Andrew Rackstraw may have matric exams to study for, but that certainly didn’t stop him from arriving at this past weekend’s Investchem Formula 1600 Championship Round 3 with ambitions to be top of his class – in racing, that is!
As the old joke goes, education is important, but racing is importanter…ahem.
Matric IS important though, so Rackstraw only managed a single practice session on Friday afternoon before returning to his books in the Southern Suburbs. Anyone who has ever tried to follow Rackstraw around Killarney’s karting circuit will know just how good he is, but any doubts from anyone else were quickly dispelled on Friday as he shot to the top of the time sheets.
As Rackstraw returned home to algebra and English literature lines, his competitors would have spent the evening with telemetry graphs and racing lines.
It paid off for Scott Temple, current championship leader, who pipped Rackstraw for pole on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, it was discovered after the session by Rackstraw’s team that the 1.6l Ford Duratec engine was not running at optimum temperature. That’s how racing goes at times.
Driver coach, Claudio Piazza-Musso of RDSA, prepared Rackstraw thoroughly for Race 1. Having the pace to win is one thing, but starting second on the grid and needing to drive around Temple is something different. Despite claiming the fastest lap time of 1.15.579, Rackstraw just couldn’t make a move on Temple stick and he finished second overall. The closing stages of the race gave the Cape Town faithful a true racing spectacle of close-combat racing in these oversized karts.
Refusing to play second fiddle twice in one day, Rackstraw used turn 1 of Race 2 to show Temple what the back of his F1600 looks like. With a smooth and beautiful display of driving, Rackstraw took the checkered flag and another fastest lap.
Unfortunately, the happy ending quickly turned into a Shakespearean tragedy. A 30 second penalty for a jumpstart dropped Rackstraw all the way down to P9. To have your win ripped away from you in this fashion feels like arriving to write your Algebra paper, except today is actually Chemistry. To make it even harder, this is the second time this season that Rackstraw has been given a jumpstart penalty.
“I was happy with how today went, but I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself as we have the pace to be leading the Championship. I have made some mistakes this season and as a consequence I have missed out on two race wins. This is after all a learning formula and I need to use every opportunity to keep learning and growing. A massive thanks to Ian Schofield for letting me be part of the Investchem team and to my engineer Hendrik for always giving me the perfect car for every race this year, ” said Rackstraw through gritted teeth as he considered his P5 overall for the day.
The good news is that avoiding jumpstarts is a lot easier than finding pace, so Rackstraw has shown once more that he is absolutely capable of being an F1600 champion in the near future. With his mature approach to developing as a racing driver, he has everything he needs to get to the top.
In the meantime though, he needs to get through his Matric exams in one piece.
Stay tuned to all of Andrew Rackstraw’s social channels to follow his 2019 campaign.