Date: 16th January 2016
Track: Formula Fast, Milton Keynes
My PB at this track (before this session): GP circuit 33.052s, BRKC2016 alternative layout 35.276s
Best lap time this session: GP circuit 32.558s, BRKC2016 alternative layout 34.569s
And it’s go, go, go!
The BRKC has started with a bang and my schedule meant that I opened this year’s account with the “Heat of Death”; I predicted an 8th place finish for myself, but obviously as a racer, you are always pushing for more.
One driver from our heat didn’t make it to the grid, which meant that we started the heat with nine drivers – however, this didn’t change my predicted finishing position.
I am aware that I have issues with the hot lap qualifying; I am consistent with my laptimes, but I can’t seem to pull one rapid lap out of the bag when I am under pressure to do so. As expected, I started at the back of the grid for this heat, but with a reasonably quick time.
The failure in qualifying meant that I had it all to do in the race and pit stop tactics would be key. I spent a lot of time talking to my wife over dinner last night and she gave me her opinion on the tactics I should use. I disagreed with her at the time, but in the end, I did exactly as she had suggested; pit early and race hard for the remaining time, safe in the knowledge that the pit stop was in the bag.
After I had pitted (I was very pleased with the stop elements), I felt isolated on the track – I was about ten seconds behind 8th place, and about twenty seconds in front of the leaders (i.e. before they would be coming around to lap me.
Eventually, as others pitted around me, the 7th and 8th place battle came into view; as Mike Smith came out of the pits, we were side-by-side, but unfortunately, I had to hold back to get on the racing line. A couple of mistakes by myself later, and the two drivers in front of me were pulling away.
But wait, I was in 8th place? I looked at the screen over the track on three separate occasions, hardly believing my eyes. The man behind me, was the former FIA Formula A champion and I would need to hold him off for the next seven or eight minutes. I put everything I had into the last part of the race, knowing that not only did I have Colin breathing down my neck, but the leaders were catching us both.
I was worried that when the leader came around and I was shown the blue flag, Colin might also sneak up the inside, losing me that place. As it happened, I let the leader pull alongside me on the back straight and I slipped in right behind him after the wide hairpin, sealing off the gap. Three more corners and the race was over – I had earned three points (almost as many as I won throughout all of the 2015 BRKC!) and the adrenalin was still pumping as I made my way off the track.
At 6:30pm, I took to the alternative layout, in a buoyant mood after my earlier race, and aiming for my predicted position of 7th (if not a little higher). Qualifying was amazing for me; I was totally relaxed and just took each corner as it came, which resulted in my best ever BRKC qualifying position of 6th on the grid.
I wanted to firstly maintain my position, but also to push on and possibly move into 5th place after the start. I achieved my first point and due to a few early pit stops, found myself in 3rd place for a couple of laps. I was tempted to stay out as long as possible, but I wanted to block any different strategies from the other drivers, so I pitted from third.
My pit stop wasn’t the cleanest; I was quite happy with the pit entry, but the adrenalin worked against me at the exit as I started to move too early, forcing me to stop the kart again to prevent a penalty. I estimate that this stuttering stop cost me about three seconds, and possibly cost me rejoining the track in fifth place.
However, despite a tiny bit of pressure throughout the rest of the race from Melany, I managed to maintain my position to the chequered flag, meaning that I exceeded my prediction.
After two races of BRKC 2016, I have twice as many points as I managed to collect throughout the whole of BRKC 2015! I am currently sitting in 65th position overall, and in a good position to achieve my target of being in the top half.
Tomorrow, I am racing at 8am (round three) and 3:30pm (round four), and remember that you can follow all of the action tomorrow live on Livestream (http://livestream.com/accounts/16838646/events/4696618?t=1452941905), Twitter (#BRKC2016 and @britishkart) and all the live timings at http://ffkbanbury.clubspeedtiming.com/sp_center/livescore.aspx