Buckmore Park; Round 1 MSA BEKC March 2nd 2003
Finishing position: 6th
James arrived first at just before 08:00hrs to find a wet track, some rain in the air and an overcast sky.
Richard and Thomas turned up 20 mins later with Nathan who had been co-opted for the day to manage the pits.
The kart looked brilliant in its full Red Stripe livery for the first time - so much so that it attracted the attention Kart-TV who were shooting some promotional racing footage.
James was first out in practice on intermediates and found that the kart handled beautifully. In these conditions it was as fast as anyone else out there at the time.
Thomas took over, changing to slicks slightly earlier than we would in a race, but since our weather man maintained that it wasn't going to rain again that day, there seemed little point in wearing out the softer wets.
Both Thomas and Richard found that the kart handled well and felt good and we made some adjustments both to the tyres and chassis, but the fact remained that we were behind the best times of the other main teams.
After James had been out on the slicks we changed to new tyres and Thomas went out to qualify. Unfortunately we brought him in five minutes before the end of the session to make a final change to the chassis, just as the track was speeding up - and he then only had a couple of laps with the new setup. This wasn't enough to get a good time........
|On the grid with Red Stripe
number 19 sitting behind GP Racing.
Richard is in red standing behind the kart while James is the one with the odd gloves, but otherwise in black.
Thomas is out of the picture doing something useful.
Photograph by Sue Poole courtesy of Karting Magazine
James was starting again and after a bumpy first couple of laps as everyone in front sorted themselves out, and James was warned for something (kerbing?? contact??..we never did find out what), he settled down to a session long battle with MIF Racing with some early interference from number 77 Misfit Racing. James and MIF must have swapped places three or four times, but eventually he got past and away.
The track was more or less completely dry now and we even had some sunshine to warm it up.
We were about 11th as Richard took over, the pit stop dropping us to 13th, but as Richard's stint progressed we moved gradually up the grid until he found himself behind MIF again. Richard got a run on them coming down the hill but somehow managed to catch his front left wheel on the their rear right. Inevitably Richard was thrown up in the air and came down on their exhaust knocking the silencer away from the manifold.
For a few yards they were coupled together until Richard stood on the brakes and MIF accelerated away from underneath.
We didn't look slow in comparison to other karts but our best times were still a few tenths off theirs.
After 40mins Thomas took over with another smooth pit stop, Nathan doing a very good signalling job to ensure that we weren't held up in the re-fuelling bay.
Thomas was going well and soon got involved in a three way scrap with Misfit and Autotekk but, while trying to overtake both of them at once on the inside of the hairpin after the pits straight, he just got the power on a fraction too early and spun. However he only lost about 5 seconds and over the rest of the session gradually caught up Autotekk again until they pitted.
On lap 138 he got our best lap of the race with a time of 44.504 sec.
On his second drive James found the kart still performing very well, with no sign that the tyres were going off and in fact he seemed to be going faster in comparison to others than he was in the first session.
Try as he might, however, he couldn't better Thomas's best time though he got to within 400ths of a second of it.
As Richard started his drive we were lying 9th but it wasn't clear how many stops other teams like Moss Racing had done. Moss then reduced the relevance of that question by breaking a stub axle and we were up to 8th .............then 7th... and then 6th.
After a lengthened stint to give Thomas a short final drive (he had been having trouble with his neck) we had a really fast changeover and maintained our position with a comfortable lead over Special Racing Projects in 7th and an equally unbridgeable gap to B & R in 5th. And this was how we finished the race.
It was a good race, the chassis was great fun to drive, the engine ran perfectly and we were helped considerably by having Nathan on pit duty, but the fact that Special Racing Projects - the only other team using a 7Kart chassis were able to overtake us on the track throughout the race, means that we still have some more setting up and testing work to do. But this was the first time we had raced it in really dry conditions so it was very encouraging that it felt so good.
There are even some photos.
Bayford is next on April 4th - a Friday; I wonder what sort of a grid will turn up for that.....but we'll be there and hoping to improve on 6th.
R e d S t r i p e R a c i n g
H o m e