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Disappointing fifth at State Titles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Team Green Racing   
Sunday, 21 October 2007
Team Green Racing experienced the full range of emotions at this weekend's State Titles, which were held at the Archerville circuit just outside Launceston this weekend.

A small but quality field was entered in the over 40's light class, with the main contenders for the title being David Cramp, Dale Madden and reigning state title holder Steve Crocker.

Practice started on Wednesday, and Robert was keen to get back out on track after his third placing the previous weekend to get some more laps under his belt. Practice on both Wednesday and Thursday seemed to pass without incident, and with a best time over the two days of 40.5 seconds Robert felt confident of a good showing for Friday's qualifying.

It all started to go awry in first qualifying, when Robert was unable to get below 41.1 seconds, a good half a second off the pace of the front-runners. Blaming poor setup in the high grip conditions, the team went to work and made some major changes to the kart's setup prior to the second qualifying session.

It was all to no avail, as the resulting times refused to fall below the 41.1 second mark, good enough for only fifth place on the grid, behind Steve, David, Dale and Terry Chadwick.

The team was totally perplexed as to what to do to find some speed. When we analysed the sector times, we found that we were particularly slow on the quicker sectors of the track and not too far off the pace in the twisty middle sector. When this was mentioned to both Mark Mitchell and Dale, they helpfully suggested that there may be a problem with the carburettor and not knowing a thing about their internal workings Robert went and sought out Chris Wyatt for his expert advice.

Chris was kind enough to drop everything to test the carby and see if anything was obviously wrong with it. Straight off he found that it wouldn't hold pressure, so it was immediately stripped down to see if the problem could be rectified. With a bit of TLC and a carby kit, Chris declared the carby to be pretty much where it should be, so we bolted it back on to the motor and crossed our fingers that it would give us that extra half second on Saturday.

Saturday morning was fine and sunny and by the time of the first heat, the ambient temperature had reached 20 degrees. With the carburettor repaired, the kart was immediately quicker, and at the start Robert quickly moved into fourth position and held station just behind the first three karts for the rest of the race. David finished first, followed by Steve and Dale.

In the afternoon and despite slightly longer gearing, heat two was a similar outcome, although this time it took five laps for Robert to pass Terry and as a result he finished about fifteen metres behind David, Steve and Dale.

The pre-final was also held on Saturday afternoon, and Robert started from fourth on the grid. He found that he was faster than the leading three. He found that he was a bit slow in a straight line and this made it difficult to pass the three leaders.

Robert managed to pass both David and Dale at different stages in the race but in both cases they managed to draft back past on the straight. A slight bit of contact with David out of Tasman was the only incident in what was otherwise a clean but entertaining race. At the chequered flag, Steve was first over the line, followed by David and Dale, with Robert again fourth.

Sunday morning was fine and warm, and the kart ran well in the morning warm-up. Robert was happy with the basic setup, but agonised long and hard over the gearing and the tyre pressures.

He was still concerned about the lack of straight line speed, which was being caused by the engine revving harder than its optimum level. The trade-off from lengthening would be less pull out of the corners and Robert and Geoff eventually decided to leave well enough alone. Robert was also keen to drop the tyre pressures, but again talked himself out of making a change.

By half way through lap one, the Team Green Racing driver realised that he should have made at least one change. He made a good start, but even with a good draft was unable to do anything about passing Dale on the back straight. In fact, Terry Chadwick, who was behind Robert, was able to push him all the way down to Tasman. Lacking speed in the straight, Robert was vulnerable to attack and found he was unable to prevent himself being passed on lap two.

This effectively ruined Robert's strategy, which had again been to sit behind the front three until near the end of the race. Instead, he found himself having to make desperate moves each lap on Terry under brakes into Yamaha, only to be repassed on the back straight. The plan then went completely pear-shaped when Rod Bender got beside Robert under brakes but was unable to get completely past. Robert tried to stay on the outside but was run off the track on the exit of Tasman.

Desperate not to fall too far behind Terry, Robert dived back up the inside of Rod into the next corner, but Rod turned in and in the ensuing contact was pushed off the track by the Team Green Racing kart and into retirement. In the melee, Helen Gibson slipped past and Robert rejoined still in sixth.

Over the remaining laps, Robert caught and repassed Helen, but not lowering the tyre pressures caused them to overheat. Consequently he was unable to catch Terry, and ended the race in fifth.

Up front, a battle royal was underway between Dale, David and Steve. With a lap and a half to go, Dale passed David and took the lead. Apparently this was part of David's plan, as he intended to do the same thing on the last lap, which he duly accomplished. It all looked good for a fitting end to a great year, but Dale made a desperate last gasp lunge on David into Yamaha and took them both off. They rejoined the track, but Steve, who had been right behind in third, had by this time slipped through to sew up back-to-back state titles. David finished second after Dale, who finished third, waved him through in an effort to partially redress his earlier indiscretion.

So, that was it. A campaign that had started with great promise ended with Team Green Racing leaving empty handed. Congratulations go to Steve for great driving all weekend.

Our next race meeting will be in 2008, as we have elected to miss the last three races of the year. Again, many thanks go out to all those that have given their time to help Team Green Racing put the kart on the track, particularly Rod Hills, and also Geoff Warren for his help and advice during the season.

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