Oakenhurst is proud to sponsor Matt Pearce and Dave Burns. They both started their karting season at the beginning of this month and Matt Pearce has written a race report to keep you up-to-date on his progress this season.
The racing weekend kicked off at Clay Pigeon Kart Circuit (located between Dorchester and Yeovil) and was the first opportunity to use the new kart collected in the winter off-season. Starting with practice day (Saturday 6th April), the teams get a chance to set up their karts the way the driver prefers it for the track before qualifying and the main race on Sunday (7th April). Even though the kart was brand new, it quickly became apparent there was an under lying power issue in straight line speed. Getting the kart in peak performance then became the main focus of the practice day meaning Matt wouldn’t get the full opportunity to get comfortable with the new kart and how it handles on the Clay Pigeon Circuit.
The team (Daniel Ricciardo Racing) believed the lack of power to be down to an electrical fault caused by either the coil or the stator (responsible for timing the spark plug). Changing the coil first came to no avail, which was followed by other minor adjustments, and it was at the end of the day that the Stator was changed which meant they had no time left to check if the power issue had been rectified. During the practice day, Matt’s lap time was around 10th fastest.
On Sunday, qualifying kicked off to decide the races starting grid positions. Matt timed his entrance onto the track to get some clear space to put in his fastest lap without getting held up by traffic, but quickly reported back to his team that the engine still had a significant power problem.
Knowing he wouldn’t be placing a fast lap during qualifying, Matt tactically let a known fast driver pass but stayed in his slipstream. The other driver unknowingly pulled Matt in his slipstream, allowing Matt to qualify 2nd (out of 25) even with engine trouble. The team tried changing the carb setting to change the air/fuel ratio the engine was taking, but it didn’t help and the problem persisted in both the heat and pre-final sessions. Matt wasn’t able to hold off the drivers with a greater speed from overtaking on the straights, and finished the heat and pre-final sessions in a respectable 6th.
Before the final race started, the team had one last chance to fix the persistent problem. The team, believing the problem to lie with the carburetor, swapped it for the carburetor Matt used in his old kart last season. The race began.
Matt quickly reported that the kart was performing well and that the change had fixed their power problem. The improvement was apparent when Matt went from 6th to 4th in the first series of bends and then continued to battle for 3rd which he eventually won. By the time he’d taken 3rd the next driver had taken the unchallenged time to push further ahead and was now 3 seconds ahead. Throughout the race Matt closed the gap between on 3rd and in the last few laps challenged for 2nd. Matt took several attempts at passing 2nd but didn’t have enough time to do so before crossing the finish line, taking 3rd and a podium position after a challenging start to the season.
Post-race, Matt said “Even though it was a tough start to round one, I am very pleased to get onto the podium and leave on a high. But more importantly the engine is on fire and the gremlins seem to be gone. I would like to say a huge thank you to my team for their hard work over this weekend and to not give up until the kart was back at the front where it belongs. I would also like to thank my sponsor Oakenhurst Aircraft Services Ltd for their continued support, without them, it would make it a lot harder to go racing”.
The next race weekend will take place on 11th & 12th May at Glan Y Gors in North Wales.
Keep up-to-date with Matt’s progress here or search Daniel Ricciardo Series on Facebook.
Follow DM racing on Instagram to see the team’s progress.