Although I had the best time hanging out at the race day on Saturday, meeting other drivers and pit crew members I did start to wish I had of raced. Not for the competition but just to be behind the wheel of my kart. I really missed throwing it around the track and after the race meet had finished I mentioned as much to Mr X.
“Can we come back tomorrow. After watching today I really need the practice. “
“What? On Easter Sunday?”
“Well yeah. Beats sitting around gorging on chocolate all day.”
So that’s what we did.
Trailer unpacked, gokart fueled and race suit adorned I jumped into my seat and pulled it onto the track. It has been over a month since Id been in my kart so it took a few laps to get used to the way it handled but the once I felt the rubber on the track (thus giving me heaps of grip around the corners) I pushed down the accelerator and attempted to go around the track as fast as I felt comfortable without losing too much momentum.
However I just could not shut up my brain.
Okay, we’re going faster now and the corner is coming up but what if the brakes fail – hitting the tyre wall will hurt!
So I hit the brakes too early, losing my speed in the S bend but once out I pushed hard on the accelerator again and launched out of the corner and into a long bend.
Holy crap I’m taking this corner fast and I can feel the tyres gripping the road but what if I hit a water patch, what would the kart do?!?
So I lifted my foot off the pedal until I was out of the corner and pushed it down hard again when I hit a straight. Then there was another longish bend but some of the bitumen is corrugated so it’s difficult keeping the foot steady on the accelerator but I manage to figure it out and then I’m hitting another straight.
Uh oh hairpin coming up. The corner you spun out on previously. Can I keep my foot planted whilst I take it – Looks like I can and I’m hitting the concrete when I come out the corner so I must of hit the apex right – Hell yeah!
And that is pretty much how the rest of my practice laps went. In my heart I wanted to go faster, I started to believe I can go faster but then I start pushing my limits and my brain starts throwing its logic at me and I choke.
“Gosh damn it! I wish my brain would shutthefuckup already!”
I growled, pulling off my gloves and ripping off my helmet.
Even though I was getting faster and feeling more comfortable each time I got behind the wheel I still wasn’t happy enough with my progress. Apparently I’m an all round slow learner and have no natural racing talent to speak of. Typical. Just typical. Before I headed out on the track again Mr X changed my sprocket for an 83 toothed one.
“You seem to be getting bogged down in the corners. What do you think?”
Since Mr X understands the mechanics of cars more than I, he does most of the work on our karts. Of course he still depends on my feedback so he can set it up just right so I have to be as informative as possible.
“Yeah but maybe that’s my driving and going too slow into the bends.”
Mr X shrugged and continued the changeover whilst I downed a can of red bull. Am so addicted to the taste!
“Yeah maybe. Just try this out to see if it helps. I found it helped get me out of the corners a lot quicker.”
After another kart re-fuel and some checks I was back out on the track and fighting the fear. This time however I did feel that the kart had more punch out of the corners and I got so comfortable with it that I took the hairpin without hitting the brake. It felt fantastic!
Of course my brain was still freaking out and pointing out all the things that could go wrong but I didn’t let it deter me from taking the corners as fast as I could. The S bend however was still challenging. I needed to approach the first bend and not brake and throw my kart around it but I didn’t trust myself to hold it. Not because I didn’t have the upper arm strength but because my judgement of distances sucks and I’m worried I won’t turn hard enough or too hard. Im sure I’ll figure it out eventually.
“That seemed to go better, how did it feel?”
Mr X asked as I swung into the grid area and exited the kart.
“Better. The kart really bit out of the corner. Felt ok though.”
“Well that’s good. That’s what you want.”
“Yeah but I’m still so slow.”
“You’re doing better my love. You just need more seat time.”
And don’t I know it.