Hooton IKR Round 2 - 2022


This weekend 19th and 20th March 2022 was my first real test on the new Kosmic Junior Rotax Kart. It was the 2022 Hooton IKR round 2 event at Hooton park

The format was like I have experienced with CKC, Saturday practise and then Sunday race day. Being a member, it was £45 for the practise and £55 for the race. 

Saturday morning we were up early, Mum made a pack lunch for the day and I helped Dad load the car. The kart was already almost prepped as we went to Hooton 2 weeks back but it was closed. A waste of a 2 hour round trip. Dad was not happy but that's a different story for another day. The weather was amazing, a little cold in the wind but once the wind dropped it was lovely, a great forecast for the weekend. It was about, 10 degrees, with a cool breeze, clear skies and warm sun. Perfect for racing. #letsdothis

Once we got there it was very busy, far busier than we had seen before. We found a little spot between two transit vans on the tarmac side quite close to the pit entrance which was good. Grandad wasn't with us this time as it was Nana Pats Birthday, he'd have been in trouble if he missed that. 
We put the gazebo up and got to work with the kart. 

A few jobs needed to be done first, we found that one of the front wheel bearings was seized and needed replacing so a trip to Modus for a new set sorted that out. We also got a new 75 tooth sprocket for the weekend. By the time we were ready to go we were just in time for the first session. I thought at one point we were going to miss it. 
The initial start of the engine failed and I could see Dad panicking about getting it going. Pumping fuel directly into the top of the carb seemed to help. Unfortunately I was adding air to the rear tyres as Dad managed to start the engine whipping the airline from my hand. A very close shave. 

Initial set up:

As we had a few issues with the bearing and a few other things the set up was slightly over looked. We ended up running with the kart riding high on a wet set up. The front spacers were set to 20mm and the rears were adjusted to 1400mm from rim to rim on the outside. Thanks to Ricky Bunnell and Tom Holden's dad for the advise. We fitted the new 75 tooth sprocket to go with our 12 tooth front sprocket as recommended by Dave at Modus. The front hub was repaired and we went with a half tank of fuel. 
Tyre pressures were all set to 11psi on the very used Mojo D2's. Doing things on a budget means we don't have the luxury of the top stuff. 


Practise Session 1

Arriving just in time for the practise session after getting the kart going, I was a little apprehensive at first. I knew with the old tyres and unknown grip I had to take it easy and build the heat up in the tyres before I can really try to push it and then get the confidence in the Kart. Two or three laps in I started to push a little harder, the acceleration was amazing, I was in my element. I first realised that the kart was new to me and it really needed to be pushed into the corners, this made me to concentrate and pinpoint my breaking zones and accelerating points especially in the first corner.
After I had enough heat in the tyres I could feel the kart sticking to the track much better and felt I could push harder, yet being my first time I only got a 39:68 second lap. This is about 4 seconds off the pace of the leaders so I have some work to do. 

Arriving back to base in we found the gazebo had taken turn for the worse. The wind had caught it and flipped it over. It may be time to invest in a ultra strong one soon. Mum.....can I have £500 please. 

Practise Session 2

As we started the day with the kart riding high, Dad dropped the rear axle to a dry set up and got the kart ready for session 2, I turned the front torsion bar to horizontal, I am still struggling with lefty loosy, righty tighty. 
This time, I made the start on time and I opted to start on the back of the dummy grid as I was still feeling a bit unsure, but the track was now warm and so were my tyres and I could tell I had more grip. After doing an almost warm up lap, I really started to get to grips with the handling of the kart yet still shocked with the acceleration. I pushed the kart a bit too much trying to find a good breaking point on corner 3 and span which caused the re-occurring issue of my chain falling of cutting the session short. Overall I set a good lap time for my standards, a new personal best of which would take a few sessions to beat clocking in at 37.72. 

Practise Session 3

Still at the back of the dummy grid I tried to push the kart but due to a decision to reduce the tyre pressure from 11Psi to 9.5 psi to get more heat in the tyres I could tell they overheated and I didn't have the same grip, however once again, like in the previous session it ended early with the chain falling of again... or so we thought. After fixing the chain I told my dad we needed a chain guard which he reluctantly bought as there was no better solution at the time. But whilst drawing nearer to practice 4 we realised the engine mount was destroyed. The underneath part of the clamp had been ripped out whilst on track as well as shredding the threads on inside of the engine mounts. Having no other option than to skip practice 4 we thought it was the weekend over but with a little convincing from me and my friend Zack Turner my dad bought the necessary components from Modus.

Practise Session 4

Missed due to fitting a new engine mount.

Practise Session 5

Excited to be back on the gird after a major rebuild I was all ready to go. I sat in the kart planning how I was going to tackle the track, how I was going to get more heat in the tyres. 
Then the moment came, "Click" - nothing! The battery was flat. Because we struggled to start the kart in the morning it had drained the battery. Unfortunately as we were both tired we decided to preserve the kart and call it a day and that there was no point in swapping the battery. 

We made our way back to the pits and packed up. Matty Street from X-Kart said we could store the kart in the X-Kart tent so we didn't have to kart it back home (pardon the pun) for the night. 

In the end, it was a great day, Dad and I learned a lot and ended up be exhausted. 


Sunday started clear but quite cold, a lot colder than Saturday. Mum again made a packed lunch and we set off around 7am for the hours drive. Today, Dads helper Jacob didn't come, he was bored yesterday and wanted to stay home. 

Arriving at the track we quickly put the cover back over the gazebo, we left the frame in place and the trailer guarding our little patch of valuable real estate. The only real job was to change the tyres over to the new set of Mojo D2's, these are the controlled tyre for the race day. The guy next to us helped pop the tyres on as we don't have a compressor, another item on the wish list. The pressures were set to 11psi ready for the first practise session.

We went to register and then went to scrutineering. We weighed in at 147.5Kg, so when we got back we added 1kg to the seat and then filled the tank us which took us to 150Kg when we came in after qualifying. The hired transponder was fitted to the back of the seat and were were all good to go. It was quite cold in the wind but in the sun again it was warm. Low air temperature means high oxygen density which in theory gives more power. We will see how we get on later. 


The practise session is only a short 3 minute session. It really for the organisers to check the transponder is working and assigned to the correct kart. There were no dramas, and no records were broken. It gave me a chance to scrub my tyres in ready for the qualifying. 


One thing we noticed after practise was that one of the rear tyres had gone flat. Dad added a little WD40 to the bead retainer screws and found that one was leaking - bubbles formed showing air was leaking out. Closer inspection showed that the seal was missing. We swapped it from one of the rims that were not being used and inflated the tyre. All others were checked the same.

Rather than starting at the back of the grid, Dad convinced me to go mid way in the pack. He believes I drive better when under pressure so I thought I would give it a try. I set off and quickly could tell I had more grip than usual and I thought I might actually get a quick time. Lap two I was still with the traffic and I seemed to be holding my own...then on turn 2 of lap three it happened again....the chain came off! Game over! 
I never got a good lap time and now I will have to start well towards the back in P22. 

Heat 1

Another trip to Modus and a new chain was fitted after gleaming advice from Matty Street from X-Kart. The Sprocket alignment was checked and the chain correctly tensioned I was ready for heat one. 

This was to be my first ever rolling start and I had no clue how it worked. As it is, the karts are slowed about half way round the track, and you form a rolling grid in the position based on your qualifying time. I was towards the back. Then, towards the grid the Marshall gives a signal and its foot to the floor. Well, my start didnt go to plan and I only manged to maintain my position through the first corner. 

It was a difficult heat, but Dad said he saw a change in attitude with me about halfway through. He said It looked like I suddenly realised I was racing. I tried to push hard and managed to claim 2 positions and set my personal best time of 37. 359s - 2 seconds slower than the quickest lap of the session which I was very pleased with. 

Heat 2

Starting in P20 now, there were a few karts behind  me and I had to defend my position through that first corner. Unfortunately there was a false start and the Marshall called a "go around" which means to regroup and have another attempt at the start. as I got caught up in a bit of traffic I didn't get back in to position and started further back than I should. 

Again, it was a good race, I pushed hard and once again beat my personal best of 37.141s. The tyres were coming on now and I had plenty of grip. I just need the confidence to push it harder through the corners now. 

Something happened about half way through and kart number 42 driven by Kian Pedlow ended up spinning out and came out behind me. He was far quicker and each lap was closing the gap between us. I just had to defined the line and hold my position. It came down to the last corner and I had done it. I was in P19!


The time had came for the final, lining up on the dummy grid at 19th I completed the formation lap and as I still wasn't confident about the starts ended up loosing 2 positions in the first corner. I then managed to keep my position until the 3rd corner when the kart just ahead span and I ended up into the side of them as I couldn’t do anything to stop or turn around. 
By the time I made it out all karts behind me passed and I was well at the back. I knew this and thought there wasn’t much to loose so pushed the kart to a 36:71 only a second off the leaders, I was very happy with this new personal best and gives me a great starting point for improvement going forward. If I'd have done this in Qualifying I would have been up in 14th with a good shot at being in the top ten. 

On the second to last lap entering the last corner I felt my kart slide which usually happens to get a quicker line but then it kept going round, I tried to adjust yet nothing happened. I ended up spinning but luckily stayed on the track. I was about to rejoin and finished when I noticed my front bumper had fallen off, so I got out and pulled my kart out of the way. I waited until there weren’t any karts near and ran onto the track to collect my front bumper to stop other people hitting it and getting hurt.

After that I walked back to the pits a little upset I didn’t finished but I was really happy to get a new personal best - #onwardsandupwards!


This weekend wouldn't have been successful without the help and support of quite a few people so I just want to thank:

Mum - For Absolutely everything, from lunches to support! 
Dad - for making it all happen. 
Ricky Bunnell and Tom Holden's dad. 

and a big thank you to my sponsor Wightman Stewart