Race Report for Viking Racing, Redline Oil Karting Championship. April 10th, 2011
As the first race had been cancelled due to weather conditions, Sunday April 10th was now the season opener in the Redline Oil Karting Championship. As I have moved in to Formula cars as well I have cut down on kart racing and is only doing the 2-speed shifter (Rotax DD2) kart this year. As Valdemar is doing the Rotax Micro class I still have two karts to wrench on securing I will not be bored during a race weekend!
Valdemar was excited to get started on his first race weekend, which was a brave move as he has only been practicing 3 times. Racing on your own is a whole other dimension than just doing laps on the empty track behind your dad. Unfortunately he was the only show in the Micro Class but the race management put him together with 2 other and MUCH faster groups. Valdemar's mother did not appreciate that decision as they would fly by him left and right, but for Valdemar it was the right decision as his (our) goal was first and foremost to have fun as kid karting is meant to be (I guess adult karting is supposed to be as well?) and then secondly improve every session.
Valdemar did a solid performance in all 3 races driving within his capabillities, followed insctructions nicely and most important he improved 10 seconds (!) in each race he went out (thanks to the faster karts) meaning he cut a total of 30 seconds of his lap times leaving him only 10 seconds off a good Micro Class race pace. Very well done and it was great to watch him getting his first trophy ever, although it took some of the fun away from him that he was the only driver in his class. Nevertheless we were proud that he was brave enough to do it as well as making the quantum improvements he did.
The DD2 Masters Class is not as big as the Master Class I ran last year, but there is really strong competition, which is exactly what I need to become a better driver. Unfortunately we lost one of the strongest competitors already in the first race, as she went in to a major crash, broke six ribs and was transported away in a helicopter. We wish her all the best, a fast recovery and hope to see her soon again on the track.
The day started out as a bit of a challenge. I was struggling to get the engine run right and when I went out for qualifying I was catching another driver so fast that I had to go off track not to hit him very hard. As we only have 5 laps in qualifying I never got a really fast lap down as the time scoring system never picked up after I went off track. I complained about it, but was told that "the scoring system was never wrong and had never been so I just had to move on with my life". So I was recorded for a 1 second slower lap and had to start 3rd on the grid. Not a disaster but also not what I had hoped for.
Both pre finales went on pretty uneventful - I passed the off pole driver on first lap in both races, moving up to second place, but by doing so I also lost enough time that I could not catch the leader, so I finished a few seconds after him. The official time scoring system recorded me for being last one lap after the leader. As the offcials had seen with their own eyes where I finished they had to admit that even their great timing system sometimes IS wrong.
The pole guy was really fast, and objetively spoken, still a few tenths faster than me per lap. However winning races is not just about doing fast laps, but just as much about racecraft and the desire to win. With that in mind I knew I had to make a phantom start and try to stay ahead of him in order to have a chance to win as if I could not pass him in the start, it would be difficult to hang with him. So that was exactly what I did! I got a great start and coming from the outside I passed him on the inside going in to corner 1.
Helped my some minor engine issues on his part I was able to open a small gap, but during the 15 lap finale, he caught on to me and we started a very close and entertaining battle where he passed me several times but I was always able to pass him back right away. As such I won the race, which was a great victory as it was probably one of the victories I had to work the hardest for.
Next race is up already the coming weekend at Thunderhill Raceway Park, which will be the season opener for me in the Formula car. I am very excited to see how that goes and how competitive I will be. As usual I would like to thank our sponsors for making this season possible.