Back to reality… with a bump!

Date: 21st February 2015
Track: Teamsport Gosport
My PB at this track (before this session): 29.956s
Best lap time this session: 30.830s

So, after a brief hiatus following the BRKC, I got back into the swing of things at my home track this weekend. I certainly noticed the difference in the karts and the set up; it felt very awkward and I couldn’t quite get into a comfortable position in the kart (I think I had been spoilt with the GT5 Sodikarts at Formula Fast).

Anyway, I was back doing my usual three-for-two Saturday evening session at Gosport. It was quite a nice evening; I arrived a little late after remembering that I left my helmet and gloves at home whilst driving to the track and it was sub-zero temperatures outside!

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The first session of the three was quite slow and uneventful by all of the drivers; there were a couple of yellow flags where a couple of people misjudged the speed they were carrying through the corners, but other than that, it was fairly unspectacular. My fastest lap was a disappointing 31.8s.

If the first session was slow because of the temperature outside, the second session really heated up on the track! We lined up again in the same karts and in the same order as we had done for the first, but there was definitely an increase in aggression in some drivers this time around. We circled for a few laps until the fireworks started! I had caught up with the driver in front of me, but was biding my time until I found the best spot to overtake him. This waiting did very little to help me as he was driving a very defensive line and it gave the others chance to catch on to my tail. Rammed from behind several times with no real attempt to get past me, I was beginning to get frustrated with the drivers behind. I was eventually caught and overtaken after I was pushed off line again at the final corner.

wpid-photo-2-8.jpg.jpegIt wasn’t as if they disappeared off in the distance, I was just fourth in the queue of drivers making their way around the track in convoy. The defensive driving clearly got to the drivers who overtook me and there was an almighty crash at the first corner where the three drivers in front of me collided with one another. I took an alternative line through the corner and thought I had squeezed through unscathed. The drivers behind me had other ideas; one smashed into the other three, pushing them towards me on the inside of the corner and another then hit me from behind. This jarred my back somewhat, and whilst I slowly made my way around the track again, I seriously contemplated pitting and retiring from the session.

Whilst crawling around the circuit one of the marshals came out in a kart and asked if I was okay. I also saw at least one driver get black flagged, which made me feel like people were being punished for their reckless driving (I haven’t seen it happen before on a timed session). I picked up the pace again, with my last lap being my fastest in this session, a 31.5.

I spent a little time alone in the changing room before the final session; stretching my back out a little and just generally relaxing. The third session was very clean, with no yellow flags at all (possibly because we were placed in the order fastest to slowest in the pits and, ironically, it was the slower drivers who were the most dangerous when trying to overtake others in all the wrong places!). I was satisfied with my times in the last race; consistently (90% of my laps) lapping in the low 31’s, with a fastest lap of 30.8s.

I now feel that I need to compete with others more often down the track, rather than just turning up for the open timed sessions, however, I will be down the track more regularly in the coming weeks; I’ve organised an unofficial karting event with 11 of my work colleagues on March 14th. Everyone is expecting me to win, but I think that the weight disadvantage that I will be carrying compared with my colleagues (30kg+ in some cases!) will massively outweigh the experience I have down there!

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