During RHPK Round 5 there were two key events that have caused some discussion in the paddock. RHPK will address these concerns separately. We will be transparent as possible with the view of learning from any calls/mistake(s) that were made and to put measures in place to ensure no repeat occurrences.
Race Start – Warm-up Laps, Incident with No #6 Helicopter Services
During the first lap, on the back straight Helicopter spun from their second-place grid slot resulting in the whole field driving past. Helicopter Services waited until the field came back around and rejoined the pack in their original front row position to take the start of the race.
This means they contravened RR19.
(Note) The two extracts above are from different sections of the regulations, it would be prudent to incorporate the information stated in “Penalties” to be incorporated into RR19.
The decision from Clerk of the course, Luke Ladley-Ellmers was not to issue a penalty due to the following reasons…
– Given the position was on the front row and felt safe that Helicopter was able to join safely, at the expense of tyre temperature – which was reflected in the first 10 minutes of the race as No.6 dropped down to 5th place.
– Excessive weaving by both front runners caused No.6 Helicopter to have to take violent action to avoid No.1 Custom Rods, which resulted in the spin. So realistically, both front runners, and probably half the field, transgressed another section of RR19. This penalty references “Inappropriate driving during formation laps” and this was subsequently backed up by the Rye House back straight camera.
Clerk of the Course Comments (Luke)
I would add that, aside from it being more straightforward to allow Helicopter to wait for the rest of the grid to catch up, the main reason it was left at the time was it looked like he had been pushed off (probably unintentionally) as opposed to just spinning on his own. Having watched it back afterward, that obviously isn’t the case (I think it was a combination of both Helicopter and Custom Rods weaving that has caused the spin) but working on the assumption that Helicopter had been (again, probably unintentionally) pushed off, it would have been unfair on them to force them to start from the back.
That isn’t addressed in the R&R’s (in hindsight, poor wording on our part maybe). As it is worded at the minute, it suggests that any driver that spins should start from the back regardless of the reason. That doesn’t make sense as it potentially makes it beneficial for a team to ‘encourage’ the driver in front/to the side/immediate championship competition to have a spin (assuming they can do so without getting caught).
Lessons Learnt / Actions taken
– Karts should have been stopped on the track and drivers which had been excessively weaving should have been warned. *Clerk of the course is typically backed up by scrutineer who would normally be in position on the track. This was not the case on the 4th of July.
– RR19 to be updated to include that the formation laps are for the sole purpose to ensure everyone is in the correct position. Therefore a change to the rule to make this clearer:- ‘spinning on the formation laps’ with a requirement for everyone on the grid to have completed the same number of laps. This only applies if it is their own fault that they could not complete the required number of laps.
– Spinning on the Formation Lap Penalties need to be adjusted. Clearer wording. TBC. “Penalties” to be incorporated into RR19.
– There will be no retrospective penalties issued.
Post-race it was bought to the attention of the RHPK team that a competing team had dumped suspect tyres in the track bins.
The RHPK Rye House team takes cheating very seriously, if anyone is caught cheating they will be issued a lifetime ban, not only from RHPK but the Karting track. A number of discussions have since developed on the RHPK Facebook Group.
The RHPK team will be looking into a long term solution for this situation and will keep you updated. As a interim solution, we are also looking into supplying the top three in Super (From the previous race) Race tyres to use, they will be supplied in the morning to teams. Please note, this is still in discussion, we hope to get a final plan together W/C 13th.