2021 and the move up to Senior X30
It's been a very long time coming, 6 months in fact since I've been in the seat but the hiatus finally came to an end on Tuesday as I'd been invited to compete in the Teesside Karting O Plate meeting which would be my 1st outing in the X30 Senior class.
Test day came and I was greeted by an immaculate MS Kart built by JDR & setup perfectly for me to jump straight in 😁.
I'd only been to the circuit once before for a fun test day in preparation for the British 24 hour endurance race last year but unfortunately the revised dates clashed with one of the championships I was competing in so I has to bow out.
Anyway, went out for testing and looked good, I all felt great to be back in the seat and we worked out the gremlins and by the end of the day we're dialled in perfectly. Having said that I quickly remembered how physically demanding the track is with its nonstop flow corner to corner and the long banked right which by the end of the day was trying to remove my head from my neck...lol.
All setup it was relax, chill and wait for race day.
Race Day arrives and I'm eager to get things started.
Format would be 10 minute Timed Qualifying, 2 10 lap heats and a 12 lap grand final.
To save energy I just went out to shake down the kart in the 20 minute practice session and 5 laps later I was in and happy.
TQ next and I wasn't going to stay out for the whole session, just go out, set a time then come in. I head out onto track and very quickly it becomes clear that the hurdle I'd need to overcome would be to get a clear lap.
I work past the karts immediately in front of me but don't push too hard, sitting in p5 on the time sheet, as I let the tyres come to me and then I see a gap and push, I get a clear lap in and pop a pole time in but only by a tenth or so.
There's loads more to come but it's very busy so I find a gap again and push to come over the line with a reasonable gap of about 3 10ths to the p2 driver and decide that will do and pit after a total of 6 laps with the job done.
Heat 1 off pole and roll round and go on the first time of asking. I start to get away with one of the very experienced endurance drivers on my bumper but 6 laps in he tries to squeeze me on a right hander expecting me to back out, I don't do backing out and unfortunately he spun in front of me, and we both tumbled down the order.
So now the question is do I save tyre and just come home maybe a couple of places up from where I am now or do I push. As it would seem he will be the major competition I decided I needed to finish in front of him to ensure a reasonable final grid position so I went to work.
By the time I took the flag I'd made up 9 places, gone past my target driver and took p3 at the line, so not all lost after a fairly big incident.
I'd start the last heat in p3 and really needed a clean race to ensure a good starting position for the final.
The flag dropped and we went, 3 of us at the front pulled away and about 7 laps in I took the lead and put in a couple of hot laps to make a little gap that I held to the flag.
So, Grand Final and I'd be starting on the front row, missing pole by just 1 point.
We go at the first time of asking and its game on, I try a cheeky round the outside move at the 1st main corner but it's not going to happen so settle into p2 to try and drop the drivers behind.
The plan seems to be working and on lap 7 I make my move at a tight left hander and take the lead. I want to break the guy but want to get the tyres and my neck ready for a few hot laps so for the next 2 laps I continue but concentrate on relaxing and letting the tyres rest a bit.
Onto the last 3 laps and it's time to go...let's see what Mr p2 can do with his extra 2hp and I push........ gradually I start to break him and with a lap left to go I've got a comfortable 3-4 kart length gap and I come round to take the flag as Teesside Karting 2021 X30 Senior O Plate Champion..... a great couple of days to blow the cobwebs off and now onto the championships I'm competing in this year.
It was a good haul for Team JDR & MS Kart with 3 'O' Plates and 5 Podiums for JDR and another 'O' Plate for MS Kart with all drivers on Blue Phoenix chassis.
Big thanks as always to JDR for unerring faith and fantastic support, Ssport Engines for the power to keep me in the chase, Raptor Custom Racewear for the high-quality racewear, ARC AV for making this happen, MS Kart for the competitive chassis and Paul & Kat at Teesside Karting for putting a great friendly well run event on at a great track
Next up is Round 1 of the HKRC 2021 Championship...... it's great to be back.