Oulton Park, Cheshire. 20th February 2013
8am arrival at the circuit, after a quick detour to McDonalds (healthy eating is going fabulously…) and we just hung around till the first session at 10am as there wasn’t much to do to the kart. I was a little unsure what to expect when I headed out for the first time, but I was running the engine in for the first session which meant short-shifting and low revs.
I did figure out that these karts are a lot more susceptible to, I suppose, car-like handling, finding understeer and oversteer in places. I had to save the kart from a few spins in some corners, not helped by the old rubber no doubt. This sort of thing just never really happens in short-circuit karting – there’s understeer, but not in the way the long circuit karts show it.
However, at the end of the first session I brought it to the chequered flag, and looking at the sheer number of stranded karts that was an achievement. It would be the only time we achieved it. When I returned, I found out the camera we mounted had come loose and departed mid-session, which was a bit disappointing.
Nevertheless we proceeded onwards. In the second session, I snapped a chain towards the end of our time-slot and found myself bouncing around on the grass after the Shell Oil hairpin trying to stop the kart (turns out it doesn’t stop too well on grass). A long trip back to the pits being dragged by the wrist, and we fixed the kart for session three.
This time wires in the ignition broke out on track, and I thought I’d run out of fuel as the kart spluttered its way back to the pit lane. We tried to fix it before the end of the session but ran out of time. Amazingly, despite having the most vehicles on track by far (the open and closed wheel car testing was amalgamated into an allcomers session), I think all the red flags were for car accidents.
Back on track for the final session and although I felt the kart wasn’t quite right, I decided to chance it and see how far it’d go. It had a strange vibration/wobble at the top end of the revs which I avoided by short-shifting. This problem started to worsen, occurring at lower and lower revs before eventually the chain snapped again, leaving me three-quarters way around the track, needing to be recovered again.
All in all, a mixed day – the kart was fast when it was working, just had a lot of teething problems. A small victory at the end, I actually found the camera that was lost in the first session. I decided to walk the fosters circuit to look for the camera, although had lost hope by the end assuming it was lost towards the Island/Shell area. But I was about to leave the circuit when I found it on turn one. Footage soon.
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Photos : Jodie Santer