2019 Race Reports

Round 1 – Clay Pigeon Race Report

Practice day

It’s been a long wait, but finally, the season is underway again!

Practice day weather, was sunny and quite warm in spells. Both drivers had different agendas, Dave (#197) was running his engine in for the first 2 sessions (following a full rebuild) and Matt (#4) was getting to grips with the new kart and focusing on set up.

Both drivers used the data from last year to get a baseline set up that was proven.

This was still a challenge as the new karts are a different weight to the older model (mainly reduction in weight from the side pods), coupled with the 1kg increase in overall weight for Seniors, it took some tweaking to get right. Both Matt and Dave found themselves on the weighing scales after every Free Practice session so they could make the necessary adjustments.

Throughout the Free Practice sessions, Dave had his lap times gradually coming down and had minor tweaks to make (numerous adjustments to the kart set up).

Unfortunately the same could not be said for Matt in the number 4 kart. Matt felt he was struggling for power and that it felt as though the kart was lurching on the straights. Although the lap times were good, Matt knew something was not right and there was more time to find, but more importantly an issue to fix.

After a few visits to the ACR awning, a new stator was eventually fitted (earthing out on casing) after Free Practice 5 which meant Matt would not be able to tell if this had resolved the fault until race day.

Race Day

The weather on race day differed from practice day, in that it was cloudy / overcast and colder.

Both karts (#197) and (#4) had new slick tyres fitted, had been through scrutineering, were ready for Practice and more importantly Qualifying. Tyre pressures would be an important part of the set up today.

Practice usually means completing 3 laps (championship ruling) at minimum pace to just scrub the tyres, but not take any life out of them. However, this was the first opportunity Matt would get to see if his issue had been cured. Matt gave the kart a good run on the last lap to see if it would pull as he expected a new engine to. The stator had partly sorted the problem, but not to the point Matt was fully satisfied.

Qualifying

Matt had a good Qualifying session (mainly owing to a tow / drafting from Dan Walden) and posted a lap of 34.949 seconds placing him in 2nd place and on the front row of the grid. Matt still had issues with power from the engine.

Dave posted a time of 35.491 and found himself in 15th place (more time to be found) and work to be done from the 8th row of the grid! Only 1 second separated 1st place to 19th place during the qualifying session, so small margin for error.

Heat

The heat saw Matt starting from the front row. Unfortunately due to the power issues, Matt found himself in 4th place after the first lap.

Dave had progressed from 15th to 12th by the second lap and was battling in the mid pack. On lap 8 Dave was pushed out wide by Mark Lawrence (#230) after contact/a coming together and he found himself in 17th place. Dave made up one place and ended up finishing the heat 16th.

Meanwhile Matt had dropped a place and been battling to hold offJames Lay for 5th position. James managed to take advantage of the power issue Matt was suffering with and pipped him to the post, Matt finished the heat in 6th.

Pre Grand Prix

With Matt starting from the 3rd row of the grid in 6th and Dave starting from the 8th row of the grid in 16th, there was work to do.

Despite the ongoing engine issues, Matt made the most of a poor start by Sam Faulkner and found himself in 3rd place after the first lap.

Dave had an unfortunate start when he was loaded into the first corner causing the rear wheels to lift off the ground and eventually spinning out. He ended up in 21st place (out of 22) and had it all to do.

As the race progressed, Matt had pressure from Sam and could not hold him off with the persistent power issues. Unfortunately this continued and Matt finished the race in 6th place, which is where he would start the Grand Prix Final.

With work to do from the back, Dave had closed the 6 second gap and managed to get into 19th position. Frustration all around for DM Racing.

On returning to the paddock area, Matt decided to change/swap his carburettor. The new engine had a new carburettor fitted, but Matt decided to fit the Carburettor from his old engine. This is acceptable, within the rules and was a known good carb.

Will this make the difference and finally resolve the Power issues?

Grand Prix Final

Matt was again starting from the 3rd row of the grid in 6th place and after the unfortunate Pre-Final Dave was starting in 19th place.

Matt had a good start to the race and made up two positions in quick succession. It looked as though the carburettor swap had made the difference.

Dave worked his way through the back markers, making up 4 places and found himself in 15th position after 5 laps. The challenge now, was to catch the rest of the battling mid pack and make up some more places.

Meanwhile Matt had made the move on Dan Walden and found himself in 3rd position. Matt then managed to pull a gap from 4th place, as Dan began battling with 5th and 6th place.

With 6 minutes to go, yet again, Dave found himself facing the wrong way as Will Checkley made contact in the chicane and spun Dave out. This was spotted/noticed by the marshals and Will was given a 4 place penalty, but Dave now found himself in 19th place with an 8 second gap to close to 18th.

Matt continued to maintain his pace at the front and finished the race 3rd (only 0.7 seconds behind 2nd place) snatching a podium from Round 1. Brilliant work from Matt Pearce considering all the issues he had throughout the weekend!

Dave crossed the line in 18th after a frustrating day all round and being spun in every race!

As always, we would like to thank our sponsors Oakenhurst Aircraft Services and Viking Precision Engineers for all your support thus far.

Round 6 – Fulbeck Race Report

Race Day

The weather on race day was always going to be challenging. The weather reports had changed numerous times over the previous 24 hours. The track was damp due to rain over night, but it looked as though it may dry out for the morning at least. Fairly low temperatures were not helping the track dry.  

Both karts (#197) and (#4) had new slick tyres fitted, had been through scrutineering and were ready for Qualifying.

Qualifying

Weather – Heavy Cloud / Overcast

The surface of the track was not completely dry, although a dry line was appearing following the Junior Qualifying session. The track would likely evolve as the Qualifying session went on and getting heat in the tyres would be imperative.

There were a number of slippery surface flags around the track, but Matt and Dave went out to pump out some quick times. Both had been going well during the indicative times of the test session the day before (Matt top 3 and Dave top 8). It became apparent the set up on the new slick tyres were not right on either kart, as both struggled to put quick times in.

Matt qualified in 5th place with a lap time of 46.668 on Lap 7 and Dave qualified in 11th with a lap time of 47.233 on Lap 6.

Heat

Weather – Cloudy and Cold (damp in places)

Both drivers worked hard on the formation laps to ensure they had heat in the tyres and brakes for a good start. They both got away well and were instantly gaining positions. Dave gained one position to 10th on Lap 1 and Matt was up into 4th.

Richard Evans was given a mechanical flag for his chain guard missing and by default the pack gained a position. Matt up into 3rd place and Dave up into 8th. Dave eventually got passed by Morgan Cole and dropped back into 9th position. It stayed that way until the chequered flag.

Pre Grand Prix

Weather – Heavy Cloud Cover (Rain Clouds)

The race was declared as an ‘Open race’ meaning that either tyre could be selected. With the gates to the dummy grid due to close in 5 minutes the decision to remain on slicks or change to wets was being discussed by every driver and their mechanic, with Matt and Dave included. There were very heavy rain clouds overhead, yet no rain falling. Matt and Dave both decided last minute to stay on slicks and take the gamble, along with every driver bar one (Morgan Cole).

While sitting on the dummy grid awaiting the whistle to sound, the first rain drops began to fall on their visors. Morgan Cole’s decision to fit wet tyres looked to have paid off, but was it going to rain enough for them to be beneficial?

Matt was starting from 3rd positon and Dave in 9th. The out laps were fairly slippery and the drivers were working hard to generate some grip and get heat into their tyres. As the grid formed up for the start of the race, the heavens opened causing chaos through the first tight chicane. The pack tip toed through the chicane and looked for any mechanic grip they could find. Matt was battling with Sam Faulkner and James Lay into the long right handed hairpin and unfortunately it ended in a tangle putting Matt into the tyres.

Dave managed to get tight to the kerb and hook his inside wheel on the kerb to drag him round the corner and came out of the midfield battle in 1st place.

Dave was leading the way with Matt unfortunately having to get out the kart and get himself back on the track, putting him in last place.

Dave held 1st position through the back chicane and down into the tight hairpin and boot. By this point, Morgan Cole’s decision to stay on the wets meant he was carving through the pack with ease and it was only a matter of time before he lead the race.

As they crossed the line for the first time, Dave was in 2nd place and Matt was catching the pack at a rate of knots. James Lay eventually got passed Dave who found himself in 3rd maintaining good pace.

It was when Sam Faulkner made a lunge into the long hairpin that he made contact with Dave forcing him off the track and into the gravel. Dave now found himself in 10th place (3rd to 10th!!!!!) whilst Matt was in 18th place.

The weather was now monsoon conditions, with sitting water all over the track which meant the drivers were literally diving on ice. Meanwhile, Morgan Cole was lapping 4 seconds quicker than the rest of the pack who were on slicks still. Dave gained one place back to 9th when the red flags were finally shown and the race was stopped. The race was past the halfway point, so the results of the last lap would be where the drivers would start the final. Matt was unfortunately back in 18th due to no fault of his own and had it all to do and Dave was in 9th place where he had started. Frustration in the paddock for both drivers was evident.

Would either of them be able to fight their way to the front in the Grand Prix?

Grand Prix Final

Weather – Monsoon Rain and Standing water

There was no doubt that this race would be a full wet set up, with it still raining heavily and sitting water all over the track.

The cameras struggled to pick up what happened at the start due to the amount of spray the karts were producing, as the wet tyres were doing their job of displacing the water. Out of the chicane and the karts all began to find their own space, avoiding driving directly behind the kart in front for visibility reasons.

As the karts crossed the line for the first lap Dave had managed to gain 2 places to 7th and Matt had gained 3 placed to 15th. Matt was really getting to grips with the wet set up and was carving through the pack like a hot knife through butter. By lap 8 Matt had worked his way to 8th position!!

Dave had sat closely behind Richard Evans in the number 2 kart for 5 laps. He had a few looks, but nothing doing as Richard shut the door each time. Dave was lapping 0.6 seconds a lap quicker than Richard so it was only a matter of time, as he made a move into the left hander of the boot and made it stick.

Dave was now up in to 5th place and going well, with Matt some 10 seconds behind in 8th.

After 14 very wet laps, the chequered flag was out with Dave crossing the line in 5th place and Matt crossing in a very well recovered 7th place.

As always, we would like to thank our sponsors Oakenhurst Aircraft Services and Viking Precision Engineers for all your continued support thus far. We could not do it without you.

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Round 7 – Llandow Race Report

Practice day

Practice day weather, was damp, overcast and cold. Both drivers used the data from last year to get a baseline set up that was proven.

Dave was on a high following his best finish of the season taking 5th position at Fulbeck and Matt was still firmly in the fight to hold 2nd place in the championship.

Following a slightly longer set up process (nowhere to park!!!), both Dave and Matt missed the first free practice session. There were 5x 15 minute scheduled practice sessions for the day, so this made the other 4 even more important to get the set up right.

Throughout the Free Practice sessions, Dave was finding his times reducing, as was Matt.

However, both drivers gave the technical feedback of understeer into corners (lack of turn in / front end grip), yet oversteer and unable to get the traction out of other corners. This is obviously a head scratching moment for any mechanic to overcome as adjustments to one will affect the other. Tyre pressure again could play an important part of finding that bit more time on the track.

Both drivers eventually settled for their own set ups after numerous adjustments and trials. What will race day bring?

Race Day

The weather on race day differed from practice day, in that it was clear skies with sun. The temperature was quite low and in the single figure during the morning, but expected to rise to 13 degrees by the afternoon.

Both karts (#197) and (#4) had new slick tyres fitted, had been through scrutineering and were ready for Qualifying. Tyre pressures would be an important part of the set up today.

Qualifying

Weather – Sunny

Qualifying was going to be about track position and finding a nice gap. It is quite a short circuit so being able to position yourself in clear air was crucial.

The temperature was hovering around 12 degrees C with clear skies. The sun would gradually warm the track temperature, but keeping the tyres at their optimum would be important.

Matt managed to place himself in some space and achieved a lap time of 44.743 on Lap 5. This placed him in 6th position and on the 3rd row of the grid.

Dave struggled to hook up a lap during qualifying and could only manage a time of 45.349 on Lap 4. This placed him in a disappointing 12th, which meant he would be starting from the 6th row of the grid.

Matt and Dave both struggled to know what times they had put in and manage their fuel as both their Alfano computers on the steering wheel defaulted to 1 strip. This gave them no visibility where they may have positioned themselves.

Heat

Weather – Sunny

With Matt and Dave both starting on the right hand side of the grid they would have the inside line of the right into the Hook Chicane, but then had the outside line for the left. This corner is fairly narrow with plenty of understeer, so in race conditions, the important thing was to stay out of trouble.

Both drivers managed to get through untouched and could proceed to fight for position gains.

Matt had started 6th and quickly made up a position into 5th. Likewise Dave started 12th and found himself making a few overtakes and was held in 9th positon.

Both Matt and Dave held these positions until the chequered flag. Sam Faulkner who had finished 3rd was scrutineered and found to be under weight and was disqualified, so this promoted both Matt and Dave one place (Matt 4th and Dave 8th).

Dave was then given a penalty (+4 positions) for a genuine racing incident that was seen as ABC (Advantage By Contact). This meant he would start the Pre-Final where he started the Heat in 12th Place!!

Pre Grand Prix

Weather – Sunny with some cloud cover

With Matt starting from the 2nd row of the grid in 4th and Dave starting from the 6th row of the grid in 12th, there was still some work to do.

Matt had a good start again and found himself in 3rd position. We had tried slightly higher tyre pressure and as the race progressed the grip dropped off and Matt found himself battling with karts. Richard Evans made a move into Raymond’s Hairpin and made it stick. James Lay then had a good battle with Matt and again managed to make a move. Matt found himself in 5th position and held it until the chequered flag.

Dave again made his was from 12th position into 9th. Sam Faulkner who had found himself at the back of the field after the weighing issue was charging through the pack. As he made a move on Dave into Raymond’s Hairpin, he made contact and forced Dave onto the grass, which inevitably meant losing positions.

Dave was then in 13th place, but managed to recover a place and again found himself finishing in 12th place.

Would either of them be able to improve for the Grand Prix?

Grand Prix Final

Weather – Overcast

So the Final was here and Matt would be starting from 5th position, whereas Dave had more work to do from 12th Position.

Dave and Matt both got through the Hook Chicane without incident again, so it was time to get their heads down and settle in for the 12 minutes (+1 Lap) Grand Prix.

Dave made up a position after an overtake on Oliver Mooij into the difficult Mac Whirters corner and found himself in 11th position.

However, after 3 laps of battling for 10th position, he was going for a lunge into the braking zone of Raymond’s Hairpin and out-braked himself and was facing the wrong way. Due to the train of karts battling behind him, Dave dropped to 15th position. He could only make up one place before the chequered flag and crossed the line 14th but only ½ a kart length behind 13th.

Matt had a smoother race but still found himself in a couple of good battles. Unfortunately, Matt dropped a position into 6th, but maintained good race pace and held 6th until the chequered flag.

Not the most successful weekend for either driver, but Matt has managed to stay in the points and maintain his overall 2nd positon in the championship standings. Tyrone Stansfield is hot on his tail, with it all to play for at the final round.

As always, we would like to thank our sponsors Oakenhurst Aircraft Services and Viking Precision Engineers for all your continued support thus far. We could not do it without you.

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