Where to begin? Let’s start with driving standards: running people off the track, driving into the the back of them, causing an accident – all the sorts of things that your local A&D circuit will be showing you the black flag for and giving you a talking to as they call you into the pits for about the time it takes to dock you a lap for being a bad boy. That kind of driving style doesn’t transfer to owner/driver karting – the karts are fast and you can really hurt yourself. Unless of course you happen to think you are invincible. And not paying for your own repairs.
Which brings us nicely onto my second grievance – why isn’t bad driving penalised? It is in A&D karting, as it is in other forms of motorsport. Obviously the technology doesn’t exist to view video footage but A&D karting manage fine with a marshal on the problem corners. Obviously, with A&D karting, the roles aren’t the same – a marshal is not only a flag marshal but a Race Observer but what do the MSA Race Observers do? Aren’t they supposed to bring *all* incidents to the attention of the Clerk of the Course who has the powers to impose position penalties? They watch the novices closer too, right, as they have to check their driving and sign off after each race? So repeated contact would be duly noted and a quiet word had so that over-zealous habits could be curtailed? Um, nope. What *do* Race Observers do? Is this just a problem at my local club or is just the norm in MSA racing. Unless I am prepared to chance £110 for an appeal to the Clerk, of course. Junior was involved in two incidents at Clay today and the Clerk received report of neither. I can guarantee penalties would have been implemented had we imported my local TeamSport marshals in for the day! Perhaps the self-managed element of IKR is better able to tackle this.
For my third and final grievance, I’ll be merging all of the above. So after being punted off at the fastest corner of the track through no fault of our own, I ran over to recover the kart which was parked dangerously on the exit of the corner. It needed to be removed from this most dangerous of places – the pit entrance was 15 yards away, the pit exit about 30 yards. The former would involve dragging the kart (remember it’s a Direct Drive) back towards to the corner. With hindsight, taking this option wasn’t the best idea although it was one of those ‘spur of the moment’ decisions that you make. As I was dragging the thing, I got buzzed by a bunch of karts at full chat and looked over to the Flag Marshal at the entrance to the corner to see… no flag whatsoever!!! I jumped out of the way and screamed politely at the Flag Marshal (as opposed to Junior, who I am sure shouted something which included the word “f*ck” in it but he’s never said it before and I wasn’t quite sure so it will go unpunished!) who then started waving his flag to some ironic applause from the Senior TKM spectators moments before a Junior Blue came through the corner on the ragged edge of losing his own back end and collected the back of our kart. Let’s just check the Blue Book in case the rules on yellow flags have changed since I last read them:
“Danger, slow down sufficiently to ensure that full control of the vehicle can be retained.”
It appears not! Suddenly no damage becomes a ruined bumper and a potential bent chassis. Thanks a bunch.
And who the Hell thought putting the Junior Blues in front of the Junior TKMs was a good idea in any case? Please explain the rational behind starting a smaller number of slower karts in front of a larger number of faster ones even though they are being caught inside six minutes having been given a three-quarters of a lap lead…