HKRC 2019 Championship Round 1
Back to Kimbolton for the 1st round of the 2019 champs and like TVKC it'll be my first this year in the X30 Junior class. A fairly small entry but still some quick drivers there so I went into the weekend confident.
The weather was changing for most of the day and it didn't give us much chance to dial into any stable condition but overall testing went OK, and we were quick on wets and on slicks when it dried out briefly so I was feeling good for race day.
One of my teammates, Alfie Briggs, has moved up to X30 mini so I was giving him some help when I was not on track.
Sunday Race Day
After the usual drivers briefing it's 3 laps practice and its fully dry so time to see where we are in stable conditions.
I go out and the kart is feeling good, it's only 3 laps so I wait for the tyres to come and by the last lap I post a time that puts me P1 by nearly 2 10ths, which was good.
I get a P5 grid spot and we go, there's chopping and changing on Lap 1 and the leader gets away. We try to chase but I'm lacking grip so I make the decision to try and hold onto P2. A few changes of of position throughout the race but I'm mostly in P2 and onto the last lap I'm in P3 and the driver in front has gone fully defensive so I go for a move rather than just sit there. As it turns out I should have taken the position as it doesn't work and I drop 4 places to take the flag in P7, not a good start and I need to make some ground up in Heat 2.
P9 on the grid for this one and we take the start. I don't manage to get past as many as I hope and make it up to P5, then a lap later up to P4 and we are catching the ones in front. On the next lap the driver behind goes in rather than work to try and catch the fornt guys and I get pushed back to P5 and lose some time to the P4 runner so it takes a bit to get back to them and I go straight into P4 again.
I'm feeling stronger as the race continues but I'm 1.6 seconds behind the P4 driver so I get my
head down and put in some laps, and on lap 10 set the fastest lap of the race and pass the P4 driver and into P3. The lead pair are 1 second ahead and we are nearly out of time so even though I push I only have 3 laps to make some ground which isn't enough and I take the flag in 3rd 0.5s behind P2.
The poor finish in Heat 1 means I start the Final in P5, not great but not as bad as it could have been. At least I'm on the inside for Turn 1.
In the holding area and the weather changes and it's trying to rain but not really doing much more than a light mist.......the question is do we risk wets as it doesn't seem damp at all. We watch the clock as the race before continues and we need to be on our grid spot ready to go when the last lap board is shown.
All are in holding waiting until the last minute when one team decide to go wets, we decide to go with the majority which contains all the fast drivers and we stay on slicks and get onto the grid in time.
We roll round for the start and it's immediately obvious that wets were the way to go as even thought the track looks dry there is minimal grip. My dad said that when he went to the grandstand it was much wetter there, which would have been nice to know....but that didn't help us now.
So we turn onto the straight and speed up to take the start, I feel the kart behind me pushing so I brake early for Turn 1 and see the two drivers in front of me stretch away......the kart behind me is still loading me but the two in front have completely missed the corner, run wide into the path of the outside row and held them up!
The result of all this is I manage to slow down and get a great line around the corner and nail the next two and pull a slight lead which is great as the conditions are not ideal for me but I nailed those first few corners as I do the rest of the lap pulling a gap of 0.8s.
I set about just focussing on every corner to get round it as best I can and if someone starts to close then I will have to see what I can do.
Lap 2 passes, then 3 but on lap 4 a kart has closed down on me. We go down the straight and in the braking zone he just rolls past me, it's the guy on wets. I try to keep with him but it's never going to happen as he has so much more grip than me so I have to make sure I don't mess up and keep putting the laps in.
As the wet guy clears off into the distance I look to see how I'm running against the slick runners and by lap 5 I've pulled a 2.9 second gap and the kart feels OK. I keep pushing and the gap is extending which is nice and by lap 10 I'd extended it to 5.9 seconds so as the clock is counting down I decide to ease off a little to make sure nothing goes wrong.
I come round the corner to see the last lap board and keep pushing round with a 5.7s gap.
Everything is going well and no major dramas and as I come into the 2nd from last corner for some reason I look round to just check the gap and in a split second lose traction!
I've spun and need to get going, fast........I hit the throttle and luckily the kart has not stalled so I get
moving but the chasing pack are now coming at me fast as a 5s gap isn't much when you are stationery, I get my head down and cross the line still in P2 but a lot closer to P3 than I would have liked........big lesson learned there, keep the rythum going and never relax.
So, apart from the little lapse in concentration, it was a great Final run, the best I've driven in those conditions in the big kart and another podium finish for me & the team, really happy with that.
As always big thanks to JDR for running me and the support, MSKarts for the fantastic chassis, Jade Engines for the power and Stu Stretton for the great photos.
Next time out will be TVKC Winter Champs Round 2.