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Rowrah Super One Tips – TKM column

Rowrah Super One Tips – TKM column

TKM Insight with Grahame Butterworth

PRESSURE COOKER TESTING AS TKM S1 BLASTS OFF

With up to 50 karts on the grid and limited practice, drivers in the TKM Extreme class especially are going to be in for a real testing time when the Super One series kicks off at Rowrah next weekend.

Whether Junior or Senior, that’s going to put maximum emphasis on making absolute best use of what time there is to get both kart and driver up to speed for a busy weekend’s racing. Mistakes will be costly, so let’s have a look at the best way to gain those vital tenths that might make all the difference.

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In reality it is just like going to a club race meeting with no testing the day before, so there is plenty for everyone to learn from here. Except with S1 there is a lot more at stake and maybe a fresh circuit to learn too.

Preparation is the key, not just in terms of the kart itself but also the driver and the support package of spares, tools, track experience etc. Knowledge is vital in many respects but having everything to hand in your awning is just as important for those quick changes or repairs that are sometimes needed.

In my book first element is preparation of the kart. This will not be just for testing but ready for racing. So that means kart built up with all the best bits checked and double checked. Carb and engine ready to go, correct gearing in place with new chain all lubed up and ready to go. Make sure you use plastic chain protectors either side of the axle sprocket. No time for running in engines – that must be done beforehand.

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The kart set-up should be a mid-range set-up that you understand so you can quickly assess if you need to go wider or narrower with the track. Make sure your brakes are deglazed and adjusted well. And you need to have your test tyres already on rims and pressured so you can just fine tune pressure on the day.

You must use fuel from a named source close to the circuit so it is vital you buy fuel before you arrive at the track and have plenty of it. And of course have a clean measuring jug ready at hand to get the fuel mixed and ready.

If you have been at a circuit before then you have a baseline of information to draw on and you should quickly recall the flow. But remember tracks do change subtlety from one year to another. If you have not been to the track then you need to spend time in front of a screen looking as much footage as you can find on You Tube. And you need to walk the track before it opens.

That knowledge gained from watching previous events can give you a good insight into likely overtaking spots, general lines and pointers. But I’d suggest you need to pick out a few drivers who you know have been there before, and by following them use them to teach you the best lines when you get out on track. It can be a good shortcut.

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Remember too that wet conditions might mean a whole new set of lines and tricks like hugging kerbs to get you round quickly. You need to have researched that too.

As far as gearing goes then go for a mid range sprocket initially as a starting point. As you go faster you’ll probably find you can take off a tooth or two. So for Rowrah the suggestion from Alan Turney at Tal-Ko is 9:75 or 10:84 for an Extreme and 9:77 or 10:86 for a Junior as a good start point.

You need to plan your track sessions. First time out familiarisation with the track, checking the engine is pulling cleanly, making sure the brakes are good and checking what revs you are pulling. Don’t worry about lap times just get it all bedded in, yourself included.

End of session check the kart over for all the usual things like chain adjustment, engine tightly mounted and sufficient fuel. If you need to make changes do so quickly but don’t start trying to reinvent the wheel after just one session. Next time out, work with your kart and compare with other known drivers to understand where you are strong or weak.

By this time you’ll have your new race tyres mounted and pressured on your wheels and marked with an arrow to ensure you get them going the right way each time. And of course you need a set of wets to be ready for use too and mounted and marked the right way round. At Rowrah use of wets is always on the horizon so make sure they are ready to slot straight on.

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And then it is down to finding that perfect lap for qualifying. Don’t make the mistake of getting stuck in a battle. Find yourself some clear track space and then drive with finesse for that best time. Don’t make the mistake of over-driving – it will cost you time. Make it smooth and neat.

That done with, it is down to the hard work of the heats. No race is won on the first corner but will often be lost there – especially with the new CIK droopy noses and Rowrah has a particularly awkward first corner to claim them. It is also a circuit where some kerbs need to be used hard so study those key lines by the front runners.

And remember that in championships it is steady consistency that often brings the rewards rather than going for banzai moves.

Good luck!

Photos by Bethanie Lawson

 

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