It's been a couple days now since I competed in my first-ever official karting event. With the rain keeping us off the track for the first half of the day, I have to admit I was very disappointed and wondered why the club didn't just postpone the race until a later date. Clearly, LAKC can't control the weather but they can certainly be more flexible when it comes to dealing with the weather.
Once the skies cleared up and we finally got out on the track, my disappointment turned into excitement and a bit of nervousness, especially since we were running with three other classes. Some of us have already expressed our concerns about such a decision and one of those people ended up in an ambulance on Sunday... probably as a direct result of that decision. Nonetheless, I wasn't thinking about any of that while Ron Rossetti was bringing us to the green flag for heat 1. Having gotten to know Ron over the past few weeks with all of the advice he gave me, having him in the first row, right in front of me, calmed my nerves. I knew he wasn't going to make any mistakes.
As we settled into our starting positions heading into the carrousel, I can't do justice in words how intense the feeling was to be taking my first green flag. I can certainly see, now, how addictive this sport can be. Through the horseshoe, heading into long beach, oh my... here we go!!
No problems through turns 1, 2 and 3. No problems through the infield... at least not for me and the three drivers in front of me. We get back to long beach and we see the red flag. Not good... Geno is being hauled off the track in an ambulance.
More problems... We’re told we can’t race until the ambulance gets back from the hospital. That’s understandable as I would clearly want an ambulance there if I ended up on my head like Geno. What’s not understandable is why another ambulance isn’t on call if an unfortunate event like Geno’s does happen? LAKC has scheduled the race day events so tight, there is no room for error on anybody’s part, including waiting an hour for an ambulance. Unfortunately, I think this problem arises because I see LAKC as trying to do too much for too many people.
Throughout the discussion that took place last week on this forum, we heard that safety is the number one priority when it comes to grouping classes. While safety might be the number one priority when it comes to grouping classes, it seems that safety isn’t the overall priority of the club. Based on what I saw this past weekend, maximizing race attendance, or club membership, or profits is the number one priority. If safety was truly the number one priority, there would be no grouping of ANY classes on race days. However, that would require eliminating some classes and I don’t think that is an option for the club.
So after all the waiting we finally get back to racing and I get another chance to take the green flag. Woohoo! It was even more fun the second time around because I got a much better start. Sorry, Brie for giving you a little push while coming to take the green, I was trying to get you out in front of Ron. Everything went great this time around… until the last lap. I’m racing John Abusham (#8) for second place and a Rotax pilot (from a class that was started a few seconds in front of us) spins out going into the carrousel. John avoids him but I hit his nose cone and I’m launched into the air, looking at the pavement just like Geno. Fortunately, I come down upright, but with a broken chain and bent axel. My day was over… taken out by a driver not even in my class. I don’t blame him, however. We shouldn’t have even been on the track at the same time.