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CKN Driver Diary: Fred Woodley @ ECKC Mosport

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CKN Driver Diary: Fred Woodley @ ECKC Mosport

Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Round #1
Mosport International Karting:
May 30 – June 2, 2013

The Canadian Tire Motorsports Park karting facility is a great overall racetrack that forces drivers to be sufficient across all aspects of driving; braking, adaptation, overdriving, etc. The track is unlike other tracks in Canada and the USA because of its strategic use of the elevation. The layout for T1 (Turn 1) and T2 (Turn 2) are corners that are almost exclusive to this facility. My only complaint about the racetrack was that the bumps that were not there last year had risen and appeared through the winter. As many know, the facility lies in a valley that is on top of a hill. This played into some absolutely unpredictable weather. I am usually quick in the wet weather so I was okay with whatever the weather was wanting do. The facility was nice for the Prime Powersports Team as we were pitted directly across from the start/finish line. From here, we had a couple of tents that served as our hospitality area where we had live timing on a monitor suspended from the tent. This pit spot was most valuable when racing on Saturday and Sunday came, as we were able to have a great vantage point of the track and the start of the race.

Track atmosphere
The atmosphere at the racetrack and under our Prime tent was exactly what I needed as a driver to feel comfortable and be able to drive my best. I, along with many other drivers, do not like stressful situations where the kart is pushed up to grid frantically and the driver is simply expected to get in and not overdrive. Usually the paddock was not in a tense mood and everything was relaxed. This resulted in minimal distractions when going to grid and I could focus on what needed to be done. The atmosphere under our tent was also very low stress. My mechanic for the weekend-Brendan Wales- had his stereo system in our workspace; with which he educated us on rap lyrics and gangster terms. Without further explanation, this created a very low stress environment.

Test days
Thursday and Friday were the test days that Prime/Maranello chose for this weekend. Thursday started off strong and I felt smooth and consistent in the kart. The only problem was that session to session there were not many drivers that I could compare my pace to. On Thursday night we decided to try some different kart setups which we would implement on Friday. The first two sessions on Friday were the sessions that we decided to implement these changes. Between the two sessions, I did almost the same lap time and we ended up going back to the original setup that we had before the change. The last two sessions were timed sessions that proved to be quite good for us as a team and myself. Session 1 went smoothly as I was allotted with P4 on the time charts but I was still complaining about some slight oversteer issues which we fixed in the last session. The last session was one of teamwork; my teammate Brendan Bain and I decided to drive together and ended up doing almost identical flying laps on the same lap. Overall, the only problem with the test days was the fact that I burned my tongue on a sausage at lunch but if that is my biggest concern, I think I had a pretty good couple of days.

Bad Qualification efforts
My quali efforts were not as I had hoped going into them. I came into the pits prematurely on Saturday and ended up missing the time when the track was at its best. On Sunday, my quali session was ended early because of a black flag which ended up being a mistake by the stewards. I ended up qualifying P6 and P7 for the two days which I was not very happy with.

Great Racing
After bad qualifying efforts, I was able to overcome this with some good overtaking. I was able to make my way up to third in Saturday’s prefinal, and second in the final. I had to start last in the final on Sunday, and after three laps found myself in 4th position. I ended up finishing in P2 and P5 for the two days of racing which I was happy with in comparison to last year’s results.

Podium, a sweet feeling
As this was my first podium ceremony, it was a completely new situation. I tried to take in the atmosphere and what was going on but I was most concerned about my new helmet. I had heard from many others that helmets usually get hit and scratched by people or trophies when in this ceremony. Because of this, I may have seemed like an “overprotective mother bear” and my new Polen Design helmet was my cub. Anyway, getting on the podium was a great feeling and being beside two of the best drivers in Canada was even more special.

In the end, it was a great weekend. I had a taste of the podium and was able to start this season out relatively strong. Collectively, our team was able to set Maranello apart in a few of the classes and hopefully we will be able to continue the success that we experienced in the last couple of days. I really would like to thank Trevor Wickens for his wise direction and guidance, Brendan Wales for his awesome mechanical skills, my Prime teammates for relaying and sharing information, and of course my family for all of the support that they give me.

Until Next time,
Fred Woodley

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