So its the moment you've all been waiting for! My second blog post for Kunstvoller! They're an amazing bunch of guys aren't they? Do you know how hard they work? No, neither do I. I heard a rumour that their last Time and Motion study announced they may be clinically dead. If you're reading this now, then they've surpassed themselves.
I got out of the shower Monday morning counting the bruises and aches that come with a weekend of heavy stock car racing. I sat down, opened my laptop and was pleased to read on one of the many websites covering our sport, that these bruises were not mine. I was not suffering after an enjoyable weekend at the races, and that the trophy I'd hugged – with an affection that no child of mine could ever hope to receive – was not destined for my shelf.
All of these things did, in fact, belong to a Mr Ken Hassell.
I wasn't convinced, so I read the article again. You see, I had this bruise, on a part of my arm that I don't have a name for, and it was swelling at an alarming rate. Surely if Ken had driven the car, this bruise/lump would be on his arm instead. Worse still, I realised it was Ken that got the good result in the consolation race! All the shit driving in the meanwhile was down to me.
"Who the fuck is Ken Hassell?" I hear you cry. Because I knew I'd hear you cry that, I took the liberty of finding out. But before we get to that, lets look at the rest of the weekend.
The Newson Racing team had a hard week preparing cars for this meeting. Seven cars they were running. Think about that for a moment. Most people struggle getting one car ready for a race meeting. Some teams might have two or three. SEVEN CARS! This team works supremely hard and I am so glad I chose this way to get started in the sport. If you fancy a go in an F1 –and frankly who doesn't – give them a shout.
I rolled into heat one keen to get stuff done. It had been a month out of the car and I was raring to get this show on the road. I pulled up to the whites when I saw another group of whites on the other side of the track. Hmmmm. I've never been to Skegness before and was suddenly aware that I didn't actually know where the start line was located. I did a quick lap to check where everybody was and then resumed my place at, what I now knew to be, the start line. I could now recognise the start rostrum and Mr Starter, though sadly the two items were not in the same place. I want to go racing. I've waited a month for this. I've worked day and night, saved up the cash to come to this show. I've pulled the belts down one more time, I'm gripping the wheel, WHY IS THIS TAKING SOOO LOOOONG??
Miss Brassique (yes, she was here again) actually asked me what goes through a driver's mind when we line up to race. I obviously cant speak for every driver, but this is certainly what goes through mine every time we line up:- Why is this taking so long? Is that guy STILL on his parade lap? No, don't let him leave, make him stay on the centre, he doesn't need to fix anything he just won for Christ's sake! No, don't open the gate! They opened the gate. Go on GO! Pick up the flags man, they're not poisonous! What are we waiting for now? COME ON!
In truth, the turn around time between races is very short. But to me, strapped in the car, it feels like several ice ages slide by while I'm waiting for the green.
Finally Mr Starter reaches for the flags and all the V8's fire up. Its a beautiful noise. We roll out, the green drops and we're off. Right, no messing about now. I cut up the guy on the inside of me and give the chap in front a healthy dig. Rob slides by in the #73 car and the lead group get away, leaving me on my own for a bit to learn about the car.
A couple of laps later, the first of the top guys arrives and pushes me wide. After much jostling I bring the car home 8th. Who goes through to the final? Top seven. Bugger. It's Birmingham all over again!
As luck would have it, the winner very kindly got disqualified at post race tech, moving everyone up a place and moving me into the feature final.
As I went to drive out of the pits for the final, it appeared we had a problem. The clutch wouldn't quite clear. The Newson team quickly jumped on it and we were off to the start.
I lost out to the whites and fell back to the yellows fairly quickly, then there was all sorts going on in turn two. There was smoke all across the track as I arrived, and from the murk loomed a near stationary car which I hit with a rather hefty impact. In all modern race cars we have what is called a "submarining strap". It passes between your legs to stop you sliding out from under the rest of your belts in an accident. I've always known why it was there, but never before have my bollocks felt the full effect of a submarining strap doing its job. The stream of obscenities that I uttered into my crash helmet would be too much publish, even for a website as devoid of moral standing as Kunstvoller.
After the hit, both the starter motor and the clutch decided they'd had enough for the evening. I got the car behind to bump start me but, without being able to disengage drive, I couldn't really do the stop-start affair that is a BriSCA F1 restart.
So ended our Saturday. Kunstvoller's own Missy Brastrap reported that she was leaving and would text me the details of the hotel. I stayed and chatted to the team for a bit before walking to my car, wondering what delightful accommodation had been booked this time. It was at this time that I realised that the phone Miss B was efficiently texting the hotels whereabouts to, was in her own bag. She had been keeping it safe while I was racing. And it was on silent because poor Missy is sensitive to noise, or some other bullcrap reason, I don't really listen to her to be honest. She's always moaning about something.
Anyway, after she realised the error of her ways and returned to the track, we were able to head for the hotel. [Miss B: Talk about passing the book!]
In a dark, dark corner of Skegness, there is a dark, dark road. And in this dark, dark road is the dark, dark hotel we stayed in. I expected Norman Bates to be waiting at the door. "Hello mother..." But he wasn't. Nobody was. You probably have to pay extra for that. This was definitely the Easy Jet of the hotel world. There was a couple of homeless people outside the foyer. They said they could afford a room, they just preferred to sleep outside.
Inside the décor was much like you'd expect to find in the house you are going to get murdered in. A sort of 70's feel wall paper that you think could start bleeding any second. Mirrors that don't reflect and kitchen knives placed conveniently near shower curtains. The only thing that looks out of place is the electronic lock on the bedroom, which, and I'm not even joking here, looks like its been placed there by a Cyberman. It was truly a work of art and I want one for every room in my house. If I ever get a house.
The towels were barely big enough to wipe your bum on. The shower had a wide range of setting from cold to artic storm. Tea bags are provided, but use them wisely, they will not be replenished regardless of the length of your stay.
Apart from that it was great. Thanks Kunstvoller.
I arrived at the track Sunday to find Mat and the team replacing all the bits I had broken the night before. I asked Mat to make a brake adjustment for me too; it's time I started toying with the movable parts to try and find some more speed. Heat one I managed to get myself into a bit of a spin. This dropped me a long way down the order, but I got it going again and still had a fun time trying out my new brake setup.
In my next heat, heat three, I was taught a valuable lesson about blocking the inside on the restart. A pretty good run spoiled in the final knockings by someone getting next to me before the green and then running me out to the fence. Still, that's racing.
It was shortly after this, our mutual friend Ken absconded with my race car to drive the consolation.
"I knew I had to do well here or Barbie would be pissed." said Ken after the race, "After someone moved my fully-posable arms and legs into a driving position, I was ready to go. I managed to cut in front of the inside car at the start and push the guy in front of me wide enough to snatch second" he said without moving his plastic lips. "A blue top came along and helped me past the last of the whites and then I just hung on until the chequered flag."
He explained with that annoyingly smug face that he was christened with from Hasbro or Mattell or wherever the hell he came from. I'm really not sure what Barbie is supposed to see in Ken. He looks like a total arse. It's got to be the money I suppose. Back in the 80s it was all 'Waitress Barbie' and 'Do you want fries with that Barbie' and 'Handjobs for Hobos Barbie', Now when you see her in kids adverts its 'Tart in a Ferrari Barbie' 'Limitless credit card Barbie' and 'tummy tuck and boob job Barbie'.
Oh how times change.
Moving on to he UK open, this was a fun race. It started with aIl-you-could-see cars going off left right and centre, so I just knuckled down, drove hard and tried to stay out of the fence. Looking at the carnage, just finishing the thing was a major result! I think I came 17th. We had cameras on for all the races and highlight videos are going up on the Kunstvoller YouTube channel. It shows what goes on trackside way better than I can explain in a blog.
Our next outing is Northampton and Ipswich so see y'all there, and do come ask me for some Kunstvoller stickers! I've stolen loads and need to get rid of them quick. They are free of charge but please send us a photo of where you've stuck them.
See you at the track,
***All the crap you see written here is Kelvin's opinion and not that of his associates, race team or marketing partners . . . with the exception of Kunstvoller, 'cause they're adept at backing and swerving anything ; D ***
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