Dave Forber's website
Race report - Shenington - 20/03/2016
William had been told that if his attitude was the same as last time (downright miserable and angry) then there would be trouble. He promised he’d behave and we met up with his teammates bright and early to build the kart and set out.
There was a new teammate here today - Jack - who we’ve seen before at Camberley and, whilst still on black plates, is no slouch. Everyone made him welcome - even Will, I think.
The first practice session out told its own story. Jack was quickest on only his second visit. So Will was back to the attitude of last time. Obviously it was the kart, it was understeering everywhere, the sprocket was wrong, the pressures were wrong. Having got up at 5, I wasn’t really in the mood to argue. And, as we’re trying to prove a point with Will, TP and I had agreed to make any setup changes demanded for Will on practice days.
So we made them. The sprocket came down too much, the pressures changed for more grip. And of course he went slower. And Jack went faster. Will was incensed when we emphasised that his understeer might be because he was going in too hot and was properly cross on the way back to the pits. I explained to him simply:
Jack is faster than you because Jack is listening. Jack is getting good feedback. Jack is driving as hard as he can and he’s enjoying it. You’re not listening. You’re demanding, you’re cross and you’re not having fun.
He knew better than to argue. He was also told that if he kept it up, there would be a different driver in the kart for the race tomorrow. Will - after some time thinking about his behaviour in the car - came back and apologised. From there he listened. We set the kart up as it should be and, quelle surprise, he went faster. And faster, and faster.
We have a cracking video of him in the final heat really getting stuck in and - finally - having fun, which is what it’s all about.
TP had previously said that deploying his own setups would be a short, steep and painful learning curve. Hopefully the curve is over.
Will went into race day with a much improved attitude. He was going to enjoy it. Practice confirmed that - he was in the top half, P14 after practice. But practice counts for nothing, of course.
Heat 1 was a disaster. There was an accident into Café Corner a few karts ahead. It was a no-contact spin, but it caused about 5 karts to brake hard mid-corner with predictable results. Will and the others went backwards into the tyres. No one hurt, and they carried on.
Later in the heat there was a nasty accident. I don’t know the number, but he hit the embankment on the exit of Bruno, the kart flipped and landed on top of him. No red flag, which surprised me. It also surprised me that it happened right in front of the ambulance, but no one came to assist. There are probably MSA rules about when paramedics should get on track, so I can only assume they were told not to. If it had been either of my kids I would have been properly cross though. To have a 70+kg kart land on top of you and have no assistance just doesn’t seem on.
Having made up a number of lost places, Will was then taken out into Wilkins. They took over a lap to get him out (there was more than one kart involved and the other one was released first). And so he finished down 12 places in 23rd. I expected the worst.
But I didn’t get it. He knew it wasn’t his fault and - whilst he was upset - had enjoyed the race. Maybe we are seeing a turnaround.
Heat 2 was more on form. Just shy of the 52s, we finished a mercifully incident-free 15th. Not much to report there.
There was no heat 3 despite it being light until a sensible hour, but in fairness to Shenny it was the last round of the Winter championship so it probably makes points sense to not make this race more important than the others.
And so to the final. Lap 1, someone spins in front of Will. I didn’t see it as I was walking to my usual viewing spot at the start/finish line, but Will collected him and ended up in the tyres. That makes for a difficult recovery and - for the first time since he’s been driving - he was lapped finishing a distant 22nd.
Which was a shame, because it was no reward for his much improved attitude.
That concluded the Winter championships, with Will finishing a credible 13th. We’ll be back next month with hopefully improved attitude and better luck.
And, of course, we wish the driver who ended up upside down the best. He appeared OK, able to stand next to his kart, so hopefully he’ll be back.