CKN Driver Diary: Graci Young @ 2013 ASN Canadian Karting Championships
16 hours of driving, excitement, anticipation, and the occasional asleep limb lead me to one of the most amazing events of my lifetime: My very first ASN FIA Canadian National Karting Championships held at Goodwood Kartways. It was an incredible week. Being my second year in racing, coming from a small town in Nova Scotia, I have never experienced anything like it before. I gained a lot of skill & knowledge, as well as some new friends and amazing experience. This time last year I would have never even thought of attending this event, and I am so grateful I got to participate and hope to compete in many more. Goodwood is an extremely competitive track & I am very happy that my first Nationals was held at this facility.
In order to prepare for this event I was studying the track via online videos & drawings. I tried to familiarize myself with the track the best I could. For mental & mind-set preparations, I would listen to speeches by Eric Thomas. They helped me stay motivated and maintain positive outlook. Physically, I had been told by the team manager that I should work on my endurance and core strength, as every other competitor would be. After being told, I mapped a daily routine out for myself and worked on those areas.
Are We There Yet?
1740 km. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario. All traveled alongside my good friend, teammate, and now non-biological brother #626, Stephen Oliver. Both of us being proud team drivers of PSL Moncton. Leaving Sunday, we managed to arrive in Toronto on Monday evening and got our first glance at Goodwood. Walking the track for the first time was amazing. The moment you realize that the track you’ve been studying is a reality and no longer on a screen or paper is just craziness. I’m not sure when I first found my love for Goodwood… Maybe it occurred when I saw there was an actual bathroom, or perhaps my first time around ‘Turn One’. Needless to say, Goodwood is definitely one of my favourite tracks.
Under the Tent
Before we started to make our way to Ontario, we were told by Gerald Caseley Sr (PSL Moncton team manager) that there was a surprise waiting for us at the track. Little did we know that this ‘surprise’ was much more than we thought. This surprise was a pit stall in the incredible, massive PSL Karting tent. The PSL Team & drivers are extremely talented and inspiring. When you walk in that tent and see the older, experienced drivers so focused and determined it really lights a fire in you. As a 13 year old driver, who is used to a canopy tent on a weekend race day, being able to stand next to your kart, turn your head and see incredible, well-known drivers like Pier-Luc Ouellette is inexplicable.
The first day of practice was used to find the optimal line, adjusting the kart/setup and getting the feel of it all. My initial impression was that it was a very fast & technical track. I quickly learned that I was correct. Day two of practice was used for more adjusting, testing, working on certain turns and hitting all of my points. On Friday, I qualified 14th originally. However, spots were shifted throughout the heats & pre-final. I moved up during the heats, but unfortunately in the pre-final another racer & I got tangled up, moving me to the back for the final. On Sunday, with little time to pin-point any issues during warm-up, I found that in the final I was a second slower than the day before. Although my kart was lacking power, I wouldn’t let adversity stop me from driving my hardest. I did my best and finished overall 16th. Regardless of the ups and downs during the week, I gained tons of experience and acquired skills that I will bring back home with me. The other Jr. Briggs drivers taught me a lot as well; and a well-deserved congratulations to Tyler McCullough.
Goodwood is an extremely high-skill, demanding track. It takes lots of precision, preparation and a driver capable in all aspects. I found that, like all tracks, it is critical to be smooth and hit all of your points. Physically & mentally, Goodwood comes at you in every way. It is a great track to build skill on as each turn is unique and can be found in tracks all over.
The Nationals Experience
My overall nationals experience was absolutely unreal. Like any young driver, my dream is to make a profession out of racing. At Nationals, you see world champions, champions-to-be, so much dedication and passion, it really is inspiring. I am very glad I got to participate and I’d like to thank those who gave me the opportunity to do so. Big thanks to Heavenly Stairs, PSL Moncton (Gerald Caseley Sr), Advanced Dynamic Motorsports (My awesome coaches Gerald Caseley Jr, & “Nate Dog” Nathan Kelly), My family for their support & my dad for introducing me to racing, supporting me, and helping me discover my reason, passion and dreams.