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Bad day at the office – Shenington Oct 17/18

October 21, 2009

Despite the fantastic autumnal weather, our return to the Shenington circuit in Oxfordshire started badly and progressively got worse. The weekend ended on a new low of black flag and a trip to the Clerk of the Course’s office!


Following a calm and unspectacular Saturday working on setup, Sam had already achieved a PB lap time though not entirely unexpected as our only previous visit to Shenington was his very first race in April of this year.

Heat 1 start - Sam (circled) stays out of trouble for once

Heat 1 start - Sam (circled) stays out of trouble for once

Heat 1 on the Sunday had Sam drawn on row 7 and he started positively. Sam made up 4 positions on the first lap and by lap 5 was running in 10th. Approaching the heavy braking zone into turn 9 , he had held off a couple of challenges from behind for several laps. Sam appeared to pull a gap around the rest of the lap but seemed vulnerable into this corner. Then on lap 6 (of 7) Sam left a little too much room on the inside which encouraged the challenger (and good friend) to poke his nose into the gap. It was always going to end in tears and Sam was immediately tipped into a high speed spin, collecting the attacker on his way to the barriers. Rough justice for both boys – a DNF. The Dads agreed it to be a racing incident – most importantly, all still friends.

Sam gets tipped into a high speed exit and lands in the straw!

Sam gets tipped into a high speed exit and lands in the straw!

I didn’t even know he was there on this lap so he was nowhere near alongside me. First I knew, I was going backwards at quite a speed and ended up in the tyre barriers sitting on a pile of straw!


Staying with the leaders on lap 1

Staying with the leaders on lap 1

By the time the kart was retrieved from the far end of the circuit and the straw picked out of the chain, there was little time available to prepare for heat 2, so we arrived on the front row of the grid rather flustered. Front row of the grid and we had not even checked the tyre pressures!! Being drawn in P2 in this heat we were hoping for a good result so this was not the best preparation. Sam survived the start and at the end of lap 1 was holding 3rd place. We knew there was a very strong grid this weekend so expected to drop a few places as the top drivers came through.


A flustered start in P2 for heat 2

A flustered start in P2 for heat 2

I lost another 3 places on lap 2 but I wasn’t too worried as I recognised the drivers were very fast. Annoyingly, I did drop one or two more place than I should have done and nearly got it back but just ran out of laps. We set a target of a top 10 finish and did come home in 10th but I should have got a slightly better result really“.



For heat 3 Sam was drawn at the back of the grid giving plenty of opportunity to make up places. However, under a rule we have never seen before, instead of a red flag to stop the race after an accident, Shenington operated a yellow/black quartered flag which is the equivalent of the safety car in F1 – slow down, no overtaking until the accident is cleared and the green flags are shown. Unfortunately the laps completed under these conditions are still counted so by the time the green flags were waved the race only ran for 2 more laps not giving us the time to improve significantly.

So with a DNF, and two slightly disappointing finishes we expected the worst. With 36 runners there would be a pre-qualifying Final for the bottom 7 point scorers. However, it would appear others had a worse day than us so Sam just scraped into towards the back of the A final without having to pre-qualify.



But that was the only luck we had. The Final didn’t last long for Sam. Starting from 21st he passed the grandstand in the midpack in 21st and followed the snake down to the hairpin and temporarily out of sight. We saw a yellow flag go up….. When the stream of karts came back into view there were a number of karts missing ……. including Sam.

As I reached the hairpin braking zone the kart in front was sideways so I had to brake much harder than normal. I was hit hard from behind and bumped over the kerb onto the grass. I could tell from the sound of the engine that the chain had either broken or come off the sprockets. Either way I was out of the race“.

In a final indignity Sam worked with a friendly “track helper” to refit the chain and restart the engine. What neither of them realised was that constitutes ‘ontrack mechanical assistance’ which is banned for safety reasons. Consequently the black flag was shown for #22 and our day was over, or at least it was after a finger wagging and slapped wrist from the clerk of the course!

So we were eventually classified in 30th with a hilarious fastest lap time of 269 seconds according to the track computer. Not a good day.

But no lasting damage to kart or driver – and we live to fight another day.

Footnote – our own girlracer, Jade, had her own adventure in Heat 1. Get well soon Jade – x

Next event Rissington 1st Nov.

Full results click here.

ps – creative animation of the accident – what do you think??

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2009 9:54 pm

    Bad Luck the weekend Sam. We have been there. Best advice is I can give you is try to look ahead and never hesitate in a passing maouvre, commit and give the other guy NO CHOICE. Lee has a way of reading crashes before they happen now. Good luck at Rissy. We will be at PF. Regards Phil

  2. Kart 30 Team permalink
    October 23, 2009 3:57 pm

    Sam, we could do with your Dad on a few corners for the photographic evidence.

    A tight line into Wilkins, late and hard on the brakes with an early apex in mind, the same line as No 31, easy to see it taking you by surprise just as your turned in, but by that time i was committed. Heh, the F1 guys have it all the time and Button himself pulled off a similar manouvre at the weekend complete with tyre smoke!!!.

    We used to see it at MrK, that move for the place above can cost all three, the place you didn’t get, the place you had and all the places behind!!! for us, it was a brilliant p23 to p11 drive that went the same way as your p10, we were pretty myfed as well, we’d have prefered just squeezing through for a p10 p11 trade. In F1 they would have said ‘must have seen him in his mirrors’, can’t use that one in Karting.

    Don’t half roll do the TKM with clutch and you did a cracking job of being wherever we went to avoid you for the second and third time but you got us in the end, sideways on the marbles, direct drive stall

    See you at Rissy

    • October 23, 2009 7:47 pm

      Its a real skill driving backwards but without wing mirrors it was the only way we could keep an eye on you and ensure you joined us for a meeting on the grass 😉

      • Kart 30 Team permalink
        October 23, 2009 10:46 pm

        You could write a caption for all six shots

        take 1 – eh Sam, move over, your in the way mate
        take 2 – hello Matt, didn’t realise you were there mate
        take 3 – eh Sam, it’s this way round mate
        take 4 – ok Matt, im over to join you mate
        take 5 – eh Sam, your in the way again mate
        take 6 – ere Matt, I’m not playing anymore mate

  3. alan permalink
    October 22, 2009 9:24 am

    these days are sent so that you appreciate the good ones even more.


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