Practice 16: No more practising

Things have changed. I know that it is too early to be saying this aloud but it really does feel like, in being so close to the pace last weekend, we’ve reached a milestone. We aren’t on the pace – that is the ultimate goal – but to have taken such a big step forward was hugely positive. I will be gutted if we don’t confirm this in the next round of the TKM Junior Championship at Clay (although all bets are off if it is wet!). My mentality has also shifted – we aren’t practising any more. We have always had to think twice about attending both days of the race weekends as we still needed the track time but now we will just be doing the race weekends.

It was Junior’s birthday recently and wanted to take his kart out so we were back at Clay for the fourth consecutive weekend! This time though we weren’t practising – we were TESTING!!! 🙂 I’d arranged to rent a Kelgate brake system from a friend in a bid to improve Junior’s braking into corners as he’d been losing a good couple of kart lengths into corners at the race weekend. To be honest, I wasn’t really in the mood for it – the 6am starts had taken their toll but the timing was right and it was his weekend after all. I didn’t set the alarm and we left when we were ready but still found ourselves at Clay by 9:10am. My mood was definitely much more relaxed – I just told him to go out and give the Kelgate a go.

Junior spun on his first corner of course! “Sorry” he said laughing as he was sat off-track just past The Kink – “I was just trying them out!”. During the morning he was getting on fine with them but I didn’t sense that he was driving any differently to how he drives with the OTK brakes. I wanted him to start pushing them to see if they made a difference – could he brake later? could he actually lock the brakes up now? I hassled him into pushing harder otherwise the day was going to pretty pointless (bar a couple of setup learnings). From there on things got a bit hairy – Junior was snaking a lot into Billies and The Hairpin and spun a few times. As the afternoon progressed, it was clear he wasn’t really enjoying himself although I couldn’t fault his perseverance. He found that, although there was much more range to the pedal, the effects were limited until a certain point, then the kart stopped hard. It was an interesting experiment although, in reality, he was never going to get it in one practice day and we weren’t ever likely to swap brake systems mid-season. We’ll focus on getting the most out the OTK brakes for now. At least the kart ran smoothly and we eeked a few final laps out of a set of slicks that settling into their new home at recycling centre by the time you read this.

Cost of day: £30 petrol, £7 fuel for the kart, £35 practice fee

Total spent this year: £988

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