Whilton Mill Championsip - Round 4
It was an electric start to the Junior Max race, from the front row Ethan Haynes led but after just three corners he was passed by Riley Phillips. Haynes, however, quickly put this mistake right by re-passing Phillips on the exit of turn six but there was to be more passing, this time into turn eight and Haynes on this occasion found himself on the grass and down in 7th place.
At the front Phillips and Georgie Whitbread ensued in a battle that seemed to last forever with James White a front row spectator in it all.
White dropped back from the lead too in the second half of the race leaving Whitbread and Phillips to battle it between themselves and Phillips came oh so close to taking it back from Whitbread but the Campfield racing driver was not prepared to lose out for a third month running and held on to take his first victory of the year!
Phillips finished 2nd with White 3rd, Gent 4th and Haynes recovered brilliantly to finish 5th and within two seconds of Whitbread.
Novice driver, Kyle Palmer, drove fantastically making some great moves to finish 7th.
Well from the excellent to the terrible. Sometimes you are ill, like FEKC round 1 and have a valid excuse and sometimes you just plain suck. I am being harsh, but we all expected better and Riley wasn’t really driving how he had done in the previous junior races. There was way too much following going on and not enough attacking driving. He was annoyed and that annoyed everyone else.
There are some factors, we put down a new chassis and this initially looked like it was a good thing and he seemed more “alive” on the kart during Saturday practice, but after setting fastest lap last week at WMKC on his old chassis you have to wonder what the hell you are doing. Come race day and it was apparent that kart and driver were not as confident as previously.
Heat 1 Riley started 12th but the outside of the grid made a woeful start and got passed pretty much by the whole inside lane in the first corner. He fought back to 11th .
Heat 2 was even worse when he left himself on the outside even though he had a golden opportunity to get to the inside, there was “congestion” in front on the inside and I think the new bumpers make drivers nervous about holding the inside in close traffic. Anyway that move cost Riley about 20 places as he couldn't get back in. He raced back to 10th, but there was an accident in front of him and he clipped one of the karts as it return onto the track and picked up a bumper 10 second penalty which on a close packed race dropped him to 23rd… Jeepers can we have the 10 place rule back please!!!
Heat 3 Riley was starting 26th anyway and got back to 14th which was reasonable. That left him 15th on the grid for the final. His worst grid slot for ages. I think all this had taken its toll on his confidence. Saying that, through racing and staying out of trouble he end up fighting over 4th, he never really made a decisive move though and some good defending later kept him behind and he got poached on the last lap to end up 6th. Given the weekend, we went home smiling.
Moral this week, it doesn’t matter if you change something and it's better, it still takes time to adjust to it. (Let’s hope driver and kart can bond soon). When you change something as big as the chassis then it takes time for the driver to adjust to it and that can cost you confidence, which is the difference between going forwards or reversing down the order, especially in a packed race. Saying that we normally go home smiling whether we have won or come last, because there is always something to learn and all the racing is fun wherever you are in the field.
As weekends go this one turned out pretty good. Saturday practice was wet and we had great pace all day. Sunday was supposed to be the same, but as it turned out it stayed dry all day.
We had slightly less pace in the dry and were struggling to match the pace of the two Campfield drivers. However, Riley managed 3rd, 2nd and 3rd for the heats and lined up P3 for the final.
Initially it looked like there would be a 5 way battle as various karts got to the front in the first couple of laps but a few laps in and the front pack had dropped the other two drivers and it was the two Campfield drivers and Riley hanging onto their bumpers.
The 12 minute final seemed forever and just on the last lap when it looked like Riley might get dropped, he put in the fastest lap of the race and pulled back up to the campfield pair.
The leader half defended one of the corners and the second place man sent one up the inside. It didn't look overly late to me, but they both turned in and ended up ontop of each other.
As Riley followed them into the corner I thought was going to end up on top too, but he just slipped by to take the win and the fastest lap trophy. That's the way it goes sometimes..
This weeks technical note is all about visors. Been a bit annoyed with the new visor scratching so easily, so I tried to protect it with the Arai visor protector tear offs as seen above. I was sort of expecting these to stick on like a mobile phone screen protector, but they are just a plastic sheet that is held on with the lugs on the Arai visor. Unfortunately I found that this just rubs about on the visor catching dust underneath it and then scratching the visor even worse than if you have not used a protector. Really disappointed as I really wanted to look after the new visor.