I spent the week psyching myself up for this one. I did so well last time I had the confidence I needed to do even better. That and the absence of some of the faster racers made for a great race.
There were a couple of big parties going on at the track so we started nearly an hour late. It was however a bunch of fun watching the races.
There were just six of us entered for the league race, some were newcomers but others were experienced racers. The kart I had for the first qualifier had shredded tires, but after a couple of sliding turns most of the marbles were gone and they gripped rather nicely after that.
I finished in second place with a time of 23.9 which is .6 seconds faster than my previous best. I sat down to go over what I might have done to cause such a big jump. I was picturing my laps in my head when I noticed something. The track was different. The chicane after the hairpin was much wider than it had been. Because of the late start the crew didn’t have time to straighten out the track and someone or someones must have knocked the barrier back.
The second qualifier was a bit slower for me at 23.99 which was fourth fastest. Still pretty good though. My kart this session had a bit of a brake issue. The slightest touch locked up the rear tires. I got used to it and wasn’t a problem as long as I braked in a straight line.
I started the race in fourth and managed to keep right behind the guy in third. He was pretty smooth and didn’t make any mistakes until he tried to pass the second place driver in the hairpin. Number three hit number two, they both spun and I zipped around them. They threw the yellow flag and since he was an innocent victim they gave the number two guy his place back in front of me. Only fair.
I held to the back of number two and kept going wide and zig-zagging to try to intimidate him. It didn’t work. Then I was right on his tail when the white flag flew and something weird happened. For just an instant he pulled to right and slowed. He recovered quickly but I was already inside and pulled away coming out of the hairpin. I finished in second just 4 seconds behind the winner.
Oh yeah, for the final race, the crew fixed the track and closed up the chicane, which I seemed to handle better than some of the others.
This was my first time on the podium and my first karting trophy.
Then to my surprise I got another trophy. Thanks to my consistency and improvements I’d earned third place in the championship. I could get used to this.
Update: I compared by best lap from the race with previous race bests and I improved a quarter of a second even with the chicane in place.