Jack's diary: Third round bad luck

GrassRoots is currently bringing you the diary of Evening Star sponsored Jack Partridge, a 10 year-old go-karter who is racing his debut season in the British Super One Championships.

GrassRoots is currently bringing you the diary of Evening Star sponsored Jack Partridge, a 10 year-old go-karter who is racing his debut season in the British Super One Championships.

The diary, written by his father and coach Danny Partridge, continues this week with a report of round three in South Wales.

AFTER the last trip to Scotland, round three was another long haul again, this time off to south Wales.

Jack makes no secret that this is his favourite circuit, it's a circuit with high grip and you need to be ultra smooth which suits his driving style so he looked forward to the weekend.

Thursday

5pm: We arrive at the circuit and put up the awning (its good to get a good spot early so you don't have to walk miles to the pits). The kart has already been prepared and is left in the van with Jack feeling good about the weekend already. It's off to book into the accommodation, get something to eat and get to bed in a reasonable time ready for another hectic weekend.

Most Read

Friday

7am: Up early and the sun is shining, so it should make for a good day. Same as usual, six practice sessions for both Friday and Saturday, so we need to make the most of every session.

10am: Jack goes out on track and is immediately quick. He already knows the circuit as we have tested here before so we decide to work on breaking down the circuit into sector times in order to get the maximum out of the kart.

We also try different gearing on the kart to simulate front, middle and back grid starts in preparation for race day on Sunday.

This is also where we decide the best sprocket to run on the rear axle to give Jack the most power at various different sections of the lap. Large sprocket and he will have great acceleration but low top speed and small sprocket and he will have low acceleration but high top speed.

We have an onboard computer that measures both engine revs and lap times to help us make the right choice for each circuit.

Saturday

11.30am: Jack sets some mighty impressive lap times (top five in his class) and other teams soon start questioning the legality of the engine we have!

I can tell all readers that we use an engine company called Prokart Engineering and the engines provided are exceptionally quick and 100% legal. The truth is we as a team would not know how to cheat with an engine.

3pm: It is time to collect our slicks for race day. They are quickly fitted to rims and then bolted on the kart to put some laps on them. On a grippy circuit you do not need new tyres as it can slow you down so the more laps we do today the better.

Sunday

Heat One: Pole again and all we want is a solid finish to clock up some valuable championship points.

A great start sees Jack lead for four laps with a superb race for the top five positions. We seem to be losing out on the straights a little but Jack makes a good job of holding them off in the twisty section.

The heats are only 10 laps long and after one of the best races he has driven Jack comes across the line in third. This may sound disappointing but bear in mind that a tiny mistake can cost you ten places let alone the two dropped in this one.

Heat Two: Not a good one! Jack starts on grid 12 and gets caught up in all the mayhem that can happen when you start mid-field.

It's everyone for themselves in this situation and usually ends in a little carnage. We survive any major damage and come home in 16th place. Jack is not pleased but we remain positive.

Heat Three: Just when we thought things could not get worse they did.

This was to be our lowest grid of the day and although the theory is you can only move up the field that goes out the window if you get put off the track when cleanly pass someone!

A very good start saw Jack make up seven places on the start only for a driver to miss his brakes completely and use Jack to slow down on turn two. We go all the way back to last and, although Jack bangs in some impressive lap times, the race is not long enough and we come in last.

Sometimes you get good luck in racing, at the moment we are getting all the bad.

Final: A terrible day so far so we roll the dice in gearing and fit a smaller sprocket to the kart. This will give more top speed on the straights but means Jack has to do the job of keeping the revs up through the twisty section.

We start 12th and survive the opening laps, even moving up to 11th. A top ten finish would be good judging by the day we have had but suddenly I see Jack bouncing across the grass and it's back to last again!

A spirited dive in the final laps saw Jack finish16th and it is a huge disappointment to what should have been a good weekend for us.

In the paddock I meet Jack who immediately jumps out of his kart and marches over to another driver and promptly lectures them on the move that saw him pushed off the track.

A few words are exchanged and its back to pack the van and make the long journey home. To say there was not a lot of conversation would be an understatement. We were both bitterly disappointed and the focus now has to be to come back stronger.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter