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01 Oct 2009, Posted by admin in Articles, 0 Comments

No Challenge too Big


Jumping from the SAKRA class to the Max Challenge class was a big move for me.  At the end of 2008, Claudio and the SAKRA management decided to put me in a Max kart to give me a feel of how different it is from the Extreme kart.  When I went out in the Max kart for the first time, I was shocked at how much I had to change my driving style and how exhausted you feel once you ended the session.  The more I practised, the faster I became and got some sort of idea how the kart characteristics are.

When the time came to compete in the 1st Max Regional race, I wasn’t nervous or scared because I knew I had nothing to prove.  In practice I managed to set the fastest lap and that shocked everybody, including myself.  Qualifying wasn’t the same when I didn’t set up my kart properly and qualified 6th.  From starting in 6th in the first heat, I fought my way to 3rd, behind Jarryd Evans and Johan Hamman.

In heat 2 Jarryd did not participate and meant that Johan was acting as P1.  He led the whole first lap until we came to the 180’s and he entered the corner too wide.  I was able to keep him wide and at the same time took the lead from him.  For the remainder of the race I was racing by myself.  Heat 3 I started P1 and Jarryd started 6th.  I lead for the 1st half of the race until Jarryd caught up and passed me.  I kept him in eye-sight till the end.  That secured me 1st for the day and I was overwhelmed by my performance as I had not expected anything from the day.

The second Regional race I was confident that I could do well.  When I went out for practice my confidence didn’t show because I was all over the place.  All that changed when I replaced my tyres with new ones and qualified with my fastest time and the fastest of the rest.  I was smiles all round until Joy told me that she arranged for me to start at the back of the grid.  I was not pleased, but I saw it as an opportunity to see how well have I progressed with my driving.  Starting 9th, I worked my way up to 4th.  The 2nd heat I started again last and improved from my first performance by ending 3rd.  I went to Barney at the end of the race to apologise due to the fact I clipped his back while he was out of control and landed him in the tyres.  He was not pleased but he understood and everything was sorted.  Starting P3 for heat 3, I gained 2nd behind Harry.  After 3 laps I was able to pass him and as in the 1st race meeting I was unchallenged by anyone for the remainder of the heat.  At the end of the day I got 3rd (?) prize and broke the lap record in the 1st heat.

Going to my first away race at Zwartkops was exciting yet scary.  Claudio and I walked the track a few times and he showed me what lines to take and how to take it correctly.  When hitting the track for the first time, I wasn’t lost and knew what to do.  The second day of practicing I brought my time down by 0, 7 seconds and was only 0, 6 seconds off the pace.  I felt quite proud of myself and still am.  In qualifying I performed terrible with all the rubber down and new tyres.  Heat 1 I crashed on the 1st corner and could not make it up.  Heat 2 was my best heat starting from 12th I crawled my way up to 8th, but finished in 10th.  I think I could have ended higher but also who am I to say.  Heat 3 from 10th, I again made head way until I claimed 6th place.  Slowly as the laps gone pass three drivers passed me.  All my hard work went to waste when I had a moment on the exit of a corner and on the entry of the next, the driver behind thought he could have a go at me and clipped my back wheel.  Even though I did not end up amongst the top drivers like I got used to, I enjoyed myself and learnt a lot especially that race meeting.

School holidays began and my 1st National was edging closer.  Since it’s my home track I was expecting a good performance.  The weekend started Thursday where I ran in my race motor for half of the day.  Friday we went out for practice and I came in we saw my motor was not revving out.  I went out for practice 2 to find out if our findings are true.  When I came in we found the same results and that caused me to be one second off the pace.  Claudio went and borrowed another engine from Ed Murray racing and caused me to rush for me to be in time for my next session.  Went out and immediately and I set my personal best time and the engine was revving out.  Mark Murray came to Claudio and said he was doing a back to back with the engine I had on and he wanted it because it was the faster of the two.  I had to use the slower of the two Mark tested and used it for pre-final one, which I did only 1 lap due to the chain twisting.

Saturday morning I started quite well by again breaking my personal best and also showing that I was not too far off the leaders.  Pre-final 2 I started 9th and ended 6th.  Final 1 I started 10th and finished in the heat of things with 4 of us bunched up from start to end, but could not do better than 7th.  The last heat of the day, Final 2, was too disappointing with me being forced to withdraw due to the engine popping and not been driveable.  Weird enough, Mark Murrray was also struggling in Final 2.

The year has been full of adventure already and hope more comes my way.

Chad Bell

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