always available to hire on the day (10.00),and I've never felt the need to use anything other than the seat belts that come in the car.

I've never used track day insurance,however, I'm in no way suggesting that you should do the same,it's generally based on a percentage of the value of your car,but expect to pay anywhere between 2-300.00 for a day's driving.

If you follow the instructions at the briefing,and drive within your limits,pit regularly to let both the brakes and yourself to cool down,and you'll really enjoy it,let the red mist descend for any reason,and going off track is embarrassing,can prove costly,and could result in you being barred from the rest of the session.

Check out MSV,really well run outfit,with loads of days up and down the country,arguably more expensive than others,but I'd recommend them.

Full day @ Snetterton for Novices on the 3rd Feb for 59.00, absolute bargain!

http://www.clubmsv.com/car-home/novice-only
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      12-30-2012, 12:39 PM   #12
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Mob, wait till the spring, I won't be booking till April at the earliest.

Cold and wet = no fun at all.
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      12-30-2012, 12:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotcoupe View Post
Novice days are far from being just for shitty and inexperienced track drivers,from my own experience,a high percentage of drivers at Novice days are far,far from being anything of the sort!

I'd recommend a Novice day for a first timer,as a well organised day will give you the opportunity of going out with instructors who are well versed and experienced of driving the track you are attending,and will give you masses of good tips about how to improve your day to day driving,along with how to apply that craft on track.

We all think we are driving Gods,but go on track with a good instructor,and most first timers would change their opinion,and recommend the same to others (doing a Novice day first)
Lol yeah I suppose that's true we all do think we are including myself

Think I'll go for a novice day then, as much as it hurts me. As you say they won't be shitty drivers and I might learn some new things. Plus at least it's staying on the safe side of things, I'd hate for something to happen.
Quote:
Helmets are generally always available to hire on the day (10.00),and I've never felt the need to use anything other than the seat belts that come in the car.

I've never used track day insurance,however, I'm in no way suggesting that you should do the same,it's generally based on a percentage of the value of your car,but expect to pay anywhere between 2-300.00 for a day's driving.

If you follow the instructions at the briefing,and drive within your limits,pit regularly to let both the brakes and yourself to cool down,and you'll really enjoy it,let the red mist descend for any reason,and going off track is embarrassing,can prove costly,and could result in you being barred from the rest of the session.
That's expensive for one day. I had a quick Google and some sites say 60 for a day, but that's maybe something else?

Yes i think on my first day i'll try and ease into it.

Quote:
Check out MSV,really well run outfit,with loads of days up and down the country,arguably more expensive than others,but I'd recommend them.

Full day @ Snetterton for Novices on the 3rd Feb for 59.00, absolute bargain!

http://www.clubmsv.com/car-home/novice-only
Yeah MSV looks like a really good site. That snetterton day looks very attractive at that price, even though you only get 6 x 15mins. It is a bit far, around 100 miles, but i suppose its worth it. How long do you think that trackday will stay at that price? Do they get booked up quickly?
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      12-30-2012, 12:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Mob, wait till the spring, I won't be booking till April at the earliest.

Cold and wet = no fun at all.
Really

I was really looking forward going in about a months time. Would you say cold and wet is good for a novice day as it harder, so when i come to do a dry day it should seem a bit easier? I also won't have much tyre wear
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      12-30-2012, 02:56 PM   #15
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I want to have fun on a track day, not potter around trying to avoid skidding off backwards into the armco.

It's not harder in the wet, just you have to go so much slower it's downright dull on a track IMO, and tone you've slid in the wet.....

Probably why they are cheaper in winter..
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      12-30-2012, 04:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I want to have fun on a track day, not potter around trying to avoid skidding off backwards into the armco.

It's not harder in the wet, just you have to go so much slower it's downright dull on a track IMO, and tone you've slid in the wet.....

Probably why they are cheaper in winter..
Hmm hadn't looked at it like that.

I might just wait until spring time then. Or just gamble on it being dry and go in Feb, just to get a taste. Will probably be cold but I don't want to wait too long for my first
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      01-01-2013, 12:13 AM   #17
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My advice

Do not be scared of open pit lane

It really doesn't matter what level of equipment/talent you show up with someone will always humble you. Be courteous and consider your mirrors and you will cope fine
I consider myself an average driver. I pass as much as goes past on the track. Perhaps I pass more than goes past when dedicated d01 type rubber is nailed on
Then I passegered a Clio cup driver in a 125 mile old Clio cup direct from the forecourt and realised my lack of talent

In stark contrast to some previous posts
Do absolutely as much as possible to secure yourself to the car. I've been out with professional drivers (talk to Melindi @ Gold track) and the CG lock would be an absolute minimum requirement for me ( my track cars are equipped with genooine harnesses). He who is detached from the car is detached from driving.
Wedging yourself with your knees is, without wishing to sound like an absolute arse, laughable advice from someone with no idea. With standard belts you can achieve a reasonable result by yanking on the belt fast enough to engage the safety lock. After a couple of attempts you'll be able to do this such that when you actually connect belt to buckle it will be very tight

Wet and cold can be the absolute best. Driving fast in such conditions requires talent (that, as demonstrated by said clio driver I posess in modicum only)

Bedford, AFAIK, is a concrete aerodrome. If you do press on tyre wear will be harsh compared to "proper" tarmac circuits

Re insurance.
Your standard policy will specifically exclude track days unless its from someone like REIS (who understand what a track day is) and specifically names track days. People have got away with pushing smoking ruins down the (always torturously long) access roads to public highways but it's a risky bet at best
Typical policies will run you about 10 per k of insured value. If you do buy read the small print very very very very very very carefully. Then read it again. Many will specifically exclude bodywork damage

Above all, enjoy the event
If you do book through a reputable establishment (I do recommend Gold track, not because they pay me but because they run a good track day and I know/respect a good few drivers there) then I personally suggest taking lessons from the resident Stig. (Usually Calum Lockie of LeMans fame if booked through Goldtrack). It will cost a few scheckles but I guarantee it will open your eyes

Last edited by two,_OH_five; 01-01-2013 at 12:50 AM. Reason: spolling mostiks
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      01-01-2013, 01:50 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two,_OH_five View Post
My advice

Do not be scared of open pit lane

It really doesn't matter what level of equipment/talent you show up with someone will always humble you. Be courteous and consider your mirrors and you will cope fine
I consider myself an average driver. I pass as much as goes past on the track. Perhaps I pass more than goes past when dedicated d01 type rubber is nailed on
Then I passegered a Clio cup driver in a 125 mile old Clio cup direct from the forecourt and realised my lack of talent

In stark contrast to some previous posts
Do absolutely as much as possible to secure yourself to the car. I've been out with professional drivers (talk to Melindi @ Gold track) and the CG lock would be an absolute minimum requirement for me ( my track cars are equipped with genooine harnesses). He who is detached from the car is detached from driving.
Wedging yourself with your knees is, without wishing to sound like an absolute arse, laughable advice from someone with no idea. With standard belts you can achieve a reasonable result by yanking on the belt fast enough to engage the safety lock. After a couple of attempts you'll be able to do this such that when you actually connect belt to buckle it will be very tight

Wet and cold can be the absolute best. Driving fast in such conditions requires talent (that, as demonstrated by said clio driver I posess in modicum only)

Bedford, AFAIK, is a concrete aerodrome. If you do press on tyre wear will be harsh compared to "proper" tarmac circuits

Re insurance.
Your standard policy will specifically exclude track days unless its from someone like REIS (who understand what a track day is) and specifically names track days. People have got away with pushing smoking ruins down the (always torturously long) access roads to public highways but it's a risky bet at best
Typical policies will run you about 10 per k of insured value. If you do buy read the small print very very very very very very carefully. Then read it again. Many will specifically exclude bodywork damage

Above all, enjoy the event
If you do book through a reputable establishment (I do recommend Gold track, not because they pay me but because they run a good track day and I know/respect a good few drivers there) then I personally suggest taking lessons from the resident Stig. (Usually Calum Lockie of LeMans fame if booked through Goldtrack). It will cost a few scheckles but I guarantee it will open your eyes
Sound advice. P.s Spolling Mostiks lol very clever.
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      01-01-2013, 07:44 AM   #19
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Bedford is a good track plenty of run off!

Main thing, just do you're own thing, let people by and don't be drawn into trying to keep up.

First track day is about learning the ropes and not being concerned about pace....

I've never found wear to be too bad, its all about being smooth. You'll also find the smoother you are the quicker you are!!
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      01-01-2013, 08:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Wet and cold can be the absolute best. Driving fast in such conditions requires talent (that, as demonstrated by said clio driver I posess in modicum only)
Agree completely, but not in your pride and joy daily driver, on your first track visit. And given the choice on the day, who wouldn't want dry, warm and sunny?


Agree also on the CG lock, I bought one after my first track day and now even use it on spirited road drives, they are amazing things for such a simple idea, transforms the driving experience when using regular belts.
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      01-01-2013, 09:59 AM   #21
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Oh I completely agree that as an experience a nice crisp sunny day makes it far far nicer.

Hurtling down Hangar straight trying to spot a braking point through a wall of spray from that talented git in the Nissan Micra is not everyone's idea of a fun day out. But it does learn you car control which is actually much more relevant to everyday driving

I would also argue that it is, somewhat counter-intuitively, actually safer in the wet. There's nothing like bolting on a set of cut slicks in the dry to make you acutely aware that the huge corner speeds you can achieve will result in a veritable party 7 of bad news if it goes wrong. Driving to wet conditions means that if it goes wahoonie shaped you are travelling somewhat slower giving you more time to run through you options (before shutting your eyes and screaming ).
Plus incidents generally start much more slowly giving you more chance of catching it

I'm certainly not trying to say you should be out doing a rain dance before every track day but if it is inclement don't see it as the end of any possible enjoyment from the day

Last edited by two,_OH_five; 01-01-2013 at 10:08 AM. Reason: hangover + autocorrect = gibberish
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      01-01-2013, 01:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two,_OH_five View Post
Do absolutely as much as possible to secure yourself to the car. I've been out with professional drivers (talk to Melindi @ Gold track) and the CG lock would be an absolute minimum requirement for me ( my track cars are equipped with genooine harnesses). He who is detached from the car is detached from driving.
Wedging yourself with your knees is, without wishing to sound like an absolute arse, laughable advice from someone with no idea. With standard belts you can achieve a reasonable result by yanking on the belt fast enough to engage the safety lock. After a couple of attempts you'll be able to do this such that when you actually connect belt to buckle it will be very tight
From what you, doughboy and others have said i think i'll get the CG lock. Hopefully it should be ok for my first time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by two,_OH_five View Post
Wet and cold can be the absolute best. Driving fast in such conditions requires talent (that, as demonstrated by said clio driver I posess in modicum only)
Quote:
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Agree completely, but not in your pride and joy daily driver, on your first track visit. And given the choice on the day, who wouldn't want dry, warm and sunny
Both views are right. On one hand i want to learn and improve and on the other its my pride and joy. But i think as long as i do my own thing as greg330 says, and not be concerned with pace i think i should be ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by two,_OH_five View Post
Bedford, AFAIK, is a concrete aerodrome. If you do press on tyre wear will be harsh compared to "proper" tarmac circuits
Still unsure what day to go to. I think just to be on the safe side i might go to the Snetterton novice day that hotcoupe posted. Open pit would probably be fine if i follow the instructions but just in case for my first time im thinking to do this one. Plus it might be rainy! I do enjoy driving in the rain. Is Snetterton a proper tarmac track?

Quote:
Originally Posted by two,_OH_five View Post
Re insurance.
Your standard policy will specifically exclude track days unless its from someone like REIS (who understand what a track day is) and specifically names track days. People have got away with pushing smoking ruins down the (always torturously long) access roads to public highways but it's a risky bet at best
Typical policies will run you about 10 per k of insured value. If you do buy read the small print very very very very very very carefully. Then read it again. Many will specifically exclude bodywork damage
Do you, or anyone else, have any insurance companies that you'd recommend for one day cover (for that novice track day). Cheaper the better
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Originally Posted by two,_OH_five View Post
Above all, enjoy the event
If you do book through a reputable establishment (I do recommend Gold track, not because they pay me but because they run a good track day and I know/respect a good few drivers there) then I personally suggest taking lessons from the resident Stig. (Usually Calum Lockie of LeMans fame if booked through Goldtrack). It will cost a few scheckles but I guarantee it will open your eyes
Thank you. I have looked at the gold track website but they only do open pit days, and are a bit pricier than club msv. Maybe when i've got more experience i might try on of their open pit track days.

Thanks to everyone whos commented
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mob17 is offline   United Kingdom
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