Race Report Part 1
On any normal weekend I would normally be watching racing on the television, but on this particular weekend four friends and I would be racing in one of the biggest karting events of the year.
As we were setting off from Oxford, we managed to squeeze five people and a weekends worth of camping equipment into a little Renault Clio. With a broken stereo in the car and a long journey ahead of us, we plugged our Ipods into a portable stereo and whilst flicking through my Ipod they found the Pokémon theme, which we all sang out load and then I knew that this was going to be a crazy weekend.
After we arrived and registered, we set up the tent and we could hear a kart going around the track, so we walked up the hill to check it out and get our first look at the track and George asked how fast were the karts and whether there were seatbelts, When we told him around 50mph along the main straight and that there were no seatbelts he ran off to get his phone and ring his girlfriend and mother to say that he loved them.
Just after we went to sleep we realised that we had made to huge mistake with where we had pitch our tent, right next to the train tracks (oh dear). After what had felt like hours sleeping on the hard ground I went outside for a quick leak and everywhere was covered in frost, so much that our pillows were frozen to the floor.
At 7:30 am we had our mandatory safety briefing before heading out into the pit lane for practice. As I went to sit down in the kart I found out that I could barely squeeze myself into the seat but after a bit of shuffling around I was able to get myself ready to begin practice. For the first few lap I took it easy to learn the track and the kart. When I began pushing a little I was amazed by the speed and grip of the kart. I came in and handed over to John, who employed a similar approach and set a similar time to mine. Just after he had left the pits there was a full course yellow due to a driver wearing a hoody on track. After the offending driver was pulled in the green flag came out and we left John out before handing over to Sam, Daniel and George. All three were karting for the first time, much to the surpise of other competitors, so we left them out for some time to get used to the pace of karting. About 45 minutes into practice it was my turn to go out again and on the second lap going into turn 5 I ran very wide around it, thinking that I had made a mistake under braking, but as I tried accelerating the kart wasn’t going anywhere fast. I thought that it was a puncture at first and pulled over to be recovered and as I was waiting I looked at the rear left wheel and saw that it had come off of the axle. After the kart was recovered I returned to the pits where all the lads said they had a good laugh hearing about it over the PA system.
After 15 minutes the kart was repaired and John took over, then Sam, then Daniel and finally George.
For the 10 Minute qualifying it was decided that myself and John would do 5 minutes each, but having done only 6 laps of the circuit our chance of being anything but last were slim. After doing a few laps I was ready to swap drivers and found nobody there, so I carried on and with a few minutes left we were 8th in class, but in the last few moments three teams went faster and we were left in last place but from being three seconds off the next slowest in practice to being a tenth from the next kart and half a second from most of the pack was a big improvement.
1st: RDI Pro 1 1:08.011
2nd RDI Pro 2 1:09.104
3rd Marshall Monster Sport 1:09.143
4th RDI Pro 3 1:09.189
5th Mach 1 Racing Team 1:09.542
6th British Racing Team 1:10.140
7th Apex Hunters 1:10.695
8th Dead Bull 1.10.983
9th Lunatic Fringe 1:11.179
10th Team Scuderia Lunati 1:11.252
11th Team 1337 1:11.398
At a few minutes past midday the field set off behind the pace car, but what we didn’t at the time was the start might had been aborted due to an issue with the helmet of Team Scuderia Lunati which this video from the pace car shows http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX032-mPcMo&feature=channel_video_title
In the opening laps John managed to get use up to 31st but had been complained of the same issue that I had in practice, the issue was going into the corners we would close up to the kart in front and under the first part of acceleration we would continue to close up but as the straight went on we kept losing ground, as a result we could challenge into the main overtaking corners but we able to repass kart that had just overtaken us in the infield section.
Just after John had swapped with Daniel there was a full course caution due to a Dmax having lost a wheel and crashing at turn 2. The driver was ok and after around 5 minutes under full course we went green and Daniel, who was at the front of the pack at the restart spun at turn 2 and collected by The Stig in a Dmax. When Daniel and George were in the kart they were losing up to 20 seconds a lap in their stints and by the time I was due back in the kart we had fallen to last place and we were two laps behind the next team.
As Geogre came in we refuelled before I hopped in and after a few laps I was back in again as fuel was coming into the seat and had covered my left leg, so I had to go and get a change of race suit and trousers. After John’s stint we decided to go Sainsbury’s and get some food to cook.
When we got back our kart had its mandatory checks and I was back and did an hour and half stint before handing over to Sam. During my stint John set up the portable cooker to cook dinner inside the tent and rather comically set it on fire, thankfully only resulting in a hole in the floor.
I’ll post more as soon as I can