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.
The time had come to actually put all the practising to use, it was time to race. As I was most comfortable at Wombwell, I decided to do my first couple of races here. I wasnt going there to try and win, it was all about learning how to do the rolling starts, how to race safely around the other racers, and if I was in the position to do so, go for an overtake or two.
So the first couple of race meetings went OK. I had to start at the back as I was a novice, but I managed to get past a few people in each race that I did, and I really started enjoying the racing, knowing when to and when not to overtake - when to push and when to take it steady, and most importantly, leaning how to finish a race without spinning off.
Then it was time to race somewhere else, so off we went to Fulbeck to join the Sprint Series racing, and the MSA championship they run there. The grids in the sprint series are much bigger than Wombwell which again, has been a good learning tool for me to get better at racing as there are more lads and lasses there who are similar speeds to me.
So, between September and November 2018, id raced at the Sprint Series 4 times, Wombwell 4 times and in the Fulbeck MSA races twice - I've had some good races, some bad races, I've picked up my first couple of trophies, and most importantly, I've built up my confidence ready to race next year.
Heres a few pictures from those races;
After 8 months of practising at Wombwell and Fatcats, I was getting near to my 8th birthday, which meant Id be able to race. Dad decided I was ready for a newer kart, and after some thought, and plenty of discussions with other Dads, we decided to get a Synergy chassis. Luckily, one of the lads who raced at Wombwell in the Honda Cadet class was moving up into MiniMax, and so his chassis was up for sale, and thats the one we got..and still have. It was time to go testing in the new kart, so off we went to another new track...Fulbeck.
After a few months practising around Wombwell, the other Dads were telling my Dad that I should visit a few other tracks so I could broaden my skillset on different kinds of corners etc.
The first track we visited was at Fatcats Motopark at Doncaster. Its mainly a MotoX complex, but it does have a nice tarmac track there for karts and Mini Moto bikes. Its usually not too busy too, so I managed to have the track to myself a few times, meaning my Dad could stand on the circuit and help me out with the racing lines and braking points.
So, after getting my first kart, it was time to start learning how to drive it quicker and quicker. Dad started taking me down to our local kart track at Wombwell, which at the time was run by South Yorkshire Kart Club. As it was an MSA (Motor Sports Association) race club, I wasn't allowed to race until I was 8 (and Id just turned 7 at the time), so I could only attend on Saturdays for the practise days. This was fine by me though as it took a few visits to start learning the racing lines and getting within a few seconds of the faster lads who regularly raced. Something else I also remember from my first few visits to the track was that it rained every single month. We practised once a month at Wombwell, and from November to May, it rained every single time. One good thing about this though is that now when it rains, Im actually pretty confident on a wet track, and tend to have a little advantage over some of the other newer racers that haven't raced too much in the wet.
So, how did I get into karting you ask?? Well, my Dad used to kart when he was younger, in the Rotax Max class, so I suppose it was in my blood. My Dad took me to the local indoor kart track a couple of times to see if it was something I would enjoy, and as you can guess, I was bitten by the karting bug.
After Dad could see that I could drive the kart safely and fairly quickly, he said I could get a kart of my own, and in November 2017, I got an old Project One kart with a T1 Honda engine on, and so my karting journey began.