The track pack

Between work, studying, parenting and gokarting my blog has kinda fallen on the wayside. 

I normally hate having such a full schedule because it stresses me out when I can’t get some time for myself to unwind and rejuvenate but everything I’m doing is important in its own right so I kinda have to suck it up and deal with it right now. 

“We probably should head out to the track on the weekend. I need the practice and you need to check your kart setup. How about Sunday?”

Even though I’ve got a tonne of study stuff to do lately, I don’t mind putting it down every now and again for gokarting. For one, it’s good exercise and secondly it’s a lot of fun. No point working hard all the time if you never get to enjoy yourself. 

“Sounds good to me my sweet. Will the kid be joining us?”

“Yeah I think so. His GF is out of town for the weekend.”

“Cool. We get to hang out as a family for a change.”
 

So come Sunday Mr X got the trailer ready whilst I made some sandwiches for lunch.
We have done this gokarting thing so many times now that we have a good little routine going. 

Mr X packs the trailer whilst I get our clothes and food together and when we get to the track I’ll unload the kart trolleys whilst Mr X gets the ramps ready and as he unloads a karts and moves onto the next, I’ll push the unloaded kart out of the way and into our area. Once the karts are out Mr X will unpack the table, along with the tool box and fuel drums, and I’ll unpack the chairs, get out our race gear and tidy up inside the trailer.

On a race days however there’s the extra step of unpacking the gazebo at the start but when it’s just a day of practice, like today, Mr X just parks the trailer up so it throws the shade over our setup. 

“So what was it again? 10 pound in the tyres?”

The last time we visited the track Mr X was told that he had too much air pressure in his tyres and this could be potentially affecting the handling of his kart. He had been a little weary about  letting them down but once he gave it a shot, and took a few laps around the track, he was quite happy with the result and now he wanted to try the same on our karts.

“I also had to switch your rear hubs out with my old ones and before you get irritated with me for changing parts, it had to be done. Your hubs are missing stuff to stop them from moving inward on your axle.”

Of course he didn’t use the word stuff but I cannot for the life of me remember the correct terminology.

“Well I’ll let it slide this time, because you’re looking out for my safety…”

Mr X chuckled and shook his head.

“I’ll keep that in mind.”
 
So after a few more adjustments we headed over to the pits. Master Z had the first run on the track with another Junior but after that it was mine and Mr X’s turn. 

“Ready?” Mr X queried, kneeling beside my kart with the starter locked into position.

“Ready.”

To which I was off and onto the track.

It always feels good getting back into the drivers seat of my kart and today was no exception. The sun was shining, the track had a bit of rubber on it and after the first lap I knew my kart had a good set up. Maybe it was the lower tyre pressures or maybe it was the shorter rear hubs. Either way I was comfortably scooting around the track though still not fast enough to keep up with Mr X. Of course I’m not hitting the corners as fast and as quick as him so no surprise there but I think with a few more practices with this new setup I do believe I can knock a few more seconds off my lap times. 

“Okay. You got me. I like the shorter hubs.”

“I thought you might. How did the rest of the kart feel?”

“Yeah, really good. It’s cornering really nice”

“Do you need me to adjust the width of the rear tyres?”

“No. Leave everything as it is.”

So that’s what he did and I continued to work on my driving whilst out on the track. I can feel myself getting around the corners faster but I know I’m still breaking too early for them. However that’s all to do with building my confidence with my kart and it will come in time. 

“Well I don’t know about you but I’m done for the day. My arms feel like jelly!”

Mr X laughed.

“I’m going to change my sprocket size and go back out. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Not at all my love. I’ll just sit back and watch.”

Which is precisely what I did for the rest of the afternoon, admiring the way the BF handled and drove his kart. Fearlessly. Since adjusting the tyre pressures his kart has been cornering like its on rails and flowing around the track smoothly. It’s beautiful to watch. Eventually I’ll get as good as him. I just have to keep practicing. 

Mr X completed a number of laps before he pulled into the pits. pulled off his helmet and sighed aloud. 

“I think Master Z is ready to go home.” I said, gazing over at our trailer and seeing the boy playing on his phone.

“That’s ok. I’ve done all I can do here today. “

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Back in the bucket seat

With the track set to close for 3 weeks straight, and me with my insatiable lust for all things gokarting lately, Mr X and I decided to forgo working on the house on Sunday and hit the track. 

I’m not sure what it is exactly that I’m so obsessed about gokarting lately and I want to go all the time. Maybe it’s the challenge of improving my lap times or maybe it’s the learning something new each time I go out. Anyway I’m just loving donning on my race suit and helmet and jumping in my kart and driving around the track. I’m just loving how my kart will effortlessly turn the corners with a slight turning of my steering wheel. I’m just loving how my eyes are adjusting to the landscape as I get faster and faster down the straights.

So I was all kinds of excited to learn that we were gokarting two Sunday’s in a row, even if my body was caning from the last week in my kart. I have this habit of hugging my fuel tank with my calf muscles when slipping around the corners but this is not an unusual trait as the BF does the same. However it leaves my legs aching for a couple of days afterward, not to mention my fingers and arms from clinging to the wheel. It’s a good work out and my body is slowly adjusting to it but as I get faster, new pains are arising so it’s a vicious cycle right now.

“Looks like I won’t be practicing in my kart on Sunday. My clutch plate is broken and I don’t think I’ll be able to get another in time.”

Last weekend, and on our last practice, the chain guard bolt snapped on Mr X’s gokart causing the bracket to fall into the chain and thus FUBAR-ing the chain and sprocket so Mr X decided to spend some time fixing and cleaning up his kart during the week to get it ready for our practice session for the upcoming Sunday. Unfortunately it was when he was pulling the motor apart that this discovery was made. 

“Can you ring that guy in town and see if he has one?”

Which he tried but no one answered.

“It’s okay my love. I’ll be pit crew for you and Master Z. Get your karts set up right.”

Unfortunately come Sunday morning and the kid bailed on our karting adventure in lieu of potentially spending time with his GF so it was just me then. It seemed like a lot of effort for just one karter and I expressed as much.

“It’s okay sweetie. I’ve got that work I need to do at the track anyway so I’ll get that done between your practices. You need the seat time!”
 
 
It was a fairly windy and overcast at the track when we arrived which normally I’d love because wearing a race suit all day can get quite hot but I was nervous about it potentially raining and ruining my lap times. Three weeks is a long time between practicing and I wanted to make the most of it.

“Looks like we are going the other way around the track so that will be interesting. Haven’t done that for awhile.”

Normally when we show up at the club the track was set up for anti-clockwise direction and we’d just go with it. We probably should be practicing both ways but Mr X was more interested in figuring out our kart setups first. I guess now was as good as time as any to go the other way.

“You’ll be okay. It’s a pretty cool day too so I might put the 20mm spaces in your front end.

There was only one other karter when we arrived at the track which made me a little anxious. I’m still 5-6 seconds slower than most people, more if they are light and running the new KA motors and I hate being embarrassingly slower than them. However my need to improve outweighed my fear of what people thought so once our camp was set up and I’d put on my race suit, helmet and gloves, I headed out onto the track.

The first corner I took okay, it was a tight S bend but when I was coming into the second it felt like the front end was biting too early and I nearly lost it. I figured the tyres were just cold so I persisted and kept going around the track but my next prob was I forgot where my apexes were so my lap times were all over the place. After 5 laps, and a couple of spin outs, I pulled into the pits.

“I think I need to go back to the 15mm spaces. It feels like the front end is biting too soon.”

So Mr X changed my spaces and once it was my turn I headed back onto the track. This time I had a better idea of my apexes so I took the first lap a little slower, waiting for my tyres to heat up but once I felt they were sticky I was off! 

Keep going, keep going. Don’t brake until you reach the witches hat. Brake! Turn! Accelerate out of the corner!

And the gokart slid around the turn and I was off again, heading for the next corner. 

Foot off accelerator, go wide here and turn! Wait until your exiting and foot back on the accelerator!

It was uncomfortable going around the track in a different direction at first but since I was comfortable with my gokart set up (instinctively knew how much to turn the wheel to get around corners because I knew how much it bit) I didn’t mind pushing myself to learn something new. My lap times were a bit sloppy at first as I learnt my way around but once I figured out my best path I got down to my mid range 48 second times. I was estatic!

“That was so much better and so much fun! I got back to 48’s again but I need more fuel and then I’m going back out again!”

So Mr X pushed my gokart back to our trailer and fueled her up for me whilst I checked my kart over, making sure nothing has come loose. There was another karter on the track, a cadet, so I had to wait my turn but before too long I was out there again, hugging my fuel tank as I slid around the corners.  I’m not sure why but going this way around the track made me slip around in my seat more.

Regardless, I was starting to get the hang of the track and I was learning to enjoy this direction. For instance the 6 metre corner was much easier to navigate in this direction, as well as the S bend. However the other long corner was much more difficult due to the corrogation on the bitumen, causing my foot to bounce a little on the accelerator, and it took me a fair few laps to get the hang of keeping my foot steady on the peddle.

“I think that about does it for me for the day my love. I’m exhausted and my arms are killing me. Do you think I’m getting better?”

“Of course you are. I’m wrapped with how well you are doing.”

“Yeah so am I. Thank you for setting up my kart for me. It’s only cause you’ve learnt so much that I’ve improved.”

“That’s ok. I enjoy doing it.”

Return of the Gokarter

After a long hiatus from gokarting I hit the BF up to take me out to the track again. It had been months since I’d been in my kart and thus the drivers seat and I think I was losing a little interest in the sport. We asked Master Z if he wanted to come along too but he declined under the grounds he wanted to hang with his girlfriend instead so Mr X and I headed to the track on our own. 

I think my idea was to spend a couple of hours there and come home and do my housework but I truly forgot how this motorsport can suck you in. I could have totally spent the entire weekend there and been happy about it. That’s how I roll these days.
 
“So I made some changes to your kart. I’ve put  the newer type tyres on it and have widen the rear end a little. Let’s see how you go.”

Mr X has been really keen to get me back into the sport because he knows I’ve been struggling to get faster around the corners. The idea is to get the outside wheels on the kart to lift so whenever you manouveour around a corner it turns effortlessly and you don’t lose speed/momentum. However to get the kart to do this you need to figure out the right gokart setup which differs on the size/weight of the driver. So I’m learning how to tell Mr X what’s happening when I drive the kart and he’s learning what to change to the setup. 

So after donning on the race gear and jumping into the drivers seat, Mr X started my kart and off I went. 

On previous runs at the track, on my old tyres, I’d turn the wheel into a corner only for the rear end to bite and get almost spun around so I’d have to quickly correct by turning the steering wheel the other way so I was quite surprised after a couple of laps on the newer tyres I had no probs whatsoever with getting my kart around with a only a little bit of turning of the wheel. Of course I wasn’t taking them quite as fast as Mr X but it was definitely faster than what I’d normally take them and by gosh that made me happy. Finally I was feeling like I was getting somewhere with my kart!

“So those tyres are really great. I can’t believe how quick they get hot!”

Mr X laughed as he walked around my kart, checking it out, running his hands over the tyres and noting their condition.

“Looks like they are wearing really good too sweetie. It’s funny because I took these tyres off my kart and they were chewed out a bit but I put them on your kart and they’re wearing perfectly.”
 

“Really? So looks like my alignments are all good then?”

“Yeah but I still think you need to get more lift when you get around the corners, I might widen your track a little more and see what you think.”

So that’s what he did and once my kart was ready I headed back out into the track and threw it into the first corner, once cleared I planted my foot down the straight and touched the brake just before I came into the next corner and planted my foot down again once I was free of that corner. The kart was definitely sticking really well to the track, just like the previous run but far better than our previous practice sessions. However I still didn’t feel like I could trust it to go faster into the corners as the kart kept pushing out when I accidentally tried a couple of times. 

Regardless, I was quite happy with how it was setup as it was helping me build my confidence and I was content with working on getting closer into the corner before taking my foot off the accelerator and turning. Something I didn’t feel comfortable with doing on my old tyres.

“Did you want me to make some more changes to your kart? To get it to flex more?”

“Nah. I’m beat my love. I think I’ll do another few laps and that will be enough for me today.”

But the bug had bitten me so two weeks later we were back at the track, unloading the karts and getting ready to practice.  I decided I wanted to try to get some more flex out of the kart so Mr X made the necessary adjustments to the rear end and I headed out onto the track to try it out.

It took me a couple of laps though to trust the kart because it rattled a lot more than I remembered, which is normal if you remove bolts that previously had stiffened it up but once I took that first turn at a high speed and the kart swung effortlessly around it like it was on rails, I was hooked!

So this is what it should feel like, this is what it’s all about I cheered in my head as I took another  corner and felt the kart corner effortlessly around it. Of course I still had to hang pretty tight to the wheel because there’s no such thing as power steering but I was getting used to the workout to my arms and it felt good to work those muscles.

I think I did more laps than I ever done before because I got so hooked on the drive and getting my laps time down. I’d hadn’t used the Alfano in my kart before so it was interesting to see how long it took me to complete a lap and whether I could get better a better time on the next lap. When I could feel myself getting slower I finally pulled into the pits and Mr X joined me not long after.

“Did you see me!? Did you see my kart flexing?! Now I finally get it and that was fun!”

Mr X laughed, giving me a tight hug and then  checked the Alfano. He raised his eyebrow a little when he flicked through my times.

“I’m glad you had a good time and I’m pleased with your lap times. Your definitely getting better. Well done.”

And now Im definitely looking forward to our next practice session. 

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!

Ready. Set. Go.

Although I wasn’t keen on doing anything on Saturday, much less accompany Mr X to the latest Gokart race meet, I made myself go. I’m not sure why I wasn’t in the mood, probably because I wasn’t racing and thus not getting my karting fix, but I did whatever I could to help Mr X out anyway. It’s what good girlfriends do, right?

So we unpacked the trailer, moved all our gear to our pit bay and set up the tarps for some shade. There were already a number of teams on site, working on their karts, hanging with their karting colleagues – It was a little intimidating to see the kind of money just floating around. Meanwhile we are still sitting on the bottom rung of the gokart ladder.

“Hey I see there’s a girl racing in the seniors class, I wonder how fast she is?”

“I guess we will see soon enough huh.”

I’m not sure why but I haven’t seen any females in the senior class (until today that is) but there sure are plenty in the classes below. It’s a bit unnerving to know that when I race it will mostly be with the guys and those boys are rough. Mr X has been hit from behind a number of times thus damaging his kart and sometimes it’s not cheap to fix. I’m definitely investing in a rear spoiler before I get out amongst it. Not that I’d think they’d hit me being on my P’s but accidents do happen.

After checking his kart Mr X headed out for his practice runs but he didn’t seem to be too well around the corners, losing traction a couple of times and not really keeping up with the pack. When he came back in he checked the air pressure in the tyres to find the air pressure higher than he expected. On the second practice run he did a little better but he still couldn’t understand why he was losing grip around the corners when others were not. I really had no advice to offer so I offered to refuel his kart whilst he checked it over. 

“The kart just doesn’t feel right. 

“Maybe we need to invest in a wheel aligner before you mess with the front end again. ”

Which is like $300. Gokarts, like cars apparently, can become money pits. 

“I think that will be our next big purchase.”

So it came time to race and Mr X headed out. All the seniors were racing together so the grid was fairly jammed packed which was not a good sign. I kept my fingers crossed for the BF to do well but it just wasn’t his day because they started the race before the karts had made formation and someone bumped him from behind which caused him to spin out. He still finished the race but it wasn’t a good placing and when he arrived back into the pits and checked over the kart he noticed something.

“Well, that’s me out of the racing for the rest of the day.”

The bolt running through the chain guard and clutch cover had stripped out and if there’s no chain guard, then there’s no race. Mr X spent the next couple of races trying to rectify the problem whilst I watched the others out on the track and the girl whom I noticed earlier was doing pretty good on the track.

“Do you think I’d be able to keep up with her?”

“Hmm probably.”

The girl in question wasn’t racing as fast as the others on the track but she wasn’t going slow either. It made me feel a little bit more confident about bringing my own race date forward and I voiced as much to Mr X.

“I think I might sit out the next race meet and do some more work on the kart.” 

“Then you can be my pit crew for change!” 

“So your definitely going to race at the next meet then?”

“Hmm, I don’t know. I think so.”

It’s seems far enough away to commit to.

Hang of it

Another Sunday and another chance to hit the track in the Gokart.

To be honest I wasn’t too keen to go out this morning because of the work involved – unloading the karts, race gear, toolbox, fuel tanks and apparatuses, chairs etc and getting them all to your pit bay – Ugh. It’s the worst part about karting and taxing on your energy levels.

But all in all I’m glad I made the effort because I’m definitely improving. I know I say that every time I write about practice but this time was a little different because the voice of fear that usually hounds me each and every time that I race around the track and most especially when I go around corners, it was not there today. Nope. Today it was strangely silent. 

“That was soooo much better! Did you see me!?”

I’d just pulled into the pits after completing several laps when Mr X wandered over to help me get my kart on its trolley. I was feeling fairly stoked about my run because I didnt shy away from any of the corners but pushed myself into them – hard.

“Yes I did. You are doing really well today. How did the kart feel?”

“Much better. It’s amazing what a new air filter will do, huh?”

“And a rebuild of the carby as well.”

The last couple of times I’ve taken my kart out it would run pretty good the first couple of times but after we would have trouble getting spark so we change the plug and it would be all right again for another couple of starts but then it would play up again. Turns out my air filter was FUBAR’ed so Mr X replaced it and put a kit through my carbie. I took my kart out 5 times today and no problems whatsoever. 

Not to mention how much quicker it is off the line. I almost took the Striker (device used by secondary person to start my kart) with me, unintentionally. Mr X scolded me about it later on.

“I think it’s finally starting to click for me. When I entered the S-bend too fast before and I felt the kart start to turn around on me I instantly turned the wheel a little in the opposite direction without thinking about it. It didn’t even scare me when it happened. I just thought that felt kinda cool to keep my kart under control.”

So yeah, the time out on the track is not for naught even if I’m not racing yet because I’m basically learning how to drive my kart properly and slowly learning how to drift around corners. 

Shouldn’t be long now before I feel comfortable enough to race.

The Fear

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.

Race day

With all the stuff that has been going on – the Cyclone, the clean up, the getting sick and working on the house – we hadn’t left much time to hit the track as of late but then Mr X hinted at wanting to race Easter Saturday so that it exactly what he did and I tagged along.

Despite all the times we have been to the track Saturday was my first race meet and I curious as to how the race meets operated, what the people were like and what the competitors were like in my race class. Turns out I’m a slow poke in comparison but I wasn’t entirely surprised by this news. 

“They must be flat out around those corners. How the hell do you do that?!”

Mr X had just returned from his practice run and he joined me by the fence where I was watching another class of racers roar around the track. I didn’t feel much like racing that morning but watching these guys having a go was making me feel envious. 

“Simple. You have to trust your kart and trust your driving. It’ll come.”

And I’m not there yet. 

Of course I’m doing better, each and every time I practice but even so I still keep visualising all the things that could go wrong with my kart, such as a wheel falling off or the brakes failing when I’m rushing to a corner so I choke, I brake far too early and loose my momentum.

It’s hard to stop listening to the fear when I’m out on the track yet I need to if I want to conquer it.

“I think I need to change my gearing to give me more punch out of the corner. I heard the other guys are running 83 toothed sprockets and mines an 82 so I’m going to change it.”

I was lounging out in our pit bay when Mr X returned, kart in tow, and proceeded to undo the nuts and bolts holding the sprocket to the rear axle. There was a 15 minute window before he would race again so it was important he made these changes immediately.

“Does one tooth really make that much of a difference? I mean it’s one tooth.”

I’m finding the more involved we become in karting the more there is to learn. Not only do you need to have some mad driving skills but you also need to make modifications to the kart on the go so some mechanical skills are required. I’m finding it all enormously fascinating and I love any opportunity to get hands on with it. 

“Yeah I think so. I’m going to try it in any case and see how I go. Wish me luck!”

After tightening up the nuts and refueling his kart Mr X headed back out to the grid when his race class was called over the PA. Once the race was under way I watched from the sidelines and noticed that Mr X wasn’t loosing precious seconds around the corners like before. In fact he was keeping up with the karts at the rear of the pack. Unfortunately he took one corner too wide and ended up on the grass. He got back onto the track but he didn’t seem to be moving as fast.

“Crap. I smashed my sprocket. Can you check the trailer for a spare?”

So I ran to the trailer, retrieved said sprocket and ran back again. By this time Mr X had the bent sprocket off so he slid the new one on and proceeded to tighten stuff up again. 

“I might have to hang that one on the wall.” Stated Mr X, referring to the bent sprocket and I laughed.

A little while later his final race was called and he headed out. Again he kept up with the rear of the pack and then suddenly he passed one kart, a few more laps and he passed another and up ahead a kart spun out so he passed it as well. I watched the board as they counted down the laps and Mr X held his position from then on coming fourth overall.

“Well then. I guess one tooth does make a difference.” I remarked, once Mr X has pushed his kart back into the pit bay. He nodded his head at me as he slumped into the chair.

“And you know what that means? I’m changing your sprocket next.”

Can’t wait to test it out.