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Circuit Guide: Castelletto

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Castelletto is one of Italy’s major karting venues, with regular visits from the WSK series (Masters and Euro), CIK-FIA events, the Italian CSAI Series and one make championships such as the Rotax Euro Challenge and Easykart.

It’s located just south of Milan near the town of Voghera (Salice Terme is a popular town with UK visitors) and is characterised with its long straights and fast chicanes which has drawn many comparisons with PF International back home. The facilities are what you would expect of a top grade international venue with regards to track length/width, parc ferme and paddock space. There is an excellent café on site along with a kart shop and grandstand facilities. If you’re ever in the Pavia Region of Italy and fancy seeing what a kart track should look like, then this is the place for you.

The Lap:
From the startline, keep to the left hand side all the way up the long straight towards Turn 1. This corner can be taken very fast and requires an early turn-in to pick up the apex. In an Easykart, only a slight dab of the brakes is required on entry and after that you want to balance the throttle to keep the kart in a controlled slide through the apex and letting the kart run out to just brush the white line at the very end of the exit kerb. The exit kerb itself is very bumpy and will pull the kart away from the track compromising your exit speed and entry into the next part of the track.

Start-Castelletto-2014
Race starts at Castelletto can be frantic

Turn 2 and 3

The track is very wide all the way round T1 meaning overtaking can be done fairly easily but it’s also just as simple for the person you’ve just passed to undercut you and get back again on the run upto the next section of the track at Turns 2 and 3. These two corners are linked to form a chicane and is best approach from the middle of the track (too wide an entry will result in adding extra distance to the lap and leave a massive gap for your rivals to slide their karts into), brake just before turn-in and roll the kart into a late apex whilst keeping close to the kerb. Stay tight to the right on the exit of T2 as T3 follows which requires another late apex whilst feeding in the power before letting the kart run out once again to no more than the whiteline inside the end of the exit kerb. Turns 4 and 5 are immediately after this part which consists of two long 90 degree corners in opposite directions to each other.

Turn 4 and 5

The first one requires a slightly later apex than the other but both require smooth throttle control all the way round to stop the kart oversteering too much. I personally use T3 and T4 to feed in the power and aim to be on full throttle all the way round T5 so as to maximise speed onto the long back straight that follows. T2 presents probably the best overtaking spot on the track as the wide entry and the amount of rubber that’s down means it’s very easy to outbrake your opponent and get the kart pulled round the bend in front of them, ready to take T3 as normal.

Super X30 onboard Casteletto
Carrying speed is essential

Turn 6,7 and 8 

After a very long back straight, Turn 6 awaits which is a sharp 90 degree bend to the right. It can be taken very fast with only a lift of the throttle being required most of the time (or a dab of the choke whilst keeping the throttle on full if your running lean), aim for a late apex and keep off both entry and exit kerbs as they will destabilise the kart something rotten. Only a short straight follows until you’re into the squared Turn 7 hairpin, braking can be left late here with another late apex being required so as you can straight-line the run out through the left handed Turn 8 which should be a nothing corner. You can overtake into T6 using the tow from the back straight but unless I’m fighting my way past significantly slower opposition, I find it better to sit behind them through this bend ready to do them up the inside of T7, as the combination of a late turn in and the left kink of T8 that follows gives them less chance of fighting back.

Turn 9 and 10

Coming out of T8, move from right to left on the straight before braking hard for the right handed Turn 9 hairpin. Roll the kart into a mid to late apex very close to the kerb before feeding on the power and drifting out to the exit kerb, which is much more runnable than the ones earlier on in the lap. A short straight follows to Turn 10 which is pretty much exactly the same corner as T9 but the other way round and has a marginally wider exit, so a slightly earlier apex is required. Overtaking into either hairpin is possible, although T10 presents a better opportunity to the opposing driver for undercutting you on the way up the next straight.

With both corners, it’s important not to get on the power too hard of early as the amount of rubber that gets laid will cause some serious hopping.

Castelletto Impression1 - edit
Great spot for spectators…

Turn 11 and 12

Keep right on the straight that follows ready for the Turns 11 and 12 chicane to complete the lap. Both corners are very fast but the speed reduction is done round the first part so dab the brakes or lift slightly just before turning into a late apex at T11, before letting the kart drift no further than the centre of the track (the top guys in Easykart run the inside kerb at T11 to get themselves even further to the left for the next part) and feed in the power so you’ve got the throttle fully down just before you reach the T12 apex, pass through the apex and let the kart run out wide towards the exit kerb before crossing the line to start another lap. You can overtake into T11 using a better exit from T10 to your advantage or alternatively, sit behind them through this section and wait until you reach T1 before passing them…

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Circuit Guide: Forest Edge

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Parsons Corner

Flat out along the Start/finish straight and you’re as far right of the track as you can be preparing yourself for the first corner which is a slight left-hander. Take this corner flat out and hug the kerb to your left. Hug, don’t touch as it will unsettle the kart and force you off line making entry to Haynes loop more difficult than it needs to be. Similarly leave too much of a gap between you and the kerb and you’ll develop oversteer creating the same effect. By hugging the kerb, the kart should not drift too much thus making you (at worst) in the centre of the road upon corner exit and not over to the right hand side. Point to note, if you take this corner perfectly and the driver in front of you doesn’t, you’ll have more top end speed approaching Haynes loop as they would have scrubbed off speed making overtaking possible with some late braking.

Haynes Loop

Firmly on the brakes approaching Haynes Loop and turn in. This corner has three kinks to it. Be careful not to run too wide after the first kink as the track can get dirty and you’ll lose grip which will have a detrimental effect upon you for the next 2 kinks. Upon entry, the first kerb is soft and I regularly touched (not launched!) this, so that I could keep a tight line all the way around the remainder of the kinks. Not many others did this and they chose to allow their karts to run wide after the first, miss the second kink then, they’d bring it back tight again for the third kink before the approach to Johnny’s. Either way, throttle control is vital. If the grips there, keep your right foot planted, if you can feel a slide developing, slightly lift off. Kart positioning is more important than ‘wheel spinning high rev’s on the approach to Johnny’s. Time can be gained and lost at Johnny’s. On the approach you should be positioned to the far right and turn in early. Not so early that you clip the kerb on the left but slightly sooner than the conventional racing line. It’s an unnerving feeling if you get it right as you feel like you’ve compromised your corner exit. I didn’t find this to be the case as the grip available when you turn in early not only allows you to take any exit line you desire, but also allows you to take more speed around the corner than the conventional line where I found oversteer to be an issue. Corner exit is important and don’t be tempted to use the rumble strip. Those who did, soon lost chains.

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Wingers Dip

Now, flat out downhill towards Wingers dip. Be careful. If you slid out of Johnny’s or ran wide onto the rumble strip, have a quick check to see if someone’s threatening you from behind. If someone’s there, defending into wingers dip is vital to stave off any attacks. Then firmly on the brakes and turn in for Wingers dip. Some felt it beneficial to take half of their kart over the white line on the left hand side before turning right for corner entry, I however found no benefit from doing this. This corner is off camber and will seriously hurt you if you miss your braking point or try to fight it out with someone around the outside who has taken you down the inside. Once turned in, If the grips there, allow your kart to drift to the centre on corner exit and touch the apex of Ansons for the drag uphill towards the bus stop.

Bus Stop

Get the bus stop chicane right and you may be able to attack a driver on the entry to Midgets. Get it wrong and you’ll damage your kart. Late braking is essential. Normally the laws of karting are, brake, steer, accelerate. For this chicane, you start braking before you turn in but continue braking whilst turning in. The speed you can take into the first right hand part of the chicane is phenomenal, But don’t touch the kerb on the right.

As you come off the brakes, you can then accelerate as your turning left for the centre of the chicane and for the exit. Be gentle with the throttle. If you’ve taken the amount of speed into the chicane as you’re able to, then flooring the throttle with snap you into oversteer for corner exit which will lose you speed approaching the next corner. Feed the power through and straighten the kart and clip the grass area with your right wheel, straight lining it uphill towards Midgets. I do not recommend overtaking into the chicane. If you’re side by side with someone on the approach (because they messed up Ansons) then fine, go for it. But if your behind someone and make a lunge, know one of two things. 1) The driver you’re out braking won’t be able to make it through the chicane with any sort of dignity (which is fine from your perspective!) But – 2) If a driver is not prepared to concede or is surprised by your manoeuvre, then their options will be to go off the track, damage their kart over a kerb, or take you out of the race! So – think hard. I’d recommend concentrating on getting a better exit from the chicane than the driver in front and then out breaking them into Midgets.

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Midgets

Midgets is a great corner that if taken properly can get you right up behind another driver or better still give you an opportunity to pass them. Midgets is made up in two parts. First apex and second apex. For a quick lap, forget the first apex. Brake had and late past the first apex and only concentrate on the second apex. Don’t touch the kerb of the second apex and power out as quickly as you can for the short run towards Climate corner. If you messed up the chicane exit, you will be vulnerable to attack from behind so missing the first apex is not an option. Aim for it, brake late & hard and park your kart on the approach to the second apex then power out. Similarly, if you’ve got a run on someone approaching Midgets corner, launch it down their inside and park it on the approach to the second and then, power out.

Climate

Climate corner is deceptive as there’s plenty of grip on entry but the grip fades away on exit. The best way I found was to enter the corner slowly, keep it tight to the kerb, then power out. Anyone in front of you who goes into the corner quicker, will pull a kart length or two on you but don’t be disheartened though. When you exit they’ll be struggling for grip, and kart positioning, whilst you’ll have more speed and better kart control on the approach to Tollys, the final corner. This will give you two options, make a last lap lunge down their inside or allow you to close the gap to them.

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Trollys

For Trollys, you can brake late and take more speed through this corner than you think. However, in saying that, corner exit is most important as it sets you up for the run back to Haynes Loop. The kerb on corner entry is not that bad (last lap lunge me thinks!) but I wouldn’t use it for a fast lap as it will only unsettle the kart. Whilst exiting Trollys, stay off the exit kerb and keep to the track.

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Track Guide: Thruxton

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Allard

Approach this right hander at 108 mph in 4th gear. The turn in is late and the corner is taken flat pulling 10700rpm with the DRS activated through the corner. You need to keep off the inside kerb as it is quite high. Let the kart run out wide on the exit and grab 5th gear. Keep the kart to the left hand side of the circuit through the gradual left hand turn as the track rises.

Campbell

After climbing away from Allard I approach the first part of the complex at 120mph in 5th gear with the engine revving to 10600rpm. I release the DRS to make sure it’s fully down before I brake hard. This ensures that the rear end is stable and I benefit from maximum deceleration. I come down to 2nd gear and turn in as late as possible. Try not to let the kart drift out past the mid-point of the tarmac so that you can slingshot through the next corner in the complex.

Cobb

The second part of the complex is taken flat out in 2nd gear. Try not to let the kart drift out too much to the right on the exit so that you can get a better line through the last part of the complex. The kart tends to oversteer a bit under power as you are in the peak power range at 10700rpm.

Segrave

I grab 3rd gear just after Cobb and flick the DRS on when the kart is straight. The corner is taken flat in 3rd. Stay well away from the inside kerb as its high. You can let the kart run out to the exit kerb but it isn’t necessary. As you accelerate away from Segrave grab 4th gear and then 5th just before the next corner. It is very important to get a good clean exit from the complex as it is flat out from here to the final chicane. Any exit speed that you gain here will also gain you time all the way to the Club chicane.

Noble

Bring the kart over to the right hand side of the track to get a good turn in for this fast left-hander still holding 5th gear with the kart revving at 10400rpm. I can just about use the DRS through here, although my line has to be perfect and the tyres need to be in good condition otherwise the kart becomes unstable and I compromise my entry to the next corner by running wide.

Goodwood

There are many lines that you can take through Goodwood but the secret is to keep it neat and tidy through here and scrub off as little speed as possible. Position the kart in the middle apex of the corner. I am pulling 10400 revs at 118 mph in 5th gear. I don’t use the DRS as it makes the kart a bit unstable, which scrubs off the speed, but I activate it as soon as most of the turning has been completed

Village

This corner is really an extension of Goodwood as the circuit is still turning right around a very long curve. There is a small kerb on the apex of the bend and you should aim for that to take the shortest distance. You need to straight line this section as much as possible applying a small amount of steering to maintain maximum speed.

Church

The approach to Church is nearly the fastest part of the circuit with a speed of 126mph at 10900rpm. The marshals post on the inside is a good reference point. Keep close to the kerb so that the kart doesn’t run out on the exit. There is a small hump on the inside but it doesn’t unsettle the kart too much if you are smooth and I use the DRS through here. Stay away from the exit kerb as it is ridged and can damage your tyres as well as scrubbing off speed. You need to drive through this corner as smooth as possible and don’t throw the kart into the corner, as you will be all over the place on the exit.

Brooklands

This is a gradual left hand curve and the circuit starts to rise. Try and slipstream other karts as much as possible through.

Club Chicane

The chicane is a tight messy end to the lap as you have been in 5th gear for a long time. You cannot see the inside kerb on the approach to the corner. Use the skid marks on the tarmac as a reference point as there are few helpful distance boards. I release the DRS and then it’s hard on the brakes and down to 2nd gear. There are lots of different lines that you can take but I try and brake in a straight line from the very right hand side of the track so that I end up in the middle of the track for the turn in. The circuit sweeps to the right while you are in the braking zone. Turn into the first apex at 65 mph and keep off the kerb as it high. Hug the inside and then accelerate through the left hand part of the chicane taking a bit of kerb. Keep it flat in 2nd gear and then brush the right hand kerb in the final part. If you take too much kerb the kart will get launched and will compromise your speed at the end of the lap. On the exit of the chicane I let the kart run right out to the left hand side and activate the DRS on the exit. Keep off the kerb but use part of the access road on the left. Then grab 3rd gear. Keep the kart to the left hand side of the track as it starts to curve round towards the first corner and then change up to 4th gear as you cross the finish line to record a time of 1:18.649s at an average speed of 107.84mph.

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Bayford Meadows: Circuit Guide

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The circuit has a lot of long, mid or late apex corners, which makes it difficult to overtake, but does allow for great racing. It’s also very flat and has little gradient change. Owner-driver teams love this particular layout because it is perfect for testing and setting up a new kart. You can really push on a flying lap around here.

The start/finish straight is parallel and right next to the clubhouse, running right to left as you look at it. As you power down that strip of tarmac, you should start to pull the kart to the left-hand side of the track as you pass underneath the fabulous, and rather professional looking, set of lights.

Turn One

Approaching at some rate of knots this corner is very fast, so you should aim to carry most of the speed through. The corner bends away from you, but in two places, so the actual target apex is not what you originally see – it’s the one further around the corner. It’s a small thing that the first-timers don’t pick up on until their time is up, but all of the professionals know better. You should stick to the far outside of the track – you’ll see the rubber that’s been put down here which you can use as a solid reference. A touch of the brakes and you’ll get through no problem, just so long as you don’t run over the kerb on the inside or the outside, which, like every kerb at Bayford Meadows, will ultimately slow you down.

Turn Two 

The element that makes this sequence so difficult is that the whole corner is made up of three individual turns, but it’s all taken in one go. The driver should hit the first 90 degree corner rapidly, but start to brake when going through the apex of the corner, so you’re essentially braking and turning at the same time, whilst straightening out the line as much as possible. Aim to end up on the far side of the track, so you can hit the hairpin bit’s apex as late as you can, straightening up the last turn – a small left kink – in this terrifying series of corners. There’s also a surprising mix between grip and no grip, which increases the difficulty, but it can be achieved with practice and persistence and is where the winning drivers show their worth.

Turn Three

After Turn Two, this one is really rather simple. In essence, it’s a basic hairpin, with a fast approach. Brake in a straight line, keeping as far to the outside as you’re able to. This will help you through the exit and into the next corner too.

Turn Four

This is a a symmetrical hairpin, soon follows, for which you will need to prepare in advance, by pulling back over to the left-hand side. There is a kerb on the exit, which, although tempting, should be avoided. Now, although Four is basically the same corner as Three, it must be taken much slower. This is because the entrance to Five is only just around the corner. When travelling around Turn Four, do not run wide towards the far side of the circuit as you normally would – instead, keep turning the wheel so that you stay on the right at the exit. This small compromise will set you up perfectly for the 45 degree turn 5

Turn Five

Requires a more dedicated exit. Like the previous turns, Five should be treated smoothly, whilst hitting a mid-late apex and avoiding the kerb on the inside, as well as the outside kerb, unless absolutely necessary.

Turn Six

This is a long, seemingly never-ending corner – it reminds me of Turn One at F1’s Shanghai circuit, only in reverse. Two lines can be taken through here, inside or outside. The traditional racing line is wide around the outside and turning sharply late-on, to hit, once again, another late apex, which will set you up for Turn Seven. Sometimes, drivers will choose to run up the inside, but usually as a place to chance an easy overtake. I was also told that there are two types of asphalt here and different teams prefer one to the other, throwing up some interesting decisions every race weekend.

Turn Seven

Another ‘switchback’ style corner; you throw the kart back in the opposite direction. It’s another long corner that doesn’t need you to touch any apexes, you just need to smooth the corner out to maintain speed.

Turn Eight

This corner is taken without a change of the wheel from Turn Seven, as you continue to take the kart around it. Like Seven, it’s not essential that you meet Eight’s apex, but you should stay reasonably close, about a metre away.

Turn Nine

Another corner with a hidden twist – from the top; it appears to be a reasonable 90 degree bend, which it is – a simple ‘enter on the left side, apex, and exit on the right side’. But, there is a small ‘ditch’ on the grass at the entrance, where the kerb, or failing that, grass, would normally be. It only needs one opportunity to notify you of its presence, but without warning, if you drop a wheel in it, you’ll end up in on the grass opposite, so be careful here. On the exit, there is another rough kerb, which you will be forced to run over if you have taken Nine flat, but it’s no biggie – because the final corner is just ahead.

Turn Ten

It feels like an extended right-left chicane. Find your braking point – I suggest where the circuit has an uneven look to it – and hit the brakes in a straight line. Pull the kart in towards the edge of the track on your right and power out. The track then kinks back left, but there’s the barrier wall of the outside of the circuit to avoid – just accelerate past it, getting as close as you dare to reduce time.

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Track Guide: Bishopscourt

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Turn 1

I approach this left-hander at 130mph in 5th gear pulling 11,000 revs, moving to the right hand side of the straight just after the pit road exit. Using the full width of the circuit, I turn in to the corner as smoothly as possible to maintain the speed and hug the inside kerb trying to stay as far to the left of the track as possible for a better entry to the next corner. It’s absolutely flat out, and sometimes the back end wants to step out so it requires 100% concentration and commitment.

Turn 2

Using the end of the slip road on the left hand side as my braking point, I dab the brakes and come down to 4th gear, going through the corner at 100mph. The kart always understeers here, no matter what you do with set-up, so you just let the kart run out on the exit.

Turn 3

This is a slight left hand kink on the map but I straight-line this after getting a good exit from the previous corner and then keep to the left hand side of the track approaching Turn 4.

Turn 4

I approach this tight right-hander at 105mph in 4th gear pulling 10,000 revs. It’s then hard on the brakes and down to 2nd gear. At around 50mph, take a late apex so that you get a good exit onto the following straight and accelerate up through 3rd and into 4th gear.

Turn 5

After a short straight you approach the chicane in 4th gear. As you lift off the throttle, turn in and come down to 3rd gear, at around 80mph. On the exit I grab 4th gear and aim for the slip road on the right hand side as my exit point. As I accelerate away from the chicane I grab 5th gear. This is the most important corner for kart set-up. You want a stable kart, but too much understeer and you’re throwing away apex speed. It’s so important to get a good exit here as the following straight (including the flat out Turn 6) is quite long.

Turn 6

This is a left-right flick taken absolutely flat at 115mph in 5th gear with the kart still accelerating as you aim simply to follow the path of least resistance. It is a very satisfying sequence and you are nowhere near the limit of adhesion. It can be tricky if you catch a backmarker in this section.

Turn 7

Following another short straight, I approach the second chicane at 125mph pulling 10,700 revs. This sequence is similar to the first chicane but is quicker and, like the first chicane, it needs a really refined set-up. The most exhilarating sequence Bishopscourt has to offer, the Turn 7 chicane and the following corner are where you can gain or lose the most amount of time during a lap. Brake and come down to 4th gear and then use all of the kerbs for better momentum. The apex speed is around 100mph, but don’t use too much of the circuit on the exit of the left-hander because you need to pull the kart back to the left hand side of the track on the next short straight to set you up for the entry to the following corner.

Turn 8

This right hand corner is tighter than it appears. I drop down to 3rd gear and dab the brakes to get the nose in. Ignore the kerb on the inside as it unsettles the back end, and let the kart run out on the exit as the circuit starts to climb slightly and bends round to the left. Get the kart as far to the right of the track as possible for the entry to the final part of the lap.

Turn 9

Swing the kart hard over to the left hand side of the circuit, just clipping the kerb as you begin to brake, to set you up for the approach to the final corner. Turn 9 is not really a corner, but acts as a marker to set you up for the final bend.

Turn 10

This corner is similar to Club Corner at Silverstone. Hard on the brakes I come down to 2nd gear on the entry and hit the apex. Accelerate as early and as hard as the rear tyres will allow as the corner starts to open up letting the kart run out to the exit kerb and grab 3rd gear. Keep the power on as the circuit starts to go slightly downhill and grab 4th gear and then 5th as you cross the grid to start another lap having just recorded a time of 69.223s at an average speed of 102.72mph.

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Features: IT’S ALL IN THE MIND

WRITTEN BY NEIL DREW OF COMPETITION MIND

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This is the first in a series of articles spread over the year devoted to the little known area of sports performance mind coaching.
In these articles we are going to lift the lid on the subject, gain an understanding of what it actually does, how it works, the reason that Karters are turning to it and more besides. We will also give you some tips and tasters of tried and tested techniques that really work.
It’s all in the mind.
I have the pleasure of working for a number of top competitors from all over the world and in many sports including Karting, V de V, Le Mans, Rally, F3000, MX1, MX2, Touring cars, and a whole host of other sports people from a variety of disciplines, do you know what? They aren’t any different from a club level driver, they suffer in some circumstances from the same anxieties, limiting beliefs and fears, they also have weak spots in their competition, they too have worries, they also have pressures whether it be from having to be consistent all the time, or from the people around them just in the same way the amateur or club Karter does, obviously though the top drivers issues are at a different level.
The fact remains that competitors of all ages, levels and from all manor of sports need to over come the same type of issues, limitations and the ability to advance past a weak part of their performance with consistency.

So why do they employ someone like me, what do I do, and how come they couldn’t sort it out themselves or just practice until they got it right or got over whatever limitation they had?
How come the top drivers got so fast or are more skillful and the slower drivers just seem to stay at the same relative pace, race after race? Where does working on your mind fit into competition anyway?

This first article is really an overview, an explanation of what is an immensely vast subject, in future issues we will delve deep into some of the specifics and in those future issues we will share with you some tips and a few techniques that will help every driver at whatever level or age.

So what is this mind stuff all about then? In simple terms, we as human beings are really a collection of programmed responses which are developed from our experiences as we go through life.
Think about it for a minute, your driving down the road approaching a junction and the traffic lights turn red, what do you do….? The lights turn green, what do you do….? Without applying any thought what so ever 99% of you will have either thought or said “stop” and then “go”.
Another example, what do you do when the phone rings? Without applying any thought whatsoever you will spontaneously look for the phone to answer it.

Let’s take this a bit further now so that you can begin to see and get a feel for where I’m going with this. There are several ways that we learn how to do what we do, for simplicity we will generalize with some important ones.

Spontaneous learning; Virtually everyone has at some point or another shut their fingers in a door, I bet that nearly every one who did, hasn’t done it since, this is because your brain has learnt in a fraction of a second that it hurts to trap the fingers like that, it then put in place a system or program to prevent it from happening again.
Then there is the more complex way of learning. Now, think about and picture how uncoordinated and clumsy little children and babies are, now fast forward that image to when the child is say 6 years old and see that child having deliberate movement, they are now able to talk coherently, move their arms accurately to feed themselves, they can walk and run and pick things up and place them accurately.

Enjoy your sport as this will help you improve and get better results Photo: Chris Walker
Enjoy your sport as this will help you improve and get better results
Photo: Chris Walker

What has happened is that through the processes of experimentation, modeling those around them and practice, they have been able to replicate the movements and behaviors, as this has developed the brain and the neurology throughout the body have been wired to be able to replicate all these processes as a program that doesn’t any longer require any thought or conscious effort. It’s a bit like a computer; you press a button and something specific happens.

However you program your mind will determine the outcome of what you do. Think now about a time when you were learning something new and how you had to concentrate and think about what you were doing. A good one would be learning how to steer into a skid for the first time. When you first learned you will most likely have been told to look at where you want to go, turn the wheel in the direction of the skid etc. etc. Nowadays you don’t even give it a moments thought; this is because as soon as the back end begins to break traction the program that runs the steering action is in place and ready to kick in without having to consciously think about what to do.

The way the Chinese used to train their gymnasts was they first of all taught them how to execute any given movement to perfection, then, they had them repeat this movement perfectly 100 times. The reasons they did this is because they understood that for anyone to repeat the perfection and have it as an automatic process it has to be second nature, and run as a program from the deepest part of the mind, this allows the gymnast to without thinking about it, have their eyes looking in the right place, their body position and movements in sync, their timing perfect and the sequence in perfect order, without any conscious thought. Now days we call this “the Zone”. With advances in psychology and mind coaching this can be done with a very special technique which means you can actually wire your brain and your motor signals without actually being in a kart or car to do it, more about that in a future issue.

Take what you know now about my over simplified explanation of how we learn, and put that in the context of competition. When we first start out in racing and competing we don’t have perfect timing, we brake too early, accelerate too late, take the wrong lines and generally employ the wrong coordination to our driving style, as we get better through the processes of trial and error, modeling, asking questions, reading books, watching videos and maybe some technical tuition, we improve little aspects of driving until one day when you aren’t thinking about it, the whole thing just clicks into place and the race or competition just fly’s by, you drive real smooth, you have more energy, you don’t seem to have had many thoughts running through your mind and the whole thing was a real joy. You also got a better result than normal. This is the “zone” that people refer too, and is one of the many things that people like me help competitors find.

This “Zone” is a specific way of thinking and feeling, it’s also an attitude and a behavior, those competitors who reach the top of their sport will know all about this because they will be in it for around 70% of every competition. It’s a myth that you have to be special to reach the top, something that we will discuss in a future issue, it can be taught as it simply is down to rewiring the old neurology, think about it this way, if you can learn to avoid shutting your fingers in a door in a split second and avoid it for years to come, then think what you can do if you know how that process works. Ill give you an example, a Motorcycle GP rider came to see me after spending 9 years at the top level and only getting on the top step 3 times in his whole career, after the equivalent of 12 hours work he finished 2007 as runner up world champion, simply because he changed the way he thought .

The other main area’s where this kind of coaching is particularly beneficial is in the areas of overcoming limitations. Very often a competitor will have a weak point in their competition, it could be a particular type of bend, braking, overtaking, a particular track or it could be a particular emotion that affects their performance, it could be a thought pattern that they go through, or even that a past accident is affecting their performances and they cant find their way past it, sometimes their performance has dropped off or isn’t improving because of some historic issue and they weren’t even aware that was what was causing the problem. It’s actually very surprising the variety of reason that I get people coming to see me. This also is where my profession comes into its own, being able to very quickly find out what it was causing the problem and then knowing what to do to put it right. That’s why competitors use us mind people explained in the simplest way possible.

The most difficult thing is to explain how we do it. The most important part though is in the understanding of how we all learn, also the understanding of what competition is about and the unique set of emotions and thoughts that are required to perform at our best consistently, something that you don’t learn in any classroom, it’s also having the ability to retrain the mind to be more effective.

In our next article on the mind stuff we will explore what makes a champion different, how you too can start to think like them, we will shed some light on how they became so good. Until then, enjoy your sport, this alone will help you to improve and get better results.

If you have any questions then you can contact me via Karting magazine or via my website www.competitionmind.co.uk

Track Guide: Cadwell Park

Cadwell_Park_track_layout
Coppice

As you approach this uphill left-hander at approximately 110mph you should have grabbed 6th gear where the short circuit comes in from the right hand side. Keep to the right hand side of the track and start to turn in between the service road and the marshals post. Aim for
a late apex holding 6th gear and allow the camber to take you through the corner. On the exit let the kart drift to the middle of circuit before pulling back to the left.

Charlies

After climbing away from Coppice you come down one gear to 5th as you aim for the first apex and then let the kart run out to the left hand side of the track as you reach the blind brow of the hill. As the track starts to drop downhill make a gradual turn trying not to scrub off
any speed. Ignore the first kerb and aim for the second kerb as your apex of the corner and grab 6th gear. Use all of the track on the exit but keep off the kerb as this could compromise your speed along Park Straight. Hold 6th gear down through the dip on Park Straight. As the track
rises keep to the left hand side as there is a slight curve.

Park

As you crest the rise and onto the flat you can see Park corner in the distance. The approach is at approximately 112mph pulling 3,900rpm. It’s hard on the brakes and down two gears to 4th. Hug the inside kerb and let the kart run out on the exit. The corner is slightly
cambered but keep off the exit kerb as it can suck you off the track as the circuit levels out. I grab 5th gear after the exit kerb as there is a bit of a dip on the circuit.

Chris Curve

This is a seemingly never-ending right hand curve. I stay tight for the first part and once past the marshals post let the kart run out to the left. Grab 6th gear and continue to hold the outside line all the way round the curve. This is essential to set you up for the next sequence.

Gooseneck

This corner has a difficult approach. You need to keep to the outside of the circuit for as long as possible. Come down one gear to 5th and aim for the last part of the kerb on the right hand side. If you apex too early you are on the wrong line for the next part of the corner. As you reach the kerb on the right hand side the track starts to fall away to the left and you need to throw the kart in and use the camber. The exit is blind and you need to be careful not to run over the kerb on the right hand side. The track drops steeply downhill and I grab 6th gear.

Mansfield

There is a steep drop down to this corner and you need to brake hard and come down two gears to 4th. For those that miss their braking point there is a service road that can be used.
Keep the kart to the right hand side all the way down the hill as the turn in to Mansfield is very late, although be wary of a possible block pass up the inside. I square off the corner and take a late apex. Let the kart run out on the exit and grab 5th gear and then into 6th pulling 3,800rpm.
The track then curves slightly round to the left but don’t be tempted to take what would be the shortest route as there is a nasty bump on the inside. The best line is in the middle of the track.

The Mountain

This section has two parts to it. Brake hard on the approach to the left hand lower part and come down three gears to 3rd. You can throw the kart into the apex of the corner as it is banked and then goes uphill. Make sure that you keep to the left hand side of the track on the exit. The next right-hander comes up very quickly and you need to be aggressive on the turn-in.
Apex cleanly, stay in 3rd gear and keep the power on up the very steep climb. Don’t run out past the middle of the circuit as the track curves slightly and you could find yourself on the grass.Stay in 3rd gear approaching the crest and the kart takes off. I then grab 4th gear and accelerate hard as the kart lands.

Hall Bends

I grab 5th gear as I go past the paddock and then back to 4th on the first right hand apex. Just clip the kerb and keep to the right hand side before flicking the kart into the next left.

The track is nicely cambered so it helps you through the corner. Then switch to the right hand side of the track and let the kart run out a bit to the left as you go over the crest with the circuit turning left. This can be a difficult sequence of corners. If you get the first part wrong you are
compromised all the way through. I hold 4th gear all the way through Hall Bends.

Hairpin

The hairpin arrives at you very quickly after you have gone over the left-handed crest after Hall Bends. Brake hard and come down to 2nd gear. Take a late apex except on the final lap when you may need to defend your position. The track drops steeply at the apex so don’t cut it too tight as it could throw you out on the exit. Grab 3rd gear on the exit and accelerate away as the track starts to drop.

Barn

I grab 4th gear before the corner as the track continues to drop slightly. I take a slight lift as I go into the corner to settle the kart and turn in using the inside kerb. The exit is off camber but you need to be committed and grab 5th gear as the corner opens out to give you maximum
speed for the next straight. The track continues to drop and as it levels out grab 6th gear as you cross the finish line to record a time of 1m 30.64s at an average speed of 86.31mph.

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