Rackstraw races through his rib injury
Andrew Rackstraw has managed to squeeze an immense amount of on-track action into a very short period, since relaxed lockdown regulations resulted in the return of competitive motor racing.
He conquered ex-National Formula Ford champions at Redstar Raceway, laid down blistering laps around Killarney in his RDSA / Carbs and Coffee Formula VW and upset a few applecarts on the kart circuit too.
With so much driving on the cards, it has been difficult for the talented Cape Town youngster to find time to test his CRG Senior MAX kart, but after a sound showing at the last regional competition, Rackstraw was all systems go to challenge at the sharp end of the Rotax Senior MAX National grid this past weekend.
Whilst practice does make perfect, there’s also no replacement for raw talent.
Having set some respectable lap times during official practice, he went on to secure P2 behind eventual National Champion Tate Bishop in qualifying. He out-qualified a number of regular National drivers, which is particularly brilliant in the context of Rackstraw nursing a rib injury from a kerb swipe in practice.
Any karter reading this will already be grimacing at the thought of four intense heats with severe rib pain. Rackstraw is a soldier.
The inside row for turn 1 is always a favourable place to start, but among such talented drivers, success is never guaranteed. Although Rackstraw started on the outside in P2, he knew the sticky National track conditions would give enough grip on the outside for him to have a go at making a move the long way around.
He didn’t take top spot in Turn 1, but he held his nerve around the outside and emerged holding onto his P2 as the drivers jostled for position on the opening lap. Rackstraw proceeded to drive a terrific race as he held off loads of pressure from behind, while keeping leader Bishop in sight. It was almost P2 for him before Charl Visser made a move to snatch the position away from Rackstraw with 3 corners to go.
P3 it would be when the checkered flag waved – a solid start to the National.
Lacking a few tenths, the team made some changes before race 2. Rackstraw would be starting from the third row in P5.
Holding P5 initially, Rackstraw then went about making some decisive moves as he put down consistently fast laps, picking off P4 and then P3. Rackstraw put in a good show to close the gap to the leading karts, while keeping an eye on Storm Lanfear behind him. The top 4 powered around the circuit and Rackstraw went for a gap to try to take P2 towards the end of the race.
He lost out through the 180s section, dropping to P4 before fighting back past Lanfear to take P3.
With just over a tenth covering the top 6’s fastest laps in race 2, Rackstraw would start race 3 from P4. This class really is an incredible demonstration of close-fought motorsport.
With another squeeze on the outside line, Rackstraw emerged from T1 in P3, up one place in after just one corner. In a race where the lap chart looks like your favourite spaghetti, Rackstraw fell all the way from P3 to P6 in the space of one lap. He fought back to P3 before a late lunge from Charl Visser relegated him to P5 where he eventually finished.
The main consolation prize from an entertaining third heat was that Rackstraw had posted the third fastest time. This gave him a second row, inside line start for the last heat of the day.
When the lights went out for the final time, Rackstraw converted a P3 start into P2 through turn 1. Dropping down to P3 as the race unfolded, Rackstraw showed some of his best pace of the weekend as he finished in third with only half a second separating the leading trio at the flag.
An overall of P4 for the day in the National results and P3 in the Regional classification is an effort that Rackstraw can be most proud of, not least of all with a rib injury.
Rackstraw is the consummate professional, focused on the job at hand and ready to extract whatever he can from the opportunities he has. It takes years to craft this level of discipline, supported by careful preparation and a calm head.
It is truly a pleasure to watch this young star at work, ably supported by Team RDSA.