Deaf Sports Stars18th May 2014
Silence Racing's Caleb McDuff Continues to Progress
Round 3 of the Bambino Kart Tour took place at Shenington in Gloucestershire
Round Three of the Bambino Kart Tour, took our ambitious deaf 6 yrs old, Caleb McDuff, to the Eastern border of Gloucestershire, to Shenington Airfield, the home of a 1018m outdoor kart track. The race weekend was greeted by the first prolonged sunshine of the year, although a strong cooling breeze made sure Caleb and his fellow racers did not get too hot in the glorious sunshine.
Having only been to the track once before for a test session, Saturday was a learning opportunity for Caleb, although for a 6 year old, learning racing lines and maximum speeds on the different parts of the track is far from straight forward. With dad Ian slowly learning tricks to improve the karts performance, Caleb was hoping to close the gap between himself and the fastest drivers in the Bambino class, most of whom were in their second year of racing.
Having made the three hour journey to the track, the GoCompare sponsored driver went through the usual routine of removing his cochlear implants, donning his red balaclava and then putting on his helmet, proudly adorned with a picture of the Welsh Dragon. Still very much a novice, Caleb drove faultlessly, lap after lap, gradually improving his times. Caleb's racing lines are good, but watching on eagerly, dad Ian is looking for Caleb to push the kart to find out what it is capable of on each corner, even if that means spinning off every now and again. Being deaf, and at the ripe old age of 6, it is difficult to communicate those wishes with Caleb, who maintains his no-risk attitude to racing, whilst still averaging more than 40mph around the track.
Ian was introduced to the father of a deaf boy who had competed in the Bambino class last year. Heavily involved in the elite end of motor sport now and knowing everything there is to know about setting up racing cars and karts, the advice given proved invaluable in eking out just that little bit more performance. Unlike cars which slowly lose performance as they get older, the opposite occurs with racing karts, so the more miles Caleb's kart does, the better it will become.
Finishing up after a long practice day, Caleb had given his all, understandably he is exhausted and needs a good night's sleep ready for RACE DAY!
Waking to another clear blue sky, Ian and Caleb are joined by mum Lianne and grandad David. With another long day ahead, Ian is hoping to see Caleb's times slowly get quicker throughout the day, and with Lianne and David able to help keep Caleb occupied in between races, Ian is able to do some fine tuning. Sun lotion applied, and with the Bambinos first on track, Caleb walked to the marshalling area with mum and dad, Caleb looking just that little bit pensive. It takes Ian a few moments to get Caleb into his usual racing mindset with the balaclava not seeming to sit right at first and then his helmet having to be re-adjusted to make him comfortable.
Finally settled, Caleb is ready to Go Racing! Following this first warm up practice session, Caleb then has four timed sessions throughout the day, making Race Day another exhausting one. The set up at Shenington is excellent and with so many different classifications of racing, the paddock areas are littered with small father and son outfits to huge marquees housing what look like professional kart teams.
Being the youngest competitor in the Bambino class and driving a kart that still needs lots of miles on the clock to get it run in, Caleb is not expected to set the fastest lap just yet. Following good racing lines and having superb control over his kart, Caleb started off driving well within himself and the performance of the kart. However, he continued to learn through each session and despite the weekend's exertions, he ultimately set his best time on the last but one lap he drove on the day, a lap time 2 seconds faster than his earlier efforts. With all concerned delighted by his improvement, Caleb has closed the gap between himself and the pace-setters in the Bambino Kart Tour.
Facing a long haul to Round 4 of the Tour, Caleb will be heading for the Larkhall Kart Circuit south of Glasgow on the 21st & 22nd June. Famous for bringing through racers such as David Coulthard, Dario Franchitti and Alan McNish, most petrol heads would love to have the opportunity to drive on the circuit. Planning further testing before that long journey north, Caleb and the whole Silence Racing Team will be hoping to see further progress over that weekend.
To support Caleb and follow his progress, just go to Facebook and like their Facebook page.
Article by Sarah Lawrence
posted in Deaf Sport / Deaf Sports Stars
18th May 2014