Since we’ve been doing League Karting at Xtreme Indoor in Sunninghill for a while, we decided to step up a notch and rent a kart to compete in the F400 Enduro Karting Series! The F400 Series is an endurance karting series run mostly at the Vereeniging, Zwartkops and Kyalami kart circuits. We entered a race at the Kyalami Kart Circuit. It’s a wonderful track but without a lot of run off area which is slightly intimidating! Joining me on this adventure were Alex and Jakub Boryna and Nathan Miles.
We had spent an afternoon doing a few laps around the Kyalami Karting circuit so we had Dirka fair idea of the track’s layout, and we felt we could handle ourselves amongst the pro teams that race regularly in the series. We went out for official practice and discovered our kart had a loose belt – not the best start! We tightened it and went back out to settle the nerves with some times laid down. There were 38 karts entered, so to ease the traffic they have four colour groups on the day. Three of the colour groups race in each heat, meaning we had 27/28 karts in each heat. This made for some fun racing!
The first heat went well. I went out for qualifying and to race the first stint. I managed to qualify 21st, a position I was happy with. First race goals are always the same: pass someone, finish the race and don’t come last! I managed a good start, going wide and getting around some first corner chaos. After about 15 minutes of racing the brakes didn’t feel right and I pulled into the pits to check them out. We found that the brake pads had glazed. Not ideal, but we powered on and even with our pit stop, good consistent runs from Alex and Nathan meant we finished an excellent 21st. A good debut from the team!
In the second heat we qualified 23rd with Jakub taking the kart out first. Jakub started well but unfortunately got turned around through the hair pin and another kart connected with him in the ensuing melee. Unfortunately the collision left us with a bent steering arm and we had to come in to repair the damage. We managed to fix it but missed most of the race in the process. Jakub went out again in the kart and managed to get us back to 23rd as a few other teams had issues in the heat as well.
The final heat saw Alex go out and qualify, managing to get us to 25th position, even though the steering damage meant we turned better to the right than to the left. We drove around the problem, and with no additional pit stops and all of us doing some driving we came home an excellent 17th! It was a fun day’s racing and even though there were a few hiccups, that’s racing, and we accomplished all our goals – we passed quite a few people, finished the day and didn’t come last!
The great thing about the series is that it’s relatively inexpensive, and with so many karts out on track at once you get involved in plenty of good dices. We’ll definitely be back for another event!
Images by Taryn Miles.