I built this car to do a few track days in. And despite the car making its public debut at RS Combe during the middle of the summer, I’ve always seemed to be too busy during the show season to actually find the time to venture on track.

Aside from a sneaky few laps at Ford Fair, I’ve pretty much had to wait until Autumn and Winter to find the time to use the Escort to its full potential. But don’t be put off by track days out of season, as I’m finding, they can actually make a lot of sense. For a start, they’re generally cheaper than summer track days, and they are definitely less busy – meaning more time and space on track to really get to grips with the car.

Fair enough, it’s a lot colder too, but as long as it remains dry the cold weather can actually help the car’s performance too by keeping everything nice and cool.

That’s why, after a successful track day at Castle Combe recently, I found myself booking onto another. This time it was Brands Hatch… in December.

When we arrived the fields were white with frost, temperatures were just above freezing, and the on-track conditions were sketchy to say the least. I know the EsCos has got four-wheel-drive, but things were slippery and icy that it was oh so easy to spin all four wheels and come out of every corner sideways if you weren’t careful. Obviously, this was great fun, and as my confidence grew so did the speed.

Fellow Ford fanatic and good friend, Hannah Ward, joined us for the day and I even let her loose in the Escort for a few laps – that girl knows how to pedal a car! Within a few short laps she was coming out corners sideways too!

But after lunch our playtime was cut short. I was a bit giddy on the throttle, came out of a corner a little bit too sideways, and smashed the front diff as I hit the rumble strips. As you can see from the photos I’d made a good job of smashing not just the gears but the casing as well! There was no coming back from that for the day, so the Escort was loaded back on to the truck and headed back to the workshop.

By the time you read this I’ll no doubt have replaced the broken parts with uprated goodies capable of handling the abuse I plan to throw at this thing in 2019! Overall, though, it was a great day and I can’t wait to get back out on track again soon.