The Commencement of 2015
The May long weekend has just wrapped up, but the racing season is only beginning. I’ve been out for kart testing and races practice days in the F1600, and followed the Brian Graham Racing crew during the Victoria Day Speedfest as a development driver. This week is the major start to my karting season – ECKC Round one and two will be taking place at Goodwood Kartways. I started the year off with a few test days with Brian Graham Racing at Shannonville and the Mosport DDT track, where I became well acquainted with my teammates: Ben Hurst, Mikhail Goikhberg and Reid Arnold. As a team I think everything is coming together nicely. We’re getting along well and helping each other out during the driver debriefs at the end of each session. As well, I was on testing with some of the other drivers I’ll be competing with later this season and it looks to be a good mix of experienced and rookie drivers.
When it came to testing the karts, everyone knew I’d been in the BGR Piper when I got into the kart, because of the way I was driving. I hadn’t actually realized that there’s a difference between the two, but apparently my turning was early and braking was much harder than it should’ve been, because I was used to driving a 1000-pound machine rather than a 220-pound kart. I’ve figured out how to go back and forth more so now, and despite having been in a car last, I think I’ll be able to hop into a kart easily on Thursday. So far, the karting season has brought me a 5th, a 3rd and a 6th, some of those races being before trying the new 2015 Rotax engine modifications. I’ve also gotten to test out the new layout at Mosport kart track. While I haven’t decided if I prefer it or not, it will make for some good passing during races.
One experience of note was shadowing the BGR team and testing at the Mosport ‘big track’. I’d never driven on it before, but I’d heard some great stories and people had told me that I’d love it… they were right. The F1600’s have an average speed of around 170km/h on the track, peaking at 200km/h down the back straight. I only got three sessions on the Friday test day, but for the two that were in the dry I started to get used to the track layout and knock a few seconds off my time. At Mosport, when it rains, it pours, so the third session gave me time to experience full wet conditions. It was a lot of fun, a great way to end out the day, and I set the fastest lap in the group that went out. From there, I hung around for the race days, where I had a bunch of exciting experiences, from riding shotgun in the pace car to participating in the F1600 autograph session. In the eyes of the young kids I saw a version of myself, and it was awe-inspiring.
I’m not scheduled to be out with BGR until later this June, but it’ll be at Mosport again this season and I can’t wait to get out on track with the best of them. In the meantime, I’ve got karting on my mind. Rotax Seniors, I’m coming for you!