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4 DNF’s in one day

May 13, 2010

So why are we smiling? 🙂 Sam didn’t finish a single race on Sunday after a catalogue of incidents and failures, but in a bitter–sweet weekend at Kimbolton, Sam’s pace took a big step forward and we were competitive all weekend.

Cocking a wheel in the wet

Like a pair of old slippers, Sam hoped he would slip into the old Jade chassis with ease, but our driver has grown somewhat and fitting a new seat was the first job of Saturday for Jason. Constant rain provided good wet weather testing conditions and with Jason’s help and setup expertise Sam’s pace was noticeable right from the first session of the day. Even losing a wheel (again!) couldn’t dampen our excitement at Sams pace.

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Our wet pace was impressive through Saturday so we were a little disappointed Sunday started with sunshine and a rapidly drying track (unusual for Kimbolton). The 3 lap warm up was marginally a wet tyre call, but by heat 1 it was most definitely slicks for the whole grid.

Due to other commitments Jason was unable to run Sam on race day, so Dad not only had to turn the spanners but also had to push start Sam for the first time (now we have removed the clutch and running on direct drive) … <gulp>

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In at the deep end, Sam was drawn in P2 for heat 1.  But then 5 minutes before making our way to the dummy grid we discovered the engine was loose! Worse still it required the engine off the kart to fix it. <don’t panic>

Sam on the back of Liam Murray in heat 1

Thankfully we arrived on the grid somewhat flustered but in time for the start and the pushing practice on Saturday paid off as Sam made his place on the front row for heat 1. After the green flag, Sam emerged from the notorious first corner in P3 which was fine from his starting position the outside line. Through Stowe Corner and the Willows up to the bus-stop his pace looked good and the first 5 drivers soon broke away from the pack as they headed towards the top of the circuit at Hanger.  Sam held P3 comfortably and began to ease up to Liam Murray in front who had nicked P2 from us through the first corner. By lap 5 Sam was close enough exiting Willows to get up alongside Liam on the brakes into the bus-stop. The pass was all but complete – only the opposition was not prepared to accede.

Sam said “I was alongside and had the inside line for the bus-stop, at the front of the pack you would expect the opponent to know when a corner is lost and fall in line behind you, but he didn’t and tried to turn in alongside me. Our wheels touched and we both lost time and places”.

Both drivers rejoined at the back of the leading pack, Sam’s pace still good enough to challenge.

I could feel a vibration and was worried the engine had moved onto the safety stop but hoped it would survive for the rest of the race”.

It was worse, our earlier rushed repair had not lasted and the engine bolts had worked themselves loose again, eventually throwing the chain and Sam retired.

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Heat 2 Sam started in P18 alongside Tom Seddon. At the rolling start an incident in front blocked the track in front of Sam and he had to take avoiding action onto the grass. Remember, without the clutch Sam has to keep rolling – the kart will stall if the speed is too slow or stops, and there were no pushers on the circuit this weekend. By the time he had cleared turn 1 Sam was the last of the runners at the back of the pack, but exiting Stowe and through the Willows  and into the Bus Stop he must have taken 3 or 4 places back. Our pace was definitely there.

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Sam parked by the finish post - race over

Sam made great progress through the back of the field, quickly making ground in stark contrast to previous race meetings here. At Kimbolton Corner his progress ground to a halt at the end of lap 2 after an easy inside overtake became an unnecessary DNF for both drivers as again the ‘victim’ refused to accept the position was lost and simply drove into the side of Sam spinning them both out. Despite happening in front of half a dozen Marshalls and officials at the start/finish post, it was disappointing to learn that no action was to be taken.

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For Heat 3 Sam was in P12 and needed a finish. Running well in P10 Sam made a fundamental error on the brakes into turn 1 on lap 8.

The Octane chassis was unbeatable on the brakes” said Sam “but I left the braking too late on my Jade and spun myself out of the race. “

With the rear of the pack bearing down on him at the fastest part of the circuit (approaching 65mph) and Sam marooned in the middle of the track, pointing the wrong way, he frantically waved his arms to notify the drivers he was stationery. Thankfully they all avoided him. At the first opportunity Sam then hopped out of the kart and pulled it to the safety of parc ferme.

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So despite our obvious pace, with three DNF’s we were starting in last place behind even the novices. Things could only get better …..  then it got worse. The Clerk of the Course then took Sam aside and explained a complaint had been made against him after heat 3!! Not being allowed to interrupt the Clerk in full flow, poor Sam had to listen to the whole diatribe before being able to explain it was a case of mistaken identity!! [ There was an apology to Sam for the false accusation – I just wish they’d told Clerk of the Course of their mistake :-0  ]

Sam R and Sam G

With the pace (but clearly not the luck), it was not surprising that for Sam the final lasted just the length of the start straight. Into turn one, an altercation between karts directly infront of Sam blocked the road and Sam had no alternative but to brake to a halt …. stalled …no pushers on the circuit … game over.

A pusher did eventually restart Sam, but only when he was 2 laps down and effectively out of the race. Even that was later protested (!!) so Sam got another talking to by the Clerk (!!) even though it was an authorised restart.

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So despite the poor result, we were please with Sam’s pace on the old Jade chassis. The smile returned. Our season starts here.

Game on.

Full results here.

Next race Rissington in June.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. M & L Randon permalink
    May 14, 2010 12:19 pm

    Glad you were both happy with your speed this week. Shame you had such bad luck but at least you sound more optimistic than you did last time I saw you. I guess you will probably be sticking with the Jade kart for the immediate future – will you?

  2. Martin Woodham permalink
    May 14, 2010 10:15 am

    Great result Sam, even without any actual result IYSWIM! Shame about the (multiple) bad luck, but at least your speed is proven, again!

    Is that back to the Jade for the season then, or will the Octane get another chance at some point?

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