Partridge on pole!

Over the coming months GrassRoots will bring you the diary of Evening Star sponsored Jack Partridge, a 10 year-old go-karter who is racing in his debut season in the British Super One Series.

Over the coming months GrassRoots will bring you the diary of Evening Star sponsored Jack Partridge, a 10 year-old go-karter who is racing in his debut season in the British Super One Series.

After part one documented the disappointment of a cancelled first round in Suffolk, the second part of the diary, written by his father and coach Danny Partridge, this week reports on the championship's second round in Scotland.


10am: Jack is asked by a local radio station to call into the news desk as they are following his progress and wanted to get an interview that would be broadcast over the championship weekend.

Jack was in his element with the female newsreaders looking after him and was soon relaxed into talking into the mike! The interview went well and we quickly had to get on the road.

With the next round of the championship in the depths of Scotland it was to be a long trip! We headed for the A1 with all the kit and in confident mood. We had returned from a test a few days earlier with progress being made on the set-up in dry conditions.

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The weather forecast was looking good and all we wanted was a steady weekend with some valuable points on the board.

4pm: After a good trip up we went straight to the circuit. Larkhall was its name and being so far away it was not a circuit we had been to before but Jack was immediately impressed. With it was flowing up and down it looked exciting to drive.

Once we had set the awning up and said hello to a few familiar faces it was off to find our accommodation for the weekend.


7am: It's good to be up early and keen. It's something that we strive to be to put Jack in the best frame of mind in what was going to be very busy three days.

To travel for almost six hours to a new circuit and to be expected to compete on the highest level is a lot to ask of anyone, let alone an 11 year old.

Jack takes it all in his stride though and thankfully nothing fazes him and, within 10 laps, he was lapping consistently. We were not the quickest but we were by far not the slowest.

My old instructor who taught me the art of kart racing once told me that a good driver can learn a new circuit in 10 laps and if they can't then they should be doing something else!

Quite a harsh view but very true. Of course a driver will get quicker the more they practice but a racing line around a hairpin, for example, is the same whichever hairpin you drive.

The weather was changeable throughout the day but we found a good set-up for both dry and damp conditions.


7am: Again it's up and to the circuit early. Saturday is official practice so the kart has to be safety scrutineered along with Jack's race suit helmet and gloves.

10am: In the first of six practice sessions we begin to get down to the nitty gritty of set-up for the kart as we want to be in the best possible position for race day.

Every lap counts in practice and Jack has been instructed not to get involved in any stupid 'offs' as the last thing we want is a damaged kart.

About two minutes into the 10 minute session though and Jack does not appear down the main straight. A quick jog around the corner and I find him sitting on a tyre wall with the kart parked neatly on the grass.

'Throttle cable,' he tells me, and I look down to see that it has snapped at the pedal. We can't do anything until the end of the session, but it's still time for Jack to concentrate on how the other drivers are taking corners. A racing driver never switches off, even when you're a spectator.

5pm: It's the last practice session of the day and in theory should be our best. All of the practice from the two days should now be put to use and we have also been given our controlled set of slicks that we are to use on race day.

The times tumble from everybody, with Jack also putting in his fastest time of the weekend so far.

We had been running quite old tyres up until now over the weekend with Jack complaining of little grip. Over the last two days we had been six tenths off of the fastest driver and by fitting a brand new set of slicks we had reduced the gap to two tenths.

We were extremely pleased and the team praised Jack for his hard work over the last two days, doing a solid job.


10.30am: Guess where we were for heat one……pole position! Jack made an excellent start and held the lead for two laps until he was passed in a very good move by another driver.

It was a bit of a tussle for the top five positions but Jack brought the kart home in third. Valuable championship points as you score points in all three heats with double points in the final.

3pm: Heat two and three were a middle and back starts with positions gained in both heats. Jack qualified 11th out of 20 on the grid for the final and a top ten finish was on the cards.

Disaster struck at the start of the final though as Jack was caught up in a turn two incident and went down to 17th. A good strong drive finished him 15th but as I met him in parc ferme (an area of the paddocks) at the end I could see the disappointment in his face.

It happens in racing and while you have to take your good luck when it comes along, you also have to accept the bad as well.

5pm: We pack up all the gear and head on the road for a long drive home. We reflect on what we think has been an OK weekend and discuss the days events.

The penny then drops that it would be a good idea to add up the championship points. We had finished 15th in the final and that's where we thought we were in the championship, however after Jack had added up everyone's points it turned out we were sitting 11th.

Our target has always been to finish in the top 15 but to finish in the top 10 and become a seeded national driver for 2009 would be fantastic. Jack has a lot of work ahead of him and as a team we will try to give him the best possible opportunity for him to make it.

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