June 04, 2005

Malcolm's Stag

It must be June; my diary is awash with weddings. Which means that there's also been a run of stag events.

The weekend before last was Malcolm's turn to celebrate his last days of freedom. We spent a most entertaining day over at WildTracks karting and quad-biking, and then in the evening we headed out, via the excellent Kingston Arms, to the Curry Queen on Mill Road for a curry (surprise, surprise) and a few beers (ditto) before adjourning to the Cambridge Blue at which point the groom-to-be declined all attempts to get him extremely drunk, settling for just plain drunk instead :-)

Half-way through the karting the rain started. So after a dry practice session, where I'd worked out the lines through all the corners such that I only had to brake for two of them, we were then thrown into the lottery of a wet race... Slick tyres and wet tarmac make for an interesting combination, rendering the steering wheel virtually useless so very sharp braking and/or power oversteer were needed to make it round corners. Quite challenging conditions really, and although I felt as though I was balancing near the limit of being quick without spinning I was passed by James and so ended up finishing in second place.

I think the torrential downpour over lunch actually improved conditions for the quad-biking, although it did make it much messier! We were taken in what could be loosely termed a procession round a suitably muddy, rutted, off-road track. It was like going out driving in the snow - lots of fun sliding around but with less worrying about hitting things.

All in all, a really fun day, and a suitably active precursor to the evening's consumption...

Posted by Adrian at June 4, 2005 12:41 PM | TrackBack

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Apparently one of secrets of driving a kart in the wet is to physically move your weight around in the kart in order to unweight the inside rear wheel.

The kart has a natural tendency to understeer as the rear axle doesn't have a diff, and will tend to resist attempts to turn. In the dry there's usually enough grip at the front to unweight the rear (the steering geometry is set up to actually lift the inside rear wheel once you're turned in). In the wet though you actually need to lean forward when turning in to get as much weight over the front as possible. You can then start to lean back again to quell oversteer once past the apex.

This technique actually gives an advantage in the dry too! Not tried it in my road car though.

Hmm .. do you think I took the karting on Graham's stag weekend a bit too seriously? ;o) And can you tell I'm bored at work?

Posted by: Andrew at June 6, 2005 05:48 PM

I'll have to remember that for next time I'm karting in the wet.

Not sure about quelling the oversteer though, the last couple of laps I was having too much fun kicking the back end out deliberately and catching it with some opposite lock :-D

Posted by: Adrian at June 7, 2005 12:29 PM
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