Results From the 3rd Annual French American School Karting Grand Prix

On February 12th, we rev'ed up our electric motors at R1 Indoor Karting, the new karting facility in Lincoln, RI, for our 3rd annual French American School Karting Grand Prix. This new facility is preferable in a few ways over our prior destination. This is much closer to us, generating a better turnout, they were quite a bit easier to work with to set up the event, and they have a dedicated, full-time junior track so for the first year this wasn't a parents-only event! We had a few veterans but lots of new faces and lots of kids!

Our adult racers included: Joe ("Watch Me Win, Win! Watch Me Nae Nae!") Acceturo, Guillaume ("Schumacher") Lepine, Jean-Baptiste ("Alesi") Bergugnat, Sam ("Faster than Light") Ang, John ("Jack") Hewitt, Denis ("François Cevert") Lepine, Ralph ("Nicolas Minassian") Rafaelian, Tim ("Ian Duncan") Mammen, Evelyn ("Danica") Fischer, Tom ("Thomas Schie") Olsen, Stephanie ("Simona di Silvestro") Hartselle, and myself. 

Our juniors included: Sophia, Joshua, Ethan, Rhys, Walker, Marshall, Georgia, Mia, Sam, Alienor, Jonathan, Raj, Raffi, Ian and probably a couple more!

After the safety briefing, we started off with a warmup race...that saw a few crashes and plenty of aggressive driving - exactly what they told us not to do in the safety briefing. Having been threatened by the staff at R1 to have my speed lowered (they can do that with electric karts!) for bumping on prior visits to R1, I of course stayed out of it. And if you believe that, I have a bridge that you'd really like! The kids seemed to be enjoying their races too. We had enough for two full groups who did three races each.

The adult qualifier race was where it got very physical. Everyone clearly wanted pole position. I wanted it so badly I went for a pass on the inside just before the pit straight. "I got it! I got it! I don't got it!" I began to run out of room really fast with a wall to my left and a kart to my right. By the time I finally decided that discretion was the better part of valor and to brake, it was way too late. As luck would have it, I went pretty much straight on through the protective barrier and into a pole! When you go from ~25mph to zero in about 3 feet, the G forces are a bit intense. Say what you will about kart racing, but I had a seatbelt bruise from my neck down to my waist that proves that it's not a joke.

The final race was controversial as well. Starting from second position, Joe ("Watch Me Win, Win! Watch Me Nae Nae!") Acceturo made some magic happen in the hairpin and drove the outside lane to the lead. He looked like he would just run away with this one. But his kart apparently glitched (yes, the downside of electric karts) and he suddenly fell back in the pack. The pack was pretty vicious too. The eventual winner, Guillaume ("Schumacher") Lepine, put in a fast lap of 33.181 and the 6th place driver, Denis ("François Cevert") Lepine, was only four tenths of a second behind with a 33.585. Having 6 racers within 4 tenths is some close racing! Our second place winner was Jean-Baptiste ("Alesi") Bergugnat, and the third spot was claimed by John ("Jack") Hewitt.

Among our juniors: Ian took home the gold, Raffi took silver, and my little Georgia pulled an impressive bronze! The gasoline I've been putting into her Cheerios seems to be working!

Thanks to all of our racers for making this year's ACF-sponsored 2017 French American School Karting Grand Prix such a fun event. And thanks to R1 Indoor Karting for putting such a great facility in our back yard!!

For anyone who wants to bring the kids to race, Marshall, Georgia, and I go after school on most Tuesdays. Gotta train for 2018!