2020. What. On. Earth? It's the day after the summer solstice (the longest day of the year) and it's safe to say that this year has been absolutely INSANE, Both on track and off-track.
The year didn't start well with an incredibly disgusting (lousy and inappropriate driving) performance by myself at the hosted practice race for the Daytona 24 Hours. The race went just as badly as only one of the three cars entered actually finished the race. The car I was supposed to be driving messed up the registration process, putting a driver in the wrong car (due to a bizarre naming convention of the cars) and hence not having the required drivers to complete the stints whilst the other retirement had an engine explosion during the race.
The 12 hours of Bathurst was up next, and aside from booting Jongpil Jung into the car at the very last minute, myself, Jonathan Kerns, Jongpil Jung and William Burfield (Sir Smokey) had an absolute blast - and had a great result at the 11 hours and 35 minutes of Bathurst...but those last 25 minutes would prove too much.
after colliding with a car at the foot of the mountain, I wanted to apologise - and in pressing F5, I'd put a wheel or two onto the grass, I'd try to save it, but crash. Hard. So close to the end, and with P5 in sight - and almost certain, this was beyond painful. and taught me a valuable lesson...never, ever take your eyes off the road - let alone find a key on a keyboard - especially when the road isn't even flat and straight.
Meanwhile, in the real world, things were getting rather difficult as well - massive floods in Jakarta, devastating fires in Australia, a serious threat of a political war, and the incredibly heartbreaking death of Paulo Gonclaves at the the Dakar Rally...but this was only the start of things.
Week 13 was up next, and in a "joke" that ended up ageing incredibly badly. I always like taking my racing realistically - hence only doing one race per week, (bar week 13), and with a small virus at the time infecting two dozen people or so in Spain, I decided to not race at the Catalunya round of the Week 13 Porsche iRacing Cup.
By the start of the Sebring 12 Hours my iRating was beyond abhorrent - even beyond diabolical - at just 620, it was barely existent - and I wanted to explain how it got so bad - so I did. Following this, we had a joke of a race that was the Suzuka iRacing Endurance Series race at Suzuka on the 18th April Solo Activities April rolled around and the COVID situation got so bad that the UK like many other countries went into lockdown - and attending a couple of hosted Skippy races with commentator Joe Bradley, he - with others - decided to turn it into a league - the first race of the season on April Fools Day started with a minimalist 8 car grid. 12 races later (that happened on Tuesday and Thursday every week) and after getting far behind on the blogs (having very little time to upload them) the "MOFO COVID Cup" got incredibly popular - and by the first race of the next (and current) season the first race attracted a grid of 31 racers.
The Rise Of Kabort
Following on from the tough NES/VLN race where myself and Berkley retired,
The team were on cloud 9 - Affinity WEBVANS consisting of Daniel Evans and Daniel Weber scored Kabort's first ever podium at Monza.
Only the very next weekend, it'd be the Team Principal's turn to achieve his first podium since racing Mazdas in his inaugural racing season.
The prestigious Nurburgring 24 Hours was up next and after a solid performance throughout the 24 hours, the Mercedes AMG GT GT3 managed to finish an absolutely stonking 8th place.
These heroes have to be named for such a significant acheivement - so a massive thank you to: Dante Reynoso
James A. Peace
Unfortunately however, Round 5/6 of Season 2, 2020 of the ELMS Series (back in May) didn't go so well - a only one of the three cars that entered would finish - Andy Jones would attempt to race with Berkley Cox, however, Berkley wouldn't show up and unfortunately, Andy would pull out due to this.
the other entrants were: "The Frying Dutchmen", who also DNF'd and finally the HPD Powerduo of Justinas And Rob who finished an impressive 4th place.
In the run up to the Le Mans 24 Hours - Kabort would hire a plethora of drivers - some would stay, some would go.
In total, a whopping 23 drivers would be hired in this period, ramping Kabort's Total Driver Count up to 49 as of 21st June 2020 (as some would leave)
Real Life Stuggles
I don't think I could finish this blog without including the craziness that has occurred in 2020. Onward from what I mentioned earlier in this blog, Kobe Bryant was tragically killed in a helicopter accident, the virus infections and deaths spiralled out of control (beyond anyone's expectations), causing countless countries to"lockdown" - meaning closing borders and restricting citzens and officals to their homes, putting them in "quarantine" and stopping the virus from spreading using isolation and ensuring those who do go out "social-distance" by staying 2 meters away from one another. When the UK went into lockdown, my father was taken ill (not Coronavirus/COVID 19) - with no idea what my future held (having to re-take a year or going to uni) this was an incredibly difficult time for me - especially with the blogs slowly building up in the background.
This all bought a lot of attention to the "virtual" side of life with Zoom being used for video calls, and Motorsport shifting to virtual counterparts - which gave iRacing a mass amount of attention it probably would have never have otherwise.
Unfortunately, as with all hobbies/careers - there are going to be people who "test the patience" of those taking it seriously. Both were dealt with consequently. Moving on to May/June - George Floyd's murder caused mass protests and riots - however I'm not going to delve deep into my opinions or what happened, because it's highly political, and in every aspect of this, people will have split opinions and the point of this blog/my blogs is not to spark political debate, just to state the facts. Most recently - during the first round of the Season 3, 2020 Endurance Le Mans Series race - KABORT's name was bought up - before this race, I never thought about changing or editing KABORT's name - I have posters, stickers, a trio of shirts and countless online images, social media accounts and websites with Kabort's name on it - but what Will said during the 6 hour race hit me like a ton of bricks - What does KABORT actually mean? The name comes from Tim Kasigkeit, Nicholas Boccanfuso and my initals, RT - Boccanfuso left due to the team being in a sorry state, and Tim was "let go" due to not being active for several months - both gone months and months ago - so why am I still "dragging" their name along when they have no connection at all to the team?
With Kabort's reputation tarnished within the community due to some less than adequate driving standards and management skills, it was high-time for a change - but a name is the first thing a driver sees when entering a team - it's not going to be an easy decision to make - and whatever happens, I can't make every single person involved happy. I must also shout William Burfield/Sir Smokey out for changing my life - he has done so much for me for nothing in return - and I honestly can't thank him enough. from a Computer reset, to several pieces of hardware (inc. camera, keyboards, headsets and more) to always being there for me day and night from chats to the bizzare-est of questions to even being a driver at half-a-dozen or so events in terms of sim-racing, he has probably been the most helpful and bought me the most far.
And I think myself and Will truly do have many great days ahead of us
Andrew Jones also needs a small shout-out for help manage the team - because without him (and Will) I would be drowning - mentally and in terms of management - without Andy Kabort could've seen their last days.
Closing Thoughts I can confidently and happily say that, just like the lockdown, myself and my father are both doing much better - my mental health is much brighter than it was - (the "blog bombardment" blog just scraped the surface of what I was dealing with) and my mother is doing well too. With only the Le Mans 24hrs blog, Lime Rock RBDR Cup blog and "The History Of Motorsport Part 2" blog all I must do, me recieving a letter from the university I dreamt of going to as well as me celebrating a 3-Week anniversary of dating a significant other - I am happy to say that life is going well, and I am excited for the bright future ahead of me. Thank you for reading and I will catch you in the next blog.