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Circuit Guide: Whilton Mill

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Turn 1 and 2 – Oblivion

Oblivion is a corner in which the braver, stronger driver can pull an advantage out on their competitors. With the fast nature of the last corner the run into oblivion is a quick one, the driver must therefore be both patient and strong with the steering. Using the entire track on the right hand side of the circuit to minimise the steering input required to get the kart around the fast left-hander, this also reduces the chances of the driver turning too much, too quickly. This will cause the rear of the kart to feel loose and step out, resulting in under steer. If the driver has done this correctly and been brave enough on the throttle they will find the kart just to the left side of the middle of the track entering the right hand part of Oblivion. This corner is crucial to a fast lap as it leads straight on to the run up the hill; a slow exit leaves the driver vulnerable all the way up to Christmas corner. The driver should be aiming for a slightly later apex; there is a drain right on the apex, which provides the driver with a great marker point. If done correctly the driver should only have to use a small amount of the run off kerb, any more and the driver has probably been over zealous on the power into the corner.

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Turn 3 and 4 – Christmas Corner

The driver should have gradually moved over to the left hand side of the track on the run up the hill to prepare for this corner. While in a kart it doesn’t feel particularly steep at the turn in point or at the apex, it is worth walking the circuit to realise just how steep it is. The clever drivers will realise they can use this to aid the slowing down of the kart and the faster drivers will brake late enough that they are required to hold the brake all the way to the apex, this helps the loading of the kart maximising the amount of grip available through the corner. It should be noted that the entrance is quite bumpy so the driver should set their arms, chest and shoulders solid in order to take the force of the bumps without unsettling the kart. If the driver brakes too late they will find themselves under steering and end up far too wide for the lead into the left hand part of Christmas corner. The driver should aim to be just past mid track on exit, ready to attack the entire kerb on the left.

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Turn 5 – Inkermans

If the driver has taken the kerb through the left late enough they will find themselves over to the left for the incredibly fast and physical Inkermans. This corner is absolutely flat out in every class, combined with the three bumps through it to make it incredibly physical, it is fundamental again for the drivers to set their upper body to take control of the kart over the bumps.

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Turn 6 – Ashby

On the flip side to the uphill late braking required for Christmas corner, a much earlier braking point is required for the downhill Ashby. It is easy for a driver to out brake themselves into this downhill hairpin and this can quickly be spotted if excessive amounts of the run off are required to keep them going. The inside kerb can be used lap by lap, but it is only quicker if the driver is strong over it, not allowing great steering inputs on impact as this will cause the kart to be unloaded and will result in the kart bogging on exit.

Turn 7 – Parker

A large bump on the entrance to parker makes the braking point a difficult one. The key to it is, is to avoid the bump as much as possible. This can be achieved by keeping well over to the right and using part of the old layout (Zulu corner), which crosses the track at this point; this also allows a larger arc into the corner. The driver must use the kerb again with a solid, set upper body to maintain speed at the apex of the corner. The driver should aim to use the cross over point of the cut through on the exit to maximise the arc of the corner, however a quick return to the circuit is required or a large bump and a whole lot of grass will be the follow.

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Turn 8 – Chapman

Chapman requires a lot of patience from the driver as the majority will try to turn in too early for the left, making for a steep and tricky exit through the right. The driver must hold the brake into the late apex of the left in order to load the kart slowly, incredibly small steering inputs are required when it is correctly loaded, excessive amounts and under steer will quickly follow. If the driver has apexed at the correct point they will not need to turn right on the exit of chapman, they will simply drive straight across the kerb.

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Turn 9 and 10 – The Boot

Edging back over to the right hand side of the kerb, it is important for the driver to brake hard with a strong posture over the bumps, but also not to be tempted to brake too late as this will result in the right hand part of the boot being incredibly steep. A large amount of kerb should be used into the left hander resulting in the driver exiting closer to the left hand side of the circuit but not right on the edge. The right-hander is one of the only corners on the track that an earlier turn in is faster, this is due to the fact that the kart dropping off the left hand kerb creates a load transfer to the outside wheels for the right hander. The driver needs to pick up the throttle as early as possible; maintaining an exit just past mid track, ignoring the ‘apex’ of the final kerb, use of all of the circuit on exit is required.

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Turn 11 – Pit Bend

The final corner is another fast and physical one. A slight lift in the faster karts is required to get the kart to the apex without under steer. Getting close to the inside kerb but just avoiding it, then allowing the kart to run out to the run off allowing all but 2 of the wheels to cross onto it. If over steer is occurring through pit bend look to the steering input of the driver, often they are simply putting in too much or too quickly, not allowing the kart to load up properly, resulting the rear tyres letting go. It is important to get through this corner fast as it is the beginning of the sequence of corners in the run up the hill.

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Overtaking hotspots

Christmas Corner – if the driver is able to drive through oblivion better or their engine setup allows them to travel up the hill faster than the opposing driver, Christmas corner is by far the easiest overtaking opportunity. The driver should avoid braking too late as they will find themselves running out of track on exit and thus vulnerable to a switch back manoeuvre.

Ashby – If the driver has traveled over the top of the hill and is brave on the brakes down into Ashby, it is a good overtaking opportunity. With the downhill braking already proving tricky, an overtake can be a little difficult. The driver can however use a little more of the run off if they find themselves coming in a little ‘hot’. A switchback manoeuvre is difficult due to being on the wrong side for the next corner.

Chapman – This appears to be a difficult overtake as it is downhill again, but due to such a late apex it can easily be achieved simply by turning in earlier and braking slightly later. With the track changing direction on exit it is difficult for the driver to switchback unless the overtaking driver is completely misjudged their braking point, often leading in them bailing out over the exit kerb anyway.

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The Boot – This corner provides three options for overtaking; in, through and out. A good exit from chapman can allow the driver to overtake going into the boot, the overtaking driver must avoid running too wide due to the tighter entry into the right as this will leave them vulnerable to the passed driver. A brave move in the transition from the left into the right can be achieved by carrying more speed into the left, naturally pushing the kart onto the overtaking, tighter line. If the driver runs too wide out of the right an overtake can be on by driving underneath them, placing them on the inside for the final corner.

Photos by Jamie Morris

 

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