A rare weekend away

We almost never do away weekends. As I’ve said before, this is almost entirely down to the way we roll: Clio, camping trailer, no awning… it’s ok, I don’t need your sympathy 😉 But this month is different. Our goals for Llandow are done: Super One and the Welsh Championships saw Junior make giant strides towards becoming a more accomplished driver even if both were disappointing to varying degrees. 2016 was always going to be a case of seeing where we were in the club championships once we had gotten this far. I had hoped we’d have been a little bit higher than fourth at this point but two exclusions have proven very costly. Add that to an expensive June and we really needed to look at the finances and consider how best to spend them from here on. Our only remaining goal is the TKM Festival (nothing too lofty, we’re hoping to make the top ten) and it made sense to take in a practice round at Kimbolton in the hope that we can make up some of the ground we’d obviously be conceding to the local drivers next month. Having had the luxury of three sets of new tyres last month, it’s been a bit of a scramble to source some intermediate tyres. I had several sets of just-about-legal inters that have all been worn out in recent months and I would hate to have to ruin our wets because of a light shower at an inappropriate moment!

So armed with a couple of sets of newly purchased intermediates and a borrowed a tent we’ll head off early tomorrow. I’ve only just realised that our route would normally take us past Silverstone and, on a British Grand Prix weekend. One would definitely consider that to be sub-optimal! We’ll be taking the route through the Midlands instead and hoping the forecast for the journey continues to improve. I’m not against a few sessions on track (in fact, I would quite like to get a few under a belt ahead of the Festival) but a straightforward journey to Kimbolton would be the best start to the weekend.

Fearing the forecast!

The Welsh Championships: Day 1 was a case of ‘so far, so good’. We had decided to spend the morning testing different things; not really bothering that we were two or three tenths off of the pace. That was until someone put in a much quicker time that had both Junior and I wondering whether we had done the right thing! The fourth and final practice session was notable for my attempt to bring Junior in half-way through the 7-minute session to change onto our race tyres so that we could get a few laps on them (with a view to spending less time scrubbing-in during qualifying). I enlisted the help of another of the Llandow dads and his lad (thanks again to our good buddies, Lou and Ryan Edwards!): they had a wratchet gun; Junior and I were on T-bar sockets. As we all stood clear with our arms raised and Junior left the pits, I think we had lost 100 seconds: Not bad but I’m sure we could shave a few more seconds off! 😉

Qualifying went very well: Since we had been off the pace during practice, nobody wanted to follow us! Junior got his head down and put in some nice laps to bag pole position by 0.15s. Heat #1 went similarly well: A nice start, the next two drivers had an early tussle and Junior scooted clear; winning with a little in hand and the fastest lap to boot. Day 1 had been pretty much perfect 🙂

The Welsh Champs are unique in that they have qualifying on both Saturday and Sunday, along with a heat on each day: The combined points from those heats determine your pre-final grid position. Junior and I are definitely not the type of people to crack open the bubbly prematurely even if the forecast for tomorrow had been dry. Unfortunately, the forecast is far from dry 🙁 It isn’t that Junior is particularly poor in the wet, it’s just that his confidence is sky-high in dry conditions at the minute. When you’ve bagged pole and a heat win, you just want conditions to remain exactly the same. Our rivals will likely be doing rain dances tonight and, judging by the forecast, I’m not sure they’ll have to dance that hard.

Just this one time, *please* let us escape that shitty forecast, pleeeease!

Super One learnings

Super One is impeccably organised

I guess it should come as no surprise for the pinnacle of karting in the UK but I was thoroughly impressed with the way the event was run. I felt very welcome as a guest; there was no clique factor or being officious for the sake of it. Officiating standards were generally very good, helped by the Clerk retaining GoPro cameras after each race so that any incident could be reviewed swiftly. There was some contact that went unreported but they were on top of most of the big incidents and there were plenty of contact warning flags.

Privateers

The grey area on this one is huge but there is no getting away from it: Some of the privateer entries are a joke. I do feel for organisers on this one: If someone enters as a privateer, how do they challenge them? You have drivers carrying the team decals that run themselves, drivers without team decals in the awning; Are they just renting a roof over their heads? What if you just get the odd bit of ad-hoc team support? Or someone who has been a team driver all season then does one round on his own? A real privateer is a dad/lad combo, the bloke running out the back of his own van, doing his own thing but how do you ensure that you hand the privateer prizes to these people and not the driver who’s enjoying the paid support who is just looking to bag another trophy? Some of my closest friends run team decals but would legitimately consider themselves privateers. The appearance of team decals doesn’t help the impression. If you are in, you are in. If you are out, you should probably consider replacing the decals if only for appearance’s sake.

I’d make entrants declare their status at sign-on, something like “I declare myself to be running as a privateer. I am not running in a team awning, have employed no support service, nor will I be in receipt of any ad-hoc support from a race team.” It’s either that or stop awarding a privateer prize IMO.

The only time that I felt ripped off was…

When I had to pay £7.50 to buy a bracket to fit the transponder that I had rented!!! I know it was only £7.50 but it should be included in the £10 rental.

The only time I was cross was…

When the juniors were made to carry/push/shunt their karts through scrutineering for weighing after qualifying. JTKM drivers should not be treated the same as everyone else: A Direct Drive engine doesn’t work like other karts. Some of these kids are 13 and expected to be able to lift their karts from the end of the queue in parc ferme through the weighing area and out the other side and then somebody moans that they’ve left their karts in the way! It’s great if you have the technique right but, if not, you’re going to be putting a big hole in the nosecone in the not-too-distant future. Parents should always be permitted into parc ferme to help move the karts, putting them on the trolley if necessary. It’s just common sense…

A 20 minute tyre window is not long enough for some

20 minutes to remove old tyres and fit a new set of slicks would be a bit of a rush for me at any time but, as a guest, I had a set of wets to fit also!!! Fortunately, tyre fitting was open throughout the practice Friday so I was able to work at my own pace 😉

I really miss Henry Beaudette’s commentary

When we arrived at Llandow in 2014, the first thing that struck me was how awesome Henry’s commentary was. Not only hearing him commentate on Junior’s race but also to keep abreast of what was going on out on track whilst I was working on the kart. Race weekends have been poorer for his absence since he left ‘home’ a year ago to work on bigger and better things. The club’s loss has been a gain for the bigger national karting events. Can we book him for The Festival? 🙂

Super One cadet racing is so entertaining

Even as a race observer at the final corner when the S1 circus visited last year, it was hard not to get dragged into the rollercoaster that was the cadet races. I made sure I took a little time out from the mechanic duties to catch the finals this year. *Way* too much money being spent there though…

I’ve grown to tolerate Bambinos

But only since they afforded me extra time to work on the kart!

TKM is definitely the people’s class

TKM is grass roots karting in a nutshell. At the driver line-up, you could spot the TKM drivers a mile off: they were ones where standard retail suits and plain white helmets were prevalent! It is great to see healthy grids at Super One (the impact on the club scene is another matter). I did wonder whether they might get treated like the paupers when it comes to paddock spots but, having only been to one round, I couldn’t possibly comment any further! 😉

No Friday practice for TKM makes a club weekend essential

I had this debate with dads who were telling me at the start of the year how cheap it would be to do the series. What, you mean you won’t be attending a practice round??? It just isn’t possible to do the Super One weekend only. Not without being in the position where you are still learning the track on the Sunday.

Junior TKM lacks a little strength in depth this year

I mean no disrespect to anyone but you could probably pick the race winner from one in four or five drivers this year. The lead still changes hands a fair bit but the front group seem to have that bit in hand over the rest of the field. It is something of an evolutionary time for the class having lost so many drivers to X30 in 2014 and then to Extreme at the end of last year. The grid number is healthy and this year’s rookies will undoubtedly be all the better for their debut season.

The TAG and Direct Drive engines are very close (if your DD is strong enough)

I’ve said plenty on this before but the fact is that we were pretty close to the country’s best JTKM drivers and very likely the best engines that money can (or perhaps even couldn’t) buy. I believe our engine to be strong but it certainly wouldn’t be the best around. I think there are several reasons why DD might be falling behind: The outlawing of those ‘golden’ motors that were legitimately within fiche but fell foul of the updated regulations after the engine scandal effectively removed those select few DD engines that had been held in such esteem. The best of the rest are slowly being Extremed as their owners move up. The pool of the smaller bottom end DD engines gets smaller each year and I’ve never seen a new DD engine (DD owners tend to be buying second-hand although I’d love to compare one with out engines). I do believe that the variance in DD engines is wider than the variance between TAG engines (age alone would one reason for this). You definitely need a strong engine to *compete* on a DD at this level.

I’m glad we didn’t move to Extreme

Staying in JTKM in Junior’s 17th year has proved a wise move and our final year in juniors has been an enjoyable one thus far. I look at my friends whose lads have moved up and it seems like a struggle at times. The racing is definitely much harder, especially in the pack. I think that Lady Luck plays a big part is navigating the weekend without incident. I think we’d have struggled in Extreme. And I’d be gutted if our race engine didn’t Extreme well!

Alan Turney lurks in the TKM Owners Group

I met Alan Turney for the first time and he was very pleased with the way in which the TKM Owners Group has evolved. You could argue that’s obvious, since a successful class bosts profits but I felt it went further than that. More interesting was that he actively follows the group. Anyone spot the lurker? 😉

You need to try a Super One round

I was really nervous ahead of the weekend but it was a really enjoyable experience. Of course it helps that Junior did so well and I think he it really helped him take his driving up the next level (actually I think it forced him to!). If you are half-decent at your club and Super One pay a visit, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it 🙂

Stepping up to Super One

Saturday had been a positive day: we’d narrowly missed out on our target of qualifying in the top 5 and, despite a horrible draw bias against the even-numbered side of the grid, had done really well to finish 4th and 6th in the heats. The heats are one thing though; the real work was to come and we’d need some luck in running to be in with a shout at a podium place in the final.

Practice went badly: 14th fastest and Junior complaining of brake issues. The brakes did look a little suspect and I bled them again but that wasn’t the end of the problems: As I stood in the queue for the tyre bay ahead of the pre-final I noticed that both track rods were loose. I had lasered the front end the previous evening but had clearly only tightened the nuts by hand!!! :S  I had to rush the kart back to our awning where a couple of the Extreme dads were on hand to help me get the lasers back on and get the kart front straightened up. That was a close one, especially since I was desperate not to be responsible for any failings this weekend!

The pre-final was critical: do well and we’d be in with a shout at the final. Fare badly and our weekend would effectively end here. We’d managed to find ourselves in 6th place once more: a single point behind two other drivers tied in fourth 🙁 It was unlikely that we’d be able to get third good start from the ‘bad side’. And so it proved. Junior had the worst start I’d seen him make in a long time: bogging down badly and losing three places as the leaders scooted off. We gained a couple of places back before dropping away and having to desperately hang on for a 9th place finish. It could have been worse: tenth and an even-numbered draw would have ended any hopes we were clinging onto.

Junior hadn’t really been happy with anything about the kart and we made some extensive changes for the final. After what seemed like an eternity on a hot dummy grid we took the karts onto the starting grid (on track) from where they would start their formation lap. This in itself was novel to us and really made the event feel that bit more special than your average club meeting (perhaps something to consider for the Welsh Champs, LKC?). We didn’t really have any game plan but Junior *had* to start well. And start well he did: we made up a couple of spots off of the line and then fifth and sixth proved that two around The Hook very rarely works and came together. Junior passed sixth and had a fantastic run at fifth, who was bogging down, as he recovered from the contact. I’ll always wonder how we might have fared had we made the pass stick (I was keen to see if we could have lived with the pace of the leaders having spent the weekend just that bit too far back). It wasn’t to be: we got a nudge and were soon doing a spot of grass karting. All credit to Junior, he followed the off-road mantra to ‘keep it lit’ and re-joined in tenth place. I had abandoned my pushing post at Raymonds for the final (yes I know I said I would never be the push-start guy at this post but the fact is it needs somebody as had been proven on the Saturday) and was stood with the spectators, only metres from the action. My heart was sinking fast. It was to sink further: the three karts in front of us came together again in The Hook on lap #2: It was a big incident. Junior dived right but the karts slid slowly into his path, one hooked up on top of another and, as he struggled to get the engine to pick up, the entire field sailed by 🙁 I was crushed. You never, ever want to see a red flag because of a driver injury but the subsequent flag did us the biggest of favours. There was quite a delay whilst the paramedics attended to the injured party (who I hope makes a speedy recovery btw) before we were informed that the race was being moved to the final race of the day. So much for that roast dinner!

I have never seen Junior so relieved. What had been a nightmare start to our biggest race would quickly become a memory: The race was being restarted in full and we’d take to the grid in 9th  place once again. I spent 90 minutes pouring over the kart making sure all was well, took in the Extreme final (some dodgy stuff going on in that one!) and got ourselves set once again.

Unfortunately, the lad who’d been injured was unable to make the grid. The bad fortune continued since that moved us up to 8th and back onto the bad side of the grid. To cap it all off, the drier starting directly in front of us had an absolute stinker of a start, bogging massively and forcing Junior, who was now tucked right up behind him, to sit and wait whilst those behind flashed by. We crossed the line in 10th (the lad who started behind us crossed the line in 7th!!!) but that was the end of the bad news. What followed was undoubtedly the best driving performance I had ever seen from Junior. He’s never lacked in determination and it wasn’t his smoothest performance, as he had clearly decided to give it all he had, but he showed a clinical edge that I had not seen before. You could almost see that the penny had dropped: That, at this level, you can’t just be fast and expect drivers on your pace to give up their places, you have to *take* their places from them. He passed karts in six of the next seven laps before finding the gap to fifth that bit too much (although he arguably could have gone for it at the final corner!). It was a fantastic drive and he was chuffed to bits with the result. I was thrilled to see him step his game up to a level where he could compete with national drivers. You could argue he should be able to do just that at his home track but he was taking on the best and most experienced JTKM drivers in the country, on the best kit in the country. I’ll rue not getting the chance to see if he could have held onto the leader’s coat-tails at any point of the weekend but the simple fact is that we’re not really at that level as a package to be taking on the big teams.

There were a few little bonuses yet to come: Junior got the best privateer trophy (after some question of the fifth placed finisher’s presence in a team awning!) and I was generously given a free set of tyres from Alan Turney for my efforts with the TKM Facebook Group 😀 😀 😀 In our most expensive month ever in karting, faced with a £200 engine bill and another new set of slicks needed for Welsh Championships, this was very welcome 🙂

Rest assured, dearest readers: I’ve not been bought off, however! 😉

S1_trophy

Yay!

An impressive Super One debut! :D

Now I should point out that I am very aware that the finals are still to come but what can I say about today but… take a bow, son! Junior was a little annoyed to have lost out on 5th position in qualifying on the final lap, condemning us to the dreaded even-side-of-the-grid start but he’s driven beautifully in the day’s two heats: 4th place in Heat #1, only 0.7s adrift was the highlight. It could have been better still: We were running in 4th in Heat #2 before Junior was passed by two karts in one move at Raymonds. It could also have gone tits up! We were punted on the final lap; luckily the other lad fared worse and we escaped without losing position.

Of course tomorrow is when it counts and I’ve seen enough over the day to be very aware that it only takes a split second to end your dream weekend. We’ve been a little unlucky to find ourselves in 6th place again for the pre-final; I’m not sure we can expect to see a third good start from a woeful grid position but we’re in the mix and there is still a chance of that dream podium finish 🙂

Time for an early night!

Chilling at Super One

I had booked today off to prep the kart for the weekend. My plans had evolved to heading to the track in the afternoon to get our tyres fitted and then, with the tempting offer of some awning space, I departed at 8am to arrive with my chums (mostly to ensure they bagged themselves a spot large enough for me to park in also!). As it turned out I passed them as they were getting their McDonalds breakfast. I arrived at the track to be greeted by the man at the gate. Imagine seeing some bloke on his own in a Clio (Junior was at home revising) towing a kart on a camping trailer: I am 99% certain he was all set to turn me around and tell me that the track was closed for practice!!! I wanted to bag enough space for three awnings and blurted out that I needed 9m of awning space. I think he took this more literally than I had intended and sent me into the premium spots where there was still space for a team – result! Looking a bit conspicuous opposite the AIM ‘tent’ 😉 I did go back and confirm my intentions but we were cleared for paddock parking 🙂

Unsurprisingly, the sight in the paddock was a stark contrast to the view at a club meeting and I was instantly struck by how similar all of the cadet mechanics looked (are they clones?). It felt like there was a lot of money being spent ans I didn’t see anyone else arriving with their kart on a camping trailer 😉 It was great to have the Llandow dads from last year back together: The banter started pretty much as soon as we parked up. I didn’t really have a lot to do in terms of preparation: I’d deferred removing numerous sets of tyres from rims since I was going to be staying until 6pm, when the tyre fitting window opened, and I had planned to just check the carbs and head out to get the control fuel. Fortunately the organisers allowed the tyres to be fitted throughout the day. Not only did it mean no hanging around into the evening but I didn’t have to fit two sets of tyres in 20 minutes (I would have failed!). With the tyres sorted, the sponsors stickers attached, the control fuel purchased and another handful of Factor 60 applied, it was time to sit and chill out. It was a nice feeling to be able to get the kart ready in your own time with no pressure to get out on track. Although the TKM classes do not practice on a Friday, I think you’d have to arrive the day before the race; Rocking up and having to do everything in the morning would be a tad mental for my liking.  I was even able to leave early enough to be home for tea with the family (despite every car in South Wales seemingly headed eastbound on the M4 at the same time as me).

It will be an early start tomorrow since I want to be at the track at 7am to be ready in plenty of the for the morning activities. Since I’ve been awake by 3am for the past two nights, getting up shouldn’t be too difficult. Wish me luck!

 

On the back foot already?

It was supposed to be fairly straightforward: a lunchtime trip to see JC at Revolution and get the head volumes checked on both motors (to ensure there would be no surprises if did well enough to get scrutineered at the weekend). The practice motor was borderline and needed a thorough cleaning to get the head volume to a safe reading. The race motor was fine as far as the head volume was concerned but there was no longer any end play in the crank shaft. We opened up the crank halves; the pin had moved a fraction and the bearings weren’t spinning very freely at all. It wasn’t the news I really wanted to hear this close to the weekend. The race motor has been sat around since the last club round: I had had the head and barrel off for a visual inspection post-race but not noticed the lack of end play. Another learning for next time…

Fortunately, JC was able to sort everything out for me today and I collected the engines from him this evening but, with this and the weather, I’m a little behind where I would like to be if we are setting off for the track on Friday. Tomorrow evening will be a busy one :/

The countdown to Super One

The goal was a simple one: “Prepare the kart for the Super One weekend. You’ve got all day”. Is it just me or does kart prep always take longer than you think? Stripping and cleaning the kart was easy enough and revealed a loose brake pedal bolt in the process! Trimming the previous owner’s custom carbon/kevlar floor tray (one of the few original parts from our retirement package that is left on the kart) so that the front of the floor tray sits on top and not benath the chassis tabs (something I’d been meaning to do since we got the new chassis) took several hours of messing about with me mostly trying not to trim too much off. It wasn’t easily sanded down funnily enough. Even then I ended up enlarging the tray bolt holes slightly because I’d had enough! The new disc carrier was put on the wrong way around but not spotted until after I’d locktite-ed the grub screws :S Welcome to my world. At least this was the time to be wasting time rather than a race day. Almost everything had been cleaned, lubed, bled and fastened. I called it a day at tea time although there were still a few things left to do. I would like to get the engines checked over to ensure the head volumes are good just to be on the safe side (in the hope that we might do well enough to be spending some time in the scrutineering bay this weekend). We’ve normally got a fair bit of leeway so I wouldn’t envisage any problems but now isn’t the time to leave anything to chance!

 

You don’t always need to stand on the top step to be a winner

So, for the first time, Junior took the chequered flag… and was excluded shortly after! Although adamant that he was alongside his rival as he made a pass at Chandlers before the two came together, his rival and, more importantly, the marshal report said otherwise. Unusually for me, I could have no opinion: standing at Raymonds affords a view of only half of the track (hence nobody else wants to cover that corner!). The Clerk read out the report first (they really should hear from both parties before reading the report), our rival said their bit and then chirped in a few wisecracks as Junior put up his defence. The marshal was summoned who reiterated his write-up (I’m not sure what else he would do) and we were hung, drawn and quartered. More disappointingly, we rushed to review the footage within the 30-minute window (should really have learned how to pair the phone with the camera *before* we had an urgent need) only to find that the battery given up for the day almost as soon as I had switched it on for the final 🙁 I’m not sure why that was so important to us, I would never put any money down to launch an appeal anyway (appeals are for the ‘haves’, not the ‘have nots’). Junior still feels hard done by but, in all honesty, I’m really not that bothered. The truth is that he was a winner in my eyes long before the incident that ended what was an engaging tussle. To have driven so well all weekend, to the extent that he totally offset any new tyre advantage on race day was a fantastic achievement. I’d only ever seen it done once before and by a driver far more accomplished than us. We should have been three seconds behind in every race so it was hard to be anything other than delighted with the pace that Junior had shown. If anything, not having the camera footage did us a favour: Had it shown Junior to be the guilty party, it may have knocked his confidence. Had it shown Junior to have been robbed a maiden win by an inaccurate marshal report, I’d have likely gone off on a rant that would still be going on now and very likely would only serve to haunt me later! As it is, he’s itching for the next round and a chance to show his pace on fresh rubber 🙂

Practice Saturday was really only about two things: bedding in new brakes and testing new rims. Unfortunately we did neither: I realised only on the Friday evening that I lacked the caliper support bracket to accommodate the different sized disc and the ‘pristine’ rims that I had bought off of ‘that auction site’ turned out to have been used for two years and were cracked and/or bent! :/ As a result, we decided not to set an alarm, get up whenever and then head to the track when we were good and ready. We were still on-track by noon and, pleasingly, on the pace instantly, even on our ‘travel tyres’ (our best tyres stay indoors but the kart needs to sit on something when in storage; these are known as the travel tyres!). We were quicker again on the practice tyres, affording us the rare luxury of spending the afternoon testing. Whilst things went really well for us, the only negative thing to happen was the loss of one of the entries as one of our friends had their sole engine seize in the final session of the day, the second time in a matter of months by all accounts 🙁 It was that awkward moment when you want to help but, with only two engines ourselves and being this close to the Super One round, I couldn’t risk anything happening to the #2 engine as much as I would love to offered it to them.

We were in a good place for race day. Even with losing one entrant, we still had a very respectable grid of eight. Junior TKM at Llandow is hanging in there and still the biggest grid at the club. We didn’t have the best grid positions: 5,2,5,2 in our *four* heats 😉 but Junior’s starts were very good and we found ourselves in a familiar pattern: we’d get to the front and then get passed at some point by our rival for the day. Not being on fresh rubber once again, it was something that I had expected. Our goal was to be within 0.3s per lap and, to that end, Junior was massively exceeding my expectations. There was no harm in defeat and he was showing a consistency I’d only ever seen glimpses of before. Junior started in #P2 for the final, lost a place at the start (as you do) but soon got the place back and was tucked in behind the leader for half of the race before two karts left my sight going down the hill into Chandlers and only one came back into sight at The Dell. I cannot say anything about the contact although I wear my rose-tinted spectacles just like any other karting dad. I will say one thing though: I’ll never again be the push starter at Raymonds. I’m going to stand at The Hook so that I can watch the race (and have an opinion) like everyone else! I do regret the lack of race observers at the club this year. Any kind of officiating is difficult but marshals are there to ensure the safety of drivers in their section, reporting incidents isn’t their primary task (ok, so I really said two things!). No matter, what’s done is done. Junior took the chequered flag and, having spent far too long trying to review the on-board footage, we packed up and were the last to leave the track.

It was hard to be too disappointed considering the pace we had shown, it so nearly could have been the perfect preparation for next month and what will be our biggest month in karting. Roll on Super One.

 

 

 

Tyres

Today we should have been enjoying a day at the track, amongst friends, in the sunshine. Instead I was freezing my tits off in the rain/sleet/snow/sunshine (delete as applicable depending upon which part of the day your are talking about) at Whipsnade Zoo having agreed to take the female side of the family some months earlier. And here I was thinking it was Spring; I’ve never spent so much time inside a butterfly house! When the sun did finally come, it was actually very nice! Here is the only picture of elephants you’ll ever seen in a karting blog…

Never seen a bunch of elephants taken for a walk through the zoo before!

Never seen a bunch of elephants taken for a walk through the zoo before!

With this being the only round that the Super One drivers can make (the S1 schedule doesn’t seem to have been that kind to the club), the entry numbers for Junior TKM *and* Extreme are bigger than I’ve ever seen them at Llandow. Tomorrow should see some great racing and it would be good if we were going full of confidence but we already know that it is unlikely we’ll be able to mount much of a challenge: it’s used tyres month 🙁 In fact, we aren’t even on last month’s tyres which, although they didn’t contest the final, suffered a lot of wear. We have some tyres that did a couple of heats at Llandow in December and then a few sessions at PFI that look much healthier; we’ll just have to make the most of them. I can’t and won’t buy new tyres every month.

I know that there are tracks where tyres do last but I’m still pointing the finger at the softer Maxxis tyre that Tal-Ko introduced in response to driver demand back in 2012. Hmmmm…. I wonder how many of those drivers are now racing in X30!?! Obviously chosing Llandow for a home track doesn’t help matters: it is easily the most abrasive track we’ve raced at but it is what it is and we’ll just have to make the most of it. We’ll consider tomorrow our attempt to hide our S1 pace. Or something 😉

Fingers crossed 😀