Karting Meetup

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.

2nd F1 Bloggers and Friends Karting Competition

Anyone for karting?

Alianora from La Canta Magnifica Blog is arranging the 2nd F1 Bloggers and Friends Karting Competition, to be held on Saturday 16th January 2010 in Birmingham, and I am going to be there.

This is just around the corner from the NEC where the Autosport International show is being held and the karting is planned to start as the show closes so that we can enjoy as much of the show as possible.

Here are the details:

Event: 2nd F1 Bloggers and Friends Karting Competition
Date: 16 January 2010 at 6pm (arrive by 5.45pm)
Location: Birmingham – that’s England, not Alabama
Booking deadline: 30 November 2009
Booking and contact details here
Cost: £50

I’ve not driven a kart for about five years so I’m really looking forward to this! There are several confirmed attendees already so we should get some good racing, and if we don’t we’ll at least have a good time trying.

If you can make it, contact Alianora to find out if places are still available.

I’m almost certainly going to the Autosport show on the same day so if I don’t see you at the karting, perhaps I’ll see you there?

Why We Are Here

I’m a bit late catching up with my RSS reader, as I am with so many things. Nevertheless, I would like to associate myself with remarks made by Joe Saward recently. If you are disillusioned with the endless politicking in F1 and other motorsports be sure to give it a read – and also the comments, because the second comment is from motorsport historian Gerald Donaldson and there is also a comment from F1 PR man Nav Sidhu.
It is nice know that in a world where we can all write what we will, there is still a place for the professional writer to help us express ourselves more clearly.

http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/two-crashes/

Back in the world of the bloggers, I also echo Alia’s response to that post:

http://formula1home.com/forum/weblog_entry.php?e=844

I don’t wish to ride on their coat-tails, merely to pass on some good writing which deserves an audience. See you for Singapore.