After waiting for what seemed like at eternity to get back in a Kart I was really excited to get back to Bayford Meadows for round 1 of the SuperPro Sprint Series. There was a big turnout with over 30 drivers spread out across 8 heats – each driver would complete in 3 sprints (I was in heats 1, 2 and 8). Unfortunately this meant that most of the grids were quite small – about 11 Karts. The sun was out and it was a beautiful day.
Sadly, my first race was my only good one of the day. I qualified 2nd on the grid, behind Lewis with a 1:00.245. In the race, I had a good fight with him and finished 0.38s behind him, setting a fastest lap of 59,365s which was the fastest of the race. The Kart worked really well and was a joy to drive. Sadly, it was not fitted with a GoPro mounting bracket so I wasn’t able to record any footage of our battle.
As soon as I tried to take Turn 1 in the qualifying session I knew I’d find the second race more of a challenge. The Kart had a lot of understeer with very little grip at the front and I found myself having to lift off into almost every corner in order to get it to turn in. I was able to muscle it around to qualify 4th with a 1:00.987.
In the race, I passed Harry off the start line but quickly lost the position as I tried to get around Turn 2. I finished the lap 0.8s behind him and while the top 3 fought amongst themselves I slipped back by about 0.5s a lap from them, finishing in 4th, 3.2s behind them. Sadly, once again the Kart didn’t have a GoPro mount so there’s no footage.
This Kart did have a GoPro mount…. but it was broken and I couldn’t get the camera to attach securely. So once again, there’s no footage. This isn’t a big deal as the Kart turned out to be absolutely awful. In qualifying it was handling quite well so I wasn’t really aware of how bad it was until I found out that I’d qualified dead last, 4 seconds behind Steve on pole.
When the lights went out, the Kart pulled away slowly. As the others disappeared around Turn 1 I quickly resigned myself to coming last so I started to slide it around and see if I could have some fun. After 3 laps I was called in and they swapped the Kart – a nice gesture but a bit pointless as I was already the best part of a lap behind. The substitute Kart was far better and after warming it up for a lap I was on the lapping at the same pace as the leaders. I caught up with a couple of drivers at the back and made short work of them, making use of the kerbs to pass on the inside. Unsurprisingly. I finished last on track, a lap down, although I was credited with 6th place.
What did I learn? Firstly, I need to use my helmet mounted GoPro if I want video – it’s pointless to rely on the Karts as the brackets aren’t fitted or are damaged. I was happy that my lap timer app worked and my times were very consistent. The times between the first 2 races really do show the variances between these 2 Karts.
After looking forward to the race so much and being so disappointed with the variance and reliability of the Karts I’m left wondering if I want to race next month or whether I would be better putting the money towards a new Sim rig. At least on the Sim, the car is consistent and any failings are down to me. The alternative is finding some money or sponsorship to allow me to do Club 100 or some Owner Driver races. Plenty to think about.