Edit: Sorry for the long post; I get carried away sometimes. Sorry Will, I know reading is hard for you. *runs away*
I'm back (just watched the GP first, had some dinner, unloaded the car and checked the forum). I think I might have missed the T7R internal league race too, for which I apologise 3J, but I intended to get back in time...
Day got off to bad start when I overslept and had to make up time doing 100mph all the way, only to discover the A45 was closed, and the Follow Diversion was useless as the diversion signs appeared to have been nicked. Damn chavs
Eventually got there, picked up Chris and headed to the Thomas a Beckett (hereafter known as TaB).
When we arrived I knew a few faces, and was introduced to a few more. Then I discovered the people behind us, who looked like pub regulars, were with us too, so I engaged them in conversation, and tried to bring everyone together a bit more. Once we'd finished our drinks we headed off to the track, and got there about 11:45. I immediately started to sort out the money, which took about 45 minutes, partly because I'm crap at doing stuff involving other peoples money, and partly because few people seemed to know either what they owed or how to describe what they were paying for, but we got there in the end. An extra team was formed, which meant the total bill increased, and I had to cover the extra cost of £90 that we were short. Afterwards, whilst people watched England under perform AGAIN at the kickball, I worked out that the deficit was caused by Clownpaint and me becoming a two man team (we paid extra), and Lippy and Scotty merging to form a two man team after a couple of no shows on the day. Thus Scotty and Lippy owe me £32.50 to change from three men teams to two men teams. We can sort that out soon.
By the time I was done moneying, we had a quick briefing and I went to get changed. By then practice was 7 minutes underway, so I got ready to call Clown in for a swap at 15 minutes. As I called him in the chain fell off (excessive kerbing by him), and I had to wait while they refitted it for me. The kart, at this point, had no brakes, so I was sliding into turns to slow it down, but not actually losing much time to the majority of people. We got 3rd (I think), so quite happy.
On to the race, we had a rolling start. Which was great for the leader (Scotty), and Will (who's done them before). 3rd and below were caught out, and by the 3rd corner 1st and 2nd had half a straight lead
A small accident on the last turn of lap 1 marred the start, but they got going again quickly.
After 24 minutes I called Clown in for the first driver change, and he informed me he still had no brakes. He was right. But I kept up with people, and passed a few (outbraking is hard without brakes), and just got on with my job of going as fast as I could. All was going well (ish), until my 6th lap or so when a loud bang occured on the fastest bit of the track as I hit the brake pedal (out of desire for brakes). I turned around to see my brake disc, in 5 pieces, bounce away from the kart, and I only just slowed down in time, proving that we did have brakes of a kind. The other side effect was the kart leant over, and would pick up the right front wheel in corners, and the chain fell off again. I trundled into the pits with my tail between my legs.
But Mr. Marshall Man gave me a new kart (#12) and this one... had brakes
I loved this kart so much more. It was more oversteery, but not too much, and the brakes were perfectly modulatable, allowing me to slide on corner entry without doing much steering. The new brakes caught me out a couple of times, resulting in a small spin, but I was recovering before the spin had finished and only lost a few seconds in each. Then I started passing people (mostly unlapping myself I think, but it was fun nonetheless).
After 30 mins I was called in, although I missed the pit in board for 4 laps due to a big battle with someone (I don't know who) that I eventally won after 4 laps basically side by side. Whoever that was (about 55 minutes in) I thank you for that, it was awesome.
Clown took over, and was immediately quicker with the better balance and brakes, but it was fairly uneventful from trackside, with a couple of overtakes and a few slidey moments. I gave him his time, and called him in again. When he got to the pits he started telling me something, and judging by his eyes it was fairly important, but I couldn't hear him, so I went out anyway. It was fine. At this point I was, for me, flying. I was catching people quite easily and once passed them I was pulling away. I don't think I made a major mistake in that stint once, and was fairly consistent, only bogging down a few times after missing an apex now and again.
Then Clown pulled me in for his final stint, which was ultimately cut short due to Chris Kerry and [mumbles]'s accident. After the long kart inpection and change stop, and a messed up refuelling (they didn't tell us WHERE to refuel, and Mr Fuel Man didn't wave or indicate as he came in) stop we came home 7th but with the 3rd fastest lap, and an average pace to battle for 3rd or 4th I think.
Afterwards we had a prize giving ceremony, which I missed whilst changing, and immediately after that people left to watch the football or go home. Most missed the 30 cookies I brought with me, so tough luck. The evening has been explained above, so I won't bother repeating it, and this morning Will, Chris and I went to GP Karting for half an hour of fun, and a drink at TaB.
The racing, and the standard of driving was very very high, and on that respect I have nothing to complain about. But I am disappointed by the social side of it, particularly afterwards. Maybe it was my fault, and maybe it was compounded by that joke of a sport they call football, but there was no huge gathering afterwards, no group photo, and no sense of direction. But I'm not directing this at anyone or any group in particular, and I hope you all had a good time afterwards, but I think it would have been nicer if we had all spend an hour or two taking over a bar for some proper chit chat. If you blame me then I apologise.
All in all it was a success though, so don't dwell on the negative side of things above.
Next year I think we need to think more carefully about the time of year (I will be a holding a poll in the coming week to gauge peoples opinions on this), as well as having a more definitive plan of campaign for the apres-karting. I've also considered a better system of team making that will encourage people to meet new people - random teams. Rather than having predefined and requested teams (which get broken if someone doesn't turn up) we have our names drawn out of a hat to choose the teams on the day. Obviously this idea could be refined in due course (read: next year), but it would stop people having little private gangs throughout the day.
To all those who came, who saw, conquered and enjoyed themselves however, I think overall you ALL deserve a pat on the back. This event is FOR you lot, and it's YOU that makes it what it is. I enjoyed it, and I think a lot of you did too. Long may the UK LFS Karting meets continue (though we should get Fordie to arrange the next one as he is much much better at it than me).
To Arosamike and Clownpaint: Please upload movies and photos ASAP.
See you all next year, hopefully with more drivers, more devs, more great driving and more fun. Tristan Out.