I was glad to be going back to Rowrah, I just didn’t get on with the place in a KZ but I knew as soon as I put a 100cc down on it everything would make sense. We arrived Friday morning and managed to get a couple of hours track time, albeit for £50 quid which I felt was a bit steep! I needed this time as I had 3 engines to run in ready for the meeting, it was a god send I had my 2nd CRG Daytona Heron chassis built up too which meant I could jump out of one into the other and crack on. I just managed to get them all ran in by the end of the day.
I was looking forward to the Saturday, I could finally see what my fresh engines could do and I was also super pumped for the SuperPole Qualifying format we had coming up! Unfortunately, this is where everything went south and I felt like I wanted to as well back home! Every session I went out I would have some sort of issue with a chain or sprocket, throwing one, snapping one or ruining a sprocket. We kept seeing things were going out of alignment but unfortunately it just didn’t click that we had a slow moving axle every time we went out. So I barely did any laps and I was straight into my SuperPole qualifying!
We had 1 warm up lap and 2 flying timed laps, I love this kind of thing as I absolutely thrive under pressure and a crowd watching. I knew I probably wouldn’t get much of a position but somewhere around the top 10 would do nicely considering the kart wasn’t set up at all. I did my warm up lap, started my timed lap, came out of the bottom corner at Rowrah and threw my front sprocket straight off my engine! I’m still not sure how but it had obviously come loose. I was absolutely gutted and just sauntered to a halt on the side, having to watch the whole half hour session from the middle of the track.
My family and I contemplated our decisions, do we risk more damage? do we go home? I was adamant I was racing no matter what and that’s what we came to in the end. Dad and I completely rebuilt the kart into the late dark hours and we were happy everything would be fine.
Sunday came around and we had a practice session thankfully in the morning. I put a base set up on the kart I know that works well and I also wanted to test a HHC carb I had. I went out and did 5 minutes with it. I decided it wasn’t working brilliantly and came in and did our planned carb swap in a couple of minutes, bump started and went back out. I came in and to my surprise I had set the fastest lap. I was happy yet gutted at what probably could have been in qualifying!
I was starting both heats last and would have to work my way through both of them to get any decent starting place for the pre-final. I started both races confident I could get through and luckily avoided any carnage in heat 1 climbing lots of places up to 5th. I did the same again in heat 2 and within 2 laps was up to 7th or 8th before an unfortunate red flag came out. This meant a full restart and I had to do all the work again. I managed to drive all the way through the field to 6th this time.
I was elated, the hard work had paid off and I had got a grid of 5th for the Pre-Final. This would be a good race fighting with the very competitive lot up the front, something I love as they are all quality and fair drivers. I think I had manged to get myself up to 4th before the inevitable happened. With 3 laps to go at the end of Rowrah’s longest straight I seized my engine, spitting me straight off into the bark chippings. I was gutted, just sitting on one of the big protective barriers watching the race finish. All the hard work again undone. This would mean I would start somewhere near last for the final.
It turned out be 17th where I would start, I had done it twice before so I knew I was capable of doing it again. I started well and managed to get up the field to I think around 10th, unfortunately I then had a bit of a collision with Mr Scullion at the 90 degree left hander, which caused him to scarily roll straight over the front of my kart. I immediately stopped as I saw Oli laying smack in the middle of the track with the kart pouring fuel out and karts flying all around us. I ran, picked him up and ran with him to the nearest safety barriers, I was talking to him so I knew he was okay and he assured me he was alright. I righted his kart before we had a fire on our hands. I could see Oli was alright, being attended to by the medics, I took one look at my kart and thought that was it for the day. bent pedals and bent steering assembly. I thought I might be able to bend the pedals back which I think I must have done with some super human strength from the adrenaline, the pedal stop was now nearly lining up with the chassis and I had to get going otherwise I knew I wouldn’t make the restart, I managed to bump start and drive back round to where all the others were pulled up.
To my surprise they put me back to the position I was the lap before which was 7th or 8th for the restart. Everything was a bit surreal now for me, the emotions throughout the weekend, the ups and downs and now a crash and a restart with a mashed kart! I don’t remember much from here, the kart was a bit of a handful but I just had to work with it. I remember battling Luca Corberi somehow for 6th, I thought I was just going to haemorrhage places and fall back. All of a sudden I was then 5th due to a retirement and then over the line I was battling Nicky Taylor for 4th.
After the weekend I was elated with 5th, I thought I was going to come away with absolutely nothing. Trophies went down to 6th too which was a nice surprise, and a lovely modern trophy it is too.
By far the most eventful weekend I have had in all my years of racing, couldn’t quite believe it on the journey back home. Next up is Ellough Park for the continuation of the British Championship and my pursuit of the title.