Practice 7: Engine run-in and new fastest lap (not at the same time, of course…)

Today was our eagerly awaited practice day at Clay: having weighted the kart at Junior’s race weight and added the black restrictor (which is actually silver but, hey – it was a 99p eBay purchase and I took a punt, then subsequently discovered it wasn’t MSA legal having lost it’s anodised colouring!), I was really keen to see how Junior managed having picked up some good pace when unweighted last time. I awoke early as I seem to on every kart day – 4:55am this time, brain fully switched on running over the things I needed to remember to take and then all of the things to remember when we got to the track. Up at 6:10, out the door by 7:45 (just in case we hit Glastonbury traffic) and at the track at 9:15 – in plenty of time to get things sorted 🙂

Before we could really get going, our first business was to run-in the engine. This was our first session as a licensed driver 🙂 but Junior was driving up to 8,000rpm (or dangerously slow as it seemed) and there were a couple of close calls in our ten minutes on track. Afterwards one of the stewards suggested we continue running-in the engine with the cadets, which I was more than happy to do. This worked in the second session,when he moved up to 11,000rpm (and I bravely ignored a broken toe to resume bump starting duties ;)), but not in the third session where we were getting up to 15,000rpm and he got told off for racing cadets (and breaking my 40s lap rule!). Our job was done at that point though and, although he was still on a ‘not above 15k’ brief when back out with the adults, we could focus on the more intriguing part of the day.

It didn’t start too well – for the first time in our ownership the kart didn’t start and I was shattered, having ran myself into the ground well past The Kink! I am not sure Junior fully knows what he needs to when we are starting although, if I am honest, I probably didn’t fully understand either. It had just worked nicely previously. With some tips from friendly Dads (don’t pump the pedal, wait for the engine to spark then slowly and gradually accelerate), we got out again for three laps before the end of the session but, most importantly, it started fine.

After that things went just about as well as we could have hoped – the kart ran, we had no mechanical problems *at all* 🙂 (although Junior did spin into the tyres exiting the Top Bend), he was happy with the kart and preferred the handling with the extra weight on board (the back end seemed much less inclined to hop out as he accelerated out of the corner) and he knocked 0.7s off his previous best and recorded a 36.21. He was a little disappointed not to break the 36.0s mark although my biggest concern was the kart’s weight – Junior stood no chance of lifting the kart off the floor and I was reliant upon friendly faces to help me get the kart back onto the trolley. I don’t really want to keep putting on others so I might need to look at the self-loading trolley options. Chances are though, he’ll start growing by the time I finally get something sorted! All-in-all, it was a really good day; I think Junior is quick enough to race now (without being lapped!) although we have a lot on next month and I have promised him we’ll go to Dunkeswell for a practice day. August’s race meeting at Clay is the target 🙂

Cost of day: £12 petrol, £10 petrol for 7l super unleaded for the kart (session was free as we had a credit note after our accident).

Purchases since my last post: used set of slicks from the forums: £30

Total spent so far: £2,977

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