Or at least, it seems to when I go to Bayford Meadows, that’s for sure (spoiler alert!).
My first visit here had also been my last race of my first season in Club 100 (although I hadn’t known it at the time), back in October 2012. It had also been my first wet race in a Club 100 kart and when I say wet, I do mean wet. In fact for all but my last race of the day, we had only been using half of the circuit because part of it was underwater! Even the bits that weren’t underwater were distinctly damp and slippery.
Back to Bayford
The second weekend of Club 100 karting for 2013 was being held at Bayford Meadows, so, in order to get some experience of the track in the dry, I had signed up for the Friday afternoon test session. My practice the previous Sunday at Buckmore Park had improved my confidence and kart handling skills significantly, now I needed some circuit specific experience, with the hope of putting in a good performance, both for my sprint races on the Sunday but also, for my guest appearance as a driver for the Loose Heads enduro team on the Saturday.
What I hadn’t fully realised when I had put my name forward for the enduro drive was that it was an Inters enduro team I was volunteering for and that they had finished 8th at the first round. I had a lot to live up to and I wanted to do my best not to let the side down.
However, like the best laid plans of mice and men and as you may have guessed from the post title, it didn’t quite work out how I had planned. My drive down to the circuit from Cambridge was interspersed with torrential rain, sunshine, and some lunatic drivers on the M25. When I got to the Bayford Meadows the track was distinctly damp, with the cut-through before the Bus stop hairpin underwater again, meaning that only half the track was in use.
Last minute kart share offer
Fortunately, at the last minute (the night before) I had contacted another driver (via the Club 100 forums) who was interested in sharing a kart for the two hour session, rather than doing a full one hour session individually. That made sense to me, because I was still sore from the previous weekend at Buckmore (having done a full hour in a kart) and I knew I had a whole weekend of karting to get through without being too bruised and battered. It worked out quite well because although only half the track was in use for the first hour, for the second hour the full track was cleared and ready for use.
Despite only having driven this track in the wet before and having got some additional wet weather practice at Buckmore Park back in March, I still had some ‘interesting’ moments where I was finding the limits of grip and then going slightly (sometimes more than slightly) beyond them. Sadly, I only managed to catch about a minute of this action on video, because the battery in my GoPro was not behaving itself and ran out of charge very rapidly. – Just as a quick aside, I contacted GoPro about this on Thursday when I realised the issue and they have already responded and are sending me out a new battery (my camera is still under warranty). In the mean time I have got myself a battery back pack, so I should never run out of battery again (well, within reason).
I was also very grateful that I had purchased my OMP karting wetsuit before the start of the season. This would be my first opportunity to try it in anger and see if it did the job. I have heard bad things about these wetsuits, specifically that they aren’t very durable and tend to split after a few uses. Mine held up well during it’s first outing, protecting my from water, mud and everything else that got sprayed at me during my on and off track excursions. The only bits of me that got wet were my hands and feet and my face a bit, thanks to having to drive with the visor slightly cracked open (I still haven’t sorted out the fogging issue). Now I just have to figure out how to clean the damn thing.
By the end of the session I had managed a 52.38 on the short circuit and a 1.21 on the full circuit. A big improvement on my fastest times of 55.33 and 1.29.6 from the meeting in October but still not as quick as the guy who I was sharing the kart with. All well and good but if the races at the weekend were on a dry track, I still wouldn’t have driven it in those conditions. As it turned out, getting more practice in the wet would prove to be quite useful…