It’s been a busy few weeks for #TeamTaylor. Firstly Joseph headed to Finland for the final round of the prestigious CIK-FIA Academy Trophy but not before suffering a very scary flight that included an emergency landing. Following that it was back to PF International to compete in this years Kartmasters British Grand Prix.
CIK-FIA Academy Trophy
Alaharma Finland 23/7/17
After what ended up taking nearly 4 days to get to Finland and a missed night of sleep, Joseph managed to get to grips with the track by the end of the first practice.
Having never driven the track, racing against drivers who have been testing at the circuit would always be difficult but Joseph was consistently running in the top of the and table showed he had the pace to match the older drivers with track knowledge.
The grid is split into two groups with the second gaining a slight advantage due to extra rubber on the track from the previous session. Joseph hoped to be put in the second group but unfortunately this was not the case.
Joseph set about qualifying and after sitting waiting for a couple of laps to pass, and choosing a point to put his time in, managed a p4, just a fraction off pole. His final attempt was a flyer but a back marker on the racing line cost him valuable time.
As predicted the second group went quicker which gave Joseph a P8 overall. The first heat was to be the deciding factor for the weekend and after a good start made his way to the front and looked like he could start to lead the race when he was taken out by a French driver. Making his way back onto the track, last and with a mountain to climb, he managed to pass a few drivers and make up some last second grasps for places to come home in 15th. Not the start he was hoping for.
Heat 2 was a hard race but with a drop in places at the starting corner, Joseph managed a respectable 7th and was quickest on track.
Heat 3 saw him just miss the win with a second place finish. Working out a starting grid of approximately 7th, he could race from there, but the points from qualifying added to the heats in the round gave a 13th overall. Undeterred Joseph said “I can race from there no problem”.
The Final Race
The start of the final was a frantic affair, and sandwiched in the middle, Joseph was loaded and pushed off on the hairpin to lose a few places. Making his way back up the field he climbed through and began putting in fastest lap after fastest lap. Climbing towards the front of the pack and up to 9th. The continuous passing of each other for a few corners left the front pack with a good 20 meters to catch and after breaking away Joseph was within reach of the front group but time was too short. Finishing 9th Joseph was left disappointed but finishing over 3 rounds in 6th as the youngest competitor and the drivers around him a lot older he has achieved a great result in his first year of the academy.
Kartmasters British Grand Prix
PF International 6/8/17
2017 marked the 22nd anniversary of the legendary ‘MSA Kartmasters British Kart Grand Prix’. Traditionally held on the first Sunday of August, this event has become THE annual blue-ribbon event on the UK Karting calendar. The event has always been staged at the infamous PF International kart circuit with Trent Valley Kart Club being its organiser.
Joseph was competing in the OK Junior class and began his weekend on the Friday with the first practice sessions and qualifying. A key feature of Kartmasters is that there are no tyre changes allowed by the drivers, so strategy is crucial in the build up to the final race on Sunday.
The opening practice saw Joseph come home in a conservative 6th place, he stepped up the pace in the opening qualifying session finishing second just 0.10 seconds behind the leader.
Again showing dominance Joseph finished 1st in Heat 1 and 2nd in Heat 2.
Joseph continued as he had left off on the Friday, finishing 1st in the first practice of the day and 2nd in the qualifying. Next came the heats. Heat 3 didn’t quite go to plan and Joseph crossed the line in 4th, dropping two places from his starting position. Heat 4 was a return to form for Joseph, starting in 2nd and crossing the line in 1st.
Sunday – Race Day
Joseph smartly declined to head out for the day’s opening warm up to preserve what were now well-used tyres. In the Pre-Final Joseph lined up 1st on the grid and came back in in the same position. The weekend was lining up to be perfect.
Jospeh was in pole for the rolling start and held it well into the first corner. The next part of the track is the most famous and is an almost flat-out chicane and is very exciting for the young racers, Joseph took it perfectly maintaining his lead.
Drivers quickly settled into an orderly fashion all knowing they had tyres to preserve if they wanted to make a charge for the lead and knock Joseph off the top spot. He maintained his position well until lap 3. He lost his position but made sure he kept on the tail of the leader rather than fighting for his position back and risking his tyres.
In the fourth lap he dropped another place but was clearly undeterred as he knew he had the pace to get the position back. Lap 5 and Joseph took another position back with a perfectly executed text-book overtake on the inside of turn 5. This had him sitting comfortably in second behind the leader poised to pounce later in the race. This was shaping up to be a perfect race strategy.
Joseph sat behind the leader for the rest of race and with 3 minutes to go in the 15 minute race he began pushing for the lead. Joseph darted down the inside of turn 6 taking the lead with 2 minutes 46 seconds to go until the final lap. He now had to attempt to build up a gap to ensure victory. But, with very used tyres this was not going to be the case, Morgan Porter was all over the back of him. Morgan made his move at the end of the finishing straight and there was nothing Joseph could do. Morgan carried pace after following in Joseph’s slip stream and took the lead with a minute to go until the final lap.
Joseph took his lead back again darting down the inside of turn 6, Morgan lined him again for an attack on the finishing straight. Joseph was ready for it this time and made a valiant effort in defending his position, forcing Morgan to the inside but unfortunately again using Joseph’s slip stream was able to squeeze by with 15 seconds left to the final lap and very worn tyres.
Joseph entered turn 4 in 2nd but came out in 3rd having run wide into the entry. Missing the apex meant that he was unable to get back to the racing line for the sea of karts. This resulted in him entering the next corner on the outside and conceding another place. The clock had now ran out so the next time they all crossed the line would be the final lap.
Again Joseph ran wide – struggling for grip – and was undertaken, meaning he crossed the line for the final lap in 5th. Joseph battled well in the final lap but his attempts to climb back up to a podium spot were defended well. Chris Lulham was now hot on his heels (with fresh tyres due to a break down in earlier heats) and was able to squeeze past, resulting in Joseph crossing the line in 6th.
This was amended to 5th following penalties but still disappointing for Joseph having lead the majority of the race. In hindsight, on degrading tyres, Joseph perhaps began his charge too early but this is an important lesson in race craft and being one of the youngest on the grid we’re sure he’ll be back next year with vengeance.