2019 A new beginning

As I'm 17 this year I've had to move up to the Extreme class in TKM. Engine is now rebored to 115cc and I have a new lot of weight limits/restrictor sizes to contend with.

Our first meeting of the year is at Kimbolton for the first round of the club championship. We hoped to spend Saturday experimenting with restrictors and ballast but as the track was dap and greasy all day we didn't really have chance to do anything conclusive.

There were 18 on the grid come Sunday and I was drawn 11th on the grid for the first heat. It was a bit rough off the start as we went 3 abreast in to the first corner, I came out of it with a new layer of rubber on the sidepod and a dropped nosecone so that means a 5 second penalty. Later in the race I was squeezed wide through the last part of the Willows resulting in a trip over the kerb which smacked in to the bottom of the seat which has had more battering in my last two races than in the whole of last year. I finished tenth on track but the penalty dropped me to twelfth.

Heat 2 I started 9th and again had some good scraps (all bar three of the drivers I have no experience of racing against) to bring the kart home 7th but only 5 seconds behind the winner.

This left me starting 10th on the grid for the final, to be held over 10 minutes plus a lap. We arrived in the assembly area to very light drizzle, the track as getting greasy so we switched to wets along with everyone else and set the chassis up to half wet settings. With three minutes to go we made the decision to switch back, which kept dad busy and got on the grid with 30 seconds to spare, 6 karts were still on wet tyres. I got a blinding start and jumped to 5th but over the following laps dropped back to 8th where I spent about 3/4 of the race fighting with no. 24 for 7th place, we swapped places a number of times and I tried on the last lap to go around the outside of him in to the first part of Dereks' (a left right, right left bus stop type chicane). I was alongside but ran out of room on the exit so backed out and settled for 8th.

The karts on wets were lapped we'd made the right choice. With a couple of laps to go Rachel Swain celebrating her 18th birthday that day had a brake failure on the main straight and hit the tyre wall with a hell of a bang having lost little speed. Thankfully she got up straight away and gave her family that were watching there a wave. Hope you're not too sore Rachel. The kart was wrecked and isn't repairable.

So we have a bit of thinking to do about restrictors, I have to get used to a heavier kart and a bit more power and I need to gain a couple of kilos to meet the minimum driver weight to run without a restrictor which is widely considered to be the most advantageous set up.

Thanks to our sponsor Michael Anthony Estate Agents, to Gillard Racing Karts, CGC Karting and to Maddie, Mark and George for Marley sitting.

Sto Stretton Photography