Reaching the half way point of RHPK season it had certainly been one of highs and lows for Team Karting magazine. Joining myself for round 5 was brothers Colin and James Brown. Both hold amazing racing CVs with Colin the 2000 Formula A World Champion and James a former European front runner.
Arriving bright and early at the track we collected the kart and got straight out on circuit. We all put in some solid track time, but unfortunately James was having to pull out of driving duties for the day due to a fractured rib. So for the remainder of the available practice both Colin and myself kept putting laps in and felt comfortable showing very competitive times. The final 5 minutes we scrubbed in the new tyres in preparation for qualifying.
Following drivers briefing Colin got prepared and we were feeling confident of a strong performance. We waited until 10 minutes into the session before Colin exited the pits for our first stint. Colin put in some fantastic laps and was able to get us into 3rd place. Going into the last 5 minutes a number of yellow flags went out so again in an attempt to conserve fuel for the race I signalled to Colin to come into the pits. After he went over the weigh the scales read 186.5kg so we removed the 5kg weight off the post and went again for 2 more flying laps. Colin was able to improve time but not position so we would be starting 4th only 0.2 seconds off pole. Going over the weigh bridge again but now the scales read 179.0kg meaning we were disqualified from qualifying and would be starting in last place of the 27 kart grid.
Even though starting last would mean a uphill battle with the pace shown we were confident of getting a strong result on the day.
The grid lined up and did couple of laps behind Ford Focus RS and the it was go time. Unfortunately once again more drama for us as karts bunched up in front of Colin he moved ahead of them and jumped the start which resulted in a 3 lap penalty immediately. This once again made the race even more of a challenge, but it was time to keep our heads and push on as over the course of 4 hours anything is possible. Colin during the first 10 minutes was able to get up to 3rd position on track matching the pace of the leaders. Over the entire first stint he was able to be extremely consistent and a top 5 on that pace was certainly a possibility.
After 1 hour 10 minutes completed of the race we made our first pit stop with Mark Beaumont also giving us a hand. I began my stint trying to settle into a good rhythm and ensuring I put in constant laps. As the stint progressed I was really struggling for rear grip but could not put my finger on why. My lap times were off what I know I can do normally but with an 1 hour 30 minutes left it was time for our final stop and driver change.
Colin exited the pits and you could see he wasn’t happy with something and after only a couple of laps was signalling he was coming in. Before he could complete that lap in hairpin 1 the left rear tyre came off. Colin was able to get back to the pits but the damage was done and our race was over.
So it was a DNF for the team but the pace we had shown again was brilliant and now all we need to some good fortune and the results we deserve will come. Thank you to BIZ, Rye House, Mark Beaumont and Geoff Lamb for all the help, advice and making this possible. We will be back in August stronger and more determined than ever.
Written by Lee Henderson
Images courtesy of Andy Webb, Sprocket Photography
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