Racer grrl

After the last go karting race meet I had been mulling over my reasonings for not participating. I’m still not fast enough, It’s extra work, how will I start my kart if they put us (Mr X and I) in the same group of races and then I started to remember how it felt when I wasn’t one of the people getting out there at the race meets and how much I missed being behind the wheel. I think that’s what did me in the end, the whole missing out feeling and the craving to drive so I told Mr X if my crash bar turned up before the next race meet then I’d enter. I think he was surprised as me when I said that.

“I hope they don’t put us in the same group of racers. How will I get my kart started?”

After arriving at the track, unpacking the trailer, paying our nomination fees and setting up our site my attention turned to other pit bays and the people inside of them. There were a number of experienced racers in the mist and a few P platers like myself. I noticed the girl from the last meet had returned which made me feel a little better but overall I was feeling sick and heaps nervous. Even the promise of a can of redbull couldn’t distract me. Good thing there was heaps to do anyway so I didn’t have time to think too long.

“Damnit. I’ve just been talking to the racing steward and apparently they never received my flag questionnaire when you sent them yours last year so before I go out I need to fill this in.”

After borrowing one of the rule books from another racer, Mr X sat down with me to help me work through the questions. My brain was already fried from nerves and rushing around getting stuff ready so I seriously had trouble remembering information at this point. Good thing I didn’t have any of the race officials hover over my shoulder. Once I finished the questionnaire and handed it in Mr X and I were thrown out with a group of racers to practice. It was hard. 

For one my kart felt very floaty around the long corners and two, I couldn’t seem to trust my kart would drift around the corners so I was going much slower than the other drivers. One thing going for me however was my brain being silent and not worrying about shit that could happen. Even when my kart felt like it was going to drift off the track I instantly reacted to keeping it under control without freaking out about it and that was a relief. 

“Well I made it through my first practice. Thank fuck for that.”

After finishing the last lap I pulled into the pits and Mr X wandered over. Most of the other racers were still loading their karts onto the trollies so we had time to burn.

“You did really good sweetie.”

I laughed nervously as we lifted my kart on its trolley. 

“Yeah I did ok but my kart didn’t feel right. I kept bogging down in the s bend. I just can’t find my brake line there.” 

After a short break Mr X and I were up again and once more my kart felt floaty around the long corners and thus I couldn’t trust putting my foot down. However I certainly did so when it came to the straights and that was a rush. After my eight laps were up I pulled up into the pits and the other girl in the race (the one I watched in the last race meet) asked me how I found it.

“It’s a little nerve racking. On one hand I want to just go but then other drivers get near me and I freak out!”

“Ha, ha! Yeah I can usually follow my partner around the track and keep up with him but it’s different when there are so many racers on the track!”

“Well your doing really good. Much better than last meet.”

“Thanks! This time I’m managing to keep the kart on the track.”

We exchanged a few more comments whilst we loaded our karts onto their trollies with the help of our partners but then parted ways at the gate. It was cool interacting with another karter like that.

The rest of the day passed fairly quickly and Mr X made adjustments to my kart to improve its cornering. Apparently my track was too wide and so he took a few spacers out of the rear axle. It stopped my kart floating around the corners and improved my confidence tenfold.

“I’m so exhausted. I’m so glad this is the last race for the day.”

So far I’d managed to complete all the laps required of me and hadn’t spun out the kart once. A couple of times my tyres did catch on the camber on the side of the road, almost pulling me off the track but thankfully I kept my kart under control

Mr X laughed and got the starter ready for use.

“Yes it’s nearly over but just remember to have fun out there, okay?”

I gave him a weak smile which was lost on him because of my helmet.

“I will.”

I don’t really remember a lot from that last race other than thinking about hitting the apexes correctly and feeling my kart drift around the corners once my tyres got a bit sticky. I still got passed by all the other karters once but it took them longer to catch me this time.

“That was so nerve racking but at least I know what to expect next time. Oh and I think I need a smaller seat. I definitely move too much in that one.”

“Can do, can do.”

So yeah. I finally did it!

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