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Sam throws away black plates in style – Whilton Mill 27/28 Jun

June 30, 2009

Sam throws away black plates in style – Whilton Mill 27/28 Jun

Sam finished the final novice weekend in great style grabbing his third Novice Trophy and showing his intentions to the blue-plates by finishing 10th overall out of 21 starters. All this despite our usual steep learning curve, this time wasting most of Saturday struggling to find a setup due to our practice tyres being well beyond their sell by date!






Saturday – Practice Day

Desperate to get back in the kart after a three week layoff, Sam went out on the first run full of enthusiasm only to arrive 8 laps later in parc ferme with a glum face. Sam tells the story;


“We arrived at Whilton Mill around eight o’clock in the morning. We got the kart out of the trailer to prepare it for the first session. Tyres on, fuelled up, pressures set and driver ready we go down to the dummy grid. First session I was suffering from a lot of under steer (when you turn the steering wheel but the kart doesn’t turn in straight away). Then we had both understeer and over steer (where the back end of the kart is also sliding.) which is even worse. We knew our practice tyres were bad and needed changing soon but never really realised they were that bad! So eventually we worked it out and so changed to the race tyres which knocked over a second off my lap times. My words at that time were “ah, that was our problem!” Problem solved in the end but that was a learning day.”


Sunday – Race day

We arrived on Sunday confident about the setup and optimistic of a real chance for the Novice Trophy – made somewhat easier by the discovery that three friends (and ex-Mr-Karting challengers) had upgraded to blue plates since our last race. [ Due to their indoor experience the Mr-Karting drivers are all very competitive compared to “real” inexperienced novices ]. One of those recently upgraded was teammate Charlie who was thrown in at the deep end in Heat 1 starting on the front row of the grid!

Charlie on the front row - rolling start

Charlie on the front row in heat 1 - rolling start



“I had my sights set high on that final chance of getting another novice trophy, which would make it three trophies out of five races. Heat 1 was a little disappointing as again I suffered from understeer and ended up on the grass numerous times. Luckily I still managed to get second novice position in that race.” [ Despite those heart stopping moments on the grass, the pace looked good and we were still confident of a good overall result. ] 


“When we came off we changed the tracking at the front and adjusted tyre pressures which seemed to cure the problem as I suffered no oversteer or understeer in the second heat.” [ Ace mechanic eh? – Dad]. “The only significant thing that happened in Heat 2 was a pile up at the end of the dummy grid due to someone at the front stalling. I was OK as my kart has a clutch and didn’t stall.”


“Heat 3 was off to a bad start as the starter gun blew up when the green flag was raised and Dad tried to start the kart. Whilst everyone was on their way around the track for the rolling start Dad had to run down the dummy grid shouting “STARTER! STARTER!”. Someone lent him a starter so once I was going I had to blast around the track to catch up with the pack (which I luckily managed in time). Once the race started I got past a few blue plates, one being number XX [identity protected ….. for now – Dad]  who I overtook around the last corner but half a lap later he purposely hit me from behind which span me out and I rejoined just in front of the last place kart. I stuck to the inside line so at least he could not overtake me. Fortunately I did get back a few places back and achieved the first novice position in that heat.”


By this time, the kart was really running well and our further experimentation with tyre pressures had produced a very well balanced machine. The rising temperature gave good grip and by the end of Heat 3 Sam insisted the kart was not to be changed. The setup was “perfect”. 

 “In the final I was starting nineteenth due to my poor first and third heat results. Personally I think the Final was one of my best races yet. Starting nineteenth meant I was on the outside line for the up hill straight. I had Will S on my right, novices behind me and Charlie on the inside line (diagonally) infront of me. Once we crossed the start line I knew I had to get on the inside line. I was aiming to slot in either in front of, or behind Will, but in fact I had a good start and found a gap in front of Charlie which was more than I was aiming for. From then on I gained and gained more places and eventually ended up crossing the line in tenth. Not my best result as such but most certainly my best race! “


Sam slotting infront of Charlie and Will in Turn 1 of the Final

Sam (#22) taking the racing line infront of Charlie and Will in Turn 1/2 of the Final


Sam was certainly right about this being his best performance to date. He played the rolling start perfectly and carried his start line speed up the hill to nab a couple more places on that first lap. All that good work was slightly undone when he was baulked by a couple of tangling karts in front of him which allowed two others to drive around the outside and reclaim their places. But Sam didn’t panic, just got his head down and picked them off one by one and took the places back. By this time the grid had split into three ‘packs’ with Sam chasing the middle group. He then put in a series of very consistent lap times which enabled him to catch up to the back of the mid-pack and even pick off a couple of those drivers. Whilst Dad might have preferred he stayed out of trouble and consolidated his primary novice position, if there’s a kart in front of him Sam will race it!

One of several impressive overtaking manouvers in the Final. You can almost feel the pain in #16 as he realises hes been had - by a novice.

One of several impressive overtaking manouvers in the Final. You can almost feel the pain for #16 as he realises he's been had - by a novice.

As it happened, the carnage was behind him with a high attrition rate from the chasing pack which took out both teammates, Jade and Charlie, in separate incidents. But after the last disappointment at Rissington, a great result for Sam this week to come home in tenth, [ and slightly fortunate – we have since discovered the clutch plate was falling apart! ].


“As I was hoping, I got the first novice position [by almost 20 secs – Dad] and my third trophy. Trophies will be harder to get in the future as a blue-plate – hopefully I can do it again!!”


So onto Rissington in a weeks time, the black plates ripped up and shiny new blue plates added to the kart. To get any more silverware (eg. top 5 finish) we need to find almost a second (per lap) from driver and kart.  This ain’t gonna be easy!!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. martin woodham permalink
    July 6, 2009 9:39 am

    well done Sam, sounds like a mature race! I presume kart ‘xx’ is under some form of investigation?!

    • Sam Randon permalink
      July 6, 2009 6:34 pm

      Well we did go to the Clark of the course but he just said he would tell all marshalls to keep an eye an eye on him for the next few races but even so he would only put points on his licence, we would get no benifit 😦

  2. Gran & Randon permalink
    July 1, 2009 10:36 am

    Sounds a bit hair-raising Sam. Glad clutch plate lasted until you got kart home.

    Good luck for next week and first time as a blue-plate.



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