IT FELT AS IF I had done a reasonable amount of homework before deciding to buy the kart but the one thing that I did not appreciate was simply how much of your life karting can consume. Before our first visit to the track, every spare second had been spent browsing forums, reading various kart setup guides (that you later find don’t necessarily apply to your kart), pestering knowledgeable friends, watching internet videos explaining carbs and 2-stroke engines – all to ensure that I had half a clue when we put the kart on the dummy grid for the first time. I was still sick with worry the whole way to the track. The worrying stopped but I find myself awake at 4am on a track day, mind buzzing over what needs doing before we leave, what to do when we get to the track and our goals for the day.
As a Dad/lad combo (and not a very mechanical one at that), the learning never stops. Once I became sufficient at keeping the kart on track and things had stopped falling off, it was onto troubleshooting and basic setup tweaks before I ultimately had to address the things that I had been puing off. For me that was troubleshooting brakes and engines. This invariably meant more time in front of the computer. If I wasn’t trying to learn new things, I was scouring through the ‘For Sale’ boards: UK Karting, Karting1, Facebook, eBay etc. We don’t have karting budget to burn but I still find myself looking for chances obtain a cheap upgrade; buying beer, newer parts for a similar price that my older parts would fetch.
My morning ritual used to be: 1. Toilet, 2. Breakfast, 3. Check the Market Place. Of course checking the Market Place now comes first but you know it’s bad when you check it on your phone because it saves having to wait for the cable modem to boot up! When it comes to the Market Place though it really is the early bird that catches the worm. I do go through phases of not checking (which makes me feel quite good) but they normally don’t last.
So what about the female side of the family? They definitely spend less quality time with me than they did a lile over two years ago but I don’t think that Mrs Karting Dad considers herself a karting widow. She appreciated how out of my depth I was in year one and is generally supportive of my continued efforts to get Junior on the pace. The saving grace is that our budget does not get us out on track as often as we would like/need. When you spend the weekend before a race preparing the kart and the weekend after cleaning it up, it is probably just as well!