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Sunday, 08 December 2019

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Llanbedr race report

Llanbedr race report


Llanbedr was a real hoot again this year; plenty of thrills but not too many spills, thankfully.

Being long-course racing we ran Production and Performance fleets at the same time, but staggered the starts. Production had a ten-minute race and Performance started their dial-up as the Production race started giving them and eight minute race. We swapped starting group for each race so there was little hanging around once we had got going, it also allowed a more sociable lunchtime!

Thanks to Sarah Burn for the write up from a novice’s perspective; if you haven’t raced yet don’t assume it’s not for you;  it’s more fun than you would think and a great chance to socialise as well as picking up tips to get the most from your Blokart.

Racing for the first time by Sarah Burn.

My first experience of Blokarting was watching Catey try it at No Barriers 2013 and thinking “that doesn’t look too scary”. A few weeks later I got ‘the grin’ and spent the autumn/winter learning how to with much help from a very patient Chris Moore. (If only I had a penny for every time Chris yelled ‘sheet in, sheet in’)

Eventually I got to the point where I didn’t scream every time my wheels came off the ground and the fun tales of racing grabbed my attention. Having decided Elvington was too far to go I went for North Wales (yes, it is an hour longer to wales, I know now!)

We (John Corkhill and Catey Burn too) got to the airfield and it was a hive of activity. Setting up was a very different experience and involved spanners and an awful lot of sticky tape!  Thanks to everyone for the help and advice (and John for getting my mast base back out when I put too much tape on it and it got stuck!)  Registration happened (note to self – wear less clothes for weigh in – I can’t be that heavy!!!!!) and we went out for a practise. I really liked being given a high visibility jacket to ‘warn’ everyone I was a novice. The wind was stronger than forecast and quite blustery so I spent most of the time practising stopping!!  Briefing was given and, after I had asked for clarification on most points, we were ready to go. 

We set our timers (thank you to Simon Jeffery for the loan) and the horn was blown for the production karts to start. I managed to get a reasonable start and was only about 5 or 6 in the field until we hit the tacking stretch! Here everyone overtook me, my inexperience showed and I wasn’t sure who was meant to be giving way to who (sorry to all those that I got in the way of and for screaming on several occasions – because that is the best thing to do when you think you are going to crash obviously J ).  It’s amazing how fast the performance guys can overtake!

 My first race was totally exhilarating and terrifying at the same time but I was so happy that I’d done it J

For the first 2 races I dialled up away from the pack and joined them at the line, until it was gently pointed that I was joining from the left and should be giving way to everyone!  So I joined the pack for the next dial up; luckily by then I was getting more confident and it wasn’t as scary as it looked at first.  Races came and went and I even found myself overtaking on the fast stretches, only to be passed on the tacking, but I believe I may have come 2nd in one race!

Lunchtime was a chatter filled break with lots of laughter and comparing of experiences. A massive well done to the food organisers  J

My only wimp out was when the rain was so hard that it was stinging my face and I couldn’t see where I was going, so I stopped after the first lap as I really didn’t feel safe.  The rain promptly stopped and the sun was shining by the time everyone had finished  J

Day one ended and I was exhausted but so pleased with myself, the grin was a permanent fixture. After a quick nap and shower we headed off for the evening meal. A great place and one of the best flavoured steaks I have had for a long while. They were really accommodating with my food allergies too!  Lots more chatter and laughter but by 10pm I had hit the wall and needed to sleep – too much fresh air and excitement I think J

Sunday dawned and, after a good night’s sleep and a very fine breakfast, we headed to the airfield.  The karts looked like they were in a showroom when the hangar door was opened – all lined up on the clean painted floor J  The lighter winds forecast didn’t materialise and I think it was more blustery than the day before!  Briefing and the course for the day was shown.  I soon discovered my right arm muscles hurt when I took hold of the steering but luckily it soon eased.

The new course had a very tricky corner I discovered in practise and a tacking stretch equally as frustrating as the day before’s.  Fatigue was an issue for me on day 2 and I had lost some of my confidence.  I found myself not sheeting in (sorry Chris) and just took it easy for the first couple of races. It wasn’t long before the grin was back though and I enjoyed the rest but don’t feel I sailed anywhere near as well as the previous day.

We finished racing before lunch to give the race officials time to score and let us get away before the rain came, but this gave everyone time to take advantage of the fantastic area we had to sail in. On the 2 mile stretch the GPS on my phone said I had done a top speed of 48mph (Unfortunately I didn’t realise that if I had taken a picture of it I could post a PB – but never mind I will just have to do it again sometime J)

Karts were packed away and after much hard work by the officials the scores were ready and prize giving commenced.  Lots of congratulating, handshaking and laughter later the event was over L

I can’t thank everyone enough for making my first race experience so easy and so much fun.  A massive thank you to the organisers and marshals for all the hard work that they put in and for being so patient when I asked the obvious on many occasions!  (and Catey made an excellent horn blower, flag waver and sail number recorder)

And just in case you are wondering – I came 3rd in light production and got best newcomer – still grinning nowJJJ

Watch out Perranporth, here I come!

A huge thanks to Kes and Lachlan Wright for scoring, Richard for doing his best, John for transportation, Steve and Graham for setting the courses, Christina for officiating, Catey for horn-blowing and flag waving, the staff at Llanbedr Airfield Estates and everyone else who helped out in big and small ways.

Thanks also to everyone who attended; the b–series is essential to the development of the sport of blokart racing in the UK; please try to make at least one event, even if you consider yourself to be a ‘non-racer’. 

Light Performance points position
N.Dodge 0 1
A.Gibson 16 2
S.Delahaye 18 3
D.Macfarlane 22 4
Heavy Performance points position
T.Elliot 10 1
G.Deal 15 2
S.Harvey 17 3
P.Farrow 26 4
Ed Delahaye 38 5
R.Lemin 47 6
J.Gillborn 48 7
Light Production points position
L.Wright 0 1
M.Leach 14 2
S.Burn 28 3
T.Hollingsworth 30 4
A.Gillborn 45 5
Heavy Production points position
C.Selway 7 1
D.Purchase 10 2
N.Trollope 15 3
J.Corkhill 41 4
C.Mumford 42 5
K.Chaimberlain 48 6
G.Dalzell 55 7
R.Hollingsworth 58 8
P.Selway 61 9
A.Bullock 66 10
R.Bray 76 11

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