My first race of the year, having missed the January round due to the flu, and I managed a top ten finish. OK, so there were only ten of us, but that’s still a top ten.
Having not driven a kart since the first weekend in December I was quite rusty. Worst yet was the fact that we were racing the track forward which I haven’t driven for over a year. It took several laps before I got my line and braking to be not woefully slow.
I wasn’t surprised that I finished last. Everyone else was moving quite spritely. My time was only .8 seconds off the fastest. And oddly, my average lap time was the fourth fastest.
The second qualifying session went less well. I wound up in ninth but was actually slower than in the first session. My kart’s front tires were rather new in not worn in too well yet so the kart understeered more than I could cope with. As I’ve said before, understeering is my biggest weakness as a driver. Ah well.
We had a standing start which I love even though my weight is a big disadvantage. As expected the other karts shot away, but as often happens when the first corner is a hairpin, several of the karts got tangled. I tip-toed around the outside and was in 8th by the second corner.
I managed to hold 8th for several laps even though the karts behind me were obviously faster. Finally the ninth place guy got tired of being held up and shoved me wide going into a corner. A few corners later the 10th place guy got by me coming out of the hairpin. A wonderful pass.
Not to blame that kart, but it just didn’t have the umph to keep up with the other karts. It wasn’t all that slow. My best time was only .6 off the winner’s best and my average was only .5 off the winner’s.
So if I’m going to have any chance at placing in the championship I’m going to have to get my game together.
I started the main race in second! Not my first second place ever but the competition this last Saturday was the toughest ever. There were only five of us but it was the top five racers in the championship. There were no back-markers in this one.
In the first session I finished in third but was less than a quarter second behind the leader. I got off to a great start but after five or six laps the kart started loosing power and I dropped about a tenth of a second a lap.
For the second session I got a kart that had nothing wrong and my time showed it. I finished with the second fastest time, in fact I beat the best time from the first session. I was feeling real good about the final race. In fact, this was my fastest time ever on the reverse track.
The good feeling lasted about two corners. The kart behind me started bumping into me, not during braking or anything like that but in the middle of the straights. My kart was understeering which is my great weakness. I’m like a tennis player with a lousy backhand. Soon the third place kart got me coming out of the hairpin and by the next corner I was in fifth. After that I was just glad I didn’t get lapped.
Fortunately because there were only five of us there weren’t enough points available to make much impact on the championship. I held my second place and got what is now the tallest trophy in the case.
I’ve racked up several free races so I think I’m going to start doing a practice session on the day of the race just to get myself in the right state of mind.
I didn’t finish last! I came in seventh out of eight. Not great but better than last.
Despite my lowly placing my times were actually the closest to first all year. I was only .6 seconds off the fastest time. Considering he has about a 50 pound advantage that’s not too bad.
As far as point standings I’m now where I was last month in a tie for seventh place. Only now there’s only two of us instead of five.
With two races to go I’ve tried to calculate where I’ll finish overall but since the points vary depending on participants which are different every month I can’t really make an accurate guess. However I have figured out if none of the people ahead of show up for the next two races, both races have 12 racers and I win both, I’ll only finish third in points. Ah well.
Yee Haw! This was fun.
I was not the all-conquering zoom-master that I might have hoped to be, but it was one of the most fun times I’ve had at a kart track.
The first qualifying heat went almost exactly as expected. I wound up 6th fastest out of 12. My best time was 29.718 which is half a second better than my last session. Couldn’t expect much better than that. I was one second behind the fastest qualifier and almost two seconds faster than the slowest.
The second qualifying session went unwell. First my kart would not move. After several attempts they moved me to another kart. The guy in charge apologized saying that the kart I was getting had brand new tires so I’d have no grip. He was right. I couldn’t brake, corner or accelerate as well, but all that sliding around sure was fun. Wound up in 11th place at 30.912. That’s 1.9 seconds off the fastest time for the session, but 2.5 seconds faster than 12th.
Overall I had the 7th best time so that’s where I started the race. However I didn’t stay in 7th for long. The kart for this session had an issue with its accelerator. Rather than getting instant power there was a severe lag. It took a few laps to get used to that, during which I lost four places. I managed to get back around two of the karts that passed me then spent the rest of the race on the tail of two karts locked in battle. Neither made any major mistakes so I wasn’t able to get buy…until…the last corner of the last lap one of the drivers spun out the other and I got past the spun kart and nearly got past the spinner as well.
So I finished ninth and I’m placed the same in the championship. Though, I doubt that anyone had more fun than I did. I know I’m weird, but I’d much rather have an exciting race trying to pass people than one where I’m out front alone for the whole thing. Though I doubt that’s going to be something I need to worry about.
On a final note, there was an amzing lack of ego and attitude among the racers. Everyone I talked to was there for fun and we all had it.