Karting catchup

Karting catchup

Thought I’d post my time-sheets from my most recent three karting sessions. Prior to this I had been going to Lakeside Karting about once a year for many years. Since it was getting a bit cold, I decided to try the indoor track at Rayleigh Karting Stadium. I had been there before many, many years ago, but the track layout has changed except for two corners, so no point comparing previous lap times. Essentially it’s a new track for me.

All sessions are 10 minutes.

Edit: I can’t figure out how to make the results sheets open full-size in a new window. If you want a copy, contact me and I will email you a link.

Autumn 2015.

2015-1x-Autumn RayleighI don’t remember much about the session now, but here are the highlights I wrote down at the time.

Session 1. 10 drivers, started 4th, finished 3rd, won fastest lap.

Session 2. 9 drivers, started 5th, finished 1st, won fastest lap.

Session 3. 10 drivers, started 11th, finished 4th. Very dirty racing from some drivers. Every time I overtook one car he would hit me and take me off on the next corner.

Session 4. 3 drivers, started 1st, finished 2nd. The other drivers, Jon and Tim, had been about ten times so far that year. Tom’s car was difficult to drive, to be fair. Jon weighed about 13lb (6kg) less than I did at the time.

Session 5. 3 drivers, started 3rd, finished 3rd. Worked on my technique for the bridge and first corner.

My fastest lap of the day 28.45.


Dec 2015.

2015-12-xx #1 Rayleigh

Session 1.

Sessions 1 and 2. I was the only driver.

Session 3. 2 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 4. 6 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 5. 6 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.




2015-12-xx #2 RayleighSession 6. 6 Drivers, finished 3rd, fastest lap. There was one driver who was very quick but not as fast as I was. Every time I pulled out to pass him he would drive me into and along the barrier to stop me from passing. I got fed up with this, and next time he moved right to force me into the barrier, I moved left and spun him out. Both of us got penalised one lap. I spoke to the marshal afterwards about it, and he wasn’t sympathetic. I didn’t pursue it; their track, their rules.

Session 7. 6 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 8. Just me. Good job too, I was pretty tired by now.


My fastest lap of the day, 28.99.


14th Jan 2016.

2016-01-14 #1 Rayleigh Session 1. Just me.

Session 2. 4 drivers, started 4th, leading after the first corner, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 3. 4 drivers, can’t remember where I started, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 4. 4 drivers, finished 1st, fastest lap.

Session 5. Just me.



2016-01-14 #2 Rayleigh

Sessions 6, and 7, just me.

My fastest lap of the day, 29.28. This got me to 30th fastest lap of the (short) year so far.

Karting session at Lakeside

Here are the time-sheets for my trip to Lakeside Karting Raceway yesterday.

It was a last minute decision to go, so I went on my own.  The other drivers were an individual and a couple of groups.

The first session started from the pits and was 20 minutes long.  I was 1st in that session with fasted lap too.

The second session started from the grid, with additional drivers joining from the pit lane.  We were supposed to line up with the fastest from session 1 (me) at the front of the grid, but I was 6th or 7th on the grid.

The first corner is about 30m from the start line and is a slight right, and about 10m later a left.  I had started well from the left of the grid, and was on the inside at turn 2, and already up to 3rd.  I can’t remember where I overtook the other two, but I was first at the end of the lap.  I finished 1st, and got fastest lap again.

There were a couple of people who joined in at the second session that were quite slow.  I am careful not to make contact or risk a crash with slower drivers during these sessions; they’re fun sessions, not serious races, and the speed difference is quite big.  I did get slowed down a couple of times while waiting for a safe place to overtake, but most of my overtakes were quick and clean.

One of the other drivers races in the stock car championship each year, and I think he said he had been champion for the last two years.  Another driver races regularly in a “Dad’s Series”; he had his own race suit, so he must be serious!

Looking at the rank at the top of each session sheet, I’m in the top 1.1% of drivers.  Not bad seeing as I haven’t been since Fathers’ Day last year.

So, two sessions, two wins, and two fastest laps. Perfect!

So You Want to be an F1 Driver (SoWorld) – Round 3 – date announced

Just heard from Kaz that Round 3 will be at Rye House for outdoor karting on 28 January 2009.  He received a letter about it.  I haven’t heard anything.  I was on the reserves list, so I hope the lack of a letter is not a bad omen.

Will post more when I have more info.

So You Want to be an F1 Driver – Round 1

I did my five laps on Tuesday.

For those that don’t know, this is a pseudo annual competition for wannabe racing drivers. It is televised after the event.

I missed the competition the first year, but I saw it on TV and have entered since then. First time, I only got through the first round. Last time got through to round 4.

Basically, the first competition’s first prize was a drive in an F1 car (albeit a 70’s one), and a contract with the management company who were looking after Jenson Button at the time.

I’ll be writing here about my progress in this year’s competition.

So, Round 1. There is a choice of tracks at which we have to post five laps. It’s either the fastest of the five, or the average of the five laps that is sent off to the competition promoter. They will then decide who goes on to round two.

I’m not saying which track I went to, or what my time was until after the date that the times have to be submitted. So, come back later to see how I got on.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed by clicking on the orange icon, and you will be notified of updates to this site.

Wish me luck.

Karting tomorrow (Sun 7 Oct)

I’m doing an ‘arrive and drive’ karting session with (other) Colin tomorrow.  It’s been hard to find times where we’re both free, so a weekend session will be a change for us.
I’m hoping there will be plenty of other drivers to beat, but not so many that we get caught up a lot behind accidents.  It should be quite a challenge; I haven’t been to the gym regularly since before Blanche went into hospital in June.  I know I don’t have the strength and stamina that I had before, so it will be interesting to see the results.
Still no reply from the F1 Drivers’ Challenge people.  I’ve got a busy week this week, so I’m not sure I’ll have time to phone them.
I suppose the big news is Lewis Hamilton’s potential F1 Drivers Championship tomorrow.  Good luck Lewis!


I’m back in the driving seat, well soon anyway.
I’m waiting for my regular karting buddy to book a holiday day so we can go karting again.
You may remember that this years F1 Drivers’ Challenge was supposed to start after the British F1 GP, but I haven’t heard anything from them yet.  I emailed them two weeks ago but didn’t receive a reply.  I’ve emailed them again today and I’ll post more when I hear from them.
I’m looking for more sponsors so I can really step this up.  If you’re in a position to consider sponsoring me, please leave a comment and a phone number.  The comment will not appear on the site, I will contact you.  I’ve been in business for 17 years, so I know how to promote a sponsor.
More news soon, I hope.

We Won!

I’m hoping to post a little more frequently from now on, especially with the 2007 F1 season just a couple of weeks away.

Meanwhile, here’s the story of our race on 20th January 2007. It’s a long story (and a long race) but I hope you find it interesting, and it’s good for me to have a record of days like these. I’ve actually had this ready to post for some weeks, but a problem with Blogger.com prevented me from including the lap-times and photos, so I put off posting it until now.

On Saturday 20th January, Colin, Kaz and I won the Open Team Enduro kart race held at a 900m local kart circuit, helped to some extent by my wife Blanche (Race Director, let’s say). It was our first race together. This post covers the race in detail, as I remember it a few weeks later.

We hadn’t really expected to win. I know that’s a bad attitude, but Colin has never raced before, and although Kaz has raced at this circuit before, it was years ago and he only had one practice session when we met here a few months ago.

I’ve had plenty of practice on this circuit, but never raced here, and I don’t have much experience passing other cars; something a hoped this race would put right – and it did.

[Sorry, media missing] Before I go into the race in detail, I thought it would help to show you the post-race classification. You already know we won from the title of this post, but this list shows just how much overtaking and lapping we did.

There were 14 teams of three or four drivers each. We finished first (position 01), in car 12 (Team 12), on lap 115, after 1 hour 30 minutes. On the same lap were car Team 4 and Team 14. Next, and 4 laps down was Team 8.

We lapped the other cars between 4 and 38 times – 38! We lapped cars a total of 219 times in the 115 lap race, on a circuit nearly a kilometre long.

We decided to go for two stints each of 15 minutes to keep us fresh, although it would cost us time in extra stops.

Colin wanted to go out second, Kaz third (to get the glory of the chequered flag, we joked), so I would start the race. For safety, and to make the starting positions randon (and fairer), the race would start immediately after the practice.

For practice Kaz went out for the first five minutes, then Colin, then me.

Race control would run practice until the 15 minutes were finished, then waive Union Flags to start the race. I was trying to keep plenty of space in front of me for the start of the race, but in hindsight I should have just gone as quick as possible. I first saw the union flags about half way through a lap.

[Sorry, media missing] These are lap-by-lap charts showing the lap number, lap-time, and position at the end of the lap (in square brackets). The ^ symbol indicates a slow lap.

I crossed the line to start the race in 10th position. My wife Blanche has said that I’m not aggresive enough when overtaking, so in this race I had decided to go for every opportunity. It was great, I had never passed so many cars so often.

The plan was that when it was time for a driver change, the next driver would go to the pits, and the spare driver would go to the hairpin by the pit entry and hold out a board with the car number on. The problem was that that’s the most important corner on the circuit. It’s at the end of the technical part of the circuit, it’s an overtaking place, and you need to get it right for the long straight after it. Add to that the fact that most of the other teams were standing there too, and it was very difficult to see your board when it was time to come in.

Colin was ready in the pits and Kaz waving the board for a few laps before I saw him. After that, I did one more lap and pitted. Out I got, grabbed the seat liner, and Colin got in. Kaz adjusted the pedals (Colin’s a bit taller that I am), and Colin was off. Pretty slick!

“Are we winning?” I said confidently, having passed many cars. “No, we’re 4th” said Kaz. As you can see, I pitted after 18 laps, and we were leading, but when Kaz and Colin last looked at the monitor before calling me in, we were fourth (or third). I didn’t realise until posting this that I was leading at that point.

Let me clarify; my name is Colin, and my freind and fellow driver’s name is Colin. The other driver was Kaz. Confusing, I know.

[Sorry, media missing] So ‘other’ Colin went out for his first stint. Pit-stops take about 30 seconds in total, partly because the pit exit is partway down the longest straight and you lose a lot of time accelerating.

Colin was doing great! He was going past car after car. It doesn’t look like it from this lap list because he was lapping cars rather than making up places until lap 26.

This is when I made the first of three mistakes that day. “I’m going to give him some encouragement” I said to Blanche. “Don’t do anything to put him off” she said. I walked up the barrier and gave him two thumbs-up as he went round passed at the hairpin. I walked down to race control to see the race-position screen, then I heard Blanche shout “Colin (me)! (Other) Colin’s in the pits!” He’d seen my signal and thought it was time to come in. I ran back towards the pits and waved him out again. It cost us a place and 30 seconds. Sorry guys! As usual, Blanche was right.

Colin continued to lap many cars and made back the place I had lost us too. He missed the pit-board a couple of times too. When he came into the pits after 40 laps, we were 3rd.

It was a quick pitstop. We had got the hang of it now. I didn’t know before the day that they would have pit-boards, so I had made up a sign to hold out to bring the driver in. We ended up using this sign on the start-finish straight, and the pit-board at the hairpin, but it’s still hard to see them when you’re concentrating on passing other cars.

[Sorry, media missing] Kaz seemed very quick to me, especially into the right-left at the end of the start-finish straight. I’m sure the slow laps from 46 to 49 were not his fault. The marshalls did a great job with the yellow flags, and there were quite a few during the race. You can see from lap 45 that Kaz is no slouch.

By now, there were three teams clearly ahead of the rest; us (car 12), car 14 and Car 4.

Although he seemed fast, he seemed to have quite a clear track a lot of the time. He was making short work of overtaking back-markers. It wasn’t until his last flying lap (61) that he made up two race positions to put us in the lead.

[Sorry, media missing] I was up next for my second and final stint.

I’m a little shorter than Kaz and Colin, so in addition to the seat liner (booster cushion as Blanche calls it), I flip the pedal extensions over when I drive. I didn’t know it at the time, but there are three settings (or more) on the pedals; regular (no extensions), short-arse (that’s me), and dwarf! As I went out of the pits, I realised something was wrong because my left pedal was too close.

Going down the back straight I reached forwards to flip the pedal extension out of the way; I’d rather have to stretch than have my leg in that bent position. Doing this I must have moved the steering wheel because when I looked up I was about to drive off the track at over 50 mph.

I carried on for again for a lap. At the end of the back straight, the fastest part of the circuit, there’s a dip called Devil’s Drop where you almost (or maybe actually) take off. As soon as you land, you dab the brake for the fast right hander. I went to hit the brake but forgot it was about 2 inches (5 cm) further away than normal. That amount of extra travel for my foot makes a lot of difference when you’re already braking at the last moment, and I was heading off the track.

Braking harder to slow myself, and turning right into the corner put me into a 180 degree spin and I ended up going backwards into the barrier. That’s unusual for me. I think it only cost me about 4 seconds though (lap 65). That was mistake number two for the day.

A few laps later, I was using my new-found ‘take-every-opportunity-to-pass attitude’ when patience would have been better. Taking a late lunge into a slow corner, the car to to my right couldn’t see me and turned in. To avoid him, I went up on the kirb and spun 180 degrees again. Cars were now passing me on the apex, and I couldn’t get going again until they passed or I would have cause an accident. Mistake three for the day cost me 4-5 seconds on that lap, but another lesson had been learned. It actually cost me time on the next couple of laps too, as I re-took the cars that had passed me.

A few laps later though, I’m pleased to see three consecutive laps where my times were very good and consistent. I got the fasted lap of the race on lap 73 with a time of 41.64 seconds, then 41.76 and 42.13. That’s the sort of consistency I like to acheive in practice sessions. Then, unfortunately, it was time to pit. I had made up one race place, but we lost that again in the pits.

[Sorry, media missing] Colin had another good stint. He immediately gained a place and a few laps later took the lead. I’m sure he didn’t know it at the time, and I wasn’t going to give him any more hand gestures!

I think Colin had more than his fair share of traffic. He had a couple of laps in the 43s (his fastest of the race), but was slowed by traffic most of the time.

It was early in Colin’s session that I began to think “We could win this”.

We had perfected out pit-stops by now. The next driver would go to the pits and the spare driver would walk (run) down the start/finish straigt and hold out my sign, waving it like a lunatic to try to get the attention of the driver. Blanche (the only one not in a race-suit) would be at the hairpin with the pit-board to double our chances of the driver seeing a signal to pit. On lap 93, Colin came in and Kaz went out for the last time.

[Sorry, media missing] Team 14 and Team 4 had been our main competition all day. Still lapping slower cars, Kaz soon picked off Team 14 to put us in second place. A few laps later he passed Team 4 and we were winning. He was flying. His lap-times, as you can see, were quick and consistent.

Consistent was good, but quick was worring me. He had no way of knowing he was in the lead, so he was still going flat out. I didn’t know how many much time was left in the race either, but Kaz had a good margin over the second place team. I wished we had pit-to-car radio or proper pit-boards so I could tell him to ease off and not risk a spin. But, he didn’t make any mistakes, and he took the chequed flag.

We had won, on our first outing as a team. Hand-shaking and back-slapping all round.

[Sorry, media missing] Race control came out to hold the podium ceromony. “Team two, you were crap” said the MC, and the lap sheets were handed out. Then the third place team took to the podium (polite applause all round), then the second place team (more polite applause), then us on the top step.

I don’t remember much polite applause for us, and people started backing away as Colin shook the champagne bottle. Even crap champagne tastes good when you’re a winner.

[Sorry, media missing] Here are a few more figures to wrap things up. This shows the fastest lap of the race, by me, on lap 73. It shows the average lap time of all the teams, so we should be pleased with the times above.

It also shows the Top Average Speed, and Average Speed. I thought the Top Average Speed would be the speed at which the fastest car crossed the line, but it’s not. I’ve done the maths, and the Top Average Speed represents the average speed I was travelling for the whole fastest lap, including corners. This track has a series of slow corners, yet the average speed for the fastest lap is 48.4 mph! The speed of an average lap is 42.7 mph.

The Average Laptime of 47.16 seconds is all the laps completed by all the teams, averaged out. Comparing this with our lap-by-lap times, and the whole team did well.

[Sorry, media missing] Thanks to Colin, Kaz and Blanche for being such great team-mates, and thanks to you for reading.

Bowen Going Racing

Long time, no blog.  But if you have nothing to say, it’s best to say nothing.
The 2007 F1 season starts on 16th March, but my season starts on 20th January.  Colin, Kaz and me are racing as a team this Saturday at a circuit that shall remain nameless (unless they sponsor me).  It’s a 90-minute team endurance race, so we’ll be doing a 30-minute session each.  I’ll post after the race to let you know how we get on.

Merry Christmas – here is some news

Merry Christmas to you all, especially those who I know read my blog: Blanche, George and Kaz. I’d like to know who else reads this blog, so please leave a comment.

I’ve not been racing/karting lately, and there’s no F1 at the mo, but I wanted to bring you a couple of news items I heard about (just click the story title to go to the story).
Jenson cracks ribs karting – Ah, bless. Big girls blouse!
Schumacher can’t kart – His team came 12th out of 18.

Hope you all have a great Christmas!