So a new year of racing is upon me with F100. Very, very excited as in all honesty I haven’t been this prepared or excited for a racing season in a long time! We had always got lucky with the weather at Lydd, glorious sunshine every time we visited. Would we get lucky this time? I don’t mind the wet one bit as the last 2 visits to Clay Pigeon have shown. Forecast was for rain but luckily it stayed away for all 3 days.
I had already done a lot of prep my local corporate track Stretton Circuit. This place was my first foray into competitive senior racing back in 2009/2010 in the Open class running a Biland and then a European X30 engine. I knew how good the X30 was by then, unfortunately it seems to have been ruined lately but that’s another story! I had a plethora of engines to run in, all beautifully crafted by Ricard as always. Very privileged to be working alongside John again this year. Unfortunately my Topkart was deemed illegal so I swapped onto a Zip Bullet as my alternative chassis. The day was simple, run in as much as we could and shakedown the karts. I got everything done bar one IAME Reedjet which failed to spark, easily rectified after the day.
Here’s an onboard from then, slightly boring but who doesn’t love a good 100cc onboard regardless!
So onto Lydd. It was brilliant to see so many familiar races, you’d never have known we hadn’t seen each other for months. The camaraderie is amazing in this series but it is ultra competitive up the front in Pre 2000, perfect mix I’ve not seen any other series get correct yet, LGM came kind of close and that’s about it. Friday for me was finishing running the IAME Reedjet that I didn’t manage to get done at Stretton. Once I’d done that I moved onto the karts, these karts are so easy to set up it’s laughable compared to the modern stuff, you plonk it on the floor, do a session, make some tweaks here and there and you are set. It was clear to see the old guard would all be fighting each other again, Chris Trott, the returning David Hogg, Drew Stewart and a new chap on the scene in the form of Owen Jenman, established EasyKart driver who was looking quick.
In all honesty I probably didn’t need the 2 days of testing but it is helpful when you have to run in. I spent the Saturday nailing down exactly what to test and try. I made probably an eyebrow raising decision to jump off the CRG Daytona Heron and onto the Zip Bullet for this round. The Heron is the kart I began this series with and have never moved off it until this round. I tested a Tonykart Extreme and absolutely hated it back in 2014. It’s an odd one that as back in X30 I tested a modern CRG and hated it, I always ran a Tonykart. It’s a complete reversal in F100.
Below is some onboard from a practice.
So the day that everyone is actually bothered about, the Sunday, race day. I must say I had some decent looking grids, inevitably though, my bad luck would return, I just can’t catch a break.
Heat 1, I’d be starting a lovely 3rd, in front of me Mr David Hogg. I was buzzing on the grid to get going in this one. I had missed that feeling of doing the warm up lap and coming around to form up, it’s something I can’t explain in words. I knew my starts were a weak aspect of my racing and it is something I had worked on in the off season. Cannot tell you how much Sim Racing helps! I made a proper minter of a start and latched right on to the back of Mr Hogg. I had a couple of goes of getting a move done but David always managed to get me back. We then proceeded to have one of the best, respectful pieces of racing I’ve had. I had a run on David down the long straight and ended up along side him into the 2 right handers. These corners are quick! He could have squeezed me easily if he wanted too, instead we went side by side around the whole thing and on getting to the chicane I realised I wasn’t getting the move done and slotted back in line. Respectful on the edge driving, how it should be!
Unfortunately as we both came back round we saw somebody on the floor in the tyres, instant red flag. Luckily the chap was okay and I had my work to do again as we were re-gridded. We got going once more and I did exactly the same thing again. I latched onto the back of David once more and proceeded to hassle him at every corner, I managed to finally get past and hold it. Unfortunately I think we were robbed of possibly one of the most titanic heat battles you would see in F100 as David’s chain proceeded to snap coming onto the straight.
I would win the heat by 4.9 seconds to the chasing Owen Jenman. A very good start to the year, all that prep was paying off!
It would start going wrong in Heat 2. I was starting 13th in this one. I made another good start but unfortunately I got driven over the back of at the chicane. I proceeded to make my way right up the front in 3 laps but unfortunately I got the technical flag. 3 corners later my exhaust would come flying past my head! so a DNF for that one, I learnt the hard way you don’t ever limp a kart back to the pits with no exhaust so immediately pulled off.
Could it get any worse? Yeah course it could! Chomping at the bit now, I had the pace, I had the equipment and the belief. I wasn’t in Heat 3, this was now heat 4 due to the size of the grids. I can’t remember exactly where i started in this one but it was near enough last. I got another epic start and immediately got a problem with my engine. I was gutted, I was on the jets, I tried moving the airbox, tried throttle, couldn’t find what it was at all. I knew it was a pointless exercise trying to circulate for near on 15 laps so I came in. The feeling was the same as when a carb starts coming loose on the engine but this was perfectly fine. I did later find the problem, a faulty bit of equipment! I was gutted for that heat as that was the one to do some mean overtaking in but not to be.
The only other person who would have a slightly worse day than me would be David Hogg surprisingly, his chain snapping and a crash in heat 3 at the start would actually put him in the B Final. There was also massive confusion as I was listed on both the B final and A final grids so it was an incredible turn around from Heat 4 as there was only 1 race in between! Big thank you to Niels John and my ever suffering Dad for changing an engine in a matter of minutes as I ran to the grid to get my place. Turns out I wouldn’t be in the B final, I had scraped through to the A final due to my heat win earlier.
For this one a beautiful 19th place starting position, the aim? A top 3. I knew I could do it. That would rescue something from the meeting. Along side me I would have Mr Hogg who easily walked the B final and lined up alongside me. We got a good start, David got in front of me, we would both make our way through the pack quite easily but the top 8 had really made a break for it. I had a couple of passes on David as I was slightly quicker but he definitely didn’t want me in front haha! Getting me back every time. I got caught up behind a couple of drivers as well. Towards the end of the race I latched onto the back of David and the leading pack. Unfortunately we only picked one off before the race had ran its course. I would finish quite a disappointing 8th. Chris Trott taking the win, Owen Jenman 2nd and Drew Stewart 3rd.
Unfortunately I just got unlucky again over the weekend, both David and I have a lot of work to do as this round already looks like our drop round. I’ve not even looked at the championship points, shame as my aim is to outright win it this year and nothing else.
Regarding Superkarts, I should have had my first outing at Silverstone the weekend of 25th/26th but this never materialised which was a shame. My next outing will be at Croft at the end of April, the next F100 round isn’t until just after at Rowrah, looking forward to that one but will be hoping for my luck to change especially if you read last year’s report. In the mean time I’ll do some more testing and be the best prepared I can be. I’ve noted some areas for improvement and I’m already working on those.
As always, massive thank you to my parents for the continued huge amount of support to my racing, giving up days and time on end to help me live my dream. John and Niels also of Ricard Racing for the huge amount of help over the weekend.
Have a gallery of some of the proper mint pics my Mum takes at these racing weekends, who doesn’t love pics!