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First corner disaster – Rissington Aug 1/2

August 4, 2009

Saturday – practice

Saturday was a little wet ...

Saturday was a little wet ...

Saturday was quite uneventful though wet, with the first few sessions spent running in a new engine so little setup data could be gathered. All of the sessions were on wet tyres throughout Saturday though the amount of water was changeable from session to session so even when the engine was ready to use in anger, there was little learnt from the day. By mid afternoon a heavy downpour landed on the last lap of the Junior TKM practice session and caused proceedings to halt for almost an hour due to the dangerous conditions. In the end, we chose to call it a day and miss the last session, opting instead for an early visit to the scrutineers ready for Sunday racing.

 

Sunday – race day

Following the deluge on Saturday, we were all slightly sceptical about the weather forecast for a fine Sunday, but lo and behold we awoke to lots of sunshine and clear blue skies. The clouds did roll in but the day stayed dry and all racing was completed on slicks.

 

The grid positions for the heats are decided by computer to give each competitor an equal chance of qualifying well for the Final. In theory, each driver gets three grid slots; one near the front, one mid pack, and one towards the back. Despite Sams fear of being drawn on pole, we found ourselves with 3 mid pack slots of 12th, 14th and 20th out of a grid of 28.  

 

 

Protecting the inside line in heat 3

Protecting the inside line in heat 3

“In all 3 heats I gained a couple of places here and there but also had some of the top drivers go past me, but I had 3 solid finishes

[ heat 1- 14th, heats 2&3 – 16th ] which was what I needed. As a result I qualified 15th.”

  

 Ultimately Sam was a little disappointed qualifying for the final in 15th out of 28.

 

  

Final

Rolling start, side by side, heading into first corner and disaster

Rolling start, side by side, heading into first corner and disaster

With an ‘inside’ grid slot Sam was confident of a good start. The rolling starts are arranged in two lines of karts, the dangerous slots are usually seen as the “outside” positions. As the flag was raised and the pack headed into the first corner all seemed well. But as the haze of 2-stroke smoke cleared and the pack headed towards the first hairpin, one solitary figure in red could be seen dragging his own kart back onto the circuit.

Sam said “The bit I don’t understand is how!? Normally at Rissington if you are on the outside for the start you need to make sure you get on the inside because you will get shoved off. Well, I was on the inside and just needed to stay there,  but still managed to get shoved off!!”.

 Yet again, the engine still ticking over so the clutch prevented another DNF. [ any beginners to TKM racing note – everyone will try to dissuade you from buying a clutched engine – ignore them!!! ].

Sam cut a lonely figure during the final, chasing the pack

Sam cut a lonely figure during the final, chasing the pack

By the time Sam was rolling again the leaders were half a lap ahead. Sam spent the next 11 laps getting the hammer down to avoid the indignity of being lapped for the second week running. After a consistent set of impressive lap times, he caught sight of the back of the pack and you could see the lift that gave him. Having passed the “last lap” board Sam finally caught a solitary back marker and drove past him with such confidence and authority you just knew he was in no mood to take any prisoners.

“Once I had jumped out, pulled my kart back onto the track and got going, I was on a mission to catch-up with the backmarker, which I did, and on the last lap I overtook him. At least I wasn’t last!”

Jade Paveley took DPRS team honours finishing 19th

Jade Paveley took DPRS team honours finishing 19th

Despite the disappointment, there were a number of positives from the weekend. The new engine pulled well and Sams lap times racing on his own were very consistent and close to his PB, so we have come off with some ideas for a change of gearing for the next practice day at Rissington. Hopefully in the dry!

For  full results click here.

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