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Great speed but no result at Rissy

June 9, 2010

Sam showed fantastic speed during the June Rissington meeting with PB after PB resulting in almost half a second improvement compared to our previous Rissington best. Unpredictable weather, a couple of driver ‘faux paus’ and the usual scrapes meant the results didn’t quite do justice to his speed.



Sam lines up front runner Danny Kierle for an overtake

Maintaining the strong performance (in pace at least) from Kimbolton last month, Sam was quick out of the blocks during the hot and muggy Saturday practice. Putting a move on a couple of the front runners during the day gave us more confidence the setup was good for race day.

Our old Jade chassis was fantastic despite it not being able to take advantage of the new regulations. It was just launching me out of the slow corners and yet still allowed me to run a high enough gear for good top speed. I was keeping up with the front runners so I knew we were back on the pace after a difficult start to the year.

Sam got faster during Saturday and achieved 3 consecutive PB’s (Personal Best lap times) in the afternoon sessions.


Race day

Sunday was forecast showers and was certainly cooler and less humid than Saturday. The engines prefer cooler (more dense) air and the day started well with a PB in the 3 lap warm up!!



Jack Partridge and Sam pull away on first lap of Heat 1

For Heat 1 Sam started in 5th on the safer inside line of the rolling start. He made up a position at the start and took another in the run up to the Dog Leg. A good exit and top speed saw Sam sitting on the bumper of his next victim approaching the Elbow and as the kart in front took the racing line Sam slipped up the inside and took the road in a classic and clean maneuver. Now in second place behind Jack Partridge the leading pair pulled out a significant gap from the rest of the field. Sam was not able to close onto Jack but nevertheless was building up a comfortable cushion over third place.


As the leaders rounded Turn 1 on lap 8 they found a back marker spun and stalled on the racing line approaching the Inner Loop. Jack Partridge successfully avoided the blockage …

One of the novices was sitting on the racing line. I moved onto the dirty side of the track and gave him plenty of room but then I just lost control. I can’t explain it. I spun off the track into the grass. I was absolutely gutted. I had thrown away an easy 2nd place which would have been my best ever Rissy heat finish.


In Heat 2 Sam was drawn in 13th and made up several places during the first couple of laps. Following closely behind front runners Gavin Pitt and Jack Ransom , Sam watched them come together.

Gavin and Jack touched wheels in the fast Bottom Bend and Jacks kart just flipped upside down in an instant. It happened very quickly and at high speed. I was shocked to see my friend travelling across the track and into the scenery on his head and was not surprised they red flagged the race. Thankfully Jack just walked away unharmed”.


At the restart Sam was put back in 13th place and progressed well but it came to an end on lap 6….

I overtook Ross Chell and Chris Cook into the Elbow but Chris Cooke came back at me on the inside of turn 1. I didn’t defend and let him through but as I moved back onto the racing line Ross Chell also stuck his nose inside and hit my back wheels which spun me out.”

Finishing the race at the back of the pack, Sam got some good laps in and achieved his final PB of the day 43.42s which represents a 0.46 second improvement from our previous fastest lap at Rissington – a huge improvement.



Sam goes around the outside in heat 3

Heat 3 was an uneventful race for once. Starting in 8th Sam lost a few places at the start but recovered them through the race to finish 7th, running out of laps in the end. A valuable clutch of points!

But with only one solid finish out of the 3 heats Sam faced the indignity of only qualifying for the ‘B’ final, much to the amusement of his peers. Sitting on pole for the 6 kart B final the consensus was “what could possibly go wrong”. A top 4 finish in the B final qualifies for the back of the grid in the A final.



5 minutes before the start of the B final the heavens opened! We just had time to fit wet tyres (albeit on a dry setup) and take our position on pole. “Just keep it on the track, top 4 is all you need”…..

“As we rolled out of the dummy grid onto the track I knew I had to be careful. There was a lot of standing water on the track and as I turned into the inner loop still on the formation lap it just spun me out. I couldn’t believe it! What a disaster.


Disasterous B final was wet

Sam was restarted and tried to catch up the small snake of 6 karts preparing for their rolling start. If he could catch them in time he would be allowed to pick his way past and retake pole.

What can I say, I pushed too hard to catch them, still annoyed with myself. And lost it again on the fast Bottom Bend corner. This time there were no pushers around to restart me. What an idiot!”.


With a stationery kart on track the start was aborted and the other karts sent around for another formation lap. A kindly pusher ran half the length of the circuit to help Sam restart.

A man ran over to help me but was so tired when he arrived he didn’t have the energy to get me going! So I jumped out and helped him push. It started!! I was going but in last place, not pole.



Teamate Jack Hughes was impressive in the wet

With a small grid of six and such wet conditions further incidents were inevitable. Within 2 laps Sam found himself in a very safe 3rd position and spent the rest of the race carefully maintaining that position. [Congratulations to teammate Jack Hughes who drove a fantastic B final in the wet to win his first ever race complete with fastest lap despite a day of mechanical gremlins.]



After that debacle, Sam richly deserved the ribbing from the Team and fellow competitors alike. Keep the jokes coming please 😉



Sam slides down the inside of Jack Hughes at the Elbow

So we qualified for the A final right at the back in 29th – the hard way! The track had dried and slicks were the obvious choice. But waiting on the dummy grid the clouds gathered – you could see the rain approaching. We kept the kart on the trolley as long as possible and finally made the call – WETS. The grid was a furious hive of activity as a number of competitors quickly changed tyres…..

With 2 wet tyres on Dad looked to the skies – where has the rain cloud gone? It had turned left!!! SLICKS!!!



Then takes advantage of a backmarker traffic jam

With seconds to spare we refitted the slicks and Sam made just the start, [successfully negotiating that perilous formation lap 😉  – Dad ]. Sam made a good start and immediately looked ‘race’y’ approaching the slower corners. His fast exit speed helped him make quick progress through the field. A favourite overtaking spot appeared to be the elbow where Sam started the move on the exit of the dog-leg, slip streamed around Bottom Bend and then took the inside line through the Elbow. Just a shame it finished after 15 laps! Further progress would have been made. A finish of 15th from a field of 30 didn’t reflect Sam’s pace but was almost respectable considering. But boy we did it the hard way!


The pace is definitely back and if Sam can stay on the track (!!) we should be racing the right people again.

Our only remaining problem now is the ‘nut behind the wheel’ ….


Full results here.

Next race: Kimbolton next weekend.


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