Sep 27, 2008

Race 5: IKF Region 6 Sprint Gold Cup (PARC)

My first Sprint Gold Cup! I was running with the Medium group, as the Heavys were running on Sunday. With all the weights and starter removed, my kart and I were tipping the scales at 380, which is 10 lbs. light for the Heavy group, but was 15 lbs overweight for the Medium group.

I pulled into the PARC complex late Friday afternoon for practice. I was hoping that I would get a decent pit spot due to the fact that I was a day early. It was so packed and I ended up setting up shop about 1/8 mile down the road. I also didn't realize that practice was about over, so I was able to only get one practice session in. I was about 4 seconds off the pace of the leaders, and I packed up for the night wondering how I was going to shave off that much off of my lap time.

The next morning I arrived to the track at 7am and set up shop again. I participated in the two morning practice sessions, and wasn't any faster than last night. I qualified second-to-last, still 4 seconds off the pace, with a best time of 57.38. The only reason why I wasn't last was because the last place kart broke down.

I started the first heat race 10th out of 13 drivers. There were two more drivers that had to start at the end because they didn't participate in qualifying. I was getting faster, as I was learning the track better and figuring out the lines and where I thought I needed to brake, but didn't, etc. At one point, I slid off the track, and broke the nose cone, which was dragging on the track. I was able to shave 1.2 seconds off my fastest time, which was now 56.16. I went back to the pits to lick my wounds and get out my backup nose cone.

Before my second heat race, there was a huge accident in the TaG Jr. class that had a kart flipping up in the air, and the girl driving being thrown clear. She was taken to the hosiptal, having suffered a broken collar bone.

The second heat race grids up in the opposite of qualifying, so I was on the outside of the first row. This was my first time starting a race from the front. I had a pretty good start, but was hit from the side by another kart going into turn 2, which made me spin out, and rejoin at the back. I ended up breaking my backup nose cone during the race again. My best lap for this heat was 55.9, which ended up being my fastest lap of the day, but was still 1.5 seconds off the pace.

Back at the pits, I got my original nose cone, which was less damaged, and "sewed" up the large tear with safey wire, and surprisingly, it was almost good as new.

Due to being behind time, and the long delay to clear the accident earlier, it was starting to get really dark. They shortened the last few races from 12 laps to 6. I was hoping that we were going to be able to race our main event. The race director walked up to us and asked each one of us if we wanted to race. Of course we said we would. The first four laps were OK, but it was really getting dark in the final two laps. I could only see the ground about 10 feet ahead of me, and was really going off of memory. I knew when I needed to brake and turn in, and I could see the turns only at the last second. I was the last of the running karts, but there were two that broke down, so that left me 11th out of 13 karts. It was really silly of us to race in the dark, and I'm surprised that the race director let us do it, but as nothing bad happened, I'm glad that we ran, just for the experience. Due to the conditions, everyone was much slower, but it was slightly embarrassing that the fastest karts were still faster than my fastest lap.

Well.. that was my first Gold Cup race... Fantastic experience, and I hope I will be more prepared for next year! (and hopefully lighter)

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