Karting Session – My Battle with a Cheat

In this post, I told you about the Karting Meeting we had. Here’s more from the same evening.

If you want to email this (or any other article) to someone, just click the little envelope at the bottom of the piece.

To see a photo of Lakeside Karting, go here. If you click and hold on the red dots, you’ll see the corner names. It’s a clockwise circuit.

A lap before the end of our 15 mins session (my second session), I was nearly run off the track into the barrier. I was approaching another driver (also a member at the circuit it turns out), and he was looking over his shoulder for over half a lap as I quickly caught him. Faster down the long straight to Devil’s Drop, I couldn’t pass him on the entry to the long Arena bend so I took a wide line. Coming out of the corner on the outside and to the left, I quickly pulled level.

There’s a piece of green concrete on the left of the track that you use on the exit if you’re quick; in other words, half the kart is left of the white line (in the picture), the other half is in the track. You can see that the (blurred) barrier meets the track at quite a sharp angle, just before the track kinks right to the grid markings.

I was fully on the track as I was level with the other driver. He knew I was there; he had been looking over his shoulder as I drew level, then he started turning left into me, forcing me left off the track. I was now heading towards the barrier. I have no doubt that he was trying to cause a crash. I had a choice; brake and swerve, or run head first into a tyre wall.

-Rant starts-

I was angry. Not because he was ahead of me, but because he deliberately tried to cause a head-on crash on the second fastest part of the circuit.

Despite braking heavily to avoid the crash and losing a lot of time, I easily caught him again going down the long back straight. There was no way I was going to overtake that psycho-nutjob going down Devils Drop or into Arena, that would have meant a certain trip to casualty via the tyre wall, but I knew I could out-accelerate his lardy-arse up the slight hill out of Arena and towards the grid. So long as I was to his right this time, there was nowhere too painful to crash if he forced me off again.

On the way out of Arena though, I could see the marshall at the start/finish line with the chequered flag. I had forgotten that they were staying out for their second 15 minutes, so I was determined to get to the finish line first. It was a photo finish, but I did it.

It’s a good job he didn’t follow me into the pits, I would have lost my reputation as level-headed. I went straight to the mashalls in the pits to let them know what had happened. They said that they knew he was driving dangerously, other marshals had seen other incidents, and he had already smashed a wheel off his first kart. The circuit rules say that if you break your kart that’s the end of your session, but they let him out in a new kart anyway.

So, here’s a message for the cheating, sad, scum-sucker in kart 22. Listen up! I would rather lose with honour than do what you did; but I didn’t lose. I beat you. I’m faster than you. I’m better than you.

-Rant ends. Normal service will resume shortly.-

Race Driver seeks team for competition and possible long-term relationship

PMA Media, the production company who covered the Shell Optimax F1 Drivers’ Challenge, is holding a karting competition of it’s own, the K1 Cup.

It’s a televised karting championship starting May 2007 where companies put forward teams of four drivers and a team manager, and they race for charity and to promote their business. The promotion opportunities are amazing, with European-wide TV coverage.

Each team chooses a charity to support and there will be celebrity endorsement for each team, and special celebrity races.

Now, here’s the thing. I’d love to take part, but I don’t have a team to drive for. All the marketing is taken care of by the promoters, even the race-wear and helmets will be branded with the team’s name. The entry fee is £24,995 + VAT, plus a charitable donation of £10,000.

So, if you’re a company (or you know a company) that might like to take part, and take me on as a driver, please leave me a comment (which won’t be posted here), and I’ll get back to you.


BowenRacing is sponsored by ik Software at www.ik.com

Karting Meeting

On Monday 18th October we had the “All Welcome” karting session at Thurrock in Essex. Thanks to everyone for turning up. I think we all had a good time. There were six drivers and six spectators:
Kaz – driving – that’s an easy one, he’s the one who has made several comments on this blog
Mark P and Julie Bowen (my sister) – spectator (although next time…)
There was another couple who wanted to come but couldn’t, also named Mark & Julie
Mark F – driving
John B – driving
John Bowen (my brother) – driving
Colin Bowen (er, me) – driving
Blanche (my wife) – spectator
Colin B (my regular karting buddy) – driving
Eve, Amy and Laura (Colin B’s wife and their girls) – spectators

I was there at 2pm, but I didn’t expect anyone to arrive until six. About 3:30 John B phoned to say he was on his way. He had been ill with a virus that had made it painful to move. He wasn’t over it, but decided to drive anyway. He’s been once before I think. His racing lines were right, but I don’t think he had a good kart (mine was excellent). He could only do one session, so was leaving just as others started arriving. Thanks for coming John.

I said my car was excellent, but I didn’t think so as I was warming the tyres up. There was little rear end grip but it did accelerate quickly, and I equalled my personal best lap-time.

As John B left, my sister Julie arrived with her Fiance Mark P and my brother John. John said he’d drive, but Julie and Mark decided to watch; they’re saving up for their wedding next year. I’ve got news for you two; I’m spending your wedding present money on my karting!

Colin and Eve then arrived with their girls Amy and Laura who had a little cheerleader routine worked out to support their Dad. Blanche (my wife) then arrived, but sadly without a cheerleader routine (or outfit).

It was all getting a bit manic by then. John paid and went to the safety briefing, Colin paid and went to get changed, and people were turning up for practice before their 8pm corporate event. The only person I expected to turn up that hadn’t was Kaz.

We waited around for the end of the drivers’ briefing, and got in our karts. There were 11 of us, 3 from BowenRacing and the rest for corporate event practice. They wanted to do 30 minutes straight, but we wanted to do two 15 minute sessions in the hope that Kaz would turn up for the second one. The marshals said that they would give us a chequered flag at the end of our time, and the others could stay out.

On arrive and drive, they don’t start you on the grid, you just leave the pitlane and go from there. I was in a different kart, and noticed a lot of play in the brake pedal, so the first thing I did out of the pits was test the brakes; there weren’t any. Even on cold tyres I couldn’t lock the brakes, so I went back into the pits for a replacement kart. Luckily I got the fast kart 9 again.

I did quite well in the rest of our session, I beat my personal best by 0.11 sec with a time of 41.27, 1.14 sec faster than the next best lap time.

Still to come… The last two laps of Session 2 – my battle with a cheat.

Join us for karting on Monday

Hi all,

I’ve had another person confirm they will come this Monady for our “All Welcome” karting session (see below). He is my regular Karting Buddy, Colin, and he’ll be there some time after 6:30.

If anyone else wants to come, you are welcome. Just turn up. You can also leave a comment here to let us know what time you’ll be there.

I’ve got internet access problems at the moment, so I’m having problems accessing this site and my emails. Comments won’t show up until I’ve checked them, so don’t be suprised if they don’t show up immediately.

See you Monday. I’ll be there from 2, but most people are turning up after 6.

BowenRacing is sponsored by ik Software at http://www.ik.com

Karting Session Monday 18th September 2006 – Lakeside Karting – All Welcome

Right folks, get your diaries out.

Monday 18th September. Lakeside Karting. Any time from 2pm until 8pm (last sign-in about 7:15).

Look at their website for details including directions, track layout, and a movie of a lap.

It’s an arrive-and-drive day, meaning anyone can just turn up and drive – no booking necessary. However, if they get a corporate event booking, they will cancel the arrive-and-drive for that day. Call them the Friday before (or later) to check the arrive-and-drive is still on. I’ll be there if it is.

I’ll arrive at 2pm. I’ll be there until they close at 8pm. Just turn up, or leave a comment here stating the approximate time you’ll get there so we can get more people on track together.

You pay £2 per visit for insurance, and £25 per 15 minute session. I’ll do four sessions (more if people turn up after my first four).

If you want, you can join their club. You pay £50 per year membership, and that gives you two sessions for the price of one all day Mondays and 9 to 5 other weekdays. I’ve done the maths – if you do four 15 minute sessions a year you break even. Any more than four sessions and it’s half price. I’m not connected with this circuit, and have no financial interest. Call them for details. If you want to join, bring a passport sized photo for ID.

See you there!

Busy Practice Session

My karting buddy (also named Colin) and I went to Lakeside Karting Raceway again yesterday for an arrive-and-drive session (it’s ’bout time they sponsored me or gave me a discount at least). It was busy for a change, and it gave us the opportunity for some overtaking.

The circuit had mini-moto practice all afternoon, and a couple of sessions for privately owned karts. We arrived at 2pm, but they couldn’t get us on track until 3:40 and 4:40.

There were eight drivers. Some had not raced before. Most of us went out in the twin-engined Pro-Karts, but two people did the first session in single-engined Senior Karts.

I had planned to compare lap times for smooth driving and manic driving, but due to the amount of traffic I decided to just go for it and practice my overtaking. Some of the drivers used conventional racing lines and some used, let’s say, unpredictable lines.

Session 1.

I was in kart 35. I “won” the session, and posted the fastest lap. Colin (the other one) was slow for the first part of the session until he realised that one of his engines had stalled. He pitted and did about six laps on two engines. Looking at his lap-times, the second engine makes an eight second a lap difference.

I did plenty of overtaking, learned a few lessons, and most overtaking was fairly easy. The most difficult people to overtake were those using “unconventional” lines.

Lakeside Karting Raceway is a clockwise track. Scroll down their page for a photo of the track, and hold down your mouse button on the red spots for corner info.

I have to admit to a bit of illegal overtaking. I didn’t realise at the time it was illegal, but in hindsight cutting corners is probably not legal. It’s full throttle from the exit of Hairpin 2 to just after Devil’s Drop. There’s a quick right-left that you straight-line on the Back Straight and there’s not a lot of room there. I was next to a car approaching the left-right hoping they would give me room. They didn’t, so I took to the grass on their left, cutting the corner. Of course, I kept the power on and it worked fine, so I did it again with another car later.

Session 2.

I was in kart 6. Again I won the session and posted the fastest lap. Colin was second with the second fastest lap.

My favourite part of this session was overtaking six cars in half a lap. Going down the Back Straight, I could see a group of cars at Devil’s Drop. By the time I got to Arena I was right behind them. I had to slow a bit at the apex of Arena to avoid running into the back of a car, so I didn’t have to use all the track on the exit. I got a good run out of the corner anyway, and went past the first car just after the exit. I stayed in the middle of the track as I passed him so he would get held up by the next car as I passed it.

The third car to pass was center-track so I moved to the right (ahead of the two cars I just passed) to set me up on the inside of the first turn of The Complex. I normally start braking just after the apex of this turn and finish braking halfway between the start of the kerb and the apex at turn 2 (the line is shown by the cars in the photo). I passed the third car before I got to turn 1 and got up the inside of two more cars. I had to brake earlier into turn 1 so I could give the other cars room between turns 1 and 2, but by turn 2 I had passed them.

I passed the sixth car up the inside at Hairpin 1. That compramises the exit of that turn, so I defended at Hairpin 2 and was set for the full throttle half of the track.

I hope I haven’t given away too many secrets! Stay tuned for an invitation to meet at Lakeside (in Essex) for an “all welcome” session.

Two last comments – I’ve still got to solve the problem of the RSS feed not updating. Sorry about this, but I’m new to that part. Until it’s solved, you’ll have to come to the site for updates. Please tell your friends about the site.

Things I’ve been doing, getting updates to this blog, and forthcoming events

Hi all.

Thanks to Les at ik Software for sorting out some problems for me that have prevented me from posting. Those posts now appear below.

August has been a busy month so far, and I haven’t had time to do any karting or anything racing related. I’m hoping to have an arrive-and-drive session next week. Depending on what my karting buddy is doing, I’m hoping to do two sessions; one smooth and one manic, to see which gives the best times.

After that session, I’ll probably arrange an “all welcome” session. I’ll post details here so anyone reading can come along for a drive. Since the RSS feed isn’t working, you won’t know that the “all welcome ” invitation has gone up on the blog unless you come to the site. If you want me to let you know by email about the “all welcome” session, leave a comment including your email address. I will NOT publish the comment with the email address, but I will email details to you when the date is set. I won’t use your email address for any other purpose.

When I get the RSS feed working, I’ll write about how to use RSS to get notified of new posts automatically.

So, what has been keeping me so busy? I’ve been to Hever Castle for a day out (including the Jousting Tournament), Chatham Historic Dockyard with my Dad, attended one of those new-fangled Civil Partnership things, had a couple of days away for the English Heritage Festival of History event (see below), and a long weekend camping with some friends in Kent. On top of that, I’ve been working quite hard for a couple of clients. That’s all in 18 days. There are a few things going on over the next few weeks too, then we have a five-week period with only three events booked in; time for a rest – and some karting!

I’ll post later about Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix, maybe after the qualifying session on Saturday.

German GP predictions, and my latest karting session

It’s the German Grand Prix today. I’ll make my predictions later in this post.

I went to Lakeside Karting on Monday evening. I did two 15 minute sessions. John and Jo, friends if me and Blanche, came to watch. Jo had come straight from work, so she left after the first session, but John stayed for both.

I was out on my own for the first session. I had hoped there would be other drivers because I want practice with some competition. Between sessions, two more drivers turned up. They had done quite a bit of karting before; Raleigh and Buckmore Park mainly. In the second session, I went out of the pits second and overtook both of them, which means I lapped one during my 22 laps (41.xx seconds lap).

What amazes me is the consistency of my times. In the last two visits, I’ve done four 15 minute sessions. The lap times are pretty close in each session. Here are the lap times of my last session Monday, with excuses for slower laps.
Lap Time
001 42.50
002 44.06 Waiting to pass
003 42.92 Passing
004 41.99
005 42.10
006 41.76
007 41.61
008 42.24 Passing (one driver was 4s a lap slower)
009 41.92
010 41.91
011 42.33 Beyond the limit in turn two
012 41.73
013 41.75
014 41.72
015 41.40
016 41.72
017 41.57
018 41.38 Best Lap
019 42.00
020 41.92
021 41.94
022 41.72

And the fastest laps of my last 4 sessions (earliest first)

Right, not long now before the TV coverage starts for the German F1 GP.

Blanche says Kimi will win. I think he’s on low fuel, and the Ferraris are good on strategy, and Michael was the only driver to get into the 1:13s, so my money’s on Michael. I’m no Schumi fan to be honest, I love McLaren, and Kimi’s a fine driver, so I’ll be happy to be proved wrong.

Jenson’s best lap was 1:14.3, and Alonso’s 1:14.7. That’s a big swing in favour of Jenson. Dare I hope for a podium finish for Jenson? I hope so.

Having said that, Fisichella is above Alonso. Looking at the three quali session times, they Renault’s have similar times except Alonso’s final time on race fuel. Perhaps he’s fuelled heavily, but that puts him in the pack so I don’t know why Renault would do that.

So things are a but mixed up. Here’s how I think things will finish.

1 Michael
2 Kimi
3 Massa
4 Button
5 Alonso
6 Fisichella
7 Barrichello
8 Coulthard
9 De la Rosa
10 Ralph

Will I be on TV?

I think tonight (Wed 12th July 2006) is the most likely time that I’ll be on TV. The name of the programme is “So You Want To Be An F1 Driver”. It’s on at 8pm on Men & Motors TV. It used to be 6pm Wednesdays and 8pm Sundays, but that’s changed for today at least.

I had a good time at karting practice on Monday with my friend Colin, and beat my personal best lap time by about 0.5 seconds. Very consistent times, I’m pleased to say. Can’t wait to go again.

After karting, we went to Lakeside where Colin bought a new camera and accessories. He spent a lot on it, but I think his wife is paying for it as a gift. And I thought I could shop!

I’m Back!

Well, still here anyway.

I’ve been on holiday for a week in Cornwall, then busy at work. It’s been a bit hectic, and I haven’t had time to post.

I wanted this post to include a picture of the McLaren Mercedes SLR from the ‘guess the car’ post, but I need to start my PC and laptop for that and I haven’t got time at the mo, so I’m posting this on my Palm TC PDA. I’ll post the picture later.

I’m karting tomorrow with my practice buddy Colin.

I’ve got ideas for several later posts including: getting automatic updates to this blog using an RSS reader; internet security; maybe a post about the Schumacher Monaco incident (it’s been a while, but I was reading a piece in an F1 mag about it that reminded me); and a few others. I’m still quite busy, but I’ll post when I can.

Thank you to those who have posted comments, including the comment with some advice. Due to the personal nature of the comment, I didn’t publish it, but it was appreciated.

I’ll publish most comments unless you ask me not to, but I’ll remove any email addresses. So if you want me to contact you, leave your email address in a comment.