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6th round PCI Karting Championship Report

Quarter passed eight it was as I was leaving the house and fired up the 944 with her being a little lacy to accept the immobiliser pad and me thinking on plan B if plan A fails. However she happily sprung into action after the immobiliser opened up the fuel pump. I rolled her out easy and warmed up the engine for about 5 miles and watching the temperature gauge before I loaded her a little and enjoyed my trip into New Ross along my usual route, hugging my usual corners and letting her off.

I arrived a tad late to Andy’s place as I again was missing the house only this time I was on the right road and eventually drove into his yard. Andy had the Honda CRX prepped and ready to go, when I was just transferring my gear into the Honda and we got going without delay.

As we were leaving we were sure it would be a wet race this time around and thought Joe could be beat to the finish, while Joe and myself in specific aren’t great racers in the wet. We were lucky this year with the weather and only had one race that was partially a wet race and as you know there isn’t any wet tyres in hired Karting so you can’t really break hard as you would almost immediately do a little pirouette and likely point in the wrong direction at the end of it.

It’s now almost traditional for Andy and myself to take on some breakfast before we head into battle and this time we made a stop in Tesco’s early morning for a bit of fattening. We made good headway as Andy’s Tom-Tom guided us along to our destination. I was very impressed and I may consider having it on my wish list sometime in the future. I was getting a text from Ciaran who by now has his 944 S2 back on the road only to get into trouble with his wiper motor which packed in some days earlier and his participation was always in question pending on the weather. He did make a start of it only to get caught in some bad showers, which we had anticipated as the outlook was never great for this Sunday. So as you can imagine he had to turn back with no wiper motor it was far too dangerous to continue and Ciaran it was very much appreciated for your effort but alas there is another one on the 30th of October so we hope to see you there.

On arrival we picked up Emer and Connie as they made their way from Galway to Abbeyfeale via the Bus, what an effort and dedication to Karting. So we packed them into the Honda and travelled the short trip to the venue just north and outside of Abbeyfeale. Dusty and Sean including Joe and Jacub were already there surveying the Track and conditions with mixed feelings and plenty to banter about. As it was we had only one more driver to come which was Dusty’s friend Diarmud who was still some miles away and we could afford to wait as there wasn’t much happening on the track. We did watch some young chap pirouetting around the track and it did give us an idea what to expect once we get out there. It looked extremely slippy and it being a well rubber’d track I could see that any of the normal race lines would be like skating on ice. I just hoped we wouldn’t do a pirouette on every corner as the young chap did as we watched him with his Father beside us and commenting on his progress.

Our schedule was to proceed with practice following with qualifying and Grand Prix final race. As we finally got going the rain had stopped but the track was still wet enough to instil quite a bit of respect at least for the first couple of laps and all of us where trying our best not to spin on every corner. Not a hope I would suggest especially as in our case we are only hobby racers and aren’t used to Karts on a wet track, so it was just hilarious to watch as all of us (bar from Emer’s first spin) where spinning all over the track as much as we tried to get a handle on the conditions. Of course we tried every conceivable trick in each other arsenal to cope with the track, so you can imagine what it was like as some of us did better than others but I must say everybody just had immense craic as we were sliding along during practice.

It was no different during Qualifying but the skids seemed to get less and we also got braver only to see ourselves hurling all over the place again once in a while. So we were amply familiar when we got to the final as there also seems to be some dryer parts to appear if not from us sweeping the track.

You would have thought with the conditions on the track, that the guy’s would be holding back a bit at the drop of the chequered flag for the Grand Prix final. Not so I can report as all headed into the first sweeping left juggling with each other for positions heading for a small chicane through and down to hairpin 1 turning left with the first action as some where colliding and sliding out of action and the rest of us skidding more than driving into right turn 2 hairpin with a bit of grip on the new stretch of tarmac sliding out of into left hairpin 3 cutting the corner as best you can and use all of the other side of the track to stay on it and continue to left turn 4 sliding as I was waiting for traction to return when hitting the new Tarmac there and flat through the next right turn 5 / left chicane and into right turn 6 hoping to hold on to the track, into right to left chicane turn 7, using all track bouncing over kerbs and any available tarmac to head over to left turn 8 sweeping through as tight as possible and head up the home strait at full throttle passing the start finish line and into next lap.

I had an incident sliding off in the first chicane after the first turn1 were I buried myself into the grass and jumped out of the kart immediately, wheeled myself back into the race and continued trying to hang on whatever position I had. Andy at some point gained on me expediently and I had to give way with minimum fight not to hurl myself off the track again. Needless to say at this stage I had lost a lap or two on the Lads as I had to wheel myself off the grass on my first and thankfully only spin from recollection. Towards the end of the race dry track appeared in particular spots and we all went flat to the mat in these areas just to gain the extra few seconds. While I used Andy as my marker and both of us came up behind to lap someone all of sudden I could see Andy somehow slowing down and I took my chance to unlap myself from Andy, while passing by his Kart it sounded very sick and it was looking like he would have to retire soon.

As Andy’s Kart stopped I could see him jumping out of the Kart in disgust fully understandable since he had been running a great race and was heading for the pit. Billy one of the Owners hurried him to get into another Kart and continue the race.

It didn’t take him long to get into the next Kart and hurl himself around again as I was trying to unlap myself from him due to my earlier spin off in lap 13 but to no avail as Andy finished in 4th with Joe finishing 2nd chasing hard on the heels of Connie who won his first race of the season, while Jacub closing in on the top duo had to be happy with 3rd and Dusty/Jon settling for 6th, Sean following close behind in 7th and Diarmud in 8th while Emer fought a brave race and finishing in 9th as I also could only manage 5th.

A great race it’s all I can say under the conditions and it was fought hard and fair with no quarters given as they say. Everybody had the greatest of craic and I could not think of a better way to race and that exciting. I would have to say that if you are a race enthusiast and you’d love to race no matter what way you are looking at it, it’s the cheapest way of racing available in Ireland. The only drawback is we wouldn’t have an as glamorous environment you would have as if you race in a F1 race but none the less just as exciting. Of course the hired Karts wouldn’t be as fast say as the Pro Karts but still I would argue one of the best Sunday afternoon exercises you can take with a rush not to be missed.

It leaves the Championship Leader Board with following changes:

1st Joe 89 points with Joker played

2nd Connie 64 points with Joker played

3rd Ben 54 points with Joker played

4th Andy 43 points with Joker played

5th Brian 33 points

6th Jacub 30 points with Joker played

7th Rob C 26 points with Joker played

8th George 23 points

9th David D 17 points

10th Bob 15 points

11th Anthony 13 points ….. Stephen W. 13 points with Joker played

12th Patrick C 12 points

13th Dusty Aka Jon 10 points with Joker played

14th Michael D 9 points

15th Chris P 6 points

16th Denis C 5 points …. Mick B 5 points ……

17th John E 4 points

18th Dave W 3 points

19th Alan W 2 points ……. Garreth C 2 points

20th Ciaran F 1 point

What an eventful day and quite some changes in the leader board with Joe now in an unassailable lead in the Championship and will be crowned our new PCI Karting Champion 2011, Connie sitting in second and likely to stay there as Andy would need to finish 4th in the next race to clinch third in the championship if Ben doesn’t come to it. Ben could still reclaim second spot if Connie doesn’t score next race and Ben finishes in second at least. Jacub, Brian, Rob and possibly I could still trade positions with Brian having the best chance to topple Andy for 4th place on the last race of the season pending on the outcome. Everybody still has the possibility to chase up on the leader board come the last race.

So there is a lot to play for and I hope to see you all at the last race on Sunday the 30th of October with the venue still to be decided.

In the meantime I would like to thank everybody who made this an exciting race afternoon and their way to Abbeyfeale in specific also to Emer competing with the boys and to Ciaran who tried to make it but had to abandon his trip down due to mechanical issues on his 944S2.

Many thanks George