Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A dream come true!

Sorry it’s been a bit longer than usual between posts but things have been a bit hectic.  So “that’s it” - the 2010/2011 world qualifying series draws to a close and what a season it turned out to be - and I can happily say we have qualified for our first world final!
It came right down to the last race but after three seasons of trying we are in and I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels.   It has been a season of massive ups and downs but this is definitely the high point!   After spending the second half of the season moving up and down within the top twenty it’s quite a relief to know it’s over.   I’m not sure where we ended up in the points but we’re in and that’s what matters.
After Skegness we didn’t think we had much to do to the car, but after looking and measuring we decided the car once again had a bent axle.  Seeing as the spare one is also bent it, was a case of an early morning trip to Hairds on the bank holiday to collect another.   Although Chris knew I was going I turned up completely unexpectedly on David and Lesley’s door step at half eight on a bank holiday - sorry to disturb your peace!   It was nice to catch up with you both though.
With it back home and in the car and everything measuring up properly again, we could get back on track and finish getting the car ready.   It was all the usual jobs really, and with the exception of the tyres being their usual awkward selves, everything went pretty well and we were ready to go by Thursday night.    For some reason completely unknown to us all the front suspension was set slightly wrong and we had to spend a bit of time getting it a hundred percent again.
Just to go off topic for a minute the epic go-kart race happened last Saturday and I’m sad to say all did not go to plan.   The first race was all fine with me managing to get a third but it all started going wrong from there.   For the second race Jason and I were having a bit of a battle for the lead which resulted in us both being black flagged!  I pulled off to receive my ‘telling off’ and although he did pull up at the pits Jason promptly drove off again as all the other karts came sailing past me.  He claims he pulled in the next lap but it was too late for me to do anything.   With me having to settle for 5th at the flag he romped home with the win!   After starting last for the final heat I only managed another 5th.      Sadly this just wasn’t enough and I missed out on a place in the semi-final.  To make it worse I’m used to being beaten by one Kew but this time I was beaten by two, with Jason’s wife Kerry managing to get herself a place in the semis!   Something I know full well I’m never going to be allowed to forget.  The semi turned out to be pretty exciting to watch with 2-litre Hot Rodder Brendon Smith deciding he was going to tackle the track the wrong way resulting in a full restart!   It was a great afternoon and thanks to Mr and Mrs Kew for sorting it all out – don’t think you’re getting off so lightly on the re-match Kerry!
The final National Hot Rod meeting of the year didn’t turn out to be my best but it certainly wasn’t my worst.   The weather looked pretty set to be a dry day as we were heading towards the track, with the sun even coming out at one point.   It was still nice come practice and the car felt better round Northampton than it has for ages.  For some reason Northampton has always been my problem track, I don’t really know why but I always struggle more there than anywhere else.
Just before the first race it had started to spit very lightly with rain - it was nothing to worry about but enough to start making the track a little bit slippery.   It turned out to be a pretty uneventful race and although I did lose a few places throughout the race we crossed the line 9th at the flag.   For my next race there was no worrying at all about tyre choices - it was emptying down with rain and the four wets were bolted on.   Although soaking wet it was another clean race.  Once again I lost places but still finished in the points with a 13th.
By the final the rain had stopped and the track was rapidly drying again leaving the big tyre choice. After watching everyone around us and leaving it till the very last minute Dad and Ross did a tyre change that the pit crew from Red Bull would be proud of, and sent the car out on full slicks.  The final turned out to be a really good race with the track now almost dry and the racing at full speed. Somewhere through the race my passenger door decided to fly off but unlike the bonnet a few meetings ago everyone managed to miss it and a marshal rescued it to the safety of the centre green.   With the 35 laps completed we came home with an 11th.   Maybe not the best of results…but points in all three races.
Within a few minutes of the final finishing the points had all been worked out and Chris once again is English Champion for the third year on the trot, well done mate!   I know a lot of you will disagree with this comment but I truly think National Hot Rod racing is the best it’s been in years with so many cars all so evenly matched and the racing being so close.   I certainly wouldn’t even consider racing anything else!
I remember watching my first world final in 2000 when Colin White won it for the third time and saying to my dad “One day I want to do that”.   Now, twelve seasons of racing later, we are there.   I want to thank every single person (there are far too many to list individually) that has helped me over that time.   My dream really is coming true and I can’t wait for the big day in July.   I know I’m not going to win – it’s just ‘being there’ that will be so special.
There’s going to be no time to rest between now and then though, and by the time you read this the car will be in a million bits and the rebuild will be underway.   It’s looking very tatty now and the least we can do is make it look good again for the big day . . . get ready for some late nights Ross and Dad!   We won’t be racing at the Thunder 500 but I will be heading up to collect some tyres and spend the evening with my friend Steph - who I really don’t spend enough time with!  It will be nice to watch a race without the stress of being in it, although it will be a strictly sober night as I’ll be driving straight home after.
I’ll keep you updated over the next few weeks with how the rebuild is going and try to have a look back over the last season as well.   I’ll get back to doing the blog more regularly too - thanks as ever to everyone who reads it.  I may not be the quickest Hot Rod driver, but I challenge any one to enjoy it more than I do!
Until next time

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