Tom Flanders World

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Best Qualifying Ever

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.

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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: December 3, 2013

K1 SF Racing League round 4

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.

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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: April 11, 2013

Kart Race #1 (of 6)

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.

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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: January 6, 2013

Back in the karts

beltThat’s me in kart 29 fumbling with the seat belt. I haven’t raced much lately but the cold weather has kept me off the bike and I need some adrenaline-inducing activity.

The new track in South San Francisco has a once a month racing league which is good for me because I can’t make the weekly commitment that other area track leagues require.

I preparation, at my wife’s suggestion, I did a practice session today so I wouldn’t be totally lost on league night. It was a good idea because the electric karts have some characteristics quite different from the gas karts I’m used to.

For example, the brakes work great as long as you’re going in a straight line but if you hit the brakes in a corner at anything faster than a crawl you lose all traction in the rear. To counter that, the rear wheels never slide under acceleration so it forces you to be slow into and fast out of corners. Unfortunately some of my fellow racers never got the hang of that and I got rammed from behind a few times.

Well after 14 laps I would up with the second fastest time. (No mom, there weren’t just two of us.) I was just .4 seconds off the fastest time and .04 seconds off best lap average. Out of the context of the session though, I’m 1.7 seconds off the fastest time for the track. That’s more like what I’m likely to come up against in the league race so I’ve got some work to do.

So tomorrow is league night. Wish me luck.

 

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

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