The inaugural round of the MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship (MRFKC) was held on Saturday May 18th and Sunday May 19th at Goodwood Kartways. The most competitors and the highest temperatures of the year meant the racers were in for two days of close and challenging racing.
Before title sponsor MotoMaster came on board this year, the event was billed as the Ron Fellows Karting “Challenge”. It’s an accurate name. The event challenges the driver’s skills, the tuner’s ability, and the team’s finances.
Daniel went out for free practice on Saturday morning, but on turn one of lap one, hard contact from a competitor sent Demaras spinning into the wall, ending his session. Daniel’s kart pierced the Tek-Pro barrier, sending a river of accumulated rainwater across the track. Some expected a red flag at the high-speed corner. Daniel was bruised, but not beaten.
Replacement of the axle caused Demaras to miss the second free practice session, but Andrew had the kart repaired, realigned and ready to go in time for the final practice session. PRO is a team, and Nick, Mike and Curtis helped every step of the way.
Unfortunately, Daniel struggled to get to grips with track conditions in qualifying, which was interrupted by a red flag. Despite strong starts, including overtaking several drivers, Daniel lagged behind in the pre-final, then had to avoid a multi-kart crash at turn 5 in the final, ruining his race.
“We’re better than this! We should be up there.” stated Andrew Waring, as he pointed to the front of the grid. His body language said it all.
Frustrated with the poor performance, Andrew suspected an engine issue. Data analyst Gianmarco compared Daniel’s FP3 times to his lap times in the Finals, and confirmed that despite Daniel’s driving improving (higher minimum speeds in the corners) the engine was not accelerating as hard, nor reaching the same top speeds on the straights. After a long night of work on the top end of the engine, the valves were perfect, power restored.
On Sunday’s morning practice, Daniel felt a thump going into turn four, thought he had been hit from behind, then saw chunks of metal flying ahead of his kart. The issue with the motor became glaringly obvious, as there was a massive hole in the block where the internal components exited the Briggs LO206. Failures on the rock-steady, dependable Briggs & Stratton motor had everyone at team PRO puzzled. Chris pulled the practice engine out of the garage, and Andrew bolted it to the kart for qualifying. Daniel didn’t even finish the out lap when his chain fell off, having chewed the side of the gear to the point of failure. The challenges continued.
After the pre-final, Andrew sat down with Daniel for a serious discussion. Changes needed to be made to the setup of the kart, and more importantly to Daniel’s driving, for any shot at improvement on the day. The torsion bar was removed, the ride height lowered, and other tricks of the trade to make the kart loose and fast.
In the Sunday final, a good start, and keeping out of trouble, saw Daniel finish in 20th position, seven places up from his starting position. It’s difficult to get excited about results like this. Even finishing higher than an old friend from Milton on track didn’t make Daniel smile. But Daniel and Andrew never quit.
“Overall not a great weekend, but this is all part of learning. Daniel is a rookie when it comes to regional racing. He grew a lot this weekend and is willing to learn.”Andrew Waring,