On the back foot already?

http://mococo.org/wp-content/themes/satoshi/styles/functions.css It was supposed to be fairly straightforward: a lunchtime trip to see JC at Revolution and get the head volumes checked on both motors (to ensure there would be no surprises if did well enough to get scrutineered at the weekend). The practice motor was borderline and needed a thorough cleaning to get the head volume to a safe reading. The race motor was fine as far as the head volume was concerned but there was no longer any end play in the crank shaft. We opened up the crank halves; the pin had moved a fraction and the bearings weren’t spinning very freely at all. It wasn’t the news I really wanted to hear this close to the weekend. The race motor has been sat around since the last club round: I had had the head and barrel off for a visual inspection post-race but not noticed the lack of end play. Another learning for next time…

buy generic neurontin online Fortunately, JC was able to sort everything out for me today and I collected the engines from him this evening but, with this and the weather, I’m a little behind where I would like to be if we are setting off for the track on Friday. Tomorrow evening will be a busy one :/

Going to PFI :)

Who am I trying to kid? Although Junior didn’t have any karting-related items from us in his Christmas stocking, I’d arranged something pretty special for his Nan to give him: a practice day at PFI running with TWMotorsport in one of their Tony Kart Vipers 🙂 He’s very much looking forward to this, as it’s a track he has always wanted to drive but has always been that bit too far away for a day trip. I am too although for slightly different reasons: I don’t have to tow the trailer 140 miles each-way and I’ve informed my wife that I’m taking the Sportage instead of the Clio 😉 It will also be very interesting to see how Junior finds the handling of the Viper compared with his EVR.

There’s a bit of uncertainty regarding the TVKC membership requirements: the track told me you had to be a member (the prospect of a £60 outlay on top of the practice fee has always put me off visiting previously but I’d thought we’d bite the bullet if we had to) but other drivers have said they paid a £10 day membership fee. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! The timing isn’t great also: we’ve our annual Christmas Karting the night before and Teamsport don’t have a great record for finishing promptly. Hopefully we are finished promptly and Junior won’t be too sore for my putting him in his indoor karting place 😉 Wish me luck!

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 😮 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 🙁

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, 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 😀

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 £40, petrol £12, fuel £10
Spent since last post: Push start bar £40, 2x Shell M Oil 15

Total spent this year: £2,078

The mechanically inept noob!

Saturday was a bad one, even by my own standards. We arrived to find that almost all of the perimeter pit spaces had gone, it was nigh on impossible to get the awning pegs into the ground where we had chosen to set up camp, we aborted and moved to the very far corner of the track only to find that the pathetic velcro straps on the sides of our awning were no match for the wind and ended up ditching the awning and slotting the car/trailer in somewhere a little more desirable!

Despite this, we were still ready for the day’s first JTKM session but, when Junior was sat in his kart on the dummy grid, I noticed that there was a lot more travel in the steering column than I was comfortable with. It looked as if the steering column bearing (which wasn’t that old) had worn. Caught between the desire to at least get a few test laps in and removing the kart from the dummy grid, I opted for the former (I’m not sure I would in future) with a warning to Junior to take it easy and come straight in if he had any concerns. He duly drove straight back into the pits, throwing his gloves into the seat and going off on one: the steering column wasn’t the issue, the fuel tank lid was leaking. This isn’t the first time we’ve experienced this – why is it so hard to make a fuel cap that fits correctly??? After finishing his little strop, I sent Junior off to get some hand towels from the toilets so that we could get back out for a few minutes. In my rush to get Junior started, I just grabbed the back end, started running and immediately felt something go in my back. I dropped the kart way too soon and had to carry on pushing until he got going but I was in agony! I like to think of myself as being pretty fit – push starting has certainly never been a problem but sometimes these things just happen I guess. It was one of those back injuries that catches your breath. Not good at the start of a race weekend 🙁

The rest of the day was about trying to cope with the pain whilst keeping Junior out on track. Engine mount bolts were the biggest challenge given my restricted mobility. I was able to borrow a push-start bar from one of the other dads; I’d never before used one but I quickly became a big fan! Our pace was disappointingly as has long been the norm: we were around 7/10ths off the pace. We tried a few things like altering the front width and bleeding the brakes which Junior felt made a little difference. I was talking to one of my good friends and, at one point, questioned whether perhaps Junior wasn’t up to this type of karting – we hadn’t progressed at all from the summer of last year; Clay had been replaced by Llandow and, although we had the novelty of a new track, we were now back to familiar struggles. Junior had never shown any sign of unhappiness and, as long as he is still enjoying it, we would of course continue but in the back of my mind still lingered thoughts of IKR and Prokarts 🙁

Although we weren’t where we wanted to be, at least we had run fairly smoothly. Until the final session at least. Junior came in after one lap complaining that ‘something happened’. He couldn’t explain what. We’d just replaced a carb but it didn’t tie in with anything he was trying to describe. Although I’ve said before how you should always listen to your driver, I sent him back out to get more information. This time he came straight back complaining of a loud noise from the engine. I removed the chain guard and couldn’t believe what I was seeing: the chain was as tight as you can imagine, with no flex whatsoever. A couple of friendly dads passed and I asked if they’d ever seen a chain go so tight before. It was then that I noticed that the engine had lifted off of the mount in one corner, skewing the chain enough to cause the problem. I removed the engine and was working with one of the dads to remove the snapped engine mount bolts (it turned out that three had snapped). At this point the other dad was playing with the brake pedal and commented that our brakes were rubbish (these weren’t his actual words!), calling his lad over to have a look. I was focused on checking the engine for significant damage but was more than happy for them to adjust the brakes since Junior has long complained about them. The engine was going to need to visit my builder to have the bolts drilled out and the casing rethreaded (timely since the race engine was going to be off for rebuilding after the Sunday) and, once that was dealt with, the dad showed me how much more release there was in the brake pedal, claiming there were 3/10ths of a second in the improved brake performance. To be honest, I took this with a pinch of salt at the time. He was also less than complimentary about my mechanic skills: a ‘mechanically inept noob’ I think was the description although I don’t know where he would have gotten that from 😉 To be fair, I had had the brakes looked over by a number of people much more qualified than myself. No matter, they definitely felt better and we’d see how they fared on race day…

bridge

A variation on a theme 😉

 

Back for a little more practice!

With Junior off of school for the Easter holidays, we took the opportunity to head back to the track for some more work on our lines. Although the sun was out it was insanely windy and, with no awning (we cannot accomodate the 6x3m awning in the Clio or the trailer – and I’m not even sure we’d have bothered trying!), we set up next to the viewing shelter to give us a tiny bit of cover. It was a quiet day on track – just us, a cadet and two bambinos initially so we shared an open track with them. Open tracks are normally great but, with the bambinos being so much slower we were finding it impossible to get any reasonable run at some quick laps.

After lunch, we had the track implement sessions so we had 15 minutes on/off through the afternoon until the younger drivers went home and then had the track to ourselves. This is the great thing about practising at Llandow – pick a day early in the week and you are likely to find it pretty quiet 🙂 Although it was hard for us to gauge our pace (there was another JTKM at the track for half the day but we always seemed to be on the opposite side of the track and I don’t really like being seen to intentionally tailing other drivers in any case), Junior did seem to be doing well. The lines were much better, much more consistent but you can never be certain if that is coming at the expense of speed through the corners. I’d take the slower, correct lines for now though! All in all, it was a really good day (bar the sunburn!): 101 laps seat time, some promise of better lines and no dramas 🙂 Hopefully we can show some improvement at the next club round.

Cost of day: £35 practice fee, £13 petrol, £9 fuel, £9 chain lube

Spent since last post: £25 new sprocket carrier, £6 new fuel hose/pulse pipe, £5 new (used) exhaust!!!

Total spent this year: £1,803.

An early start to 2015

Although our kart was stripped in preparation for having the chassis powder coated, I took up the offer of a rolling chassis loan and we headed to Llandow for our first practice of the year. We had a few things on the agenda: make sure the Alfano ADM data logger (an eBay Christmas purchase) worked, test the case of carbs (another eBay purchase) that I had bought and sent straight off for cleaning and rebuilding and also to try out my own Christmas presents: a Sony AS30 Actioncam and a digital tyre pressure gauge.

We got a bit of a surprise when we turned up and the circuit was locked but we were still on track for the day’s first session a little after 10:30. It was a beautifully sunny winter’s day but there was a bitter wind and I opted to don the waterproofs to keep warm. We had a few early hiccups: Junior complained the seat was too small and that he was unable to turn the wheel! This was the seat that was two sizes bigger than his seat and that I had used for the IKR Parent’s Race but, once we had moved the steering column forward, he was happy. Thankfully the Alfano system worked perfectly so we could actually see what we were doing on track! We were with another JTKM and, despite the presence of a couple of Honda cadets, it was nice that the circuit maintained an open pit lane as it meant that we could pretty much come and go as we pleased, only having to make way for a handful of arrive/drive sessions. The cadets weren’t a problem either and Junior gave them plenty of space when he caught them.

The day went reasonably well; although I’m not sure that Junior is really consistent enough to get reliable data on the carbs (having said that, he did manage to post consecutive identical laps and follow them up with another 3/100ths slower!), he found one that he thinks that he had a preference for – it was the first time we’ve used an 820 although I wasn’t telling him the series as we tested them (I’ve not yet had a chance to look at the data from a carb perspective). He was getting much needed track experience and was trying some different lines in various parts of the track. On the downside, I didn’t really give the digital tyre gauge a proper test (I need to read the manual again! :S) and the Sony camera didn’t really do itself justice owing to a lack of mounting options – the flat mount that we had to use was too flat for the FP7 nassau and I think just moved to one side (the curved mount curved the wrong way to be of any use), it really needed screwing to the nassau. The footage was underwhelming too but this might be down to my laptop’s ability to playback 1080p @60fps. The Alfano data was, once I managed to install the software on Windows 8 and to get it talking to my laptop bluetooth, really impressive – after getting home, I was entertaining myself watching Junior’s laps racing themselves into the early hours.

Alfano's VisualData analysis software

Alfano’s VisualData analysis software

You can click the above pic to open a larger version. Clockwise from top-left is the RPM range histogram; lap deltas (entering the final hairpin both yellow and blue laps are ahead of his red lap, which was our fastest on the day – Junior’s blue lap loses 3.35m here!); the RPM (top) and speed (bottom) line graph; sectors table; track map showing acceleration/decceleration. As you can see, there is a gold mine of data in there! 😀

On the flip side, check out the Llandow track map according the Sony camera GPS:

This isn't actually the shape of the Llandow track :S

This isn’t actually the shape of the Llandow track :S

Cost of day: £35 practice fee, £6 bridge toll, £16 petrol, £6 fuel, £9 chain lube

Costs since last post: £70 carb cleaning and rebuilds, £30 cost of new OTK steering wheel after selling the F1 wheel

Total spent this year: £172

When is a race day too short?

It’s going to be a busy day at Clay this weekend as there are four guest classes at the track – Junior Blue, Formula Blue, World Formula and RAFMSA will all be sharing the Dorset countryside with us. And that sets of my track time alarm!!! As my Facebook friends, or at least those that are still following my whining ways, will confirm I do go on a bit (which would be ok were the Club Competition Secretary not on there as well!). So, although I’ve said this elsewhere, I want to reiterate my appreciation of the job performed by the CompSec and I am sorry for any social media ear-bashing that you get from me on behalf of the club (even though it isn’t aimed at you)!

I do seem to be alone in being hung up on track time. For Junior, a race is too short if he is doing well and too long if things aren’t going quite so well. We’ve had a few too many long races at Clay recently :/ Other drivers don’t seem to mind and the Dads are happy that a shorter race day will mean lower costs, with less tyre wear, less fuel, less potential for damage but at what point do the races become too short to warrant the £150-odd cost of a race day? We moved from A&D karting initially because the value for money of owner driving was greater – £72 for 24 mins track time in the Castle Combe Club Championship whereas we were spending around £120 for 90 mins or more when we started doing practice days and in a much quicker kart. Obviously those costs spiral when you start racing. I’ve always been keener on longer races as we need the race experience and Junior typically wants to drive as much as he can. With the race days at Clay having gone from 8 min +1 lap heats and a 12 min + lap final earlier in the year to a 6 min +1 heats and 9? min + 1 final last month, I feared the worst but the club has managed to preserve 6 min +1 lap heats and a 10 min +1 lap final. I’m not sure how the officials and track staff will view the 15 minute lunch break!

The even bigger bee in my bonnet for this round was the potential for the club to decide to once again start the (slower) Junior Blues ahead of the (faster) JTKMs in a combined grid. They did this in March which had disastrous results for us as we were involved in an incident which saw us off at the fastest corner and then our kart was hit whilst I  attempted to remove it from danger (as the little darlings seemed to be unaware as to what exactly a yellow flag meant). I still begrudge the £72 it cost me to replace the two-race old axle (no, I haven’t done enough karting yet to shrug this kind of outlay off!) but it could have been a lot worse (for me physically, had I not dropped the kart and jumped out of the way) and I’ll always be suspicious that my subsequent comments online (you can do the detective work yourselves) were the cause of our black flag the following month. So my Facebook wall wasn’t quite the happy place I would normally expect it to be of late and I held off from entering until the grid issue was confirmed – we’ll have our own grid and won’t have to contend with slower karts in another class starting in front of us just because they have a ‘big race’, taking defensive lines against faster karts that they aren’t even competing with, or running them wide, or trying to run me down!

Onwards and upwards anyway 😉 I am quite looking forward to this Sunday and it’s a shame that a shortened practice (more Formula Blue inconvenience 😛 ) mean that it is not really worth our while in running on the Saturday. We won’t get to run the final check to ensure the axle is good after our issues as our last practice day but Saturday will be a relaxed day spent getting the kart setup. After our dire weekend last month, we’ll be on new (as in 2014 new) rubber for the first time on the new (as in 2010 new-to-us) chassis and I am really keen to see how we go. Of course, four 7th place finishes wouldn’t be conducive to a happy trip home.

Have fun if you are racing this weekend 😀 If you see what appears to be a ginger rocket in the southern skies at around 7:30am, you’ll know I’ve arrived to find someone in my pit space 😡

Spent since last post: New carb popoff tester, £32; lots of TKM carb gaskets, £25; a 35ft roll of exhaust wrap (still haven’t found one with any longevity and if you want to try some of this titanium stuff, come and see me in the pits!), £35.

Total spent this year: £3,749

Running in @Clay: featuring Mr Erratic Rotax

Having had the race engine back for a couple of months and still finished running it in, we headed off to Clay on Friday for a host of reasons; primarily to get the engine run in but also to compare the engines, work on lines and test some theories regarding grip (or the lack of it at the last race day). It was nice not to be rushing around madly as we do on a race weekend and the journey down wasn’t too bad for a week day. Unfortunately, the forecast had worsened through the week and it seemed we wouldn’t get the perfect weather for getting through the list of things to do. On top of that, there were a couple of four stroke events on over the weekend so the track was much busier than I had been hoping.

The first few sessions went well enough as we worked through the mid-range of the engine revs but then we hit a snag – anything over 13.5k revs seemed to start some kind of noise that I couldn’t explain even if I thought I knew what Junior was talking about! He was sure that it was an engine problem, which is the one problem area that fills me with dread 😮 I spoke with a few people – my engine builder and the guy I bought the engine from both of whom suggested it was four-stroking. It didn’t seem like it was four stroking but I tweaked the jet settings a touch and we tried again – the problem got worse the more revs Junior gave it. I changed the carb in case it had gone bad (and in the process discovered that my carb popoff tester was faulty and I had very likely been getting my carbs rebuilt unnecessarily!) but still we had the same problem. I was about to give up and fit the other engine so that we could at least get something out of the day but it was then that my own ‘karting dad’ (figuratively speaking) asked if my axle was bent – now this struck a chord!!! We had crashed at Llandow last time out but had competed in a race after the crash without any such problem (even if we only managed 2 laps before our exhaust manifold snapped) but it wasn’t the axle I suspected, rather a bearing hanger I had bought used and fitted the night before. When attempting to refit the axle after fitting the hanger, the axle was a good few inches away from aligning with the bearing hanger on the brake side. It turned out that the bearings seemed to have suffered some damage and were out of alignment. I had removed them at home, knocked them straight and refitted the axle – seemingly without issue. I was desperate to give the engine another chance so replaced both the bearing hanger and the axle just to ensure we could prove that the engine was/was not to blame. Luckily, the problem disappeared 😀 I am still not 100% sure that it was the bearings in the hanger but the axle looks good and I’ve refitted for our next outing.

After that our day was a bit hit and miss. The rain came and went and, although Junior seemed to be enjoying the conditions following a confidence boosting wet heat at Llandow, it meant we didn’t get the consistent weather that we needed to be able to back-to-back the engines. Nor work on lines. Nor test grip theories. We also broke both our bumpers – one when a prokart ran into the back of us into The Hairpin and another time courtesy of a bloke in a Rotax who was clearly very quick but was driving  erratically and making moves as though his life depended on every corner – bear in mind that this was just a practice day! If you had asked ten bystanders to point out which of the 30 karts on track looked most like the driver was under the influence of something, I guarantee everyone would have picked the same bloke!!! I am normally a fan of having large, mixed grids but seeing this bloke push us wide and then punt a prokart into the very next corner made me go and request the sessions were divided. It didn’t rid us of Mr Erratic Rotax but it did give us enough space we could steer well clear of him. Although you will inevitably see contact in karting, I don’t normally expect it at practice days!!!

In the end, we had achieved the main goal of running in the engine. Both of my bumpers have been snapped but at least my emergency bumper retention system (some rubber hose and hose clips) proved their worth.

I’m not sure where we’ll be headed next – Junior wants to do the next round at Clay but it’s looking like a very busy weekend with three additional classes taking part and that sets off my ‘track time alert’!!! It’s likely we’ll race unless there is a chance of a repeat of the ‘slower karts starting in front of the faster karts‘ fiasco we saw earlier in the year (the last time that there was a big Formula Blue event at the track). That lead to us/me getting into all sorts of bother – I won’t be doing that again…

Cost of practice:£35 practice fee, £12 petrol, £6 fuel
Spent since last post: used bearing hangers, £30, two used carbs £70

Total spent this year: £3,657

 

Testing at Clay: didn’t we do this last year???

Do you ever get those kart days when you just wish you hadn’t bothered? Friday was one of those. It was my fault too for cockily commenting to Junior when we arrived as to how much nicer it was now that we turned up and just drove rather than had all of the problems that we used to experience. Let’s start with the positives: we tested various setup combinations, it didn’t rain, we were pretty quick in the morning. And now the negatives: it didn’t rain enough to get any wet practice, Junior came in first session because the accelerator stuck open *and* he had no brakes (what the !?!), then there was the hissing, then Junior hurt himself driving around The Horseshoe, then hurt himself some more as we grabbed the kart as it fell off the trolley (trolley arm not done up), then he completed a full session when I noticed we had only one K-nut remaining, we got slower throughout a day which we rounded off by aborting the final session as the kart was making a ‘clanking’ noise (engine mount bolts loose, engine moved back to the stop, loose chain making noise).

As you can see, it was pretty much mostly my fault – I’ve not made stupid mistakes like this for a long time. Perhaps it was the kick up the arse I needed. When you still get chuffed that you changed a set of tyres without problem, you are still a noob! In addition to generally having a poor day, I also need to replace a Douglas M-Series Vented rim now that one of mine has worn thread holes 🙁

Cost of day: £15 petrol, £7 fuel, £35 practice fee

Costs since last post: £25 carb rebuilds, £4 nuts/bolts/washers

Total spent this year: £1,800

Testing at Llandow: Junior’s new favourite track?

I had been trying to arrange some time to visit Nigel in the shop at Llandow so, even before our troubles last weekend, we were going to be testing there this weekend. Lucas had driven there once before – last May ahead of his ARKS test and, at that time, hadn’t really enjoyed the track; he was very inexperienced and it is a much harder track to drive well compared to Clay so I was interested to see how he fared now being considerably more ‘competent’! It was also the race weekend for Llandow Kart Club so it would give us a good measure of his pace on an unfamiliar track.

Having arrived a little late, we amassed a mighty two laps before lunchtime – missing the first session and then Junior stopping on track in the second. He said that he had just lost power and my first instinct was to check the carb. It was then that I noticed the fuel hose looked empty (a good reason why you should replace old, brown hose) and, when I blew some more fuel through, found it sprinkling out of a hole where the hose had been dragging on the track! :S The fuel hose was tied in place after that!

I had made some changes to the brakes; Junior reported my first change to have made them worse but the next tweak seemed to make the better and Junior actually said he had LOCKED HIS BRAKES!!! 🙂 The day went pretty well thereafter. We only managed four and a bit sessions because of the number of Bambinos taking part in the Llandow leg of the Bambino Kart Club Tour. I hadn’t actually realised there was such a thing at that age but it looked pretty cool – the kids do time trials rather than actually race. Anyway… we were continually changing the setup throughout the afternoon and knocked 1.3s off of our best lap to finish around 0.4s off of the pace. It was clear that Junior was something of a rolling road block at times but he was able to get a bit racey towards the end. Driver feedback was at a premium – Junior had a tendency to wander off to spend time with the other juniors, which was great for him, but it meant there was nobody to do the fuel, lift the trailer lid, help test the brakes etc and I even experienced a karting first: loneliness!!! Ok, it wasn’t as bad as that – the other Dads (whom I had got know from the last couple of rounds at Clay) are very nice but you don’t like to hang around whilst they are making setup changes on a race weekend. It’s just one of those things particular to race weekend – you are busy and aren’t too keen on giving anything away – I am the same at Clay. For the first time, I found myself phoning the wife just for a chat during a karting day!!!

In contrast to our last visit, Junior really enjoyed the track and, predictably, he wanted to come back and race on the Sunday (today), offering to fund his own entry which would have been fine had I not used said money to pay for this additional test day 😉 Having had to fund six car tyres, a service and a cam belt change in the past week, bonus kart funds were pretty thin on the ground!

So where we race next month will entirely be down to Junior. There are pro’s and con’s to both Clay and Llandow: I didn’t enjoy the last race day at Clay whatsoever, from heat one through to the final – it was the polar opposite of the March round and I felt a little let down by the officials. Then again, there is a really strong TKM community at Clay, Junior is keen to contest the entire championship, they sell ice cream and they have a tarmac road that leads all the way to the grid! Llandow, on the other hand, has an awful gravel car park that really does test your bolts on both kart and trolley. I honestly think you would need to budget to replace your trolley each year if you raced at Llandow regularly! Junior really enjoyed the variety that the track offered, however, and although he would definitely be the slowest driver there, that is not something that has ever really phased him. It would be something a leap into the deep end, as the next club round is also the Welsh Open but we’ll see what he wants to do.

Cost of day: £18 petrol, £6 bridge toll, £6 fuel for the kart, £40 practice fee

Total spent this year: £1,562