OEKC Round 5 – Whilton
June 18th 2016
With all of our electrical issues we have experienced this season, we are all but out of the Championship race now. We are now focused on various improvements in anticipation for next season with a view of snatching some race wins along the way. We tested quite a few new parts and setup variations before this race and found some positive results. For this race we invited Brad (Thunder Saloon Touring car Championship) to join us. It was very much throwing him in at the deep end as he has never raced in this series or indeed this Kart. He got up to speed in testing and acclimatised to the equipment and track. Overall we found a massive half second in testing and hoped it translated upon race day.
This particular race was a first in this endurance category (OEKC). It was held on a Saturday afternoon going into the evening. Our usual race days are Sunday mornings so this made a pleasant change. We setup and got Brad out for practice so he could dial himself into the track and make sure he was comfortable with our chosen setup. Richard qualified and got up to third before opting to cut qualifying short to get the kart ready for race start and thoroughly run through all procedures and rules with Brad. We knew we would lose a few more positions on the grid with this decision but were pleasantly surprised to still start 6th.
The kart felt good and the speed we found in testing translated to race day. The race started and Richard lost a two places while dicing with the pack around turns 3 and 4. Those positions were quickly regained and we quickly moved into 5th position. The top 5 places stayed as a pack and started to move away from the rest of the field. After around 20 mins we experienced a power loss and started moving backwards. We diagnosed this and were able to fix the issue in a very short time but this meant making an unscheduled stop.
We took on more fuel and fixed the problem. We lost 3 laps and were last. At this point our lap times were the quickest on track and we stared making some progress. Towards the end of the first stint, there was a red flag incident as another driver crashed and had hurt himself. The race was stopped for him to receive medical attention. At this point we decided remove the kart from track and place in the fuelling area ready to refuel once the race had restarted. The idea was to gain some laps back while others got back up to speed and had to do another rolling up lap before race restart. We also saved an in-lap with this choice. Upon race start, we refuelled, changed driver and joined the track. We gained laps and were now placed around 10th (from 20) in the running order.
Brad pushed along and made a great account of himself given the steep learning curve we placed upon him within this discipline. Lap time got quicker as Brad settled into the race and we continued to push forward. About two thirds into the stint and the axle unexpectedly snapped, throwing the kart off the track and into the tyre barriers. Brad was ok but the kart was in bad shape and needed to be recovered to the pits. Our race was over but we were determined to get the kart repaired and get back out on track to make sure there were no other issues from the crash.
We retured to track and set very quick times again for the remainder of the race. Overall we found a lot of performace which bodes well for the season but excites us more for progress into the 2017 season.