Bowing out

We headed off to the last round of the Kimbolton club championship knowing we had a tiny chance of winning it, though it would need two wins and a top three finish out of the three races and for championship leader to score less than 74 points. It was unlikely but possible, especially if it rained.

Saturday practice was uneventful and we stopped a bit early to avoid putting any more hours on the engine which was due a rebuild.

Sunday morning started wet and we took the opportunity in the 3 lap practice to scrub some new wet tyres in, our intermediate set were quite worn and would probably only be legal for one heat so really needed the weather to make its mind up. A day of on-off drizzle we could do without.

The large number of entries resulted in three heats in which we competed in two and the results of those lead to qualifying for an A and a B final. Our first heat was race 7 and by that time the track was drying but damp, it was right on the changeover point between wet and dry tyres. We, like nearly the whole grid, went for dry. In a kart race you head off the dummy grid and complete a lap of the circuit to warm tyres and engines and nearing the end of the lap the grid slows for a rolling start, if all are in formation off you go, if not it's a false start and you go round again. I was starting 19th and so was one of the last to go off the dummy grid, after the first group of turns I was on the straight and did my usual stab of the brake with a bit of steering lock on to see how much grip there was. Turned out there was very little on that bit of track and the kart spun quickly and hit the tyre wall around one of the marshal posts. The kart was undamaged thankfully and I rejoined, it felt like a big hit though. There were two false starts in the end so I got back to my proper start position and we headed off. I made rapid progress through a fair bit of the pack on the greasy surface with few problems and managed to finish 8th in the end, just behind championship leader Jack Nicholson. This meant our attempt to win it was over and took the pressure off.

Heat two I started 4th and had a good scrap through the race spending much of it in 2nd place. I made an attempt for the lead at the start of the last lap but managed to get on one of the remaining bits of damp track and lost a bit of time allowing the three behind me to get in front, I spent a fair bit of the last lap running side by side with them and managed to finish 3rd. Post race scrutineering was an inspection of the airbox on the kart, I don't usually mention post race checks but on this occasion it's important.

The results placed me 8th on the grid for the A final. I got a good start and came out of the first turn in 5th place with the lead pack and a bit of a gap behind, speed was good and we were running nose to tail when suddenly, on lap 5 the kart became very noisy, the airbox fell off and was rattling along the ground held on now by a single "security"cable tie, I had to retire from my last junior race. The jubilee clip that retains the box on the carb remained in place and dad thinks he couldn't have seated it on the carb properly after the previous heat, we've had three mechanical fails this year in around 50 races, not too bad, was a bit annoyed for a short while and we were both feeling a bit sad that the season and my last junior race ended this way.

Thanks as ever go to so many people but this month it's Nan and Grandad for dog sitting Marley, Michael Anthony Estate Agents for their support, Gillard racing karts for their excellent (and really strong) chassis, Protrain racing for their feedback on my driving and Alan Swain for dad's tea. Well done to Jack Nicholson on winning the championship, we secured second place and Theo Tibbitts was third.

I woke up Monday with a stiff neck from hitting the marshals post and on checking the kart properly the seat has some stress marks on the sides it never used to have but everything else appears to be straight. It'll be back there in January in TKM extreme.

Thanks to all the great people in race control and that man the circuit so we can race, really appreciated.