Dave Forber's website
Race Report - Shenington 15/05/2016
Saturday was a busy day for TP. Not only did he have an over-enthusiastic Will to contend with, but two visitors - #44 (not Hamilton) and #84, and the rest of the team.
After the mandatory track walk, we headed out for first practice. Will looked strong, but unfortunately I had no idea how strong because for some reason the Mychron wasn’t working. I saw a 53.2 - nowhere near his best, but not bad for first practice in amongst various 17 second times with way-off RPM readings. We had the same for the second session, and I eventually discovered the RPM lead was wedged between the seat support and the engine, had rubbed an was shorting on the engine.
Insulation tape and moving the wire - a mercifully easy fix.
What wasn’t so easy to fix was Will’s foot-in-mouth think-before-you-speak episode. TP had taken all the lads up to watch the Iame’s go around Wilkins. It’s a complicated corner, where you have to brake whilst turning, get absolutely the right line and plan for the exit (I think, having never driven it). I went up with them, TP started to explain the lines and, well, as happens when you have group of 6 excitable youngsters, none of them were listening. Will blurted out something along the lines of “No one likes this team…”, which understandably upset TP. And me. And shocked the other kids. I challenged him, and he was quite clear that he’d intended to finish with “...because no one is listening”. But he didn’t finish with that.
Will is tenacious, funny, a good driver and generally a good laugh, but one thing he isn’t is a good communicator. I hope we set the record straight with both his tears and my (hopefully clear) reiteration that we’re both very happy in the team. Both Will and I are fond of TP, and if he reads this, I did forget to hand him a bottle of whisky by way of an apology on the Sunday. Next time!
Anyway, after words were spoken, Will’s times, now we had them, improved and improved. As did everyone else. Aside from Will, #44 was the standout for me, actually. As an unlicensed novice, he managed to get into the mid 53s by the end of the day - on a T1. Great stuff. It’s always nice to see newcomers do well.
We moved down a couple of teeth on the sprocket to achieve a PB, and then tried to go down one or two more. Will decided that was “a disaster” - he was now “only” 52.8—which a race or two ago he’d have been pretty chuffed with. Regardless, it was clear it didn’t work, but it was the last session and we changed back up to a higher sprocket in anticipation of race day practice.
I don’t normally post about practice (I don’t think I do, anyway, because it’s only a few laps and seldom does anything remarkable happen). This time though ... 6th fastest out of 27. Shame it wasn’t the bloody final - we’d have taken that!
We’d drawn pole for the second race running. Will had run a practically perfect pole last time (his first time), so I didn’t run through it overly again. We had two false starts. The first he’d started too quickly, the second wasn’t Will’s fault as a novice was catching up - presumably after spinning. And then he got mullered. He’d lost two places by the time they got to the start line and was down in 7th by the end of the first lap. Actually that doesn’t seem so bad - it looked a lot worse than that.
After some tight racing, Will finished in 11th. That’s his best finish position and the first time he’s finished in front of all of his teammates. However, Will complained that we’d changed the sprocket—we’d dropped to his fastest practice sprocket, but it turned out he suffered for it during the race. We’d also tried an unusual kart setup, which had him saying that the back was stepping out, so that was also undone for heat 2.
Confident that we’d addressed all the problems - racier sprocket, standard set up - and with Will starting at the back, I was fairly confident we’d see a midfield finish. Only the start was the usual cadet pandemonium with karts flying off everywhere. Will somehow missed them all, but didn’t notice the barriers in the way and consequently his first lap was 32.5s slower than everyone else’s as a consequence. Somehow I didn’t think we’d win this one.
Fortunately for Will there was another spinner - #36 the next lap later, so he had someone to race. Him and #36 raced all the race long with - fortunately for us - Will emerging the victor by a tenth. He finished 10s behind the last novice and - from his Mychron times (which interestingly disagree with the official times, probably due to the false starts) - something was amiss. Will indicated that he’d hit the left front against the wall/barrier, so we at least knew where to look!
Lasers out (just checked eBay, missed out on another set) and we found his steering was a fair bit out. We corrected that, left the sprocket and waited for heat 3.
Notice the heading? There were three heats. At Shenington. In May!
The start was poor, with all of the even numbers - of which we were one - losing out substantially. Will was 10th on the grid but at the end of lap one was a distant 19th. So he entered “operation fight-back”. I wasn’t even sure where he finished, but it looked like a cracking race. As it turned out, he finished 15th after a last lap battle with Henry’s nemesis, #33. Will had been gaining and gaining, but was unable to pass, finishing just 0.08s behind #33. “Just one more lap!”
Will achieved another new PB of 52.40s. He was particularly chuffed because #84 was running “Norma” (a well-regarded S1 engine), and we know #84 is no slouch.
Will had somehow, despite heats 2 and 3, managed to qualify in 14th. His fastest teammate, had managed 9th, and he was in front - by one place - of an inspired and much improved #15.
#15 managed to get in front of Will at the start and stayed there. They had a good clean dice for it, with Will managing to stay a consistent 0.3s in front. He bagged #22 on lap 7 and then there were yellows. Only Will didn’t see the yellows and bagged the next kart under them. I didn’t see the pass from where I was standing, but he was behind him into the yellow zone and in front of him out of it, so he must have passed him the yellow zone.
A battenburg was shown and they all kept their positions under it while they cleared the crashed novice. On the restart, I’d like to say that Will gave the place back. The other driver took it back immediately, but I don’t think it was given back. If you haven’t seen the yellows, you’re not going to “give” the place back I suppose.
Will trailed him closely for a lap and passed him into Stratford. Unsurprisingly he didn’t want to relinquish the position and they were side-by-side into the Bruno chicane where Will pushed him wide. This was racing contact - two boys flat out and nothing malicious—Bruno is very narrow. Will finished in front. Unfortunately for the other driver, #22 also passed him out of Bruno and #15 out of Wilkins.
It really was a cracking race. Will had another PB - 52.39 and finished a dry-best 12th. The race itself was marred only by the pass under yellows, which was inconsequential in the end because the place was taken back.
All the finishing positions stood, so we “got away with it” from that point of view, but I will be pointing out to both my drivers (as I did afterwards to Will) where the posts are and that they MUST look at them each time. Will has been told that contravention of flag signals is a straight exclusion from the race (which it is), and that he was lucky. I know there was no intent to gain an unfair advantage - Will’s not a cheater - but he does need to be more aware of what the marshalls are doing. And we will address that.