When the brakes are stopping you…
When I was asked if I would consider writing these articles I thought for some time about what I would write about; just pulling stuff from the blog wasn’t going
to cut it. I came up with a few potential articles, one of which was to be named “Those final tenths” and would be about what found us those last few tenths that put us on the pace. The problem was that we’d never go?en there. Things had looked promising at around the time that Junior came off his novice plates but we hadn’t really progressed since.
As much as I looked forward to racing, watching your lad slide backwards through the pack month in, month out was beginning to wear me down. We had tried most things: setup tweaks, chassis checks, coaching, even changing clubs. Although the latter added some welcome variety we invariably ended up in the same place. It reached the point where I was wondering whether it was just my driver. Perhaps TKM just wasn’t for him?
And then, at the last club round, things changed. We had an engine problem in the final session of the Saturday that a couple of other dads were helping me with. As they were poring over my kart (as experienced dads do) one commented how poor our brakes felt and, whilst I was focused on assessing how big the engine repair bill would be, he and his son set about ‘fixing’ the brakes. Five minutes later he declared them sorted and told me we’d find three tenths in that alone. I took that with a pinch of salt but you know what is coming next. Junior knocked a tenth off of his PB in the first heat, two more in the second and a further three in the third. I will always remember the commentator’s words as he announced that Junior had just set the fastest lap of the race.
It was like watching a different driver. Or a firmly stuck piston ring! Things came crashing to halt with a couple of laps to go but that is another story.
We’ll skip a month now with Junior now si?ing his exams but, having found so much time, it does appear as though it was the brake setup that had been holding him back. Our struggles were down to me. In my defence we had set the brake position to Junior’s liking some time ago back when perhaps he wasn’t experienced enough to know be?er and I wasn’t experienced enough to know what a decent set of brakes felt like! Do I feel stupid? A bit since brakes had been a constant bugbear of his and all I’d done
is bled them, rubbed down the disc or replaced the pads. You never stop learning. It just takes me a li?le longer.
If we are racing in the pack next month I’ll forever owe Lou and Ryan Edwards, even if Lou really does think that I am mechanically inept! Of course if we go backwards, I’ll be found crying into a beer somewhere…