I had been allocated car 4 and grid position 4 for the first race. For the second race, the allocation would be reversed so that the person in car 1 would be in car 24 and last on the grid for the second race. I would therefore start 20th in the second race.
I’ve only raced in corporate events before; the sort of thing where your company arranges karting for a moral boost or a thank-you. My starts have been quite good in these events and I was hoping to make up a place or two.
Sitting in the grid in P4 on the left of the grid, waiting for the starting flag, I looked around to see what others intended. The driver in P5 had has wheels turned left aiming for the gap between me and P3. “I’m not having any of that” I thought, and made the decision to cover. The flag went down and off we went. I had covered my position but P3 went for the same bit of track, so I couldn’t get past.
Exactly what happened, I can’t remember. Imagine 24 cars all trying to get round a very fast corner. The picture above shows the exit of turn 1 and entrance of turn 2.
As the race progressed, I made a few passes, but was passed by more cars than I passed. It could be that the kart was slower, or maybe I was not as good, but I know my practice lap times were better than my race times. There were a couple of corners where I was nudged from behind which put me off line, resulting in three cars passing me. But that’s racing, I suppose.
There was no way of telling where I finished, except by counting the cars in front of me when we went back to the pits. Although unlikely, it is possible that some of the cars in front of me could have been lapped by the leaders, but not me (maybe after a spin and recovery by the marshalls). Ignoring that possibility, I finished 9th, losing 5 places.
This was the low point of the day for me. Knowing that with a clear track ahead of me I could put in some good times, but not being able to get ahead in the first corner was a disappointment. Luckily, I had lots of time between races to get my head together. There would be seven races going on and a 30 minute break for the TV crew and judges before I would go out again.
I’m going away tomorrow, so I’ll post more next week including: The rain comes down, a car on fire, race two, and the long wait for the judge’s verdict.