Practice 9: Hmmm…..

A fair amount had changed on the kart since our problems at Dunkeswell; the back end had had some attention as I had fitted and subsequently returned a used axle, I had also fitted the OTK foot rest in the expectation that it would give Junior something to press his heels into when braking and I had ‘expertly’ created a foam insert for the seat after Junior had complained that he was uncomfortable in the seat in longer sessions. I had some things to test too: I had tightened the nassau in a bid to improve upon the vibration suffered by the ActionPro and I had also been lent a MyTach GPS watch to test (thanks, Colin!).

Again, we left late – only 15 mins but it meant that we didn’t make the first session although only because went on the track before it opened in order to set the GPS position and decided to walk the track since we were out there. Our first lap lasted all of about 30 seconds as Junior complained that his brakes weren’t working. What he actually meant was he didn’t like the heel rests and they restricted his use of the brake! Our second session ended with the kart stopping on track; I had hand-tightened the spark plug having noticed it wasn’t seated as we were pushing the kart to the pit lane and so we had lost compression (Noob Lesson 1 for the day).

We then had some decent track time mixed with some more mistakes on my part: a loose floor tray, lost nassau bracket bolts, another [different] loose nassau bolt. These are things I have to admit I’d never checked mid-session but, as Junior was starting to [sporadically] hit the kerbs through The Esses, the kart was starting to get a little roughed up (Noob Lesson 2 – check bodywork through the day). The seat insert of which I was very proud was a flop – the sides had to be removed in order for Junior to fit in, then he decided he preferred the seating position without it! We never captured any data on the MyTach, either through user error (not hitting the ‘Start’ button) or taking it off whilst we found some reliability and forgetting to put it back on again! The ActionPro still suffered vibration although tightening the nassau did help a little.

The biggest disappointment was the times we were producing – 37.x throughout the day, a second off of our best at our last visit in June. Conditions were pretty similar; the weather was warm and although the kart setup was not identical (the rear axle was at it’s middle height whereas it was low last time, we may have had a different carb and the tyres had obviously seen a little action at Dunks in July) but I didn’t feel that explained such a loss of pace. You could see that it was taking longer for the regulars to catch Junior on our last visit but that wasn’t the case this time. Junior was working on his lines but there is still a lot of room for improvement, most significantly in his lines and his braking points. Don’t get me wrong I very rarely criticise him; it would be a bit hypocritical as I am still making noob mistakes! He wants to race and we’ll do that when he is ready. I came hoping to confirm our readiness and left knowing that we still weren’t there yet. When we bought the kart I said we’d look to get a few races in at the end of the year. I thought we were a little ahead of plan but maybe that isn’t the case.

On the positive side, Junior ran for 170 laps despite the mishaps, did improve his line through The Esses a little and nothing unexplainable happened to the kart. Remember there is no such thing as bad seat time… 🙂

Cost of day: £12 petrol, £7 fuel for the kart (still plenty left from last time), £35 practice fee

6 nassau bracket bolts: £3!!!

Total spent so far: £3,143


4 thoughts on “Practice 9: Hmmm…..

  1. Are you replacing nyloc nuts with new ones and are you using washers between bolts/nuts because old ones are more likely to come undone with the vibration from the engine and washers between bolts/nuts allow the bolts/nuts to be tightened properly?

    • Thanks for your comment and apologies for the tardy response (holiday!): I honestly cannot say whether I used new nuts on the nassau bracket; probably not but I’ll check them now you mention it. I have a washer between the bracket and the nut but not between the bolt and the chassis. I’ll see to that too 🙂

    • Ah, The Mechanic’s Guide – I was certain I had linked this before but it seems not. I have a copy though and am understanding more every time I refer to it. Fantasic reference material and the owner definitely deserves a pint on me!

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