On the 27th December eleven of us intrepid drivers turned up at the track in Crawley for a race to end 2009.
The afternoon started with five minutes of practice session and ten minutes qualifying. The practice session went by with barely a yellow flag shown with everyone taking their time learning the track. The ten minute qualifying session though ended with a flurry of yellow flags as drivers pushed to try and get up the grid. Several drivers therefore ended up lower down the order than they expected. It was also noted that a number of drivers who had been before (we had three rookies at this event) complained of a lack of grip. 11 drivers on a 400 metre track also led to traffic issues as it proved to be difficult to guarentee a clean lap. With that said the grid was thus:
Qualifying (time – off first)
1. Matt Teager – 28.00
2. Helen Little – 28.69 – 0.69
3. Felicity Kensett – 29.87 – 1.87
4. Seok Jun Park – 29.91 – 1.91
5. Jonathan Little – 29.92 – 1.92
6. Craig King – 30.01 – 2.01
7. Trefor Little – 30.33 – 2.33
8. Beverley Little – 30.43 – 2.43
9. Patrick Hill – 30.68 – 2.68
10. Beth Little – 32.89 – 4.89
11. Alastair King – 33.76 – 5.76
So quite a close gap between 3rd and 6th with less than 0.2 covering all four drivers. More impressive is that 4th and 6th were filled with drivers who had never been in a kart before.
Alastair holds me up during the race, I start to get frustrated as I fear my sister may catch me
So to the race. At the start Jun lost two positions to Craig and me. This possibly distracted him into the chicane at the top of the hill as he ended up hitting the wall and causing a pile up as Trefor drove into the back of him followed by Patrick. Beverley managed to get through with just some minor contact while the other drivers were stuck behind. The red flags came out (albeit a good twenty seconds after the accident) due to Jun’s tyre being stuck under the tyre wall. The delay in the flag coming out caused a holdup for those at the top of the hill as the top 5 managed to complete the first lap before the stoppage giving almost a laps advantage to them. Meanwhile Flick and I had managed to find a way past Helen as we came towards the end of the lap.
When racing resumed after about a minutes stoppage Helen managed to get back past me and I had to hold off Craig. Flick lost out to Helen on the second lap losing her a position before she spun on lap 3 letting me and Craig through. The order then stayed the same at the front for a few laps before Helen also managed to spin allowing me through into second. The top three then remained the same for the rest of the race with just a short battle between my sister and me for second at the end due to yellow flags closing us up this also allowed Matt Teager’s already 15 second lead to extend.
Further down the field Beverley lost the advantage of half a lap she gained having got through the crash on lap one making a mistake on lap 6 that cost her three places to the recovering Jun, Patrick and Trefor all racing hard at that point to get back in the race. Patrick got the best of that battle by taking Jun on the last lap following a number of position changes between them.
The race and its positions though were largely dictated by the crash at the start, once those 6 drivers fell behind there was no way back for them. Patrick did well to get to lead this group with a good 6th place after his 9th place start but bemoaned his lost chance to break into the top 4. Trefor had also been aiming for a higher position but his chances we ruined by the crash. The crash showed that having a high grid position on a track such as this is essential. Had Patrick or Trefor started but a couple of places higher they would have avoided Jun at the start and kept in contention. The track also proved difficult to pass on due to its tight nature with drivers often giving little nudges to get past. This was especially true when lapping Alastair who slowed early at the end of straights often causing difficulties to those following as despite his speed he was good at following the racing line. This proved rather frustrating for those behind him but he did a good job and with a bit more bravery could have finished a lot higher. An interesting first race then for us but not as open as it could/should have been with a runaway winner and half the field almost a lap down after lap one.
Lap by lap position chart
1. Matt Teager: 13:20.66
2. Jonathan Little: +34.47
3. Helen Little: +35.47
4. Craig King: +1 lap
5. Felicity Kensett: +1 lap
6. Patrick Hill: +2 laps
7. Seok Jun Park: +2 laps
8. Trefor Little: +2 laps
9. Beverley Little: +3 laps
10. Alastair King: +4 laps
11. Elizabeth Little: +4 laps
The top three on the podium
So there we have it, the most experienced karters came first. My sister did well again. Craig showed potential on his first attempt as did Jun keeping Paddy honest throughout the race. Overall a good time, I apologise to Flick for hitting her when she spun but there wasn’t really anywhere for me to go. I also didn’t realise my sister was so close behind me at the end.
Fingers crossed for lots more karting in 2010 with trips to Buckmore and Sittingbourne as well. I am also looking into starting a Karting club as well, if you are interested and have ideas then let me know.