Lochie woke up on Saturday morning to see the weather in Florida had turned miserable. It was pouring with rain. This would make driving conditions very difficult for 34 Tag Cadet drivers from around the world.
First up qualifying.....we had full wet set up on the kart, under very challenging cold, wet conditions, Lochie managed to post the fourth quickest time, which was a great achievement.
Heat 1 was also held in pouring rain, with Lochie starting fourth on the grid. Lochie got a great start, into the first corner he was in second position. Coming into the second corner the leader hit a massive puddle and spun off, putting Lochie in the lead. Lochie then drove superbly, driving away from the field to win his first ever race in the US.
Heat 2 once again was held in the pouring rain. Lochie got a great start again, and was in the lead after the first corner. As the race unfolded Lochie was in a battle with three other drivers. In treacherous conditions Lochie drove a sensible race to finish third and ensure he picked up valuable points to put him in a good position on the grid for the final.
It was still raining when it was time for the final. There had been an inch and a half rainfall throughout the day. After two great heats, Lochie was starting in pole position for the final.
This would be the first time Lochie has lead the field to the starting line, in a race in the US. Lochie stumbled at the start and got shuffled back to fourth spot after the first two corners.
He was then bumped around, held out wide, and was shuffled back further in the field to 8th position. Lochie then spent the rest of the race trying to regain these positions, and finished in fourth position. His best ever finish in a race in the US. Later that evening we discovered that Lochie had incurred a 6 second penalty for breaching the speed limit at the start of the race.
The rules are different here in the US as apposed to Australia. In Australia there is no official speed limit for the start of a race. If the starter is happy with them he will give them the green light and away they will go. If not, they will go around again until the starter is happy. In the US, if the man on pole exceeds the speed of 35mph, he will get a one second penalty for every mph he exceeds the speed limit by. In Lochie's case, he was doing 41mph when he crossed the start/finish line, thus incurring a 6 second penalty, which resulted in his official finish position being adjusted to 8th.
Sunday was a completely different day, we were greeted with a cold dry day, beautiful sunshine. Qualifying, When they came out of the pits onto the track, Lochie was caught up in an incident involving 4 karts in the first corner and was taken off the track. Fortunately or unfortunately, one of the karts involved in the in the incident, Sebastian Montoya (Son of former F1 and Indy Car driver, current NASCAR driver) rolled and they red flagged the qualifying session. Sebastian was checked over by the paramedics, and was not injured. With the help of the marshall's, Lochie was then able to get his kart back on the track, and was able to qualify 2nd fastest. Lucky!!
Heat 1, Lochie was starting 2nd on the grid. After yesterday's starting infringement we went to see the racing director to clarify the starting procedure. It was reaffirmed to Lochie that he had to make sure that he didn't cross the start finish line in front of the pole position driver.
Lochie got an average start, and was in third position after the first corner. During lap 2, Lochie was battling with number kart 08 in 4th position. The driver in kart 08, Arias Deukmedjian must of had a brain fade, which resulted in him plowing into Lochie taking both himself and Lochie out of the race. This was disappointing, as Lochie had qualified so well. It would now make it very tough to get a good grid position for the final.
Heat 2, Lochie got a terrible start and was shuffled back to around 6th position after the first corner. He then battled throughout the race, and finished in 3rd position.
As a result of the heats, Lochie had to start the final 15th on the grid. He was given the challenge, that if he could finish on the podium (top 3) we would come back to Florida again for the 3rd round of the Florida Winter Tour.
Lochie finally got a good start, however coming out of turn one, a kart spun in front of him, making contact with Lochie, causing Lochie to spin. Fortunately Lochie was then hit by the kart behind him, which straightened him back up, and allowed him to continue racing. Lochie was carving through the field, in the process, setting the fastest lap time of the race. He drove a great race to finish fourth, earning the respect of a lot of his fellow drivers.
Looking forward to racing next weekend in the Mini Max Class. This will be Lochie's first ever time driving this type of class, as we do not have it in Australia.