By Karting1 ~ October 4th, 2011. Filed under: Kart Racing News.
You know when your weekend hasn’t gone 100% to plan when you’ve broken your hand, written off your kart and made a marshal fear for her own life!
Without doubt this was the hardest 3 days karting I’ve ever done in my life. But, it was always going to be tough. That’s what makes it the Super One British Karting Championship.
The weekend was going smoothly. OK, I didn’t have any pace, but in the third heat we’d finally started showing some signs of improvement. I won’t lie, it was tough to be nearly 2 seconds off the pace, but we chipped away until the most bizarre accident cruelly happened on my best lap of the weekend.
Footage from Friday Practise
YouTube link - http://youtu.be/lJ0jnv_0hOM
Racing a KF2 kart represents a number of challenges on your body and driving technique. I struggled all weekend to anticipate how the kart would behave when approaching corners at different speeds. Physically my training & diet had worked pretty well, but the new circuit at PF with its bumps proved to be a real test of strength and endurance. Your body takes a real pounding! In practice I was able to follow drivers and mimic their speed and lines into corners, but as soon as I made a mistake, they were gone. No one makes mistakes at this level.
We still had improvements to make, but the weekend had gone pretty trouble free. Our Kartune Maxter KF2 engines were working really well, the Ricky Flynn Motorsport Alonso Kart was handling good and the Aim Motorsport team were on it. The spectators had started arriving and PF started to build a real buzz. It was Sunday and that means race day.
I always enjoy the start of a race because it doesn’t matter what your pace is. For the first few laps everybody’s on a level playing field and positions are up for grabs. My best start was the second heat where I managed to lunge someone going onto the bridge and eventually got myself up to seventh, albeit briefly. I was soon deposed from my hard earned position . Luckily, the team boss witnessed my overtaking so I could boast about it when I arrived back in the Aim Motorsport tent. Racing at this level with guys that race the best in the world on a regular basis is intensely satisfying, even if it is only for the first few laps.
So how did I end up in a marshal post? I still don’t really know myself. In a bid to try and find some time, we stiffened the front end of the kart. Nothing major but we hoped that a change might bring about an improvement. We hadn’t changed the set up all weekend, so we thought it was worth a gamble. And for the first 8 laps it was working really well. My times had dropped a few tenths, I was driving better and more consistently. The start of lap 9 was brilliant. It was going to be my best lap of the weekend. Could it be that I was going to make a breakthrough? We’ll never know.
I was approaching the first hairpin and I decided to try and brake a tiny bit later. I soon realised I’d outbraked myself a little bit, but it was easily savable. It was only a small mistake to make, right? Wrong! As I turned into the corner the kart pitched itself onto two wheels, and that’s where my memory goes blank. The next thing I remember is wondering why I was heading towards a marshal post. And after that, I was in the marshal post, literally. The first thing I thought was “how many bones have I broken?” then I looked up and saw the marshal, who was obviously shocked by what she’d just experienced. Thankfully she was OK. Unfortunately the kart wasn’t, and I was more concerned about that and the marshal’s safety than my broken hand at the time.
Footage from Sunday’s heats
YouTube link – http://youtu.be/RkBihMHuQjk
Witnesses had apparently seen the underside of my kart, so I had two wheeled pretty aggressively. I must have then corrected it, and that’s what pitched me towards the post. It was the strangest accident that I’ve not just been involved in, but that I’ve ever heard of! I won’t deny it, it’s not easy explaining how I drove into a marshal post unaided. I mean, how can anyone explain that seriously?
My hopes of championship glory were over. The Fiat was clearly not destined for my driveway. It was however destined for a certain Mr Tom Joyner. Tom had spent all weekend driving fabulously well. We had taken footage of his driving to analyse and compare to myself. He made it look exceptionally easy. He handled the new section with poise and his qualifying lap was out of this world. However, he wasn’t without challenge. Jordan Chamberlain steadily improved throughout the weekend and looked good for a charge at victory, but a broken carb meant he couldn’t even start the final.
Fortunately I was back from the hospital to watch the final. Joyner tried to get away early, but David Sutton kept him honest and provided a strong challenge throughout the race. In the end Joyner was just too strong for everyone and thoroughly deserved his British Championship title.
Racing in KF2 at this level is almost beyond description. You’re tested in ways you can’t even imagine – mentally and physically. There’s no room for error and mistakes. If you want to really measure how good a karter you are there’s no better way than racing at an event like the British Karting Championship. Yes it’s massively disappointing when it all goes pear shaped, but when it goes well nothing compares.
We’d like to send a huge thanks to the TVKC & Super One who are always positive & energetic. It makes an event like this a pleasure to attend. Also thanks to Bob Astill & Kartune for providing his brilliant Maxter KF2 engines that didn’t skip a beat all meeting. I wish I could have returned Ricky Flynn Motorsport’s Alonso in the condition he gave it to me, but before I wrecked it, it was bob on the whole weekend. And finally thanks to Steve Lake & Aim Motorsport for hosting us in their awning all weekend.
So in the end I’m broke and broken, but it doesn’t matter. Once you’ve accessed the world of top level karting you are left knowing more about yourself as a person and a driver. This is something not many other experiences can give you. But I’m still left with one massively important question – just how on earth did I end up in that marshal post?
Mini Ciggy - http://www.miniciggy.com/ – A healthier alternative to smoking.