We came away from our third race day with mixed emotions – the kart had run smoothly and Junior had enjoyed himself but I was hoping that we might have been a little closer to the pace than it turned out we were. We started racing having reached the point where we were roughly a second off the pace but we hadn’t looked close to that kind of pace on race day. Although I know that race day is obviously a different kettle of fish to practising, the leaders were putting in the same kind of lap times you’d expect but we weren’t getting close to our best times. I think it is just all part of the learning process: I am definitely off the pace when it comes to judging the right pressures for the tyres (it isn’t quite a simple as it was in the summer!) and Junior definitely still has much to learn.
With all this in mind, I decided we’d head back to Clay for another practice day – it would give Junior a lot more seat time than he’d been getting on a race weekend and a chance to work on finding the time that would get us back on track (so to speak). I’d picked up the carb that I had had rebuilt for the last race day but forgotten to collect. The weather was pleasantly warm (for November) and it made a real change to turn up at Clay to see not only blue sky but a dry track!!! After the first session, Junior was already quicker than he had been a week earlier and it was nice to see him putting in lap after lap. It also gave me the opportunity to walk around the track and have a look at his lines – it was invaluable to see what really is happening out on track and provided plenty of little things to work on (although you could rightly question what do I know!).
The sessions were really pleasing – there were a couple of quick Junior TKM drivers on track for Junior to try to keep up with and he managed to nudge his times down from 37.3s to 36.6s, which only put him in the region of 0.6s off the pace. 194 laps was more than Junior had ever done before on a practice day and he was visually quicker by the end of the day and getting a much better exit out of the Top Bend. I know I have said this before so, whilst it was really pleasing, I’ll be cautiously optimistic about any potential improvement in our race pace.
Cost of day: £12 petrol, £7 fuel for the kart, £35 practice fee
Costs since last outing: £20 carb rebuild
Total spent so far: £4,255