The second round of the Florida Winter Tour started of well for me, as all through testing I was one of the fastest, always in the top two or three in lap times. This round was also not quite so hectic as the last round as I was now getting used to driving/coaching/organizing the team at KMS North America. Also with the karts and everything being prepared from the race before it meant that I could concentrate more on the coaching and driving.
However, my problems started when the first qualifying session came around. I posted the second fastest lap time, only a little off of pole so I was pleased, but in tech I was giving a three-position penalty for having the wrong spark plug in. This meant that I would have to start on fifth for the Sunday race. Qualifying for Saturday was a little disappointing as well as I was only able to qualify third.
I had never seen a mojo tire like this before, only ever had seen a Vega or Bridgestone tire like that.
When Saturday came around we had a problem with the carb in the morning warm up. So I came in early to try and get the carb sorted but we didn’t have time to get it fixed, as I was soon on the grid for the pre final. Once on the grid when it was time to fire up the engines, mine would not fire. So we had obviously not fixed the problem and fuel was over flowing into the air box. So on the grid we had to change the carb, the spark plug and clean the air box out, all while the field was coming around to take the start. I had to get on track before I was a lap down. The field took the start just as we were finishing off the spark plug. Then the engine started and I flew out of the pit as fast as I can. By then I was a long way back, but through the race I overtook a few slower drivers to finish eighth. But in pushing so hard I had killed my right rear tire. I had never seen a mojo tire like this before, only ever had seen a Vega or Bridgestone tire like that. So for the Final we had to make some changes for that, but I wasn’t able to make it to the podium finishing fourth. Also my pace was slow compared to the leader so there was some work to do for the Sunday races.
The morning warm up went a little better on Sunday with no problems. So starting for fifth for the pre final meant that I had to really push hard on the first laps to gain as many spots as possible. I made an okay start making it into fourth by turn-five. Then at the end of the first lap the front two started to fight which slowed them up and allowed me to move up to third. Then by turn four I had moved up into the lead. Then I defended heavily into turn five causing the guys behind to find and give me a break. I had a healthy lead but by the end the lead had come down to around four-tenths. In the Final I was expecting a really hard fight, but that wasn’t the case. I made a good start and just kept the lead. At the end of the first lap I had around a kart length lead. I kept reminding myself not to push so hard as it was a long race. I kept relaxing and the gap kept getting bigger. Then literally before I knew it the last two laps had come around and I was able to back off to the finish. Sundays races were a big contrast to the Saturday races as they were reasonably comfortable.
Now I go into Ocala and the last two races with a 95-point lead, so I need to have a solid two race days to take the championship. I would like to thank everyone from KMS North America for the help of the weekend. Also Ronni and Mariano from Birel for coming over and helping out and finaly R’s Design, CKN and Tillett Racing Seats.
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