Senior Prokart at Clay Pigeon IKR

jovially Not Junior obviously! Since going down the owner/driver route my track time has dropped down to a couple of outings per year. I’d driven the JTKM at Clay’s IKR in a parent’s race last year and done ‘ok’. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy not feeling in control of the kart at any point during the day! I’d also driven the corporate karts at Clay and been pretty damn quick if I say so myself ๐Ÿ˜‰ Senior Prokart seemed like the perfect compromise so I bagged myself a rental kart and took the plunge.

buy generic Lyrica india I struggled to cope with the fairly hard tyres in practice although the kart felt good and the engines seemed to be strong based on my catching people down the straight. My Hairpin and Top Bend were letting me down a bit but a qualified in 8th of 12. Then things started to go south: in Race #1, I got hung out on the outside of the entry to The Esses and panicked, hitting the brakes and spinning (the reality is that the person I thought was hanging me out had actually conceded the corner to me!). I got going again but felt a loss of power a lap or so later. It felt like I was running on a single engine but, when I pitted, both engines were running. The problem was identified a throttle cable issue and duly rectified. At least that was what we thought. I new as soon as I left the pits for the pre-final that I was in the same boat and I was dropping away as soon as the karts sped up to begin the race ๐Ÿ™ I was pretty peeved at this point and was thinking that I should have entered a pay as you drive arrangement! ๐Ÿ˜‰

buy gabapentin online The problem was fixed for the final. I began in last and made a decent start. I think I gained a good number of places at Billies as there was some contact which I was able to drive around the outside of. Then the two karts in front of me decided to quite literally try to run one another off the track!?! I ‘d never seen anything like it. The Super One clerk would have had a fit!!! I passed them as they messed around although I think that may have made them wake up to themselves and focus on the race. They soon passed me and I lost another place before I settled into my rhythm and tried to catch some people. I wouldn’t say that I was at ease with the kart but it certainly pulled well out of the corners. I made a few nice moves slipstreaming down the straight, pulling out around The Kink and then parking it on the apex at Billies to prevent the cutback to bring it home in a repsectable 7th place. It was an awful lot of fun ๐Ÿ˜€

can you buy Lyrica online It was another good day at Clay IKR. The atmosphere is something I’ve enjoyed on both visits. Although I can’t see Junior switching from MSA anytime soon, I’d definitely do it again although I have my eye on an endurance event for next time.

She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid

“She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid”

Back to the track, finally :)

With Junior well into his GCSEs, May had until now been a no karting month for us. We missed the club round (although, had I not been cheering my team on at Wembley, I may have put in a very late entry). With Junior already revising to the max and in need of a welcome break, the May holiday gave us a chance to run in our race motor.

We had a very troubled morning. Junior stopped next to me on track after only two laps to say his brakes weren’t working properly. Not that old chestnut I hear you shout! Not really: the nut holding the brake pedal bolt had departed and both bolt and pedal were in the process of setting themselves free ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I told Junior to ease back into the pits and I’d sort it out but it was then that I noticed his exhaust hanging off. The extension bar had snapped, clearly a result of our big exit from the April meeting; during my kart prep I had checked everything was secured but the bar was damaged. And I so hate pushing the kart off-track on a trolley…

With the bar replaced, we got back to running-in. The next session went fine but afterwards I noticed some oil around the manifold so checked the bolts were tight (as I had swapped manifolds between my engines at the rebuild) and cleaned up the oil with the intention of checking this after the next session .You don’t need me to tell you what happened next. I couldn’t be certain that the kart *was* sounding rough. When you focus on something it always seems worse. I stood next to Hangar Straight and listened intently. It was sounding a little rough. Three corners later the manifold snapped.

Lesson #246: when your exhaust has been hanging off, ALWAYS REMOVE THE MANIFOLD FOR VISUAL INSPECTION ๐Ÿ™

It was lunchtime before we got some good track time and 3pm before running-in was complete (Bambinos!). Just for the running-in (and because all of my practice tyres are rubbish), I had put on some EasyKart tyres that I had been given a year ago and that had been sat in the garage since. They had a lot of tread left and, in his first session at full chat, Junior had beaten his old (pre-transformation!) PB on them which,ย after running-in, was my only real goal for the test day. He was keen to move onto the Maxxis Slicks to get a more representative time but was 2/10ths slower on older tyres that I had mounted onto a set of Gillard full mags that I had been shelved since last summer. I’d have used our Douglas rims had I not been too lazy to remove last month’s race tyres from them (far too good for non-race weekend practice!). I had negated to check pressures after our first session on the Maxxis tyres but noticed the front left was running at 2.5psi before we went out for the next session!?! I quickly corrected this and Junior then went out and enjoyed a good tussle with one of his friends with whom he’d raced against last year but who had moved to Junior Rotax (boo!). When he came back in, his tyre showed 2.8psi. Houston, we have a problem… A leaky bead retainer was to blame. We switched back to the EasyKart tyres and found the missing 2/10ths. Although lonely practice days are good for track time, it’s always a bit of a shame when there is nobody from your class against whom to gauge your speed. The Llandow track has definitely lost a little of it’s pace since April so I think our times were fairly good, certainly there was no sign of us losing the pace we found last month ๐Ÿ˜€

A couple more sessions and our day was done. The morning problems had been irritating but the afternoon was good enough and my new push start bar worked very nicely. I had bought it because my back was still bothering me from the April race weekend and I never want to be in a position again where my fitness (or lack of) threatens to ruin Junior’s weekend. I have to give credit to South Wales Karting Centre: we had packed up and left at 6:15pm and there will still owner/drivers on track. I know a lot of circuits who’d be kicking people off as soon as the clock struck 5pm!

*Very* impressed with the image quality on the 4k GoPro I borrowed...

*Very* impressed with the image quality on the 4k GoPro I borrowed…

Cost of day: Practice fee ยฃ40, petrol ยฃ12, fuel ยฃ10
Spent since last post: Push start bar ยฃ40, 2x Shell M Oil 15

Total spent this year: ยฃ2,078

A race observer? Me???

Having kind of done marshalling courtesy of a marshal training day at Whilton Mill, I’m well on my way to completing the set with my latest stint at officaldom courtesy of volunteering to help Llandow Kart Club run the Super One Series third round last weekend. Although I had a mini panic attack when told I was to act as the observer on the final corner, it was another enlightening experience. It’s not an easy job: as the grid approached I focused on the closest karts and wacthed those until they past the apex and then switched back to pick the next candidates. Where they were bunched closely, I just had to watch the apex – I could see the final 10m of the entry to the corner but it’s at the apex where the lunges or rear shunts came. Yes, it can be a very difficult task especially in the larger grids and there will be times when the observer misses a big incident simply because they are watching other karts but, if I can do it…

I did have help: the clerk was also stood at my corner for much of the meeting but that enabled me to discuss everything we saw and get his view on things. There was a lot to learn: that you needn’t necessarily give someone room who has run wide provided you aren’t deviating from your line (it’s down to them to back off and fall in line), that the best clerks really do see the sport as non-contact (this Super One clerk handed out a warning to pretty much every initiator of contact) and, if you gained a place from making contact, the chances are that you’d be losing that place an four more! I got the sense that there was some inconsistency however as there were some incidents reported at other corners that perhaps leniently went unpunished. It really enforced the feeling that clubs *must* have dedicated observers: neither the clerks or the marshals have a primary role of reporting incidents. It’s a concern of mine as the Llandow seem to have done away with race observers for their club meetings.

So it’s two down and two to go although I cannot see myself acting as clerk, nor scrutineer anytime soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

My office for the day...

My office for the day…

31 days after last touching the kart…

Having mulled over the prospect of submitting a late entry for Junior, my wife soon knocked that idea on the head. It wasn’t the fact that Junior had an exam the next day; he’d done five hours of English Literature preparation at school on Saturday, it was more the small issue that I was going to Wembley to watch my team play in the Football Conference playoff final!

With us planning to run our race in at Llandow next week, I really had to get out and attend to the kart which had been untouched since I removed the engine/chain/fuel after April race day. This ‘karting holiday’ was pretty much the longest I’d had since we started. First things first, the steering wheel is bent ๐Ÿ™ Being a chip on the shoulder type of person doesn’t really help although I do hope that I will stop resenting those that cause my wallet pain at some point ๐Ÿ˜‰ The steering column had already been straightened previously was bent fairly high up the column so I decided to just bin that. The front end is mostly back together now although I might try giving the bumper a little TLC with some decal colour insulation tape in a bid to restore the bumpers appearance, at least from distance ๐Ÿ˜‰

I'm sure there's a kart under there...

I’m sure there’s a kart under there…

In other news, I’ve bought a push start bar! I like to think of myself as a pretty fit bloke but I am getting on a bitย  and my back (injured on the practice Saturday last month) is still causing me some issues. The bar came up at a really good price and, with one eye on the next practice day and another on Junior getting heavier and running in seniors in the future, I took the plunge. I plan to use it a my primary means of push starting. No sense making my back work unnnecessarily!

To race or not to race…

With Junior now into his GCSE exams and the Super One MSA round at Llandow almost upon us, I had no intention of entering this month and planned to use this as our dropped round. The club contacted me this evening to say that there are no S1 drivers entered in case that changed my mind. It shouldn’t. But it does make me think! There are a lot of negatives to overcome: Junior has an exam on Monday, the kart hasn’t been touched since last month, our steering wheel might be bent, my tyres are two rounds old, the race motor needs running in, I had already diverted the funds to a prokart rental for myself at this month’s Clay Pigeon IKR round! On the plus side: we haven’t karted for a month, his exam is English Literature and it’s a race day!!!

Perhaps I’ll mention this in conversation with Mrs Karting Dad to gauge the reaction!