Saturday, 25 November 2017

Why are British kart drivers absolutely crushing it at top level karting right now?

Why are British kart drivers absolutely crushing it at top level karting right now?

  Danny Kierle - World Karting Champion 2017
  Oliver Hodgson - World X30 Champion 2017
  Brett Ward - World Rotax Champion 2017 + X30 Euro Champion 2017
  Dexter Patterson - World Junior Karting Champion 2017

 There are lots of nations around the world with great talent and fantastic racing, but I reckon the following perfect storm of factors helps the UK churn out karting talent like no other nation.


  Reason number 1 - PF International 
Karting1 made a flippant tweet after Danny Kierle won the World title, that winning a clubby at PFi would probably be just as difficult as winning the world champs.  Thinking about it, that is most likely perfectly true.  The sheer density of talent racing at PFi in the X30 classes on a regular basis is incredible.  I think it is conservative to say that at a winter series race, there will be at least ten world class drivers duking it out.  The other 25 drivers will be seriously quick too though!  So if you want to win a winter series race at PFi in Senior X30 it is likely that you will have to beat 3 current world champions in the process.  Where else in the world is that the case?
The intensity of competition at PFi on a regular race weekend is incredible, and this makes the drivers super competitive and of course all the support they have from teams, mechanics and engine builders is top notch. The quality of the PFi facility is such that everyone in the UK wants to race there, which combines with all the other factors below to create a World level competition there at least once a month!

  Reason number 2 - UK Geography and climate - Density of different kart tracks with tough grids and awful weather

 From where I am writing this, I can drive to at least 4 different quality kart tracks within an hour.  These are PFi, Shenington, Kimbolton and Whilton Mill.  These tracks are open all year round for racing and the Brits race and practise at these venues in all weather.  The tracks are all completely different, and strange in their own way so that the drivers gain tremendously wide experience. The clubs are smart enough to run races that don't clash too often allowing a driver to race every weekend of the month against tough competition.  This creates constant development in an intensely competitive atmosphere, especially in the cadet classes (more on them in a bit). Races are very rarely cancelled because of weather, so the drivers here are toughened up in conditions that can only be described as horrific!  The coldest I've seen at a race meeting was minus 12 degrees, and there was not a hint of cancellation in the air.




During the PFi winter races it is almost inevitable to see a dry line appear on the circuit that is exactly one kart width wide, meaning everyone has to run on slicks so going a few centimetres off line can result in disaster. Combine this situation with running under spotlights, heading under the bridge flat out whilst smashing over kerbs at 70+mph  with 30 other nutters trying to beat you is a unique and regular situation for drivers racing in the UK.  For me they are absolute bloody heroes!

   Reason number 3 - The Brits are mad for it

The UK is motor racing bonkers.  The teams, parents, drivers are all crazy for motor sport.  They are also aggressively competitive, sometimes you could say it goes over the top (we are a bit savage), but it creates such a focused and unforgiving atmosphere that it inevitably produces a wealth of talented and resilient drivers.  Motor racing seems to have a hold on the Brits more than any other nation I know, and this breeds talent naturally.



Weekend off? Run the London marathon in your karting kit - typical lunacy from British drivers!

  Reason number 4 - British Cadet Karting

 I believe that if you can win a British cadet karting championship, there is not a motor racing category in the World that is beyond your capabilities.  British cadet karting is incredible, the drivers are complete racing drivers and so are all their support personnel whether we are talking about the teams or parents.  There is nothing like British cadet karting anywhere in the world for sheer competitiveness and those kids come out of cadet karting ready for any level of competition out there.



UK cadet drivers unusually spaced apart, usually they are fully attached to one another!

 If you are used to running in races from the age of 8 years old where absolute professionalism is a given, and the smallest mistake means the difference between a win and 30th position, then running at world level is not daunting at all.  It's just another day at the office, and these drivers treat it as such! So if you want to race the best, and test yourself in the toughest racing environment in the world (including any other motor sport category) come and race karts in England. If you can win here, you can win anywhere, in anything!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

How to Drive a Kart in the Wet - Wet Lines Video

Here is a video where I quickly explain how to adjust your line in wet weather so that the kart can find grip.

This is super important and can be worth seconds a lap!

For more detail on wet driving special techniques that can find you loads of time check out my book here.


Friday, 22 September 2017

FREE chapter from my book on mastering your braking

I decided to put one of my favourite chapters out there from 'Learn How to Master the Art of Kart Driving'



It's the chapter on braking technique and it covers all the steps you need to cover in order to become a virtuoso on the brakes in a kart.  It's a significant chapter with 18 pages of top notch and actionable info.

To download your copy of the free chapter on kart braking head over to my EvenFlow blog page here:

EvenFlow Kart Driver Coaching Blog

...you'll find the link easy!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

How much race preparation is enough? Ask Alonso....


Something just caught my attention on Fernando Alonso's 'rookie' orientation for the Indy 500 live stream.

Mclaren Boss, Zak Brown, was asked about Alonso's preparation for Indy, he replied with something like:

"...on the plane he watched Ed Carpenter's entire race on-board"
and
"...he's watched 25 complete races"

So, on top of all the standard training a professional racing driver does, arguably the world's best driver will sit and watch a 3 hour on-board video of a track with 4 corners! (I realise there is a lot more to the Indianapolis Speedway than 4 corners - but it's not like he is learning the layout)

Then, after he's watched 24 Indy videos, he thinks "oh, I've got a spare 3 hours on the plane, I'll watch a whole race on-board"

Just think about it, Alonso has done it all and can choose to do anything he likes, at any time. Can you imagine how valuable every second of his time is?

However, to him, another 3 hours more watching on-board of Indianapolis is going to pay off so big, that it is worth it....

So, just in case you are wondering how much detail the very best drivers go into when studying race tracks between races, the answer is they go very very deep...

...and every little bit of extra time you put into understanding a race track is going to pay off, big!!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Racing drivers are superior humans to any Olympic gold medallists I can think of

The Olympics is on TV at the moment and we are all supposed to marvel at the super human efforts of all the athletes.

Fair play to them, but they are not a patch on what a regular cash strapped karter has to become if they want to succeed!

Here is what the young racing driver has to cope with that athletes don't.

1) The other guy gets a huge advantage from spending more money than you could ever dream of earning.

Usain Bolt doesn't run away from you because he just laid out ten grand on a pair of trainers yesterday and found an immediate 4 tenths.

Racing drivers have to live with this potentially devastating reality daily and motivate themselves to keep striving on.

2) You can do everything perfect as a driver, and the kart breaks

Athletes and drivers train hard and risk the possibility of physical injury.  But athletes don't face the possibility of losing everything because of a random chain snapping event.

Drivers live with equipment failure as a constant possibility that is totally beyond their control.

3) Danger

I don't remember the last fatality in an athletic event.  Even karters have to face the possibility of broken bones and pain, as well as fears of crashing.  We've all has at least one 'biggie'.

4) The racing environment

The 'at the track' racing environment is hard-core.  Athletics is run by very protective, psychologically aware coaches.  Racing drivers have no such luxury and do their competing in a very tough environment where generally nobody gives a monkey's how you feel - and in many cases the driver is blamed for everything that goes wrong.

5) Money

Yeah athletes struggle for funding but they can apply for government or lottery funding handouts to get by.

A racing driver has to find big money before they even put a wheel on the track, and they have to effectively become exceptional entrepreneurs to do so.  Nobody helps and nobody is giving money to racing drivers for nothing.


The racing world is the toughest environment I can think of full of unfairness and corruption alongside tremendous highs - and that is why it has the potential to develop very special people, who manage to use that environment to reach the pinnacle of human development.

My job is to help you develop the skill and tremendous resilience to thrive in the hardest game on earth.  Find out more at www.evenflow.co.uk


Thursday, 21 May 2015

If a karting picture can paint a thousand words.... this is it!

Oliver Scullion - Winner F100 pre 2000 Fulbeck 2015 - Photo credit Alex Evans EVSRR

Blimey, it's been over a year since I've written any articles here, or anywhere else! I haven't felt inspired until now, today, when I saw the above image that encapsulates the raw and pure beauty of what a zero-compromise race tuned kart does.

That picture contains everything you need to know about driving the most perfectly adapted racing machines on the planet - the 100cc racing kart.

These are the only machines in existence that can connect you to the art of driving so directly, without numbing your senses or protecting you from the brutality of the insane revs and vibrations that bruise and deafen you.

It's all there in a finite moment -  the delicate balance of braking and slide, the sheer grip trying  to pull the front tyre off the rim and the slight over-steer angle betrayed by the middle spoke of the steering wheel.

You know he is moving fast, the pull on the tyres show you that, but you also sense the poise of the driver from his posture.  He is fully in control and put the kart in that position with confidence. You also sense that despite the angle of the kart seeming to point at the steep kerb, that he will have that front left tyre describing a perfect arc around the base of the kerb without upsetting the stability of the machine one iota.

You can see where he is, and you know where he is going without the need for correction or reaction. He's going to carry that slide all the way to hit a late apex, and the kart will straighten up and pre-load ready for the following right hander.... it's all in balance and harmony.

Assuming you would like to emulate this artful way of driving a kart, here's how you can do it.

Master the art of trail braking for maximum style points.

Ollie Scullion is superb on the brakes, especially at putting the kart into a slide when he firsts hits the brakes and holding that slight angle as the kart enters the corner.  He does it in the photo at Fulbeck into a tricky little chicane and into tight hairpins elsewhere with seemingly little effort.

It's mesmerizing to watch, and despite having worked with some of the best karters in the world I still marvel at the guys who can do this, lap in lap out.  I haven't worked with Ollie myself, and am just an admirer of what is to me the most entertaining aspect of watching drivers at work.

How to do it

The key to getting this skill is in appreciating  the importance of how to release your braking pressure as you enter a corner.  You need to lock the rear a little when you first hit the brake, which is the easy bit and amply described in previous articles of mine.  But the tricky bit is regulating the brake after that initial lock up.

When you get into trail braking you might find at first an overriding temptation to release the brakes suddenly to bring the kart back into line.  However if you want to hold that slight degree of slide all the way into a late apex so you look like an seasoned pro, you'll need to learn how to resist that temptation to suddenly get off the brake.

Instead, practice gently regulating the braking pressure just enough to maintain the angle of the kart.

Release the brakes too much and you will straighten up requiring you to steer the kart into the corner. Use too much brake and you'll need extra opposite lock leading to some ugly angles caused by the extreme geometry built into karts.

You need to find a sweet spot, where you will be able to directly control the angle of the kart with your left foot.  You might be making multiple tiny adjustments of pressure to hold the kart at an angle, or you may be able to hold the pressure almost constant.

When you get the hang of holding a kart at an angle using braking pressure, you will feel like the kart is saying 'yes!! this is how I want to be driven'.  Karts love to be put in a set like this and they will reward you with a lovely sense of constant grip and stability, and will guide you through a corner without drama.......if you let it.

It is not easy at all, in fact I think it's what separates a good driver from a master so it will take time and patience - but when it clicks you'll be buzzing like never before in a kart.

Understand the hidden benefit of trail braking with style.

These days on 'modern' karts there is no great requirement to brake so stylishly.  You can brake in a straight line mostly, and carry your braking gently into an apex without having to set the kart into any kind of over-steer.

However, if you learn to trail brake and hang the rear out ever so slightly you can develop a heightened awareness of pre-loading a kart, and ultimately push the development of your senses beyond those of other more regular drivers.

You'll be able to extract that little bit extra out of your kart because you will have developed a finer sense of grip and an ability for timing that isn't normal, it's extraordinary.  Learning how to initiate the turn in of a kart aiming at a late apex not by steering more, but by holding onto the brake while the front tucks in is a special skill well worth learning.

In my opinion this will set you a cut above, even if you don't exercise this skill every time you drive a kart.

And by the way, if you want to taste karting in its ultimate form head over to the F100 website.  Big grids of karts from the sport's pinnacle era. True no limit karting is alive and kicking.




Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Secret to High Speed Sport Success Revealed - Track Notes Make Gold Medal Winners


Here is a deeply significant insight into the mind of a champion, who has won the Olympic gold in Skeleton.

It's absolutely instructive to karters because it is about going as fast as you can on a well learned track on a very simple machine.  Did you miss it?????
"As soon as I finished on Friday I started writing my track notes, it's something I always do. It sounds crazy because I won by nearly a second, but I've been thinking about the four runs and how I could have got them faster. There is so much to improve on."  Full article here
Taking track notes is so important to Lizzy Yarnold's success that she felt absolutely compelled to update her notes after her gold medal run before celebrating the biggest result possible in the sport.  She didn't drop everything and get carried away with the euphoria of conquering the world, she was so wrapped up in her secret to success that she sat down with pen and paper and wrote down what she learned about the track.

I doubt her coach would approve of her revealing such an important part of her success, and I bet all the other competitors will be diligently updating their notes after every run from now on!

However although writing track notes is a big help, that is NOT the big secret to success! Here is the real secret:

Lizzy Yarnolds comments are like having the key to the mind of a champion that allows us to see the treasure trove of her winning approach - it's obvious to me...

She wasn't sliding for a gold medal, she was sliding to see if she could go a bit quicker on one or two turns. She found out she could, she knows how, and while she was at it she got some clues about where she might go faster next time.  She wants to write that down and go and give it another go.... she's like:

'oh a gold medal, that's nice but just wait while I write this down. If I have another go I reckon I can find a bit more!'
So, the real kicker is this:-

When you take notes you have a blueprint for how to get around a lap pretty well. BUT, you also mark on your notes some question marks that mean 'I reckon I can go quicker here'.

Next session you carry those questions in your mind with possible solutions.  You give it a try, and find out if it makes you a little bit quicker.  If you go quicker you remember and update your notes with what you just found out.

Then the process starts over.  Every time you head out on track you aren't driving round in circles trying to avoid mistakes.

You are heading out on a mission.  The mission has a strategy and a detailed plan to find a little bit of time on a specific corner with a specific method.

If you are lucky you can use data logging to prove the results.

And when you drive like this, your mindset is completely different - you are highly motivated to find time in a very specific and methodical way - you are driven by this motivation and your sessions fly by.

You always feel like you want another run to see if you can go even faster again, it becomes a never ending process of improvement.


Are you making track notes and are they effectively driving you forward every session?

Contact me to embark on a program that will give you a system that turns every track session into a mission with specific objectives and measured outcomes.  Make going faster an unstoppable compulsion!

Contact me: terence@evenflow.co.uk

www.evenflow.co.uk