At kart meetings throughout Britain, “respect” is a word that’s being bandied around. This follows on from campaigns at football grounds where the primary aim was to stamp out racism.
Of course it’s desirable that drivers of all ages should be encouraged to respect race officials and their fellow competitors. I’d add that this works both ways. Clubs and race officials should show respect for their customers, too, rather than treating them like imbeciles. Consistent application of the rules is something that most competitors claim to want. In pursuit of such consistency, however, today’s Clerks of the Course have had their discretionary powers severely curtailed.
In a choice between pedantic officials and those prepared to be flexible, I’d generally opt for the la?er. One thing I like about the Li?le Green Man Series is its relaxed atmosphere and the fact that Mike Mills always endeavours to be accommodating wherever possible. It’s one of the reasons why he has managed to create Britain’s most popular karting championships. During Round 3 of the LGM Series at Larkhall, however, I felt that Mike might have been just a li?ttle too accommodating.
There’s a rule at all race meetings forbidding any work to be carried on karts once they are on the grid. Adjusting tyre pressures is permi?ed, but anything involving spanners or screwdrivers definitely isn’t. Just a few minutes before the Cadet “A” Final was due to get underway at Larkhall, several drops of rain could be felt and grey clouds overhead suggested that more would follow. It was reported to the grid marshal, Robert Haynes that two karts were being worked on as they lined up. A quick check confirmed this allegation and Robert requested both karts to be removed from the grid. One parent complied immediately, but the other one refused point blank to do so.
This led to a fierce argument breaking out and, during the inevitable delay, circuit conditions worsened immeasurably. Rod Taylor, as Clerk of the Course, declared that slicks were now unsafe and he ordered a further delay for wheels to be changed. Under these circumstances, Mike decided that the two errant drivers should be allowed to resume their normal grid places. “I understand Mike’s reasoning, but it doesn’t do much for the respect agenda when those who shout loudest are seen to profit,” said Robert.
My sympathies are with him on this one.