One of the things we learned from a cancelled Christmas Cup in 2022, there would be no warm up session at Bayford Meadows on race day. This meant we really had to do the Saturday testing in order to get dialled in to the track. For this event, we decided to go with Ambition Motorsport to provide driver coaching and help the mechanic.
The guidance provided throughout the weekend was excellent and we are thankful to Paul and the team at Ambition.
Saturday testing would prove to be incredibly useful. For the first session, this was very much a sighting session, both for Riley to see the track and Ambition Motorsport to watch the driver. This first session saw us starting with a best time of 57.16. The kart had just been dragged out of the trailer and thrown out on track. There was a wet setup applied from a previous test, which may have caused some of our issues at Red Lodge. After session 1, a dry set up was applied and this made the kart a lot more drivable.
Through the day, beyond the initial change, minimal changes were then made to the kart. The focus was on the squishy bit in the seat. This worked and the best times kept falling – 54.06, 52.21, 52.08, 51.57, 51.79. As a reference, the other Ambition Mini Max (Libre in MSUK) driver was doing high 49, low 50 second lap times. In a single day, nearly 6 seconds had been found!
On Sunday, it was straight in to race mode with Qualifying first up. It would prove to be a decent qualifying session on a mixed grid with Rookie Juniors. Riley qualified 2nd in class, 13th overall with a time of 52.18 beating what looks like could be a season long rival by one hundredth of a second. Very close!
There would only be one heat to contend with at Bayford. A couple of the Juniors had struggles starting which resulted in taking a couple of laps to form a grid. This also meant one of the Juniors was 2 laps down gifting Riley a place. This heat would be spent battling again with lap times differing by very little lap after lap. A clean race saw Riley set a fastest time of 50.92, finishing 2nd in class and 12th overall.
The Pre-Final saw Riley start 12th overall and 2nd in class. Once again, it was incredibly close battles. With Riley in front until the second to last lap when his challenger got the better of him. Despite this set back he did manage to set another PB with a time of 50.68, finishing 3rd in class and 14th overall.
The finals saw Riley make one of his lightning starts, managing to take one place and nearly getting a second. Riley managed to keep this position until lap 6. Two laps later, combination of heavy breathing and cool winter air meant his visor fogged up and he couldn’t see and he had to come in. We’ve learned from this and bought some Muc Off Anti-fog which seems to be recommended. All was not lost, a combination of lightning start, fastest lap time of 51.91 and 3rd in class, 14th overall it was a good day.
This was our first event running with Ambition Motorsport. The support given to both Riley and Dad throughout the weekend was fantastic. A huge thank you must go out to Paul and his dad, but also the other drivers and their families. I am sure we will be with them for more events going forward. It was also nice to have family visit and support us throughout the weekend.
Thank you as always to our sponsors who help make this happen.
Paul Babington is the official photographer based at Bayford Meadows. (Facebook Page)
Additional photos care of Mum and Dad