Monday, July 19, 2010

(113) Phasing

I hope you'll excuse the lack of postings as of late. For the past 6 months I've been averaging 2 posts per month. I'd like to bump that up to 1 weekly post, but I wonder to myself if I can manage to keep that rate of writing interesting.

You see, in the beginning, I had a lot to talk about. In 2008 I had a metric ton of posts describing my learning process. This whole thing was very new and I was very excited all the time. In 2009 I had a very active year with a lot of very exciting racing, and I'm sure it made for some good reading.

This year has been, so far, pretty transitional. My karting phase is winding down, and my car phase is going to come to life in the coming months. I have a lot of excitement regarding my upcoming schools at Skip Barber. Just another month and a half to go. It's my next big step on the ladder. Rung number two. So, naturally, I don't find myself thinking about much of anything else with regard to racing. I'm sure you all don't want me to just endlessly repeat my anticipation. Before I go for the first class, though, I will make sure to write a post detailing all of that, as well as my preparations. I will probably do that a week or two before the class.

I tend not to treat this blog like a diary. Not only do I not want to fill the internet with my own personal emotions and inner troubles, but I also don't think that kind of writing is very interesting. But then, you're talking to a guy that is more interested in how much horsepower his car has than the world views of poets.

Nevertheless, a few glimpses into my mindset have slipped by a number of times. I suppose you might say my mindset right now is eager, with a hint of waryness. Eager to prove that what I have gained from karting for 2 and a bit years will serve me well in full size cars, and that I can handle and even excel at this new challenge, and a little wary because of the numerous warnings that I've received about the differences between a car and a kart. No doubt there are differences, but which ones matter and which ones don't I'm not entirely sure about. While I have driven at race speed in a full size car with suspension and all that, I've never driven a fully fledged race car and while I have many theories as to what I'll need to bring to the table, I have little to go on at this point.

Any way, the point here is to let you all know that the sparse streak will probably continue for the next 4 weeks, as there is really nothing on my schedule racing wise. I'll try to find something to do, but no guarantees.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

(112) Off day

I've never really had an off day before. Not in racing anyway. 2 and a half years of racing and no really all around not so great days (performance wise). A few mediocre days, but no real bad days.

So I suppose it's about time I had one, eh? And had one I did.

The morning started out alright. I was 4th fastest in the practice sessions which is about normal for me at the beginning of the day. I don't enter with a bang. I like to work up to qualifying pace. It just seems more consistent.

Then, in the 2nd practice session, something happened. Don't ask me what. I really have no idea. For some reason, something was wrong. Could've been the kart, could've been me. Either way, I was 2nd to last in the times. The whole field was setting really close times (the entire field was within 1 second of the fastest lap), so that might have had an effect. I'm usually fine on the sprint tack. I'm not bad at it. It's not my best track, but it's not my worst either.

My performance (or lack thereof) continued into qualifying. I qualified on the last row (but not dead last), in 7th.

The mechanics offered to look over the kart to see if anything was wrong. I agreed. They changed the spark plug just for the heck of it but didn't find anything wrong with the kart.

One of my friends, normally quite fast, was also slower and qualified towards the rear. It might not have been a problem with us, but an unusual surge in performance from a lot of the other drivers.

The race was delayed because of a kart failing on the pace lap. We circulated for a while, I got impatient and spun the kart while trying to keep my tires warm. Very embarrassing.

The race start was fast, but the first lap was slow. There's not much you can do about that, being in back. You're kind of stuck and your passing opportunities are limited since you have to contend with the accordion effect (karts compress in the braking zone, and a once large gap between the two karts ahead of you shrinks, and you have no place to slot in should you attempt a pass).

On the 2nd lap I got passed going into Sand. I tried to salvage too much exit speed, and dropped a wheel. This instantly sucked me out into the dirt and I had to back out of the throttle or spin. I just rode it out and rejoined. The driver who passed me claims he didn't leave me any room, but I reckon I had enough to stay on the track. I just had too much speed.

The rest of the race was spent sparring for 6th spot. On the 2nd to last lap, one of the karts ahead half-spun and stalled (much like I did last year). He had trouble restarting and went to the back. The fight for 6th turned into a fight for 5th, which, with only 2 laps remaining, I had little chance of winning based on the gap.

I tried my best to catch up, but it wasn't enough and I finished 6th.

Round 6 helmet cam footage.

I suppose the fact that I didn't do any practice the week before could have contributed, but I don't think that was the only factor.

Depending on what my schedule with Skip Barber is going to look like, this might be the last time I drive at Jim Russell. I think that's unlikely, as I do want to come back and do the season ending double header and I'd like to do the Enduro again this year, but we'll see how things shape up.