Saturday April 2, 2016 Rye House Kart Raceway
‘Brothers “Poole” the points’
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this month as I was away celebrating my dear Uncle and Auntie’s Golden Wedding anniversary.
Talking about anniversaries, most people would think all the interesting and exciting stuff occurred on April 1st — The ‘Fools’ Day’.
But no! Not only, did Leonard Griggs marry his sweetheart Jean, Gawd bless ‘em, on this second day of April, 50 years ago but this year it witnessed the second round of the Rye House Lotus Cup Championship.
Many other momentous things happened on this post-Fools day; also some sadness this week, which I’ll come to later.
- If you’re worried that you missed an apex or two today, don’t be too hard on yourselves. In 1963, the USSR space programme fired a Sputnik rocket to land on the Moon: they missed their apex by some 8,000km.
- If you feel like you’re in fighting mode that may be because in 1982, Argentina invaded the Falklands.
- Sitting on the grid was heart galloping? That will be because in 1973, Red Rum won his third Grand National.
- If you’re the deep-thinking type and ponder stuff like, how the energy of the kart propels you forward through space and time etc, Albert Einstein gave his first public lecture on the ‘Theory of Relativity’ in New York City in 1921.
- Three times Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham was born on this day in 1936.
- For creative types appreciating their motors singing sweet music behind them, a certain Ludwig Van Beethoven performed his first ever concert on the evening of April 2, 1800.
But back to the excitement of the Lotus Cup. Brothers Poole, Gary first and Stu second, lock out the top of the points table. There is no brotherly love lost between this pair when in racing mode. I can see an epic Kane and Abel-style battle brewing between them as the season goes on. Who’s the best? Gary is the current Senna Cup Champion and Stu the reigning Lotus Cup holder. Both are very fast and hungry to beat a sibling as much as anybody else.
Jaunius Zukas fought hard to get on terms with the Poole boys to finish third, with popular Dad ‘n’ Lad combo Richard and Chris Dennis returning with fine performances to keep the leaders on their toes.
A few of the new drivers also impressed: Stephen and Lucy Cook (nice to see another lady driver in this competitive open championship). Also Adam Pearce, James Cross, Owen McLean, and Michal Gierymski enjoying the thrills and spills of this exciting “two race/reverse grid” format.
I had my snouts and snitches on the scene to report back on a red flag situation: a Stadium Bend incident, which sounded very similar to the eight kart pile-up during the Senna Cup a few weeks ago.
Once again, water and mud was dragged onto the fastest part of the circuit by one anonymous driver or more. Apart from driving off the circuit limits, to be dipping wheels off the kerb at that part on the circuit is simple bad driving and poor track position awareness. A minor error maybe, but with seriously dangerous consequences.
When a charging pack turns into the high speed Stadium Bend, they will hit the unsighted wet patch, spin out of control, and head straight into the solid tyre wall at some 35-40 mph before impact.
You don’t have to be an Einstein to know that the energy of the kart has an equal and opposite reaction on a soft human body and the hard tyre wall. Drivers would need to very fortunate not to sustain an injury or two after such a crash.
Most corporate karts are not considered fast enough to cause serious hurt but these are no ordinary corporate karts. The new fleet of Biz ‘twin engine’ Le Mans inspired prokarts are seriously quick in the right hands. Combine that with the fast Stadium Bend at the legendary Rye House (the most iconic and infamous corner in karting history) with unexpected water on the track and the result can be disastrous.
Let us not forget that this is the Lotus Cup, the pinnacle of hire kart racing in the UK. It’s namesake’s most celebrated driver was Jim Clark, widely considered to be the most naturally talented driver to ever sit behind the wheel of a race car. This week, April 7 1968, spinning off the Hockenheim circuit and hitting a tree, he suffered horrendous injuries from which he sadly died.
So guys ‘n’ gals – Lotus and Senna Cup – please be more careful out there. No more reports of multiple karts in the barriers and red flagged races. Besides, a brand new fleet of superbly made Biz karts is getting damaged within just a few weeks of delivery. The many others competing in other cup and corporate events won’t
Be happy stepping into a kart that won’t go around the corners properly because the chassis is bent and twisted from too many trips into the walls.
See you all at the next round. I shall be watching driving standards very closely and perpetrators of poor driving may have to suffer the cost of a cuppa and bacon butty to yours truly – in return for one of my famous track walks and race craft coaching sessions!
Have fun, enjoy yourselves, and most of all, and be safe.
Report written by Nick Griggs
Images courtesy of Andrew Webb, Sprocket photography
www.sprocketphotography.com 07850 693495