We arrived at the circuit on Friday afternoon and were assigned a couple of pitbays large enough to park a truck and set up a awning big enough to run 10 karts out of, and it had electricity and wi-fi! Things were definitely going to be different.
We signed on that day and picked up our wet and dry tyres for the weekend and the control fuel.
Saturday morning dawned wet and blowing a gale, horrible conditions to work on a kart in as the awning is constantly flapping and things are being blown away or over, dad did a fair bit of sweaing. After the drivers briefing in the posh race centre which will travel around the country to each venue we had a number of practice sessions. These were held in ever changing conditions and my pace was pretty good on the damp track, I was briefly fastest in one on a damp track on slicks and was 4th for quite a while until it dried out. It's on a dry track that we need a little more pace. Qualifying would determine our starting position for the two heats, very important as with 48 karts entered and only 34 being permitted to go through to the two finals a good starting position would lessen the need to try and make your way through a very competitive field. On the first lap I realised that something was wrong with the kart only pulling 14700rpm leaving us about 7mph down on the straight, I'd have qualified last if someone hadn't been unfortunately disqualified, so last but one. The first heat was held on the Saturday afternoon, it was by now dry unfortunately, I got a bad start from last , my fault, the pack went a bit sooner than I expected, I had a bit of a scrap with the karts at the back and come the end was still last, really not good. My lap times weren't particularly bad, I was just doing them at the back of the pack and couldn't find a way through.
Sunday was much less windy and by the time of the second heat was dry I got a good start this time and made progress from 23rd to 17th by the end, much better but I was definitely in the repechage for the final. Of the 48 karts entered the top 28 after the heats go straight through to the finals, the remainder go in to the repechage and the top six from that get on to the back of the grid for the finals. I was starting 12th. I had a fairly good race with a few scraps but for some reason my pace dropped off for 4 laps, picking up again for the last 2, eventually I was classified 9th, not good enough so we were home for 4 pm before the finals had finished.
It was an experience and we have a better idea of what we've let ourselves in for, a carb failing at a critical moment didn't help, but even without that I'm npot sure how much higher up the standings we'd have been. We weren't the only ones with carburettor problems that weekend and there have been suggestions that the high ethanol content of the control fuel is affecting the diaphragms in the carb. Some were having freshly rebuilt carbs failing. Think this matter will go on for a while.
Next round is at Rissington, a circuit which we know much better than PFI and where overtaking is easier, though it is easier for everyone of course. We'll see what that brings. There's a club meeting to go at Kimbolton before that though.
Thanks to Nan and Grandad for Marley sitting and to Michael Anthony Estate Agents for their support.
Also thanks to Neil Sparrow and Chris Strong for their chats with dad about carburettors and fuel, I'm sure there were a few others too. The weekend was very well run, it's a good series and TKM extreme is really competitive.
The photo is one of Stu Stretton's from Kimbolton last month as I don't have any from PFI.