Date: 29th November 2015
Track: Formula Fast, Milton Keynes
My PB at this track (before this session): GP circuit 35.015s, BRKC2015 alternative layout 35.731s
Best lap time this session: GP circuit 33.527s, BRKC2016 alternative layout 35.916s
Battling through the gale force winds, torrential rain and dreadful traffic, I arrived in Milton Keynes 20 minutes before my scheduled arrival time at the track (after a two and a half hour drive from the south coast) and, after a quick dash inside, I prepared myself for the only time I’m going to get the chance to race at this location before the BRKC2016 weekend.
Before I get onto the racing, one of the best things to come out of this weekend is that I’m finally under the 90kg weight limit (when fully kitted up) and, therefore, I need to have weight added to my kart. This is a tremendous achievement for me as last year during the BRKC, I was racing at close to 100kg (if not over) without any ‘added’ weight.
It is always a delight to be a part of the BRKC events; I chatted to some drivers I knew from the last championship and a couple of new drivers entering for the first time this year. All of the drivers have the same passion for karting, and racing in general, and it really does make for a friendly atmosphere track side.
So now on to the evening’s events… I had booked in for two sessions; the first session was on the standard GP circuit, whilst the second was on another alternative layout that will be used in the championship in January. This time, however, we had the opportunity to practice on the alternative layout (and not have the track changes sprung upon us with less than 30 minutes notice as in last year’s championship).
The GP circuit was familiar to all of the drivers in my session, whether it was for the championship last year or other events at the track. For me, it was just a case of getting back into it from last year and obviously trying to better my attempts. It was nice to be racing the clock rather than racing other drivers straight away and the calibre of the field seemed to be right up there with some of my heats last year.
At first, I found it difficult to pick up my lines but slowly I made improvements and tried some new braking points and cornering techniques, eventually hooking up a lap with a time of 33.386s. Whilst this lap time isn’t going to blow the top drivers away, I am really pleased to be 1.7s faster now, within 20 minutes of karting, compared to the three days during the BRKC earlier this year. I would also love to know how much of this improvement is down to my weight loss and how much is an increase in my ability, but I guess I will never know.
Nobody quite knew what to expect during the short break in between sessions as the track was reconfigured. Once the alterations had been made, I was dreading it; the track looked to be very technical – one missed braking point and your lap time would be ruined.
I will be honest here, but I really struggled with this layout, so will have to do some analysis where I was going wrong and how to correct it (I think it’s pretty obvious where my mistakes were, how to correct them could be a different issue though!). Looking on the bright side, I now have a benchmark though – 35.916s to beat on January 15th – 17th!
I do disagree with some of the comments about the new layout, however. Whilst I agree that it is technical, I don’t believe that there will be any more overtaking without major errors in judgement by the other drivers; there is clearly a defensive line that can be taken through the modified section of the track that could be successful.
Two days on from the practice session, I am still feeling the effects of the drive up to Milton Keynes and the karting whilst I was there… I did forget about the physicality of the kart/track combination here. Now that I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight, I have another goal; to try to improve my core muscles to survive the intense BRKC 2016 weekend in January.
I can’t wait!