The awning conundrum

We really should be trying to channel funds towards a new chassis but, after our not-so-trusty awning gave into the elements at Clay Pigeon, I’m having to re-assess the priorities. We’ve signed up for the winter series at Clay Pigeon IKR, we’re absolutely going to need an awning! I’ve seen plenty of awnings give up the ghost since we started karting so I know that I’m going to have to invest in a decent one. The range of options isn’t great since the awning will need to fit in the back of the Clio! I think I’ll be looking at the compact version of the heavy duty awnings that some of the companies sell. Surf & Turf, LPTent, Gala Tent and Gazeboshop are all on the short-list so, if you wonderful folk have any experiences (positive or otherwise) to share, I’d appreciate hearing them!

I wonder if there is a sponsorship opportunity to be had here… πŸ˜‰

Festival bound

The TKM Festival hadn’t been on the radar at all for this year. We were a) nowhere near good enough and b) away that weekend (if ever karting threatens to come between my wife and a beach, that will be when the amnesty ends!). I was wrong on both counts as it turns out; our brake-related woes are at an end and Junior actually has some decent pace… at least at his home track πŸ™‚ As for the beach, I’d gotten the dates wrong! There were still some logistical and financing issues but they have largely been overcome. Junior has agreed to forgo the new slicks I would have purchased for this month’s championship round at Llandow to fund the Festival tyres and I’ve begrudgingly tapped into the Extreme engine/new chassis pot to fund the entry fee. WE’RE GOING TO THE FESTIVAL!!! πŸ˜€

Having only every raced at Clay, Dunkeswell and Llandow, I think it’s unlikely we’ll be troubling the scrutineers but, with most of Junior’s friends going, it should be a great weekend. I’m having to take a tent so please just let it be dry…

Off to Kartmania

I wasn’t initially planning on going (I don’t have any money to buy anything!) but, having lovingly created a custom suit design, the risk of my measurements being wrong and wasting a lot of money on a Christmas present (Mum’s the word πŸ˜‰ ) that Junior cannot get into is too great – I have to go to Silverstone to see the MH Racewear people. The order is already sat in a queue at a factory somewhere in Pakistan (where it will still be next week) so this is just a precautionary confirmation measure-up in case we need to change any of the measurements. I was reluctant to drive all that way for such a short appointment but Kartmania gives us more reason to go, even if we shan’t be coming home with a van-load of new toys.

I’ll be the ginger bloke there – feel free to say hello if you see me πŸ˜‰

Let’s catch up!

Ok, so it’s been a mental three or four weeks since we last spoke! In that time I have been sunning it up in Cyprus πŸ˜€ and then working on the kart pretty much non-stop but it’s to give the blog some TLC so I’ll take it chronologically…

A footballer's feet if every you saw a pair!

A footballer’s feet if every you saw a pair!

Time to start thinking about karting again

It’s been three weeks or so since I took Junior’s kart out and in that time I have done… absolutely nothing to do with karting! Sure; Junior’s kart needed re-assembling after I replaced large chunks of it a) to fit me and b) in case I broke stuff but I hadn’t really felt the inclination to put it back together again. The break has been good but it was time to address my lack of attention as we race again next weekend and I won’t have any free time next week. So the kart looks shiny and new again. Or as shiny and new as it can look after the contact we had last month!

Although I have spent no time on it, I could soon be spending a fair amount of money! Both the race and practice engines are coming up for rebuild πŸ™ and with a few non-karting expenses to balance, I’m under a bit of pressure budget-wise. I have been considering for some time what to do with our practice engine: it’s on a 51.4mm piston and the options were obviously to just continue with it, rebuild it in a couple of hours’ time and, if/when the time came for a new bore, make the Extreme/new barrel/sell it decision at that point or to sell it now and use the funds from the sell, together with the saved rebuild money to buy another engine. I’ve decided to do the latter and have sourced a CNC-barrelled engine with 90 mins running time that I should pick up next week. That still leaves the race engine also coming up for rebuild and I might just have to retire that one for a month or two. The imminent costs have also spurred me into action to sell some of the stuff that came with the retirement package that I have no need for, so if you are after some tidy OTK M3 side pods/bars or some MXP rims, there are some an auction site near you πŸ˜‰

Underneath there is a racing machine, honest!

Underneath there is a racing machine, honest!

New decals (but for how long?)

Having arrived from the US on Thursday afternoon following a two week work trip,a race weekend is hardly the ideal kind of R&R to overcome jet lag. The trip meant that my kart preparation took place much later than I would have liked – I got the tyres sorted out that evening and spent today drilling the side pod bars, bending the nassau brackets to fit the much wider nassau, fitting the new bodywork and setting the kart up for the practice day tomorrow. At least the kart looks all shiny and new but you can’t help but wonder how long they will remain in that state!

Look at me - I'm all shiny and new!

Look at me – I’m all shiny and new!

I am hoping that they at least get through day one but I have know idea really what to expect – do people consider new decals as trophies?!? That would be kind of ‘scum of the earth’ low but I know they will get marked sooner rather than later – must try hard not hold that grudge when the time comes πŸ˜‰

Surprise, surprise!

Eight tyres in an hour – sometimes I impress even myself! My fingers and quad muscles ache (the latter from shoving my knee into the tyre when putting on the new tyre) but that was an outstanding success πŸ™‚Β  If Junior shows the kind of improvement on Sunday that I showed today, I can cancel the turkey order (the winner of each final this weekend bags a turkey!) πŸ˜‰

Used axles are sold for a reason!

I recently bought an OTK axle from an auction site having gone through the due diligence of confirming it was straight and checking to see if it was excessively marked by grub screws (there was no close-up photo in the auction listing). When the axle arrived I found the grub screw marks were plentiful and fairly deep, not only that but once fitted it was clear that the axle was slightly bent. The lesson for today is that people sell axles because they have seen their best days so make sure you visually inspect a used axle. This one went back from whence it came!

I am still unsure about whether budget-bound folk like me should look opt for used OTK or a new Alto axle. I’ll mull that one over for a bit…

I love karting (again)

Setting a PB lap time should be a good thing, right? Not if your son, his mate and his Dad all set better PBs than yours and especially if there is 0.8s difference between the quickest and you! It took some time to get over this devastating December evening – had I received Β£1 every time I said I was gutted, we could have afforded a 2012 Tonykart πŸ˜‰ Anyway, tonight was our first time back on track at TeamSport Bristol – initially it was just going to be a Dad’s thing but the kids funded their own places. The track was in decent shape and it was a really enjoyable evening – four different karts, none of which were ideally suited to my driving style but had great fun attacking the track and outscored Junior 3-1 in setting the fastest lap of the sessions πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Ok, so I am 0.5s off the very quickest blokes there but it was nice to be back on top in the family/friends battle and set a new PB too (only marred by my second ever black flag – I thought it was harsh but I was getting a little ‘bumpy’!). The Heikki helmet just brings a continual smile to my face! If only I could break the 35.0s barrier πŸ™