This year was my first time competing in a regional kart series. I took part in the IKF Region 6 Gold Cup. Now that the season is over, I’ve had a few friends who just wanted to have a quick summary on how the racing season went, so I figured that I would give a quick post on that.
The beginning rounds of the Gold Cup started off strongly, with two fourth places at SIMA. One race was in the rain and one was in the dry, so I had a good feeling that the year was going to be pretty good in terms of results. However, the races in the middle of the season were a bit challenging for me, mostly because of mechanical issues.
For example, I had practiced so much on my original engine, that the valve came loose, just after I put the kart off-pole during the second round in the series in Spanaway (which was my best qualifying all year in mixed conditions), so I had no power during either heat race or final.
In the seventh and eight rounds, I was suffering power-problems again because my World Formula bottom end had to use an Animal head. The kart shop that was working on my motor wasn’t able to get parts from Briggs, but wanted to get me back on the track. It was nice to get back racing, but it was frustrating not even being able to reach the rev-limiter with this hybrid motor.
It’s never nice finishing races lower down than what I knew I could do but you just have to be patient in those situations.
Before the final two rounds, I was finally able to purchase a new motor for McMinnville. So for the first time in months, I had an engine with full power. For me, the best parts of the weekend where being able to battle people head on, and the compliments that I got when I moved through the field. I’d noticed what I had started to learn from all of the practice days and tough races prior, because battling people seemed come much easier now.
I had a chance to battle 18 racers during the final two rounds, qualifying 11th and 12th during both day, and finishing 9th and 8th in both finals respectively. It was relieving to be able to actually race people, and make progress forward through each race.
I finished the season in fourth place overall in my region, which considering how the middle of the year went is pretty good! I was actually really happy that I’ve been having all of these challenges early on, because I’m growing more used to working on my own kart, and making sure that I have plenty of spare parts in at the track with me.
So now it’s time for the fall and winter season which, in my opinion, is all seat time for preparation for Gold Cup next year. Now that I’ve had a chance to experience some more intense races, it gave me a new experience to what’s significant when practicing in club races. The battles are pretty challenging still, but in the grand scheme of things it is just practice. So I find myself having even more fun while I try new things with the kart each time I go out.
What I learned this year was that I’m about a mid-field driver in my region right now. Even though I’m not the fastest driver, I work really hard in getting as much practice and seat time as possible between races. I feel like that counts for something, and so I’m going to keep at it. I’m not driving badly, but being really fast will click for me, eventually.
I really love racing, so having faster people around gets me motivated to just get better. (I do enjoy a good battle.)
That being said, I’m already working to save for a second kart, just for practicing. It which will be an LO206 so that I can be involved in some of the club races in my area where that kart class is popular. I can also use this “new” chassis as a comparison to tune off my World Formula/Velox. (I might actually run some of the Can-Am races with that 206 kart too, if things work out well.) – Update: I totally changed my mind on doing this 😛
Racecraft practice, running in the rain, and generally more time in the seat will always be better to prepare for the races that will be coming next year. I’ve been learning a lot about my own driving, and more about kart setup, so that just keeps me psyched to keep racing.
I’m going to keep racing four-stroke karts next year, as I already have most of the equipment, and there is still a lot that I can learn from them. I’m really looking forward the regional (and maybe even national) races in 2015, and just life in general to be honest. It’s pretty awesome.
I want to say thanks to my awesome sponsors for this year: RacerTimes, Xccel Racing LLC, Dark Horse Pros, Sound Microsystems and OUI Works, without who I wouldn’t have been able to be on the track as much as I have.
Photo Credit to Jacob Janders and US Karting News