ECKC 2013 Rounds 1 & 2

I’m back on track!  2013 has brought another karting season upon us, full of twists and turns (both left and right... clearly I’m watching a NASCAR race as I write this...).  Racing in Rotax Junior again this year and a part of the renamed SummitGP, much has changed - I’ve got my dad as a mechanic this year – for the first time in four years.  So far, I’ve done some local races, but what I’m here to talk about were my races on June 1 and 2, the first and second ECKC races at Mosport.  One major factor that was over the whole weekend was the incredibly indecisive weather.  One minute it would be clear skies, and before you knew it there were rain clouds headed your way and a subsequent torrential downpour. The Friday before the races was official practice day, where my dad and I would fine-tune our set-up.  By the end of the day, we had pretty much nailed a set-up for the dry, and were P6 in timed practice.  This also led me to be rather optimistic for results over the weekend, although with rain still in the forecast there was also a mystery factor as they kept changing the chance of precipitation and expected rainfall accumulations.

The next morning, it was 5am wake-up to get to the track, but of course it was worth it.  Morning practice didn’t produce the results I wanted, because my rear bumper was knocked off, slowing me down.  Despite this, I still managed to post a reasonable time, and headed back to the tent to fix my bumper in time for qualifying, where I was looking to be quick.  Unfortunately, I’ll never know if I was.  On my out-lap, I had gotten myself some space to set a good time - but then on the last corner my chain fell off!  That meant I was starting from last - 27th, and had a lot of ground to make up during the pre-final and final.

I blame my mechanic for this one - yes dad I am looking at you

In the pre-final, it didn’t start out great.  I got caught up behind an accident on the first lap that blocked the track, which reduced my ability to make up ground.  Even though I was setting fastest lap after fastest lap, I only got up to 20th, which was not what I was hoping for.  Then the weather became a factor.  For the first time all weekend, I was going to be driving in full wet conditions... and did I mention this would be the first time in years my dad had set me up for driving in the wet?  I have to admit, he did a pretty good job.  Besides a minor gearing error, my kart handled great all race, and I ended up finishing in 10th.  Considering the bad luck I had early on, I was satisfied, but it made me even more driven for a better result the next day.

After a brief fog delay (it was really bad) Sunday morning, we were back at it for another day of racing.  I had high expectations for the day, considering the pace from yesterday.  Apparently, it hadn’t gone away overnight.  I qualified in P4, my best qualifying effort in this series to date.  Now, I was really excited for the pre-final, because I was hoping to put myself in contention for the win.  But during lunch, the tables turned... when it started to rain.  We got the kart all set-up for a rain race, and then we realized something while watching the DD2 race - the track was drying.  After another complete set-up change (minus gearing again), we were ready to go back out on track.  While the start didn’t go as I had hoped, the race was still looking promising for a good starting spot for the final.  Then, I tried to make a pass that didn’t end well, and I hit a puddle, spun and lost everything and fell back to 18th - with one lap to go.  After driving the most aggressively I had all race, from making passes on the outside, inside or middle of corners, I got myself back up to 13th by the chequered.  For once, we outdrove Mother Nature, and the skies opened up between the sessions.  Before the race, we were forced to make another decision, and again we went with dry set-up.  I had a good start, and started to work my way back up to the front.  After a bit of racing in a pack, I managed to secure 10th, and started to hunt down the driver in 9th.  I ran out of time to successfully pass him (although I did make an attempt, I would have been kicking myself if I hadn’t made the effort), so it was another 10th place to end the weekend.  While I was looking for a better result considering my speed, it was a decent result (and I do have to admit, my dad did a pretty good job... and no I was not told to say that at all).  I’m definitely looking forward to the next ECKC races at Goodwood in a few weeks time!

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