Sunday, 9 July 2017

Road to Kart Champs 2017

Ok, so- I'm back! I will admit I've been very lacklustre in updating this blog, but that's all about to change! This past week I took part in the first qualifying round for this year's Teamsport Kart Champs competition, with the aim of earning a place in the final to be held in Birmingham later in the year.

What else have I been up to this year, you may or may not be thinking? Well, in January I competed in the annual British Rental Kart Championship in Milton Keynes- where despite my best efforts I again failed to reach the semi finals (my highest heat result being a 2nd place finish) Then, a couple of months later I made the decision to enter this year's Adult Championship at the Castle Combe karting track. Having taken delivery of a bespoke fleet of Biz karts at the start of the year, I felt it would be a good time to have a go at what has always been a highly competitive, well organised & good value for money championship. After 5 rounds I currently sit 16th in the overall standings. The championship runs one meeting a month between March & September, with a break in July. I'll be at the next round in August but will unfortunately have to miss the final round in September due to other commitments. Oliver Bayani is again looking like the favourite for this year's title, and with it a free entry into BRKC 2018. My aim for the next round will be to improve my consistency & look to pick up more than one heat victory- I'll keep you posted!

Anyway, on to Kart Champs. This years competition involves 5 local qualifying rounds through July/August including a 'final' round (where your best 3 results including the final count) with the highest placed driver in each weight class progressing to the grand final held in September. Since January my weight has been hovering around the 90kg mark, which with kit included means I'm eligible for the 'heavy weight' class, and that should at least mean I'm able to be more competitive than if I was in the more populated 'middle weight' class. 

For the first round, held this past week at Teamsport Bristol in Avonmouth, 16 drivers entered with 5 in my weight class. Each round consists of a 10 minute practice, followed by a single 'hot' lap, a 10 minute qualifying session, a short race with a reverse grid based on qualifying results and a final 15 minute race, with each session other than the practice scoring points. 

I spent the practice session re-acquainting myself with the karts and circuit, exploring different lines & braking points & generally trying to find a 'groove'. Once this session was completed each driver took turns setting a single 'hot lap'. Qualifying then followed, and although I was pleased to qualify 5th overall another 'heavyweight' - Josh Martin surprised everyone including himself by going quickest of all. Clearly Josh was really in the zone and also looked to have a good kart beneath him, so he was going to be hard to beat. My time in qualifying mean I'd be starting the first race in 12th place. After making a bit of a hash of the start, I then got caught up in the midfield melee that always happens on the first lap. I finished the race somehwere around 10th, disappointingly, with Josh finishing a fine 5th. In the longer race two, I made a better start from 5th on the grid but as I was on the outside I again lost out through turns 2/3 and dropped back towards the back of the field. Some of the other drivers were getting a bit hot-headed at this point of the night and there was a fair bit of contact in the early stages. I managed to pick my way back through the field and was closing in on one of the other heavyweight drivers, Ben Carnell, who was also having a good night. With a few laps to go it looked unlikely I would be able to overhaul him for 8th position, but then contact with another driver put him in my sights and a lap later I was past. Although Ben was able to stay with me, the chequered flag was soon waved and that was it, race done. 

The event was won overall by Lightweight driver Scott Vowles, with Keiran Shanks & Jon Boulter (also lightweights) rounding out the top 3. The highest placed middleweight driver was Mike Hutt, finishing 5th overall. Josh took a well-deserved heavyweight win with 9th overall, and I finished 10th and second 'in class'. Although I was happy with a relatively good start to the competition, personally I felt I could have done better overall & will be looking to improve in the next round, which takes place on Tuesday 19th July.

Details of the Teamsport Kart Champs competition can be found here;

Stay tuned..

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