So, it all came down to the final round. I went into the weekend 9 points ahead of 2nd place in the championship. I knew I just needed to have a fairly decent qualifying position, and had to finish within a couple of places of my nearest challengers to secure the championship.
Heat 1.. Started 2nd, got a good start and held onto second around the 1st corner, but ended up getting bumped from behind into the hairpin which pushed me wide causing me to lose a place. The exact same thing happened on the next lap allowing another racer through which put me down into 4th, where I managed to finish the race
Heat 2.. Started 6th, got a brilliant start allowing me to get up into 2nd place by the end of the first lap. For the whole race, number 19 (Liam) was right on my rear bumper giving me a good strong battle all the way to the chequered flag where I kept hold of second place by just 0.1 seconds.
Heat 3.. Started 6th again, and again quickly managed to get up into 2nd position. Unfortunately, my mate Oliver made a move into the 1st corner which sent me into the tyre barrier pretty hard. I managed to get going again and managed to bring it home in 4th. Oliver was super apologetic after the race, but like I said to him, these things happen, and it wasn't done on purpose, so no hard feelings.
Final.. The results in the heats meant I qualified 3rd for the final. Another good start got me up into 2nd. I held onto 2nd for a few laps until number 29 (Mason) got by putting me into 3rd. Another epic battle with Liam followed for 3rd place, but luckily I managed to keep him behind crossing the finish line in 3rd. I was informed when I was in scruitineering that id been given a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits (using the kerb on the exit of turn 1). Never before in the history of Wombwell racing has this ever been a track limit issue, and not once did I put all 4 wheels on the kerb, so not sure how this happened, and as Liam was right behind me, he was promoted into 3rd. I was gutted as id worked hard all weekend and thought Id won a trophy, but it wasn't to be.
Not to worry, luckily the result didn't cost me the championship, and my 5th place finish after the penalty was enough to secure the 1st place in the Wombwell Karting Winter Series.
Im super proud, and I cant wait for the presentation at the next meeting.
Id like to say a massive thanks to all those that have helped me over these 4 hard rounds, especially my super sponsors - CEM Engineering and Advanced Coating Services as well as my Grandad Nigel, and the Mark Ward racing team that gave me loads of great tuition in this final round.
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th January was the weekend for race 3 of the Wombwell Winter Series. I went into this weekend 2nd in the championship, but unfortunately, the leader was unable to make it, so I had to put a solid performance in as I had the chance to take the lead heading into the final round in February.The entry list was big in our Honda Cadet class, 16 entries, one of the biggest at Wombwell for a while.
Saturday went well, it was one of those typical winter weekends where the track stayed damp and slippy all day, so on went the wet tyres and they stayed on all day. We seemed to get the setup nailed pretty early on, and managed to be in the 39's most of the day.
Heading into Sunday, the track was dry, but it was freezing cold, and as Wombwell only gets used once a month, the track was slippy.
Heat 1 saw me starting on pole position. I got a good start, keeping my lead in the first corner and heading up the long straight in 1st place. At the end of the straight, someone misjudged their braking point and hit me hard up the rear end sending me into the gravel. By the time I managed to get going again, I was pretty much in last place, what a nightmare. Now it was time to keep cool and try and work my way back up the field. The heats were only 6mins +1 lap, so I didn't have long to get to work. I kept my head down and drove my heart out, overtaking people each lap, pushing on every corner, trying to catch whoever was in front of me. By the time the chequered flag came out, Id made 11 overtakes and managed to claw my way back into 5th place, not bad considering I was dead last on the 1st lap.
Heat 2 had me starting down in 9th position, so I had my work cut out to try and get towards the front. My Dad always tells me that the race isn't won on the first corner, just make sure you get round it safely and then race on from there. This is especially true at Wombwell as there is only a short straight before corner 1 where 16 cadets have to get round a 90 degree left hander. A few karts around me had a coming together, and more through luck than judgement, I managed to not get hit, and head up the main straight having gained a couple of positions. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful for me, overtaking a few more karts heading into the last couple of laps. Id slowly managed to catch up No. 68 - Freddie Moore who was in 4th place, which considering this was Freddies first ever race at Wombwell, and the fact he'd missed a good few weeks of karting as he'd unfortunately broken his arm, was an amazing drive by him. With a couple of laps to go, I managed to get past Freddie, but he wasn't letting me just drive away. He was right on my tail all the way to the last lap, where with a couple of corners to go to the end, he made a good clean pass on me. I couldn't believe it. I kept pushing though, and on the second to last corner I got round a little quicker than Freddie which allowed me to get a run on him into the final corner. I stuck my kart on the inside going into the last corner and managed to make the pass stick. Freddie held his line and it was a drag race to the line. I managed to get 4th position finishing just 0.171 seconds on front of Freddie. What a race, you cant beat a good hard clean race, I think most of the people watching at the sidelines enjoyed our little battle, I know our parents certainly did. Hopefully that is the first of many good battles we will have as we will be racing against each other a fair bit this season.
Heat 3 and I started 6th on the grid. After a good start I quickly got up into 3rd place, chasing down Brandon #55 and Jack #26. Nearing the end of the race, they'd managed to pull a slight lead on me, but Henry #77 was creeping up on me. I pushed and pushed all the way to the end, and managed to finish in 3rd just 0.326 seconds in front of Henry. I seem to be making a habit of these super close finishes.
Final - So a 5th a 4th and a 3rd place finish in the heats meant id be starting the final in 4th. Jack in 1st, Brandon in 2nd and Henry in 3rd missed the 1st race of the winter series, so they aren't really battling for the championship, so Dad told me I just had to finish in front of the other guys and girls that had completed all 3 races, and that would be enough to get me into 1st place in the championship. So, off we went, making sure I got around the 1st corner. Henry and Brandon went into the corner side by side, both running wide in front of me, but I didn't have enough space to get by, so I just settled in behind them up the straight, keeping my 4th place. This let Jack get a small lead on us all which he kept right to the end. I knew I just had to finish, and it didn't matter of those 3 finished in front of me, so I didn't want to push too hard. In the end, it was a pretty uneventful race for me, I just settled into 4th, watching the battle for 2nd with Brandon and Henry a few seconds in front of me. Jack got the win, in fact, Jack won all 3 heats and the final, so a massive well done to him for a brilliant drive, Brandon ended up getting the 2nd spot less than 0.2 seconds in front of Henry in 3rd, and I got the 4th spot which I was more than happy with as it meant I was now at the top of the championship heading into the final round.
The final round is in February. Ive currently got a small 9 point lead, so it's still all to race for in the final race. Good luck to all the other competitors.
After the disappointment of the first round where my engine exploded in the final, it was time to put all that behind me and try and score as many points as possible this month. Again on race day, it was cold and damp, not a slick tyre in sight all weekend!
The race entry was much better this month, 12 Honda Cadets and 2 IAME Cadets in my races.
Heat 1 - I had a front row start for this one, starting in 2nd place. I made a brilliant start, taking the lead on the first corner and pulling away from the rest of the pack. I think someone spun at the hairpin, but I managed to avoid that, and extended my lead coming around fast part of the track. By the end of the first lap, id managed to get myself a healthy lead, and set off trying to hit the braking points, sticking to the race lines and trying not to get too excited that I was leading.
I could see that someone was working their way through the pack and starting to close the gap on me lap by lap, non other than the 2018/19 NKF karting champion - Jack Hobson. Heading into the last couple of laps, Jack was right there with me, but I just kept my head down, concentrating on my own driving as I knew Jack wouldn't knock me off. With 2 corners to go, Jack made his move and got the lead from me. I kept pushing right to the line to try and get the lead back, but Jack crossed the line 0.319 seconds in front of me, well done Jack, but I didn't care, that was by best ever drive according to my Dad, and I was delighted with my 2nd place finish.
Heat2 - I started 5th on this heat and again, I got another good start. I managed to get up into 4th from the start and was having a good battle with the top 3 ( tough competition as the current NKF champion with Jack, the FSS and SYKC champion with Brandon, and the FSS runner up, Henry). After another good run up the straight, I pulled alongside Henry to try for an overtake, but I managed to lock the wheels and spun off the track onto the grass. Luckily, I managed to get going again, but lost a couple of positions. I kept my concentration and managed to 6th, so not too bad considering the spin.
Heat 3 - Pretty uneventful. I started this heat in 8th, had a good battle with Henry near the end and finished 5th, just 0.199 seconds behind Henry, so knowing how good Henry is, I was very happy with that result.
Final - 5th was where I would start the final. I didnt quite have the setup nailed for this one, so I couldn't quite keep up with the top 4. They all drove brilliantly and pulled a good gap away from me leaving me in no mans land for while. Things were soon to change though when it came to lapping the backmarkers. Unfortunately, I got held up pretty badly by one of them which allowed the kart behind to catch me up, number 35, Oliver. Having raced bumper to bumper with Oliver before, I knew I didnt have to worry about getting knocked off, and we had a good battle for the rest of the race. We caught up another backmarker, I went to the left to overtake, but he started drifting left also, so I had to ease off a little allowing Oliver to sail past on the opposite side of the backmarker. I wanted that position back, so I got right on his back bumper and again, we battled away, often side by side, swapping positions for a good few laps.
Coming onto the last lap, I was in front of Oliver, and then deja vu, we caught a back marker up on the fast section, and just like before, I went for the overtake, but he started edging my way, so again, I had to ease off just ever so slightly until I knew he'd seen me, but Oliver spotted the gap on the inside and off he went again, managing to squeeze by again. I was gutted, I tried to get the position back, but Oliver held me off on the last 3 corners and took the chequered flag in 5th, meaning I finished 6th. My Dad said it was a brilliant race to watch, he and Olivers Dad loved it saying it was really entertaining.
So all in all, a decent weekend, once again, I was snapping at the heels of the lads who are current champions, so I must be heading in the right direction. Well done to my good karting buddy, Brandon for the win, Jack who came second, and my other good mate, Henry who finished 3rd
The points meant I am now back upto 2nd in the Championship, so I need to have another good weekend in January to keep the pressure on the leader.
I must add, I have to say a special thanks to Jacks Dad - Shaun, as he spent a bit of time with me this weekend giving me some good driving tips which definitely helped me, and for helping my Dad with the setup tips - Thank You
Merry Christmas to you all :-)
South Yorkshire Kart Club decided that it no longer could support the MSA meetings due to lack of entries each month, so they decided to go down the IKR route to cut costs and try and attract bigger entries. Their first championship they have run is the Wombwell Karting Winter Series, consisting 4 rounds from November to February. This is the first proper championship I will compete in.
So...round 1 was over the weekend 10/11 November 2018. And as its Wombwell, it was wet wet wet all weekend.
The entry list wasnt huge for the Honda Cadet class, there was 5 of us racing on the Sunday. All 3 heats had a very similar feel to them, we struggled to get the set up just right as it was damp on one race, wet on another and they drying for the 3rd.
I managed to finish 2nd in all 3 heats, finishing between 5 and 8 seconds behind the number 23 each time, but I was happy with that as it meant I started the final in 2nd place, and still had a good chance of getting the win.
I had a good start, and settled into second place, right on the tail of Matthew (no.23) who held the lead. This time my Dad seemed to have got the set up just right, and I was able to keep on the back bumper of Matthew for the first few laps. I was faster on some parts of the lap, he was quicker on others, so we had plenty of side by side racing, I was loving it.Then on lap 4, I got a good run up the long straight, slipstreaming the leader, pulling along side ready to try an overtake at the hairpin. As I hit the apex, I floored the throttle....nothing!! The kart just died on me. I thought id acidently knocked the kill switch with my elbow, but as the marshal came over to assist me, he pointed to a big hole in the side of my engine. The conrod had snapped, and swiftly destroyed my engine, meaning the race was over for me.
I was gutted as I was having a good race, but I suppose these things happen. I did have positives to take from the race though, I had realised that I was now quick enough to be racing with lads a few years older than me who have been karting for a few years, so hopefully, the rest of the season I should be able to battle somewhere near the front.
Well done to Matthew who went on to win the race, Im sure we will have some good races all season long.