Following the visit to the Autosport show last weekend, a few of us moved on to the centre of Birmingham to meet with some more people from the online motorsport community at the Bloggers & Friends Karting Competition, organised by Alianora La Canta.
It was a good evening’s racing with good organisation from TeamWorks Karting despite their being understaffed on a cold January Saturday evening. There were a couple of instances of technical issues with the karts which were resolved in a professional manner, and they did try and get through the programme quickly as they previous group were a little late leaving, though I did think they were moving a little too quickly at times.
Unfortunately one of those issues happened to me during my best race of the day! I was 2nd at the time and confident of finishing in that position, having run 5th or 6th in the 6- or 7-strong heats all night. Then the power in my kart just died. All the worse – it was my final heat of the day. Still, a good time was had and the karts and circuit posed a bigger challenge than I had expected, so it was satisfying after each heat to realise you were getting faster in every race.
I was more surprised because the karts were electric and we were warned not to brake and accelerate at the same time. My expectations were therefore low, but those things accelerated well and certainly felt quick through the left-handed sweeper after the starting grid. It didn’t feel underpowered at any stage (well..apart from when mine died on me) and for novice/occasional karters such as myself, they are the right speed for the course.
The circuit is very bumpy in places, and it felt fast, partly because karts are so low they always feel quicker than they are, and possibly because the karts were squirming around a lot on the slippery surface. Despite the bumps and slipperiness it was actually a well-designed layout featuring every type of corner you can think of, from sweepers to hairpins to the tricky double-apex right-hander where you have to brake later than you think.
Needless to say, like any racing driver I’m convinced I could have done better with a few more laps and without the technical error, but those are just excuses – it was a great night out and in reality I wouldn’t have got that much higher up the rankings given the strength of opposition – our group of 8 or so had been joined by what seemed like regulars to the circuit, to make up numbers. Eventually I came 17th of 22 (was it 20 or 22?), but I think I beat Chris and Alia and wasn’t far behind some of the others, so I was pleased with that.
Scott deserves a special mention because a) he kicked the asses of everyone in our get-together, and b) managed to get himself among those people who had patently been here a few times before, and he made the Final of the top 8 karters of the day (including beating his Dad). Sadly there was a bit of a Trulli Train going on and he couldn’t get around the group of three holding them up (in fairness neither could the others also stuck) so he finished 8th overall – yet that was a fantastic achievement having never seen the circuit before, or this type of kart.
It was really great to meet everybody even if they decided just to spectate, and if I go to Autosport again next year I will definitely be joining in with the already-announced karting meetup. I may even come up anyway, we’ll see what the money situation is like nearer the time.
Note – There are plans afoot for a summer karting event. Contact Alia for details. Unfortunately I doubt I can’t make it as it looks like it will be held somewhere North of Birmingham and I am on the South coast.