Tuesday, 10th September 2019
One of my favourite aspects of my role at Buckmore Park is being a “Kart Instructor”. A title that is only granted after extensive training. After qualifying I have been fortunate enough to lead the Bambino training aimed at six and seven-year-olds and finally the Intro and Advanced Kart Training for eight to fifteen-year-olds. In Bambino training, drivers progress through three lessons and once they pass all three lessons, they are eligible to compete in our Bambino Club. Intro and Advanced Kart Training are the first steps towards our Junior Club Championship. Drivers have to pass set criteria before they can advance further. Seeing new drivers take these first steps towards competitive Motorsport and being able to contribute to their development is very rewarding.
I will always remember the first words of advice I was given when I started instructing: "It's not about how quick you are around the track. It's about knowing what the line is, where the braking points are and picking up on where a driver can improve." That's the key. You could be the quickest driver in the world but if you can't explain the lines you take or identify where a driver isn't quite hitting the mark, you would not be able to help a driver improve. I find the most efficient way to do this is through track walks and showing drivers specifically which parts of the track that they need to aim for with reference points to help drivers remember the correct driving lines. If I can show a driver why they are losing time it’s a massive added bonus as it helps them to understand where they can improve.
One of the best feelings is seeing how much a driver has improved. It may be a driver who has never been in a kart before who ends up knocking eight seconds off their initial time or it could be the driver who is looking for that tenth of a second and finally gets it. It's very satisfying to see a driver taking a line you've taught them and improve on their overall lap time. On the other hand, there's a delicate matter of what to do if a driver does not pass the lessons. How do you approach it? In nearly all cases, these drivers have never been in a kart before that session, so I reinforce how far they've come in just one session, and it's normally a huge improvement.
Instructing is a very rewarding feeling. It's a feeling that I'm helping a driver achieve their goal of beginning a journey in racing. It's my lines that they're taking. It's my advice that they've taken on board. That fills you with a sense of pride that I feel when I see how much they're improving out on the track. It reminds me why instructing is one of my favourite jobs to partake at Buckmore Park.