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CKN Driver Diary: Parker Thompson @ Mosport International Karting

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CKN Driver Diary: Parker Thompson @ Mosport International Karting

It was an eventful weekend for Parker Thompson at Mosport (Photo by: Cody Schindel/CKN)

My race week started out when I arrived at Calgary International Airport to catch my flight to Toronto. It was just an average day for me, but I was excited to see for myself what all the hype was about the legendary Mosport International Raceway. The flight was very boring, as WestJet had a glitch with the movies on the plane so I sat there doing nothing for three-and-a-half hours! Everything was smooth sailing after the flight though; all of our luggage arrived and driving to our hotel was a breeze. Then it was straight to bed to prepare for the following day’s practice.

Thursday

Practice had one main theme: prepare the kart and learn a track that was technical, high speed, and had a lot of little tricks here and there in order to go fast. The track was very unique. I can see why people call it a roller coaster. It had a lot of compression, which I have never really experienced before in my karting career. Out of the all the ECKC tracks I have been to this year this was the toughest for me to grasp. The track constantly changed and I was still learning stuff in the Final on Sunday. The practice started out well on Thursday, first session we were only a tenth off. Every session after that we lost more and more time until the last two sessions where we gained all the time back and were in the hunt. This was good, but we still needed to figure things out more in-depth, both the chassis setup and driving.

The track was very unique. I can see why people call it a roller coaster. It had a lot of compression, which I have never really experienced before in my karting career.

Friday

Practice we tried many setups with engine and chassis. We had a hard time figuring out what the chassis liked but eventually we started to grasp it, and then came the engine. All along the way in every session my goal was to go out and learn a trick to the track. This worked out well because my driving was always improving, even in the Sunday Final. We were constantly getting faster but at the end of the day we were still off the leaders on Friday. The good thing that came from Friday was that we were in the hunt. In the end, my mechanic and I reviewed our data and prepared the kart for race day.

Saturday

Race day four started with morning warm-up. In all reality, morning warm-up doesn’t do much justice in telling where the field sits and you can’t build your setup off of it because the track conditions will have changed by qualifying. It is there to serve the purpose of going out and making sure everything is correct and ready for qualifying. Qualifying ended for us in third spot overall. I thought, ‘perfect, it will be nice and easy on the inside row off the start.’ Well, I thought wrong! At Mosport corners one and two were tight, but depending on how the start went each row came out very even going up the hill. This was a recipe for disaster. The Prefinal went well for me as I started third, made it through the carnage and came out in second. Now I was thinking that this starting spot would be easier because it’s away from the fighting for position and up front away from danger. I thought wrong again! I had a good start in the main as I came out pretty even with pole, and going into the first corner I was just minding my own business and everything seemed normal. Then in a blink I got hit from the inside row and was forced into the hairpin off the straightaway. Not where you want to be – dead last, and a straightaway behind the final pack! I had some work ahead of me. My goal was to just pick off as many people as I could, as quickly as I could, to salvage points. When all was said and done, I ended up 8th. I was devastated. Sure it was a good drive back to 8th, but to crash on the front row was a heart breaker. Then on top of that, I went to the pool to relax after a stressful day at the track and I dropped my phone. It bounced twice before sinking to the bottom of the pool! Saturday was just not my day!

Now I was thinking that this starting spot would be easier because it’s away from the fighting for position and up front away from danger. I thought wrong again!

Sunday

I wanted to come out on top in race five. Everyone put hard work into getting me fast and Saturday didn’t deliver justice for what they had done for me. In qualifying we took second. My mechanic and I heavily brainstormed how we could improve. We came out with some excellent ideas for setup and driving. We applied them, and headed out for our Prefinal. On the start I fell back a bit, nothing major, but going up the hill I was in third and was struck from behind. This loosened the rear end and was enough to spin me around and put me in the dead middle of the track. It was a close one having a pack of nearly thirty karts miss me by inches! When I got going I was pretty far behind the back pack. I couldn’t believe it, crashed out on the front row for a second time this week! I charged through the field as quickly as I could but it only got me to 11th, which again was devastating to me. I knew I was fast, as I set fastest lap in the Prefinal. All I had to do was drive through the field. Going out for the main I had the mentality to charge to the front. The start was good; I stayed out of the carnage. Going into turn five though, I went to the inside of everyone in the mid pack. I thought it was a good move until I came out of the corner and was on the outside of a four-wide group for turn six. I dropped back numerous positions by being too greedy. That didn’t affect me too much as I decided to charge even harder. I was making three-wide passes and passing multiple people in corners. It was crunch time to once again salvage points. I charged my way up through the field and managed to pull off a solid fourth-place finish. Not where I would have liked to end up, but in the end it could have been even worse than this tough weekend for me.

 I was making three-wide passes and passing multiple people in corners. It was crunch time to once again salvage points.

One again I must give thanks to my SH Karting Team and to all my sponsors: Tony Kart, Tillett Racing Seats, OMP, RLV, Courtney Concepts, Canadian Karting News and Sylvan Lake RV for all of their support.

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