21st April - Rotary Go Go-Karting
Unsurprisingly a minority sport for Rotarians with only seven Rotarians and two partners joining in, which was a shame as it was brilliant fun. Initially it was felt that Martin would be favourite as he had raced before and also had the advantage of being lighter than most of the competitors. But then Dinta let slip that she had done karting before and that a relative had raced with Lewis Hamilton and so, also benefiting from a lighter weight, her odds immediately shortened. But Peter, Derek, Tony and David had raced before and would know the correct racing lines to take, so maybe no clear favourite. We mustn’t forget that we had a crowd come to watch us. The crowd, Bryony, was also the official photographer. We slipped on our racing overalls, several optimistically choosing too small a size before having to admit defeat and move up on size. Then we had a briefing which amongst other things emphasised that there should be no bumping, a rule which some of us (Ray!!!) promptly disregarded (well not deliberately I protest, but there are no brake lights!) and Ray did receive a couple of warning black flags for his aggression. Pay back was on the very final lap of the day in which when he was being chased closely by Steve, Ray was taken out on a bend by someone (poetic justice) thus allowing Steve to overtake. There were three 10 minute sessions where we all raced each other. Our two tallest participants, Derek Pinner and David Richmond, had trouble fitting into the karts, which certainly didn’t favour long legs, and so retired after the first session. Tony Briar managed two sessions before deciding upon discretion in advance of valour. The karts were electric and their power could be controlled remotely, so the first session was at a lower power to allow us to gain familiarity. For the second session they told us the first lap would be at that power but then they would turn it up, so beware. The uprating of power was certainly noticeable when it came and maybe we weren’t quite so certain whether we could do the first turn, which was at the end of the longest straight, without decelerating. The cornering capabilities of the karts is quite amazing and just a little scary. The track had several hairpin bends and boy was it fun side slipping, accidentally of course, around them. Overtaking was quite challenging as generally the karts were evenly matched on straight line speed so it was bends where the deed had to be done. Then do you go around the outside or inside? You have to make a decision and hope that you are left enough room, but there are no rear view mirrors so generally your victim is not aware of anyone immediately behind them. Consequently there were a few collisions (but even F1 drivers, the most elite drivers, collide, don’t they!? That’s me, Ray, getting in my excuses) and if that pushes someone into a spin that blocks the track then the red (or was it yellow) flag comes out and power to all the karts is turned down so you frustratingly have to crawl around. Then after clearance, suddenly the power returns and off you go again. A 10 minutes break between each session was welcomed, it is quiet strenuous with terrific G forces when cornering, and all too soon we were on our last session. For some reason they now put us in different karts and it became clear that all karts were not equal. Somehow each driver ended up in a kart that wasn’t as good as their previous one, or so they would have you believe. Well mine certainly wasn’t, it had much reduced road (track?) holding than my previous one (more excuses!) so I was sliding around more and losing more speed on the corners. Unfortunately there were far more crashes in the last session so the power reduction was applied more often. There was surprisingly little between everybody. Dinta didn’t quite fulfil her pre-race promise and so maybe needs to call Lewis for some coaching for any rematch. Martin, who to be fair had stated that he wasn’t the competitive sort, was also not crowned winner despite his favourable credentials. Maybe we shouldn’t discuss the wooden spoon, or maybe we should, sorry Jo. It also turned out that Peter Homent had not been feeling too well during the race yet was fielding lap times only a fraction off the fastest each session, so had he been fit it is likely that he would have been the quickest. So who had the fastest lap? Unfortunately it was not a Rotarian so we need to sign up Steve, who it was, in case we challenge any other Rotary clubs to a race. Now there’s a thought! Words by Ray, Photos by Bryony, The album below will step forward automatically every few seconds
President: Peter Mitton
Club of Royston
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