StockKarts 2005

9 July 2005: KINGS LYNN and SWAFFHAM

First StockKart racing experience, out in a combination of two hire karts courtesy of the Leavers. First at Kings Lynn in the afternoon and then Swaffham in the evening. Not really on the pace for a first go and following a spin got side swiped at Kings Lynn.


StockKarts 2006

5 May 2006: Not put off by my efforts in the hire kart, I bought my kart from Dave Canham. Dave was sponsored by Sackers recycling who also sponsored the World Cup meeting and so the signwriting remained as a thank you.

28 May 2006: KINGS LYNN - WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ROUND 2
After having my number added on the aerofoil by Barry Keer my first meeting with my kart.
I started at the back and did ok - spun into a tractor tyre in heat 1 and with no reverse that was the end of that race and was 10th and in the points in the Grand National before spinning into the same tractor tyre as in heat 1...DOH!

Heat 1: DNF, Heat 2 14th, Final: 11th, POINTS 0. Grand National: DNF

10 June 2006: SWAFFHAM - TARMAC MASTERS ROUND 1
Started off the back again and felt quick in the heats despite being boxed in by other drivers as I was finding my feet. Got away from the other drivers at the back early on in the final, found a good line and was flying - unfortunately the laps counted down a little too quickly!

Heat 1 and Heat 2: outside top 10, Final: 10th. POINTS 2

18 June 2006: BOVINGDON - TARMAC MASTERS ROUND 2
Started off the back again and found the track to be a bit bumpy but found a good line (most of the time!) by the final. A crash involving the leaders in the final improved my finishing position.

Heat 1: 9th, Heat 2: 8th, Final: 6th. POINTS 15

13 August 2006: KINGS LYNN - WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ROUND 3
My 6th in the final at Bovingdon promoted me to the Blue grade following the half year regrading and this is where I started.
Due to heavy rain prior to the meeting, we were racing on the outside of the tarmac infield. This was an excellent meeting for me and I was on the pace all day. 5th in heat 2 beat my 6th in the final at Bovingdon as my best result. I was leading the Grand National for several laps until I spun exiting turn 2 with just under 5 laps to go...DOH!
Due to additional time, Clare took part in a ladies race.

Heat 1: 9th, Heat 2: 5th, Final: 7th. POINTS 16. Grand National: 10th

28 AUGUST 2006: IPSWICH - WORLD CUP MEETING
Excellent meeting in front of an August Bank Holiday crowd at the Foxhall Stadium. The World Cup race was a bit damp which made conditions tricky. The heat race was my favourite race even though I was better placed in the final when I was much more on the pace.

WORLD CUP: 9th, Heat: 10th, Final: 7th.

7 OCTOBER 2006: KINGS LYNN - BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP
Started at the back due to gain more shale experience and not a great day results wise!

Heat 1, Heat 2 and British Championship: outside top 10. POINTS 0. Grand National: 10th.

4 NOVEMBER 2006: COVENTRY - WORLD OF SHALE RACE
A bit of a nightmare on my debut at the Brandon Stadium. Very slippery and at least two spins did not help my cause! Enjoyed it none the less!

WORLD OF SHALE: outside top 10

 

2006 NATIONAL POINTS: 14th. 5 meetings - 42 POINTS
2006 GRAND NATIONAL: 15th - 4 POINTS
2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: 13th - 16 POINTS
2006 WORLD OF SHALE QUALIFYING: unplaced - 0 POINTS
2006 TARMAC MASTERS: 12th - 17 POINTS

 

Not a bad first season. Learnt a lot but need a lot more practice on shale.


StockKarts 2007

7 May 2007: GRIMLEY - WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ROUND 1
A long way to go for your kart to not start! Once we did get going, I was well off the pace all day but with karts and drivers falling by the wayside - just keeping going in the final was good enough for 6th. Found out later that the brakes had been stuck on!! Oh well, at least we got a few days away in the Malvern Hills area!
Good to be part of an official meeting again and a decent bank holiday crowd watching too!

Heat 1 and Heat 2: outside top 10, Final: 6. POINTS 10

15 July 2007: BUXTON - WORLD OF SHALE QUALIFYING ROUND 3
A bit of a washout unfortunately as heat 1 ended stuck in the fence after about 10 metres and heat 2 ended stuck in the middle after about 1 1/4 laps.
The meeting was then abandoned due to the bad weather. Would have been a long way to go for just that but we were staying with friends for a long weekend so all was not lost!

Heat 1 and Heat 2: DNF

29 July 2007: STOKE-ON-TRENT - WORLD OF SHALE QUALIFYING ROUND 4
Started off the back for the heats and final given the lack of competitive action in 2007 to date. Did ok in heat 1 including spinning a temp driver, not great in heat 2 but was on the pace in the final on my first ever visit to this track. Started the Grand National from my blue grade but this did not last long and was abandoned due to fence damage following a crash.

Heat 1: 9th, Heat 2: 8th, Final: 7th. POINTS 13. Grand National: void due to fence damage

12 August 2007: STOKE-ON- TRENT - WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ROUND 5
The wet summer continued and this meeting was also a washout. Only a fun race took place for the adults so I was able to get a few practice wet shale laps in.
Fun race: 4th

30 SEPTEMBER 2007: RYE HOUSE - WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ROUND 6
Due to there being no white or yellow grade drivers, I ended up starting at the front and leading a few races and results were ok.
Was probably trying a bit too hard at times during this meeting and had several spins before crashing through the fence in the Grand National. Apart from the roof wing and one mirror, all was ok so I made the Grand National restart!

Heat 1: 5th, Heat 2: 6th, Final: 7th. POINTS 19. Grand National: 7th

6 OCTOBER 2007: COVENTRY - WORLD OF SHALE RACE
Another big meeting at Coventry in front of a good sized crowd.
Much better than 2006 and brought the kart home in a respectable position.
WORLD OF SHALE: 8th

7 OCTOBER 2007: STOKE-ON-TRENT WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ROUND 7
A momentous day!
Due to there being no white or yellow grade drivers, I ended up starting near the front and was on the pace all day. Heat 1 went well before heat 2 produced a 4th place finish and my best result to date. That was until the final, when I managed to get away and despite a yellow flag closing up the grid a 'quick' restart saw me hold on to the lead and record a race win for the first time!
This meant that I had to start off the back for the Grand National - I made little progress but the result is not available.

Heat 1: 6th, Heat 2: 4th, Final: 1st. POINTS 32. Grand National: result not available

2 DECEMBER 2007: IPSWICH - WORLD CUP MEETING
Due to the rain, the shale was too wet so we were racing on the Tarmac. One spin all day and results ok. Was probably a bit too cautious at times considering it was my first meeting on wet tarmac.
Cold and wet but still a great experience to be racing in front of a crowd at the Foxhall Stadium again.  Led the meeting final at the start...did not last long though!

 

WORLD CUP: 6th, Heat: 5th, Final: 5th. POINTS 18
2007 NATIONAL POINTS: 9th. 6 meetings - 92 POINTS
2007 GRAND NATIONAL: 12th - 8 POINTS
2007 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: 6th - 61 POINTS
2007 WORLD OF SHALE QUALIFYING: 10th - 13 POINTS
 

 

A decent learning curve season - with the race win at Stoke (on shale!) the highlight!
My win at Stoke has helped to promote me up to the Red grade status!


StockKarts 2008

04/05/2008: STRETTON.
First meeting at the new purpose built track near Leicester. Unfortunately after the first heat it was found to be too bumpy for racing at present. My kart conked out after 2 laps in the race that did take place....and then did the same on the 2nd lap when we were allowed a go on the karting circuit! Not great!
Heat 1 and karting circuit race: DNF

05/07/2008: COVENTRY 2008 WORLD OF SHALE RACE
Due to the lack of qualifying rounds, this was run in graded order which meant I started near the back. Really enjoyed this one, in front of another decent Coventry crowd, with lots of overtaking and finished 5th - just missing 4th by inches!
WORLD OF SHALE: 5th


06 & 07/09/2008: CRIMOND, SCOTLAND - SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND
An excellent weekends racing in front of a very appreciative crowd. On the Saturday, being a new track, my first go at practice was a fact finder and I was off the pace but the second practice session went much better. Heat 1 saw lots of overtaking and I was in the thick of the action - 8th could easily have been 5th. In heat 2 things went a bit awry and I just could not get on the pace so just made sure I finished and due to non finishers somehow got a better result than heat 1!
On the Sunday heat 3 went ok and I was happy with 6th and heat 4 also went well blasting past 2 karts on one straight to record another 6th. I was determined to do well in the Scottish Championship and it went well holding my own. Unfortunately, I was unable to close the gap on considerably more experienced drivers in other formulas who now being new to StockKarts were able to start at the front! With that in mind and considering those behind me I was pleased with 5th - my best result of the weekend.

Saturday - Heat 1: 8th, Heat 2: 6th
Sunday - Heat 3: 6th, Heat 4: 6th, SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP: 5th. Points for TEAM ENGLAND: 24

 

Racing photo of Kart at September Crimond featured in October edition of Short Circuit magazine and December edition of Karting magazine.

 

01/11/2008: COVENTRY 2008 WORLD CUP RACE
A complete washout unfortunately as there was a good firework meeting crowd. We all drove out on to the track but track conditions meant that no one was able to get round. We all parked up on the middle hoping that other formulas would improve the track conditions or that we would race on the tarmac. Unfortunately with rain beginning to fall and becoming heavier our race was one of those cancelled.
WORLD CUP RACE: VOID

A rather frustrating season due to a variety of reasons. The 5th at Coventry in the World of Shale being the highlight followed closely by an excellent trip to Scotland and 5th in the Scottish Championship.

Red grade status also maintained.


StockKarts 2009

15/03/2009: SWAFFHAM RACEWAY - 2009 EAST ANGLIAN CHAMPIONSHIP and National Points Championship round 1

First meeting of the 2009 season with the kart sporting new panels, paintwork and signwriting.

In front of decent sized crowd for the StockKarts first appearance at Swaffham Raceway since June 2006 (this time with Swaffham being run as an independent track rather than being run by Spedeworth).

Unfortunately due to adjusting the lap belts I did not make it on track for practice.  I opted for too low tyre pressures for heat 1 which meant that the kart lacked a bit of drive and so I was reasonably pleased with 6th place.  Got a hit up the rear early on to christen the new kart and generally I was not far off the pace of the leaders before being delayed by a backmarking kart over the closing laps. 

For heat 2 I set the tyre pressures higher but this seemed to be too high as the kart seemed to be bouncing constantly around the bends where I was struggling to keep four wheels on track!  I ended up driving most of the race defensively and then on the last bend opted to go around the outside of a spun kart and dropped from seventh to eighth in the drag race to the line.

For the final (2009 East Anglian Championship), I unsurprisingly opted for tyre pressures somewhere between those for heat 1 and heat 2!  I felt that the kart was quicker and I was running well in 6th on the tail of the front runners when the last of these spun right in front of me and by the time I diverted around the outside and recovered a half spin the leaders were gone and I was left to battle back up from seventh to sixth.

Whilst I was a little disappointed with my results, the day was very enjoyable and it was great to be back out on track again.  We were made to feel very welcome at a track with a very pleasant 'club' feel to it.

Heat 1: 6th, Heat 2: 8th.

2009 EAST ANGLIAN CHAMPIONSHIP: 6th. POINTS 27 (including 5 attendance points).

 

New Kart featured in April edition of Short Circuit magazine.

 

04/04/2009: COVENTRY 2009 WORLD CUP RACE and National Points Championship round 2
This was run in graded order in front of a big crowd and although a few star drivers were missing, it was still going to be hard work starting towards the rear of the field.

The track was in excellent condition and the kart felt good - putting in a quick practice lap before lining up!

The first bend was full of incident after which I was up to 4th place.  By the end of the first lap I was right behind 3rd and gave a big push going into turn one.  

This is when it all went wrong and the kart lost all drive.  I managed to drift down the back straight before stopping on the outside of turn three where I sat to watch the rest of the race.  After climbing from the kart once the race had finished it became clear that the chain had fallen off. 

With the kart running well and a good start it is certainly a case of what might have been...that's motor racing!
WORLD CUP RACE: DNF.  POINTS 5 attendance points.

 

24/05/2009: CRIMOND RACEWAY - National Points Championship round 4

What could be better than a week long holiday combined with some racing in front of a good sized crowd?

A stop over and trip into Newcastle on the way up, an invite to a 30th birthday party on arrival plus some Scottish sightseeing!

Slight problem when the kart would not start meaning that it required a jump start all day.

Great days racing - fast and close - with some respectable results racing against considerably more experienced drivers.

Heat one went well and I managed to nudge my way up to 4th and although I was battling and nudging to try and find a way past 3rd there was no way through.

Heat 2 again went well and again I managed to get up to a respectable 4th place.

The final was again a good race and at one point I was briefly up to 4th but in the end had to settle for 5th.

A bonus for the afternoon was an unexpected Grand National and I made a quick start and was up to 2nd.  I was chasing 1st before losing out over the closing laps and eventually finishing 5th.

Heat 1: 4th, Heat 2: 4th, Final: 5th, Grand National: 5th.  POINTS 35 (including 5 attendance points) + 10 Grand National points.

 

New Kart featured in June edition of Karting magazine.

 

07/06/2009: SWAFFHAM RACEWAY - National Points Championship round 5

A fun and enjoyable days racing in the wet at a rain soaked Swaffham.  There was still a decent sized crowd despite the weather but the day started ominously when the kart would not start!  A quick prognosis of a defunct battery and the acquisition of a new battery from the Anderson Racing Team and away I went for heat 1.

The problems with the battery meant that I did not get a chance to change any tyre pressures and so being only my second meeting on wet tarmac, the first being the 2007 World Cup at Ipswich, I took things steady. 

What great fun!  Visor up and a face full of water or visor down and not being able to see?  Visor up and then turn when you see the corners!  Smiling all the way and with no spins I finished 5th.

Leaving the tyre pressures as they were, I got off to a bad start at the beginning of heat 2 but with no spins again, I recovered to finish 4th.

Again leaving the tyre pressures as they were, the final went well.  Running 6th, a couple of drivers spinning out put me 4th and on the tale of 3rd (and a podium place!)...this opportunity was too good to miss and a couple of nudges helped me up to 3rd and I was not going to be denied a first ever lap of honour over the closing laps!

Great fun racing in the wet a first ever lap of honour - excellent meeting!

Heat 1: 5th, Heat 2: 4th, Final 3rd.  POINTS 38 (including 5 attendance points).

 

Swaffham Final presentation photo featured in August edition of Short Circuit magazine and September edition of Karting magazine.

 

04/07/2009: COVENTRY 2009 WORLD OF SHALE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE and National Points Championship round 6
With the kart having been cleaned up since Swaffham, it was off to Coventry for the 2009 World of Shale race.  This was again run in graded order in front of a big crowd.  More kart starting problems unfortunately and whilst the problem area is being narrowed down I was not in the best frame of mind heading out on to track.  The kart felt good after a couple of warm up laps but I mis-timed my start and rapidly dropped to last.  I battled back up a few places but went outside when I could have gone inside to avoid a spinning kart and then was not decisive enough when behind a kart that had recovered from a spin.  Nevertheless, I was up to 6th and when behind another kart that had recovered from a spin, I was not aggresive enough when putting the front bumper to use! 

So a 6th place finish it was but not too far behind the front runners.

A little bit disappointing as I feel that a better result was there for the taking if I had been a bit more aggressive but as was correctly pointed out this was my first full race on shale since the corresponding meeting last season.

WORLD OF SHALE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: 6TH.  POINTS 17 (including 5 attendance points.)

 

08/08/2009: BUXTON SPEEDWAY TRACK - National Points Championship round 8

With the kart cleaned up following Coventry, the battery problems hopefully diagnosed and the battery recharged it was an early morning start for the trip to Buxton.

With my previous visit to Buxton in 2007 being a bit of a wash out, it was good that the forecast this time was for nice weather.

Although having not felt too well the day before, it was touch and go whether I would be able to make it but after a decent night's sleep off I went!

That was not the end of the 'wondering whether I would make it' as I then was stuck at a standstill in traffic on the M1!  Thankfully that cleared and eventually we made it to Buxton and the weather forecasters had got it right!

Practice went well and proved what a great but tricky StockKart track the Buxton Speedway.  I was on the pace of another couple of karts including the World Champion although we were all soon caught by another kart!

The first heat started well and I was up to second and made a move for the lead just as I got nudged into a spin.  I got a bit bogged down in the deeper shale on the outside of the bend and by the time I was able to safely rejoin, I was a lap down.  I finished 6th.

The second heat again went ok but was very dusty and I finished 4th. 

The track had been watered ahead of the final and I made an ok start.  All the karts became bunched up and as I nudged another kart my kart spun across the track in front of an oncoming kart which completed my spin on to the centre green!  My kart promptly became stuck!

I rejoined the track for the grand national which I took steady concerned whether damage had been sustained in my crash during the final.  I was in 6th and just missed out on 5th in the final run to the flag at the end.

A visit to friends in the area completed a good day out even if results could have been a bit better.

Heat 1: 6th, Heat 2: 4th, Final DNF, Grand National: 6th.  POINTS 19 (including 5 attendance points) + 9 Grand National points.

 

22/08/2009: BUXTON SPEEDWAY TRACK - National Points Championship round 9

With the kart cleaned up following the previous Buxton, the starting problems reappeared but with assistance to start I was able to compete in all races!

Practice went ok but following this and the previous meeting I decided to try higher tyre pressures for the racing.

The first heat started well and I was in third before getting nudged wide and recovering in 6th.  Following another nudge wide, I was down to 7th but I was able to reclaim a place with a dive up the inside of another kart. I then managed to dive up the inside of two clashing karts down the straight but unfortunately, I carried too much speed into the corner and as I ran wide the two karts re-took me on the inside!

The second heat went much better.  Athough at one point I was 5th, I moved up to 4th and then 3rd before slipping back and finishing 4th.

In the final I was running 3rd before before being nudged down to 4th, then 5th, then 6th and then 7th!  I remained 7th for much of the race before another kart spun and I was up to 6th which is where I finished. 

I was 3rd for the early part of the grand national on the tail of the front two who were locked in battle.  Unfortunately, I just could not quite get close enough to nudge one of these in the hope that it would have a knock on effect to the other!  I then slipped down to 5th which is where I finished.

Combined with a long weekend camping away with the families of fellow drivers Chris Butcher and Lee Anderson which included visits to the Alton Towers theme park and the Alton Towers Waterpark on the preceding Thursday and Friday respectively plus taking in the second Brisca F1 Stock Cars World Championship semi-final at the Birmingham Wheels on the Saturday evening, it was an enjoyable few days away!

Heat 1: 6th, Heat 2: 4th, Final 6th, Grand National: 5th.  POINTS 31 (including 5 attendance points) + 10 Grand National points.

 

12 & 13/09/2008: CRIMOND RACEWAY - SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND
Rounds 10 and 11 of the StockKart National Points Championship saw a second trip of the year ‘North of the Border’ to take on my Scottish counterparts in their own backyard.
Although in May, it was a more leaisurely journey up and back as this trip was completed in 4 days.  Travelling began on the Thursday afternoon before a stop over at Rugby and then up to Scotland on the Friday.
The destination was the UK’s most northerly track for the Crimond Raceway Speedweekend on 12th and 13th September.  Each round consisted of a heat and final whilst the weekend racing would conclude with the coveted Scottish ‘Open’ Championship on the Sunday.
All the races would also determine the winning team for the England v Scotland ‘Bannock Burn Bash’ Trophy sponsored by Scottish driver Lee Anderson and English driver Chris Butcher.
An eventful weekend began with practice on the Saturday afternoon and having initially thought that my starting problems had been cured they returned and I missed the first session.  Having missed the first session, for the second session, I started at the back so that I could find my pace and I was able to catch a few karts before dropping back again to find space.  For the third session, I started in the middle of the pack and was on the pace.
In the first heat, I got up to 5th on lap 3 by passing a kart on the outside that was avoiding a spun kart brushing the tyre wall in the process!  I lost places having had to momentarily lift off when on the outside of a kart that got out of shape coming off a bend.  I gained a place back and then another place when a kart pulled out with a broken throttle return spring and eventually finished 7th.
In Saturday’s final, I was up to 4th on lap 2 and stayed there until lap 8 when I was nudged wide and passed by a train of three karts.  I gained a place when a kart dislodged a chain when spinning into the inside armco and finished 6th.
On to the Sunday and in the heat I dropped to 10th and although I was on the pace I was unable to make progress up the order until I passed a kart that spun to finish 9th.
A similar story in Sunday’s final except this time I was unable to make progress up the order despite a yellow flag for stray metal work on the track from another kart bunching the karts up…another missed re-start!
The 20 lap Scottish ‘Open’ Championship was lined up in grid order based on the drivers points from the weekend’s races – I started 10th.  After a hectic start to the longest race of the StockKarts season I was up to 8th before dropping back to 10th at the finish.
All in all a brilliant weekend even if a little bit frustrated with my results on the Sunday.
Good news though as when the team points were added up the English team had won the ‘Bannock Burn Bash’ Trophy by a mere three points: 138-135.  After receiving generous applause on my second ever lap of honour from the appreciative Crimond Raceway spectators, me and the rest of a jubilant England team set off back ‘South of the Border’ arriving back home on the Monday.
Special thanks to Scotland’s Chief Mechanic Michael Skeen in jump-starting my kart all weekend – reflecting the spirit that exists in the StockKarts formula! 

Saturday - Heat 1: 7th, Heat 2: 6th.  POINTS 22 (including 5 attendance points)
Sunday - Heat 3: 9th, Heat 4: 10th.  POINTS 12 (including 5 attendance points)

SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP: 10th.

Points for TEAM ENGLAND: 13

 

04/10/2009: SWAFFHAM RACEWAY - 12TH AND FINAL ROUND OF THE 2009 NATIONAL STOCKKARTS POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP

A back injury picked up on the Friday before this meeting (lifting my fiancee's niece at a wedding!) originally ruled me out of this meeting as I was unable to fully stand up straight first thing in the morning!

I was disappointed to not race at the final meeting of the season especially as my last race at Swaffham in June had ended with 3rd in the final and my first ever lap of honour!

I made the trip, with kart, to Swaffham so that I could watch and also see if my kart could be lent out to another driver.

As my back began to ease during the day, I decided that if it was still ok then I would attempt one go.  I avoided practice and decided that if I was going to race then it would be in the final as this offered the most points.  My kart was lent out for the heats and finished 6th in both.

I went into this meeting 5th in the points and with the driver who was 6th in the points having won both the heats, I decided to race in the final to see if I could maintain 5th.  In addition, a couple of drivers were lost from the grid and so the grid would be boosted by another kart.  I took the race easy, managed to pass one kart, beat a first time driver who started at the back and beat a stranded kart that had lost a chain to finish a creditable, in the circumstances, 6th (the third 6th place finish for my kart of the afternoon!)

Unfortunately, I dropped to 6th in the points as the driver who was 6th also won the final to finish just 7 points ahead.

FINAL: 6th. POINTS 17 (including 5 attendance points).

 

2009 NATIONAL STOCKKARTS POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP: 6TH - 218 points (223 total points less two lowest points scoring rounds)

2009 SWAFFHAM TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP: 5TH - 82 points

2009 CRIMOND TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP: 5TH - 69 points

2009 BUXTON TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP: 7TH - 50 points

2009 COVENTRY TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP: 9TH - 22 points

2009 GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: 7TH - 29 points

 

A proper full season with a new kart paint scheme, lots of travelling (including 2 trips to Scotland) and a mixture of good and not so good results.  This helped me to learn a great deal both on and off the track but now need to find more consistency.  Getting married towards the end of the year meant obvious time restrictions but without sustaining injury prior to the final round: 6th in the final National Points standings could have been 5th!

The season highlight was my 3rd place finish in the final at a wet Swaffham on 7th June to earn a first ever lap of honour...this was followed by a second lap of honour as part of the winning 'England' team in the 'Bannock Burn Bash' Trophy at the Crimond weekend in September.

The not so good being the kart chain falling off early on when well placed in the World Cup race at Coventry in April.

I will begin the 2010 season graded as Superstar.


StoxKarts 2010

30/01/2010: BIRMINGHAM WHEELS - 2010 TEST DAY

With my kart away at 'Chris Butcher Racing' being updated to the 2010 rulebook, the day was mostly about catching up with fellow drivers, the ongoing changes following the takeover and generally helping out.  I took a few publicity photos before helping out with marshalling and repairs.

Late in the day, I borrowed the kart of Carl Heighes to go out for my first few laps of the Birmingham Wheels track.  It went ok and it was good to get back out again having not raced since October (and even then that was one race at Swaffham when I took it easy due to a back injury!)  This was also my first drive in someone elses StockKart/StoxKart since owning mine! 

 

03/04/2010: COVENTRY - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 1

With my StoxKart updated to 2010 specifications (thanks to Chris Butcher Racing) this was the first meeting of the 2010 season and the first meeting following the re-launch of the StockKarts UK Formula under the new name of StoxKarts.  Now under new ownership, the newly rebranded StoxKarts Formula took giant leaps forward during the close season and over 20 drivers were in attendance for round 1 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+.

In near perfect conditions on a damp track, I made a bad start to heat one as I lost momentum on the outside line of the back straight which was not as smooth.  I was then held up by a slow kart and ran wide losing further places before benefiting from an incident involving several karts on the home straight which brought out the waved yellow flags as a kart remained stranded across the track.  On the restart I was in 13th at the rear of a group of six karts.  I moved up to 12th before 10th and 11th had a coming together.  I took avoiding action and moved up to 10th but had lost ground on 9th.  I re-caught 9th just as the chequered flag dropped.  At some point during this race the glass had fallen out of my inside rear view mirror!

Rain began to fall just before the start of heat two and the remaining races took place in tricky conditions.  I again got a bad start losing out when becoming distracted by hire karts jumping the start.  It proved an ideal race to get the hang of my 'rip n roll' goggles which whilst delaying me slightly certainly helped give some visibility (not having an inside rear view mirror was certainly not an issue!) although I was also not helped by being close (but not close enough!) behind another kart!  It also did not help that as I was passed by another kart at the start finish line I thought I had seen them be given the chequered flag and backed off thinking it was the end of the race!  I gained places by passing karts and with karts spinning to finish unplaced (I think 12th).

Heat three was very tricky with little visibility.  I again lost momentum at the start by being stuck on what was now a very treacherous outside line on the back straight as hire karts again jumped the start.  A crash on the back straight saw several karts spin out and I was able to negotiate a way past but this involved again losing momentum on the outside line before waved yellow flags brought the race to a halt.  To avoid a kart half spinning I was forced onto the outside of the back straight before doing so again as two karts came together in front of me with one spinning.  I was then nudged on to the same line before unfortunately finding it again to avoid a spun kart!  Despite losing momentum everytime I was on the outside line of the back straight and being on the end of a few nudges with perserverance I kept going and I was able to gain places in a race where few karts finished.   Although I was a lap down I was recorded on the lap sheets as finishing 4th.

Conditions were no better for the final but I faired much better and was in 9th before putting the bumper to use for the first time on the day in nudging another kart.  I was nudged on to the outside line of the back straight upon being lapped by the two leading karts.  I was then on my own the remainder of the race and going ok.  The kart that was 8th had a spin and with another kart going off I was 7th on the lap sheets, although video evidence suggests I was 6th, in a race where few karts finished.

An interesting meeting, never had to concentrate so hard in a StockKart/StoxKart just to stay on track!  Need to improve my race starts.

Heat 1: unplaced (9th), Heat 2: unplaced (I think 12th), Heat 3: 4th, Final: 7th.  POINTS: 16.

 

01/05/2010: BIRMINGHAM WHEELS - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 2

With the cancellation of the Barford fixture on 11th April (still resulting in a trip up north due to booked travelodges and recovering Chris Butcher's kart that, due to the cancellation, had become stranded in Scotland!) this was the first tarmac meeting of the 2010 season.

Three cleaning sessions following Coventry had got the kart ready as again over 20 drivers were in attendance for round 2 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+.

This was my debut meeting at the Birmingham Wheels raceway although I had completed a few laps in the kart of a fellow driver at the pre-season test day.

The meeting formed part of the second Incarace ‘I-factor’ series event. The meeting featured 7 formulae – believed to be a first at the Birmingham Wheels Raceway!

On a fast dry track heat one featured two yellow flag incidents and although I was racing without an inside rear view mirror I made some progress through the field but finished outside of the places (I think 14th).

Heat two saw a few karts non-finish and I also passed a few karts before being delayed and then nudged wide to be repassed by a kart.  I again finished outside of the places (I believe 12th) in a race that highlighted how difficult it is to make up ground from the rear of the field in a short ten lap race!

Having been overcast and threatened a couple of times, rain began to fall between heat two and the final.  The tricky conditions made for the best race of the evening.  I gained places as a few drivers found the conditions tricky and spun.  I was at the rear of a group of karts battling for 5th and making progress.  I was repassed by one of the recovering karts on the inside going into turn one before they ran wide on the exit enabling me to re pass.  On the next lap the same kart raced pass down the outside going into turn one before again running wide on the exit enabling me to re pass again!  With two karts tangling and then another kart spinning I was up to 7th going into the last lap.  6th nudged 5th going into turn one of the final lap enabling me to get up the inside of the kart now relegated to 6th going into the final bend.  I managed to lean them out wide and claim the place to finish 6th out of 18 starters.

A difficult meeting with the rain no doubt helping towards an improved result in the final.

After staying over at a fellow drivers in the area: the following day I assisted at a StoxKarts corporate hire meeting followed by Junior testing and the 2010 Junior series round 1.

Heat 1 and heat 2: unplaced (I think about 14th and 12th respectively), Final: 6th.  POINTS: 12.  (I-factor series points: 6)

 

16/05/2010: SCUNTHORPE RACEWAY - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 3 and Gold Top Qualifying round 1

Another 20 driver line up including two National Hot Rod drivers for round 3 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+ and Gold Top Qualifying round 1 sponsored by Teng Tools.

The meeting doubled with Scunthorpe speedway practice with a reasonable sized crowd taking in the action.

This was the debut meeting for the formula at Scunthorpe and became another new track that I had raced at.

Heat 1 and 2 were run in tricky wet conditions and with a wide track it meant for many choices of racing line.  In heat 1 I did not make the best of starts and was then compromised by hire drivers going all different directions around the first bend.  I settled into a rythem and tried a range of lines to find out where the quicker dry lines were but finished unplaced (I believe around 10th - 12th).

Heat 2 followed a similar pattern to heat 1 and I had a good dice with another driver.  Learning from heat 1 and avoiding a few incidents I finished 8th.

For heat 3 and the final the track had dried and was much faster.  Heat 3 started with a first bend brush with the air fence avoiding two spun karts on the first corner!  I made a few places and whilst closing on one kart another kart spun further ahead in turns 3 and 4 leading to the kart in front of me also taking a spin!  Fortunately I managed to find a gap between the two but then came a yellow flag and although I was towards the rear of the restart this was due to drivers being lined up in position order rather than lap sheet order.  I was on the pace but finished unplaced (I believe around 10th - 12th).

The final saw a good dice with another kart.  I passed them before they nudged me wide to re-pass.  I eventually finished 8th.

Combined with staying at friends in the area over the weekend the kart was cleaned up that evening and the following morning almost ready for the next meeting.

Heat 1 and heat 3: unplaced (I think about 10th - 12th), Heat 2: 8th, Final: 8th.  POINTS: 9.

 

06/06/2010: SKEGNESS STADIUM - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 4

With the kart having been stored at our friends in the area since the previous meeting at Scunthorpe a small amount of work was required the day before the meeting.  Another 20 driver line up for round 4 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+.

The meeting featured National 2Litre Saloons, ORCi Ministox and Rookie Bangers in front of a reasonable sized crowd taking in the action.

This was my debut meeting at Skegness and I lined up for practice but due to a limit on the number of karts allowed on track did not make it out and so heat 1 effectively became practice.  I passed a kart on each of the first two laps that had pulled off / crashed and then another that had pulled off halfway through the race.  I generally made little progress not helped by running wide on a bumpy surface around turns one and two on lap 7.  I re-closed up the gap to the kart ahead but it was too little too late and I finished unplaced (I believe 17th).  It rained prior to the start of heat 2 making for tricky wet conditions and following previous good results in the wet I was fairly confident.  Unfortunately, as the green flag dropped I collected a spun kart on the exit of turn four launching my kart up and over the side of the other kart (see videos below)!  I passed two karts that were delayed by seperate incidents as a yellow flag followed with the kart I hit stranded across the track!  On the restart, in thinking that there would be a full lap before the green flag dropped, I was busy checking whether the kart was ok and lost ground!  I passed two karts but was generally delayed by another kart that was struggling for grip and looking close to spinning on a few occasions.  Concerned with what damage may have been caused by my crash I resisted getting too close and using the front bumper which in hindsight, on finding minimal front end damage, was a mistake.  To make matters worse, I was then passed around the outside by a kart on the last bend and finished unplaced (I believe 15th).  I reverted to my preferred wet weather tyre pressures for heat 3 as the track was still wet and had my best race of the meeting.  I passed three karts in the early laps that had stopped / spun and then had a good battle with another kart passing, being re-passed when I ran wide around turns one and two, before re-passing again.  I passed another kart before the end but again finished unplaced (I believe 15th again).  I estimated how much the track had dried ahead of the final and still with my preferred wet weather tyre pressure settings I struggled for pace, was lapped and finished unplaced.

Results were disappointing but combined with staying at friends in the area over the weekend it was not all bad.

Heats 1,2, 3 and final: unplaced.  POINTS: 0.

 

19/06/2010: BUXTON SPEEDWAY - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 5 and Gold Top Qualifying round 2

With the kart cleaned up and the side of the wing sprayed Blue around the edge it was off to the Peak District for round 5 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+ and round 2 of the Gold Top Qualifying sponsored by Teng Tools.

The meeting was a private hire at the trickly little shale circuit and with 18 karts the drivers were split into 3 groups with heats split into 2/3's.  I was in the first 2 heats.

I decided to experiment with higher tyre pressures for heat 1 which went well.  My plan was to follow a driver who goes well around Buxton as they were on my inside in Blue.  Unfortunately (or fortunately!) they pulled off with a split chain at the start of the rolling lap!  I made and ok start and as the race settled down I was 6th before overtaking two karts battling each other and moving up to 4th before those karts came back past.  Going into the final bend those two karts in front looked as though they were going to tangle so I backed off ready to take advantage not realising that a kart was behind which pushed me wide, came past and I finished 7th.

Heat 2 was another good race and I timed my start better to get momentum up the slight hill of turns 3 and 4.  I finished 7th and was on the pace only losing ground on the karts in front when I ran wide around the tricky turns 3 and 4 towards the end.

The track was watered before heat 3 with all the karts being covered in shale so I was glad I missed that one!

The final started badly as I tried to time my start down the back straight so as to get some momentum into turns 3 and 4.  Unfortunately I went too early and had to ease off and when the green flag dropped I was on the outside in the marbles with no momentum up the slight hill and was soon swamped by the karts behind.  I fought back up the places overtaking a few karts and gaining places from spun karts.  I was just behind another kart and was trying to nudge a way past. I got alongside coming off the final bend but lost out by a half kart length.  When the results were revealed I found out that this was the battle for 10th and so I finished 11th and just outside the points. 

I decided to not race in the Grand National as it was non-points but this was more to protect a mild back problem and also to avoid any damage that would have put being on track at the next meeting in doubt due to limited time to get it fixed.

I enjoyed the meeting and being in blue grade felt like I was much more in the thick of the action.

Heat 1: 7TH, Heat 2: 7TH.  Final: unplaced (11th).  POINTS: 4.

 

03/07/2010: COVENTRY - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 6

With the kart cleaned up following Buxton round 6 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+ took place at Coventry.

Following my reasonably successful experiment with higher tyre pressures at Buxton I went with the same at Coventry. 

For heat 1, run on a watered but drying all the time track, I started from the front of the blue grade and made a good start passing two karts on lap 1 and another on lap 2 to move up to 5th place.  When another kart pulled off on lap 4 I was up to 4th.  I was delayed by a half spinning back marker on lap 5 which saw another kart close and push me wide on lap 6.  I was delayed trying to go around a hire kart on lap 7 enabling another kart to pass and when I ran wide to avoid a stranded kart on the same lap it enabled another kart to close and push me wide to pass on the last lap.  I finished 7th.

For heat 2 the track was drier and I started at the back of the blue grade.  I made a poor start with karts not staying in grades before being brought to a stop so I was expecting another rolling lap and not the green flag to drop!  I lost several places on lap 1 before making up two places with crashed karts before I was passed by another kart at the end of the lap.  I was 12th after 2 laps having pushed wide and re-passed the kart that passed me at the end of lap 1.  I passed two more karts on lap 3 and another on lap 6.  I was passed by a kart on lap 8 trying to go around a hire kart which I passed on the next and penultimate lap.  I eventually finished 13th.

For heat 3 the track had been watered resulting in trickier conditions and I started in the middle of the blue grade.  I lost out a few places on lap 1 and at the start of lap 2 but gained a few places when two karts clashed and ended lap 2 in 14th.  I made more places on the next lap as a kart spun in front of me and when two karts crashed before being passed by a kart at the end of the lap.  I was up to 13th before passing another kart and gaining places when three karts hooked up and went fencebound off turn 2.  I passed another kart on lap 6 as a kart went wide around a stranded kart on turn 4.  I went wide to pass a spun kart on the 8th and penultimate lap and a kart passed me.  I nudged them on the next bend only to glance off forcing me to go wide around the stranded kart on turn 4.  I finished 9th but video evidence suggest I may have been 8th.

For the final the track was once again drying on the racing line and I started at the back of the blue grade.  I decided to hang back at the start but the green was waved earlier than the previous heats and I lost ground.  I still managed to pass 4 karts on lap 1 with two karts coming together in two separate incidents although I was passed by one kart and ended the lap 10th.  On lap 2 I passed a kart that had stopped only to be passed by four karts and I ended the lap in 13th.  I was passed by another kart on the next lap into 14th and tracked and nudged that kart for three laps making up one place along the way into 13th.  I lined the kart up going into turn 3 on lap 6 and pushed them wide only to nudged at the same time by the kart behind.  I half spun before recovering but I had lost ground and was down to 14th.  I made up a place with a kart pulling off on the next lap but lost a place on the next and 8th lap.  I moved up to 13th on lap 10 pushing a kart wide through turn 2.  On the 12th and final lap the glass fell out of my inside rear view mirror for the second time (following heat 1 at round 1) in the season at Coventry!

I enjoyed the meeting and being in blue is certainly an eventful place to start!

Heat 1: 7TH, Heat 2: unplaced (13TH), Heat 3 (unplaced) 9TH, Final: unplaced (13th).  POINTS: 2.

 

10/07/2010: NORTHAMPTON INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 7 and Gold Top Qualifying round 3

With the kart cleaned up following Coventry this was my debut meeting at the Northampton International Raceway for round 7 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+ and round 3 of the Gold Top Qualifying sponsored by Teng Tools.

The meeting formed part of the fourth Incarace ‘I-factor’ series event.

On a dry and very fast track I went out in practice and was off the pace not helped by twice driving through a big hole on the exit of turn two.

I upped my tyre pressures for heat 1 which started well but I lifted off as it looked as though two karts were going to come together right in front of me on the exit of turn 4 and was soon swamped by karts and relegated down the order.  I passed two crashed karts and then battled past a couple but was also repassed by one of the earlier crashed karts.  Other karts non-finished but I was unplaced around 14th.

Heat 2 started better but I was pushed wide and every time I reslotted into the order seemed to be pushed wide again!  I passed karts but eventually finished unplaced around 13th.

The final followed a similar pattern to heat 2 before a three kart crash brought out the yellow flags.  I passed a couple of karts before losing drive going round turns 1 and 2.  I realised that my chain had fallen off and so I pulled on to the infield for a non-finish.

A frustrating meeting with a need to find a set up that works on dry tarmac. 

Heats 1 and 2: unplaced (I think 14th and 13th respectively), Final: DNF.  POINTS: 0.

 

24/07/2010: BUXTON SPEEDWAY - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 8

The meeting was a private hire at the trickly little shale circuit and with 24 karts the drivers were split into 3 groups with heats split into 2/3's.  I was in the first 2 heats.

After the experiment of higher tyre pressures went ok at the previous Buxton I decided to continue with this approach.

Heat 1 went well with a good start helped by looking for when the start marshall waved the flag to start rather than judging my start based on the karts in front.  I spun a kart on the first bend and passed two karts that clashed on the exit of turn two and was up to 4th.  I ran wide round the next bend and was down to 5th after lap 1.  I was passed by a kart on lap 2 and on lap 3 I passed one kart only to be passed by two other karts!  I was in 7th where I stayed for the remainder of the race.

Heat 2 again went well with a better start than normal again.  I passed a kart on the start straight and another on the back straight and was up to 5th after lap 1. I passed another kart round turns one and two and was 4th after lap 2.  I nudged the third place kart into turn three on lap 3 but did not find a way past and was passed up the inside by a kart down the home straight.  I was still on the outside going into turn one only to find a kart stranded in the middle of the bend.  I had to detour around the outside to avoid and lost three places as a result and was down to 8th.  I was passed by a kart on lap six down the back straight and was out of the points in 9th.  I fought back to pass a kart through turns one and two on lap 7 and then passed a kart that ran wide and hit the fence on the exit of turn two on the ninth and final lap to finish 7th again.

This meant that in four heats at Buxton I had recorded four 7th place finishes!

I qualified for the 20 kart final but the track had now been  watered.  I decided to try the same tyre pressures but in hindsight this was probably a mistake.  I made a bad start and was passed by three karts early on.  I passed a spun kart on the exit of turn two but was delayed doing so and passed by two karts.  I was 13th after lap 1.  I was passed by another kart on lap 2 and was down to 14th.  A spun kart on the exit of turn two on lap 4 scattered karts but I found a way through to make up 3 places into 11th.  This was as good as it got as I was then passed by a kart to be 12th after lap 4.  I then half spun on the exit of turn two on lap 5 was hooked by another kart propelling both of us into fence.  I ended up stranded across the track but managed to head the wrong way into turn two and park up on outside before rejoining a lap down.  I half spun again at the same point on lap 7 and decided to pull off rather than continue struggling and potentially damaging the kart when I was out of the running.   

I decided to not race in the Grand National as it was non-points but this was more to avoid any damage that would have put being on track at the next meeting in doubt due to limited time to get it fixed.

I enjoyed the meeting - the heats more than the final!

Heat 1: 7TH, Heat 2: 7TH.  Final: DNF.  POINTS: 4.

 

07/08/2010: BIRMINGHAM WHEELS - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 9

25 drivers were in attendance for round 9 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+.

The meeting formed part of the fifth Incarace ‘I-factor’ series event.

Rain two hours before the meeting left the track wet for practice and alhough I did not go out reports from fellow drivers suggested a very slippery surface.  Based on this I set my tyre pressures for wet weather only to find that the track had dried by the time of our first heat!  I was off the pace and headed backwards through the field and although I did pass a few karts, including one late on out of turn two that came back with a big push going into turn three, I finished unplaced.

I changed my tyre pressures for heat 2 and was more on the pace from the start but I pushed a kart going into turn three only to glance off and go out wide enabling a few karts to pass.  I passed a few spun karts and held off another kart for a few laps before they passed.  I again finished unplaced possibly around 14th.

I was again on the pace for the final and at one point was upto around 6th place.  A yellow flag for a big crash closed the grid and I was shuffled down the order but was going ok in several battles with the racing extremely quick.  I slowed to avoid a spun kart on the final bend only to suffer a heavy hit on the rear wheel corner that dislodged the chain on my kart.  I freewheeled down the home straight and over the line but finished unplaced believed to be 14th.

Heat 1: unplaced (unknown), heat 2: unplaced (possibly around 14th), Final: unplaced (believe 14th).  POINTS: 0.

 

26/08/2010: SKEGNESS STADIUM - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 12 and Gold Top Qualifying round 5

Due to house moving issues, I missed the Scottish Championship weekend at Crimond including National Points Championship rounds 10 and 11.

28 drivers were in attendance for round 12 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+ and Gold Top Qualifying round 5 sponsored by Teng Tools.

The meeting was the first part of a StoxKart summer Skegness double-header centred around a camping holiday.

Raining throughout the meeting meant for a wet and greasy surface.  I completed repairs to the kart and just made it out on track in time for heat 1 and ran wide into turn 1.  I was faced with two spinning karts which I negotiated a way past but lost several places.  I got into a rhythm and passed a few karts back.  I was pushed wide into turn three by a kart that passed and then spun out of turn four.  I finished unplaced possibly around 14th.  Heat 2 went better and I avoided several incidents and was well placed on the tail of the leading karts but made an error through turns one and two and then through turns three and four and lost ground to the karts behind.  Some of these karts then passed and I finished in 10th place.  In the final I was in amongst the Blue grade drivers into lap 1 before being pushed wide into turn three and passed by a few karts plus avoiding a spinning kart.  On turn two of lap 2 I avoided an incident including another spinning kart before running wide into turn one on lap 3 and being passed by a kart.  On lap 4, I passed a kart and also a stranded kart on the exit of turn four.  The stranded kart resulted in a yellow flag which I did not originally notice and I passed two karts.  I moved over to let these karts back past only to be passed by four karts!  I ran wide on the restart trying to get a run on the karts directly ahead which did not work out and I was passed by a kart.  I was passed by another kart on lap 7 and although I was on the rear of the karts ahead for the remainder of the race I was unable to get quite close enough to use the bumper and I finished unplaced down the order.

Heat 1: unplaced (possibly around 14th), heat 2: 10th, Final: unplaced (unknown).  POINTS: 0.

 

29/08/2010: SKEGNESS STADIUM - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 13

Round 13 of the National Points Championship sponsored by Print+ was the second part of a StoxKart summer Skegness double-header centred around a camping holiday including disrupted sleep due to a mixture of rain, wind and loud music!

Despite a rain shower in the morning, the track was dry for heat 1 and I was pushed wide into turn three on lap 1.  I ran wide and avoided a incident with a kart being spun.  I was on the outside going down the home straight and due to the poor standard of the surface in the middle of turns one and two I decided to go around the outside but unfortunately an out of control kart ran wide and spun in front of me and in swerving to avoid I crashed into and became stuck against the armco.  I thought the kart was damaged and received a tow off the track by a tractor only to find that the kart was actually ok!

I did a warm up lap before heat 2, which was again run in dry conditions, to check the kart was ok.  I took it a little easier to ensure the kart was ok but generally I struggled for pace.  I was again pushed wide into turn three of lap 1 and then was slowed on the home straight as a kart spun with another sent off course onto the inner kerb before rejoining right in front of me around turns one and two.  I was passed by one kart before I passed a kart.  I was towards the rear and making little progress but did pass a kart that was out at the start of lap 5.  I was passed by the earlier spun kart through turns one and two on lap 6 but passed two karts crashed against the fence on the exit of turn two.  Also on lap 6 I passed a spun kart on the exit of turn four but generally the race was not good and I finished unplaced.  Rain had returned and the track was wet for the final and very greasy with the addition of mud brought on to the track from the centre green.  On the wet surface I ran wide through turns one and two on the first lap and was passed by several karts but I passed a half spun kart on the exit of turn four.  On lap 2 I passed a spinning kart on the exit of turn two and then another kart pushed wide in the same place on lap 3 before passing another kart along the back straight.  I was going ok again in wet conditions and the exit of turn two was proving tricky as I passed another spun kart on lap 5.  I was passed by two karts on the exit of turn four on lap 6 but made two places back as two karts came together on the exit of turn two on lap 7 before another two karts that had come together on the exit of turn four on the same lap.  On lap 8, I was pushed wide on the exit of turn two and passed by three karts but I recovered to pass another kart along the back straight before passing a kart pushed wide and a spun kart on the exit of turn four.  On lap 9 I was delayed through turns one and two by a half spinning kart before being passed by two karts and then collected and half spun by a third and passed by another.  I was then a lap down and spent laps 10, 11 and 12 keeping out of the way of lapping karts.  I was re-passed by a kart on lap 10 which I duly passed as they spun on the exit of turn four on lap 11.  I finished unplaced but it had been an eventful race.  After the meeting we returned to the campsite to find our tent had blown down along with another drivers and over food that evening I discussed potential problems with my kart giving me ideas to hopefully increase speed for the next outing.

All in all an eventful few days away with the highlight being the 10th place finish on the Thursday!

Heat 1: DNF, heat 2: unplaced (unknown), Final: unplaced (unknown).  POINTS: 0.

 

18/09/2010: COVENTRY - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 15

Due to various house moving issues including the kart not being ready, I missed National Points Championship round 14 a week earlier at the Northampton International Raceway.  Unfortunately, I also missed this round at the Brandon Stadium, Coventry due a nail embedded in one of the trailer tyres resulting in finding a puncture when removing the trailer from the garage!  Clare and I replaced the tyre with the spare which also had a problem so we decided not to risk taking the trailer, especially as there was now no spare!  We travelled up anyway to watch and help out (including lap scoring the two private hire heats) and the meeting ended up being very muddy with the third heat being run as part of the proper Stock Car meeting on the outer infield which caused all sorts of problems...so a blessing in disguise perhaps?  Due to the Coventry Stock Car lap scorer not turning up Clare and I, as StoxKart lapscorers for the afternoon, were asked to step in and lap score for the full meeting proper - Unlimited Street Bangers, Micro Street Bangers, V8 Hotstox (although we mostly left those to the transponders) and StoxKarts!

 

13/11/2010: BIRMINGHAM WHEELS - GOLD TOP CHAMPIONSHIP, NATIONAL POINTS SHOOTOUT FINALE, I-FACTOR SERIES FINAL.

Having taken a break during October due to a house move and to get the kart and trailer in order (including a new air filter on the kart and two new tyres on the trailer) I returned for the season ending Gold Top Championship meeting combined with the National Points Shootout finale and the I-factor series final.  Almost 30 karts started the Gold Top Championship race and having lost a pre-meeting coin toss with a driver on the same points I lined up on the outside of row 10.  The build up was good and with up to five rolling laps it became clear that we were going on the fourth.  The race went ok considering I hadn't sat in the kart let alone raced it since the end of August!  I managed to steer clear of the incidents including a kart hitting the home straight armco hard just in front of me.  A second yellow flag late in the race kept me on the lead lap and with 15 finishers I was the last kart on the lead lap in 13th/14th place. 

In the first heat I was third for a lap and a half before being pushed wide going into turn three and I dropped down the order.  I recovered and was following two karts having a battle and as these ran wide around turns three and four I seized the opportunity to catch and pass and finished around 15th.

In the second heat, I again made an ok start passing a few karts before again being pushed wide going into turn three and dropping down the order.  I finished around 17th.

I lined up for the I-factor final I believe on the inside of row 8 but my race did not last long as following an incident on the home straight just after the start I was forced onto an inside 'speed bump', took off and nosedived before landing heavily.  Luckily I was just winded and a yellow flag for another driver stranded in a dangerous position enabled me to climb out and catch my breath.

GOLD TOP CHAMPIONSHIP: 13TH/14TH, Heat 1: believe 15th, heat 2: believe 17th, I-FACTOR SERIES FINAL: DNF.  POINTS: 0.

 

2010 NATIONAL STOXKARTS POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP: 20TH - 47 points (12 of 18 meetings so three lowest points scoring rounds = 0.  Average 3.92 points)

2010 NATIONAL 'SHALE SHIFTER' CHAMPIONSHIP: 12TH - 35 points

2010 NATIONAL 'ASPHALT ACE' CHAMPIONSHIP: 28TH= - 12 points

2010 GOLD TOP CHAMPIONSHIP 'NATIONAL' QUALIFYING: 20TH= - 13 points

2010 SCUNTHORPE TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP: 8TH - 9 points

2010 COVENTRY TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP: 13TH= - 18 points

2010 BUXTON TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP: 15TH= - 8 points

2010 BIRMINGHAM TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP: 21ST - 12 points

2010 NORTHAMPTON TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP - 0 points scored

2010 SKEGNESS TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP - 0 points scored

2010 BARFORD TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP - did not race

2010 CRIMOND TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP - did not race

 

What a difference!  The re-launch of the StockKarts UK Formula under the new name of StoxKarts and with new ownership meant that the formula took giant leaps forward since the end of the 2009 and was the fastest growing short oval formula of 2010.  20+ karts regularly in attendance and 34 drivers listed on the final National Points Championship chart.

This obviously meant that the racing was much harder and at times tough going with a drop down the grades during the season to Blue and then Yellow.  At the same time though it was good to be part of a formula gaining credibility all the time and mostly knowing when and where the next meetings were going to be!  It also led to new tracks being raced in Birmingham Wheels, Northampton, Scunthorpe and Skegness.

The learning during 2009 helped at the start of 2010 before a house move, additional work commitments and trailer maintenance towards the end of the season meant a few missed rounds (unfortunately including the Crimond 'Scottish Open Championship and Bannock Burn Bash Trophy' weekend) but it was good to get back out for the Gold Top Championship final and then to finish the race itself!

47 points for the National Points Championship with 35 of those coming on shale and 12 on tarmac - and even then it was very wet tarmac!  The season highlight was those 12 tarmac points from a 6th place finish in the round 2 final on my debut at Birmingham Wheels.  


I will begin the 2011 season graded as Yellow.


StoxKarts 2011

29/01/2011: BIRMINGHAM WHEELS - 2011 TEST DAY

Having bought a new house just before Christmas that needed lots of new work before we could move in priorities were elsewhere and not with getting the kart ready.  I attended the test day mostly as a way of catching up with fellow drivers.

 

01/05/2011: KINGS LYNN - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 3 AND ENGLISH GOLD TOP QUALIFIER 2

Now moved into our house, I had managed to collect a few items needed to bring the kart up to 2011 specification at the Buxton meeting on 16 April attended during a short break to the Peak District.  The original intention was to attend this meeting to get the parts fitted whilst helping out but I was informed that it wouldn't take long to do and if I arrived early then I should be able to race.  I was so keen to arrive early that I forgot to get fuel and had to borrow some from a fellow driver!  With the kart ready and my transponder registered it was time to get back out on track for real for the first time since mid-November (I had only seen the kart about 4 times since then let alone get it near a track!) 

On a dry track 28 karts took to the track for heat 1 and I lined up on the outside front of the yellow grade - although there were 9 karts in the white grade!  This was not the best place to be when 2 karts spun on the inside and middle of turns 1 and 2 on the first lap and I had to go wide to avoid.  This is when I had an early introduction to the very loose shale marbles on the outside forcing me to ease off and avoid being sucked into the fence.  I slipped down the order and again when I was pushed wide on turn 3 and with 2 karts tangling in front I eased off thinking they were going to turn into the fence in front.  I was again pushed wide into turns 1 and 2 on lap 2 and again into turn 3 all the time slipping further down the pack.  I chucked the kart into turns 1 and 2 on lap 3 only to run wide and lose visibility in the dust.  I was struggling to find grip and a good line but on the plus side a few other karts had spun and come to grief on the loose marbles and were parked up against the fencing particularly around turns 1 and 2.  On lap 5, I caught a kart that was struggling for grip and had a few 'moments' in front of me before I was passed by another kart through turns 3 and 4 on lap 6.  On lap 7, I lapped 2 karts and just avoided a stranded kart on the exit of turn 4.  I caught another kart struggling for grip on lap 8 and decided that it was probably not just me finding the conditions interesting!  I passed a lapped kart again on lap 11 and happily finished my first race back out although down the order possibly around 15th.

Straight into heat 2, I was lined up on the inside of row two within the yellow grade.  On lap 1, I went for a wide line into turn 1 only for 2 karts to hook up in front of me and I clipped one which turned me towards the fence and after then tangling with one of those recovering karts out of turn 2 I had lost all momentum and slipped way down the order.  I passed the kart I had tangled with on lap 1 into turn 1 on lap 2 and started to find a rythem.  A few karts were coming to grief on the loose shale - on lap 3 I passed a kart stranded on turns 3 and 4 and on lap 4 a spun kart in turns 1 and 2 before I passed a kart out of turn 4.  On lap 5, I passed another spun kart on the exit of turn 2 but on lap 6 I chucked the kart into turns 1 and 2 a little excessively, ran wide and brushed the fence to lose a few places I had gained back from the start.  On lap 7 I passed a few karts including 1 spun in turns 1 and 2, 1 parked on the exit of turn 2, a kart and a lapped kart whilst negotiating these karts and a crashed kart through turns 3 and 4.  On lap 9 I passed a kart recovering from a spin down the back straight only to be repassed by that kart into turn 3 on lap 10.  I passed 3 karts through turns 1 and 2 on lap 11, one having run wide and two that had tangled.  On the 12th and final lap, the kart that passed me on lap 10 shed a wheel in front of me down the back straight - I quickly got past plus lapping a kart and passing another spun kart on the exit of turn 4.  In all the mayhem of karts going everywhere I finished 8th and in the process gained my first points of the season!

Whilst off track the track had been watered for heat 3 and was quite slippery although it rapidly dried in the dry and windy conditions.  I again started on the outside front of the yellow grade and failed to get grip at the start but soon got going ok.  On lap 2, I was pushed wide into turn 1 and lost 2 places before losing 2 more through turns 3 and 4.  On lap 3, I lost 2 more places through turns 1 and 2 before being pushed wide into turn 3.  The 2 karts that had pushed me wide tangled on the exit of turn 4 and although I passed, a brush with the wall whilst taking avoiding action saw me be passed back by these 2 karts plus another through turns 1 and 2 on lap 4 plus another kart down the back straight.  On lap 5, I was pushed wide into turn 1 and passed by a kart.  I then began to reel in the karts ahead and going into turn 3 on lap 7 pushed a kart but only managed to glance off, run wide and be passed by a kart into turn 1 on lap 8!  I again reeled in the karts ahead and got up the inside of the kart I had nudged in lap 7 going into turn 1 on lap 9.  The driver of this kart not realising I was there moved across causing me to ride up and over the front and take a big look at the sky in the process!  I ran wide on landing and was then lapped into turns 3 and 4.  Concerned whether the kart was ok and not wanting to affect those on the lead lap I kept out of the way but again brought the kart home for a finish although unplaced down the order.

Straight into the final and I again lined up on the outside of the front of the yellow grade with the track again watered.  I struggled to get momentum around turns 3 and 4 at the drop of the green and was passed by 3 karts before the start line but did get going only to be pushed wide into turn 1 and be passed by several karts down the back straight and around turns 3 and 4.  On lap 2, I passed a kart going into turn 1 but ran wide and was passed by 3 karts down the back straight.  On lap 3 the track was drying and struggling for grip I was passed by a kart through turns 1 and 2.  On lap 4, I started to find some rythem and passed a slowing kart just after the start line, a kart through turns 1 and 2 and another through turns 3 and 4.  On lap 6, I passed a kart spun on the exit of turn 2 and passed a kart through turns 3 and 4.  On lap 7, I was in amongst a group of karts but got crowded out and passed by 2 on the exit of turn 4 but gained 2 places back thorugh turns 3 and 4 on lap 8 and then another on lap 9 with a kart spun through turns 1 and 2.  On lap 10, I passed a crashed kart though turns 1 and 2, another on the exit of turn 2 and a stopped kart through turns 3 and 4 before the yellow flags came out for the crashed kart (subsequently found out it had performed a spectacular cartwheel - see video).  The karts were lined up in single file and I was 15th.  On the restart through lap 11, I passed a kart that ran wide out of turn 2 and 2 karts that had crashed on the exit of turn 2 to move up to 12th.  On lap 12, I passed 3 karts that tangled at the end of the back straight to move up to 9th before passing 2 karts that spun right in front of me through the notorious turns 1 and 2.  I just managed to avoid but was passed by a kart going into turn 3.  I lapped a kart out of turn 4 and was running 8th with a lap to go but a little too enthusiastically ran wide into turn 1, got on the loose marbles and was a passenger as the kart slid hard into the fence!  With a stranded kart on the exit of turn 2 and concerned that I had damaged the kart, I did not want to pull out on to the racing line to pass so I parked up.

Wanting to properly check the kart, I did not take part in the Grand National.

Certainly an eventful day, good to get back out again and whilst scoring some points was a welcome bonus it could have been better given how the final was going but that's racing!

Heat 1: unplaced (believe around 15th), Heat 2: 8th, Heat 3: unplaced, Final: DNF.  POINTS: 3.

 

02/07/2011: COVENTRY STADIUM - NATIONAL POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 8 AND ENGLISH GOLD TOP QUALIFIER 5

Having attended but not raced at Stoke on 11th June for the British Drivers Championship due to feeling unwell, it was back into action at the Coventry Stadium, Brandon.

The track was wet with one dry racing line around the outside as I lined up on the inside front of the yellow grade for heat 1.  I got momentum on the rolling lap only for the grid to be stopped on the back straight.  As I got going again on the inside I couldn't get to the outside and so headed for a semi-dry line around the inside of the bend.  Down the home straight to cross the start line I got passed by some karts that had gained momentum around the outside of the bend and then got pushed into turn 1 which I took through the middle muddy line and was passed by several karts on both sides!  Down the back straight I passed a couple of spinning karts the second of which forced me to the inside of turns 3 and 4 to be passed by three karts on the outside for not the best opening lap!  Lap 2 was less eventful tracking another kart but I was passed by a kart and passed a spun kart at the start of lap 3.  Another kart passed down the outside of the back straight again initially stopping me from finding that line and as I tried to find it switching from no grip to grip the kart got out of shape and nearly turned in to the fence throwing me into a wide line around turns 3 and 4.  I passed a spinning kart on turn 2 and a crashed kart on the back straight of lap 4 but as I exited turn 2 a passing kart again stopped me from finding the dry outside line on the back straight.  I was negotiating ok the semi-dry inside line of the bends and passed 2 karts, one on each of turns 3 and 4 of lap 4 and turns 1 and 2 of lap 5, plus a parked up kart around turns 3 and 4 of lap 5.  I was now being lapped and trying to stay off the racing line on the straights which meant keeping to the less grippy inside line.  I did hope that this would help create a second racing line and I also did not want to switch lines for a repeat of lap 3!  On lap 6, two karts that had just lapped me spun ahead on the exit of turn 4 and although I clipped one I did just manage to avoid the incident.  On lap 8 I passed an out of control kart on the back straight and had a sliding kart rejoin right in front of me on the entrance to turn 1 on lap 9 of which I took quick avoiding action. Going round turns 3 and 4 on lap 10 I was pushed heavily by a kart lapping me for a second time and sent towards the fence but just managed to catch the kart in time to avoid hitting it.  I recovered to happily finish an interesting race albeit two laps down and unplaced.

Straight into heat 2 and I lined up again front inside of the yellow grade and after a void first rolling lap I got to what I thought was the outside of the backstraight only to be passed down the outside by two karts before the green.  This time I did get round the outside of turns 3 and 4 only to be passed by 2 karts on the inside coming off turn 4 as the green flag dropped.  I passed a kart on the inside going into turn 1 but then couldn't get to the outside of the back straight and was passed by several karts.  I thought the inside line was now better but I continued to drop down the order on lap 2 as other karts got better drive around the outside of the bends which baulked me from getting to the outside line down the straights forcing me to the inside of the bends.... As things settled down, I got back past a kart going down the home straight going into lap 4 and also a spinning kart on the exit of turn 2 of lap 4.  On the exit of turn 4 I was re-passed by the kart I had passed on the home straight at the same time as passing a kart that had just completed a spin.  I was passed by 2 karts around the outside coming off turn 2 of lap 5 and passed a crashed kart going into turn 3 of lap 6.  The 2 karts that passed me on lap 5 clashed and spun ahead of me on the exit of turn 2 on lap 7 and I just managed to avoid one of these to pass them both.  Laps 8 and 9 were uneventful and I was seemingly racing on my own before being lapped by the leader which enabled another kart to pass on lap 10 going into turn 3.  I tracked these karts on my lap 11 as the leader took the chequered flag and I finished a lap down and unplaced.  Hard work and challenging conditions with no success.

I was then offered use of the shale tyre on the drive wheel that the formula owners were looking to test in wet conditions - StoxKarts struggle in wet shale and if more shale fixtures are secured in front of crowds then they need to be able to put on a good show. I accepted the offer, changed the wheel and was told I should find the kart easier to control with the potential of a good result.

The track had been watered during the break and as I took to the track for heat 3 and the final I decided to test what grip I now had and headed to the slippy part of the back straight.  The kart was much more controllable and I lined up at the back of the yellow grade intrigued to see how the race would go.  As we headed into turn 1 the karts ahead went to the inside, including one being spun, and the outside whilst I was able to keep my foot down and drive straight through the middle up into 6th place.  This became 2nd down the back straight as I passed 2 karts on the inside whilst another 2 karts clashed and spun out.  Deciding to keep to the tricky inside line on the bends so as to fully compare the shale tyre I dropped to 3rd entering lap 3 as a kart passed on the outside but around turns 1 and 2 I undertook a kart to momentarily move up to 2nd before another kart undertook me and I was immediately 3rd again.  I negotiated a couple of back markers into lap 4 as the tyre was really proving its worth before getting up the inside of 2nd exiting turn 2 to take the place.  The leader was just ahead and I began to close on lap 5 and negotiated a back marker around turns 1 and 2 of lap 6.  I was delayed by a back marker through turns 1 and 2 of lap 7 but negotiated them as they got out of shape down the back straight and another backmarking kart round turns 3 and 4.  The leader was still in sight but they had begun to edge away and try as I might I could not make an impression.  I negotiated a couple of backmarkers on lap 11 one on the exit of turn 2 which had been spun by the leader and one entering turn 3 but this delayed me.  The leader, although in sight, had now moved well clear.  I negotiated a kart recovering from a spin as I crossed the line as runner-up at the end of the 12 laps. When asked after the race how the tyre performed I replied 'no difference'!  In truth it worked well.

Although we went straight into the final, whilst the karts were getting ready the track was drying all the time which, I was told might and I found out did with the shale tyre, work to my disadvantage.  I passed a kart that had been pushed wide around turns 1 and 2 and was in 7th place after lap 1.  I was then passed by 3 karts on the exit of turn 2 to drop to 10th at the end of lap 2 and it was clear that the tyre was not giving me the same advantage as in heat 3.  I passed a kart on the exit of turn 2 to move back to 9th after lap 3.  I was nudged wide and passed by 2 karts on the exit of turn 4 plus another on the home straight and was 12th after lap 4.  Another kart nudged passed into turn 1 and another nudge saw 4 more pass around turns 3 and 4 as the kart became juddery with the shale tyre now providing too much grip on the drying track.  I was down to 17th after lap 5.  On lap 6, two karts crashed into the fence ahead of me on the exit of turn 2 which I passed and in the melee another 2 karts clashed down the back straight which delayed another kart and I passed all three of these too.  The crash halted the race and on the restart I was in 12th with the kart becoming more and more juddery.  I stayed in 12th for 2 laps after the restart before being nudged and passed by a kart into turn 1 of the 3rd restart lap to drop to 13th.  I stayed in 13th for another lap before on the next being delayed by a slowed kart which gained speed as I tried to swoop around the outside of turns 3 and 4.  This enabled a kart to pass up the inside and I was in 14th. I gave the kart which had delayed me a nudge into turn 1 but glanced off the bumper to run slightly wide and another kart passed on the exit of turn 2 although I did manage to cut back inside and pass the kart I had nudged down the back straight and so regain 14th which after another lap is where I finished.

I did not race in the Grand National as the kart was becoming a bit of a handful with the juddering.

There was a bit of congestion when trying to leave the track up the ramp and in moving over I beached my kart over the edge of the ramp!  I was recovered and told to go down the side of some Brisca F1's coming through the inner pit gate for scruitineering but there was no room.  I was pulled back and the F1's were allowed through and then there was another delay at which point I recognised who was driving the F1 in front of me as an ex-StoxKart driver.  He pointed around the corner and as I looked an F1 (possibly with the driver annoyed by the delay I had caused!) seemed to have lost control and gone through some fence railings before being stopped by the fence post!  Apparently wearing no seatbelt or helmet the driver (who after all was only going to scruitineering) had cut his ear and required medical attention!

As I was tyre testing I did not think my points from heat 3 would count but as the tyre worked against me in the final the decision was taken to award me the points.

Heat 1: unplaced, Heat 2: unplaced, Heat 3: 2nd, Final: unplaced (14th). POINTS: 12.

 

2011 NATIONAL STOXKARTS POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP: 40TH - 15 points

 

Whilst 2011 continued to see StoxKarts go from strength to strength it was a bit of missed season personally.

Buying a house that required complete renovation meant that the 2010/2011 closed season came and went in a blur and I only just made it out on track at the start of May at Kings Lynn.

Only intending to race at shale meetings anyway potential appearances were further reduced when reasons beyond StoxKarts control saw subsequent Buxton shale and Kings Lynn dates removed from the fixture list - personally the loss of Buxton shale is a real shame.

Whilst there were thoughts of appearing at a few tarmac meetings, career progression also increased work commitments which had a further negative impact on time available to think about racing.  I was also not in a qualifying place for the Gold Top Championship but as this was at Skegness I wasn't too unduly concerned!

I was pleased to get out again at Coventry and although I struggled a bit in the first two heats (probably not helped by my lack of racing) heat 3 came good with a runner-up finish - my second best ever result - thanks in no small part to the fact that I was testing a proposed new shale tyre.  Anyway, it was still nice to prove that I could still do it!  I finished the season as yellow grade due to not being downgraded lower than this.


StoxKarts 2012

03/03/2012

With the racing going up a few levels since the change to StoxKarts and combined with advances in my career it became more difficult to race as much as I would have liked (and the kart deserved).  Over the 2011/2012 close season I made the sad decision to sell the kart and it was sold on 3rd March 2012.