Tom Flanders World

Writer of Fiction
 

K1 kart league – October 2013

I didn’t finish second! The curse is broken! After four races in a row in the runner-up spot I finally got out of my rut. Unfortunately, rather than improving position I slipped back to fourth.

The first qualifying session went very well. I finished in fifth but was only .2 seconds behind the fastest time, and only .002 seconds out of fourth.

The second qualifying session went less well. The kart had brand new front tires and was understeering badly. I adjusted my driving style and managed to almost match my first session time. However, the drivers that beat me in the first session all improved on their times.

I started the race in fifth. Unlike the previous few races we had a rolling start instead of a standing start. It didn’t make much difference. After a couple laps I was up to third and setting up for a pass for second. Then they stopped the race. There was some problem with one of the karts so they decided to restart the race.

The new kart wasn’t quite as snappy as the one I had in the first attempt but I was quickly up to fourth. Then they stopped us again. There was a problem with the scoring computer. The driver in second was being shown a lap down. They fixed it and we got going again.

For the next few laps I was right on the tail of the third place kart then he just drove away. I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong then noticed that the tires were no longer squealing in the corners. After a few more laps I didn’t have to lift off the gas for any corner other then the hairpin. Each lap was slower then the previous. I finished in fourth.

With two races to go I’m still leading the championship points but I’m going to have to do a better job if I want to stay there.

 

 

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: October 8, 2013

Another kart race, another second place

Only six of us this week and beside myself there was only one other person in the points.

The first qualifying session was disappointing. I finished in last not even breaking the 25 second mark. The front tires didn’t seem to have as much grip as usual. perhaps they were new.

The second session went much better. I finished third. However my overall time put me fifth on the staring grid.

The standing start, which with my weight is easiest place for me to lose spots, went well. I didn’t gain any but I didn’t lose much either. The driver behind me was right on my tail for the first few laps and kept tapping me to remind me that he was there. Then on lap three I came through the chicane and there was a big pile-up. I got through and jumped up to third place. The driver behind me got into fourth but got tangled with the crowd and I gained some space.

Two laps later I was on the tail of the second place driver. He kept turning to look at me so I just had to wait for the mistake. He made it going into the chicane and I came out much faster. We had a drag race to the hairpin but I had the inside and was able to crowd him out.

Now in second and having advanced so quickly I set my sights on first. Unfortunately he was faster and slowly pulled away. I finished six seconds behind.

It’s funny, this is my fourth second place in a row but each one, including this one was special. Each was different. Yes I’d like to be winning but I’d rather finish second in a fun race than win a boring one. Maybe after I win one I’ll think different.

However, my consistency is paying off. I’m now 12 points ahead in the championship. Since I’m not the fastest driver though I’m still vulnerable if a quickie starts racing every month.

 

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: September 2, 2013

K1 Racing League SF August – Best qualifying ever!

There were ten of us last night. We ran the track backwards again. They’ve made a few adjustments which kept people, mostly, from slamming the wall in the sweeping turn. I was the only one there who had driven the course in this direction so I was liking my chances.

Chances did not work out that way. After a couple laps I found that I could keep my foot down and not touch the brake for the entire lap. That’s bad. That means slow. Sure enough I had to pull over for several of the other faster karts. I would up with a best time of 26.19. That was good enough for 4th but was just barely ahead of the newcomers and 1.5 seconds back from the leader.

For the second session the motor was much crisper. Nobody passed me and I lapped several of the newcomers. I finished the session with the second best time of 24.86, just .3 seconds back from the fastest time at 24.55. This is the best I’ve ever qualified at one of these races.

For the race they had a nice surprise for us, a standing start. For all the previous events we did a rolling single file start. This makes for few immediate passing opportunities. The downside of standing starts for me is that with my weight the lighter drivers behind me have the advantage.

Fortunately the third place starter was too busy protecting his position to worry about taking mine. The first place kart slowly pulled away from me and the third place kart held steady a couple seconds back so there was no real drama in the race. I was hoping that when hit lapped traffic I’d be able to work past the leader but due to two red flags we didn’t do enough lapping to make a difference.

So I got my third second place in a row and if my calculations are correct I am leading the championship by two points. There’s an esteem booster.

 

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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: August 5, 2013

Another Race, Another 2nd Place

k1podiumThree skinny young guys and I raced at K1 Speed last Sunday. As a nice treat they had us run the track backwards. You wouldn’t think the track would be that different but it was.

I wound up qualifying in fourth. Yes, that’s last. I passed into third place on the first lap when he spun in the hairpin.

I spent just about the rest of the race trying to get into second. Again it was the white flag that signaled my opportunity to pass. The other driver took the racing line leaving the inside wide open. I outbraked him then cut him off.

Unfortunately I was too far back to have any hope at getting first. The only way to win one of these things is to qualify better, but the only thing I can do about that is lose 50 or 60 pounds. Qualifying better or Three Musketeer Bars, tough choice.

 

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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: July 9, 2013

Another Best Race Ever

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.

That's me in second place.

That’s me in second place.

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.

The crew members are filling in for the absent first and second place drivers

The crew members are filling in for the absent first and second place drivers. That’s me on the left.

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 4, 2013

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