It’s funny, it does not matter if I have done it once or ten times, I always few the race tension in the night before. I try to anticipate everything I can, know about the karts, track, the best lines, read, watch, research. It might be valid though, although I’m not sure how much.
The truth is that up until you get there, behind the wheel and do the first few corners, you will never actually know it.
New track, Saturday race instead of the usual Sunday, and a beautiful British winter day. The track was Rye House, a 1000m long track that has been the start place for many of the very well know British racing drivers.
Got to meet a local driver when I got in there after seeing a group of “stag do” drivers arriving. Wayne was this sympathetic and enthusiast “young” driver that wanted to give me all his kart experience so I could go well in my first race there. Mind you he had only raced 8 times in that track, which might seem not a lot to many people but definitely enough to know where he supposed to be at every corner.
I have to say, coming from my local @ Daytona Sandown I did few a huge lack of organisation at Rye House, the safety brief was shite and the board system is even worst. Well, it all begins with the fact that you book stuff online and no one sends you a confirmation neither say in the website what time you should be there. I actually tried to get confirmation via email but no reply.
All headed to the karts after safety brief and you suppose to pick any kart you like, no one tells you that you’ll be number “x”.
The track was dry in places but had dump patches and a big fecking lake before first corner. That was it, first lap got me completely soaked after “The big splash” at corner 1.
It was slippery as Iceland, and there was no way I would be able to do normal racing line, which made my life a lot more difficult as I’ve never raced in there before. I spun a couple of times, drifted most of it, but all within the Tarmac, no rallying action. The very good thing about this circuit is the fact that they have a nice electronic board for the drivers to know where they are in terms of position and lap time.
Practice ended and was told I would start in third, just to then be placed in second once the grid was “organised”. Had a good start and became first at the first corner, but lost it before the first lap. The local boy was drifted past in a sideways action hoping for grip at the end of the corner.
Honestly, I can’t do that, my racing style is aggressive but always in control. I’d never throw my car into a corner not knowing the grip will be and hope for the best.
After a few laps I reckon he was about 2 to 3 seconds in front of me, but I was chilled. I knew I had to nail those fecking wet lines before I can think about being competitive. The reality is that I could only do that by testing it, and so I did. There were so many different corner combinations on those conditions that took me at least 10 laps for me to remember what I supposed to do for the whole lap. From that moment onwards, boy ow boy, I started to get into it.
Lap thirteen I overtook mr local, a fairly easy job as he was still hoping for grip and now I knew where to be. Did a lap in first place and then all changed. Trying to avoid hitting someone at corner 3 I have steered the car slightly off the track with the hope of bringing it back, but it sank in a hole of mud, literally. Ow for fuck sake!
After waiting about 10 seconds for the Steward to come and rescue me, he then said, you’ll have to leave the car and wait near the barriers. I thought to myself, “you’re kidding, by the time I get to the barriers you should have the kart in the track for me”.
Yes, it took ages, over a fucking minute to be exact.
Got back to the kart and guess what, I was 7 positions down and now lapped by the local boy, how annoying.
Never mind, this is racing and as per usual when shit like that happens you become less precious and more focused on what you’re doing.
Lap by lap I got them, one by one, some of them tried to put me out of the track again and were “black flagged”, thankfully. I even managed to get my second place back, getting my lap back from the local boy. I reckon that if I had another 10 laps I’d have had him too.
Results were: Finish in second, second fastest lap of the race at 00:56.45, some quality kart drifting and obviously the pleasure of getting the locals a bit nervous.
Definitely coming back though, although the printout they give is shit and the race organisation is even worse, that track is fantastic and I can’t wait to do it in a proper dry day.