Racing Through April

Good evening. I hope you are all doing well.


It's been a little while since I've blogged, so here's a little review of April thus far:



After going to Essex on the 30th, I remained there for the weekend. As the following week was my final week of Uni, I packed up my monitor and computer and bought it along to Essex.



1st April (April Fools Day) (Friday)


At just after midnight (on the 1st), I announced that I was having a little baby boy, by posting a photo of a baby scan on Facebook.


At the time, I thought it was funny, but I never thought of those who couldn't have children - or dreamt of having children, but couldn't due to medical difficulties. It was deleted very quickly after, but caught out a good few people.


Later that day we went to the pharmacy with a friend - during which time, I got fooled with the same trick - a friend of mine calling me up to tell me they were pregnant - absolutely fooling the shoes off me.


With the Nurburgring 24 Hours quickly approaching - I wanted to squeeze a handful of races in before practicing for the event. These were:


2nd April (My first race in 67 day)


1) Production Car Challenge @ Watkins Glen Participation in the Mustang Class (mine) was so poor I was in top split - against the best of the best - even if I had sourced a setup, I would not have been competitive. The lack of attendance seems a common occurrence, so I will likely not race in this series again


2) GT4 Challenge @ Watkins Glen (Incredible fun/battling)

3) GT3 Challenge @ Daytona - was supposed to do, but simply ran out of time with two parties on Sunday, and attending an evening out (pool) on Saturday evening.


Following this, my virtual self flew to Europe.


4) Creventic Endurance Series (CES) @ Spa (GT4) - Was also supposed to do, but being a 12 Hour race and not having 12 (or 6) hours of availability meant that I couldn't do it.


For more detail on these races, I have done a blog here: https://www.kabortmotorsport.com/post/a-very-informative-weekend-my-long-awaited-return-to-iracing



The 2nd April also marked the 2 Year Anniversary of the first COVID Cup Skippy race (a Lockdown League I did back in 2020)


3rd April, 2022 (The Incredibly Busy Day)

As mentioned, Sunday was hugely busy...and from mid-day the previous day, it was only going to get more and more busy.


The initial plan was to have one in the morning, and one in the afternoon/evening, but eventually, it was decided to have one in the afternoon, and the other in the evening.


At 11:09am, I arrived at my friends house after a 1 and a half hour drive there, I then drove back to Essex and we hammered down the plan for the party.


The first was a confidential party - and one I haven't got permission to blog about, whilst the second was a birthday party for one of the people I see regularly in Essex.


I got him a little motorbike diecast, card and bought some cake for the occasion(s).


At about around 6/7pm I left with my friend, arriving at her's at about 9:30pm.


4th April (04/04/2022)


After an incredibly long and busy day, I decided to sleep in Essex and drive up to University in the morning - whilst a little inconvenient (with waking up early), it was certainly safer than making the 2hrs 30min trek whilst half asleep.


On the morning of the 4th, I woke up at about 6am or so, had breakfast and then headed off to uni just half an hour later.


I've written in my 2021-2022 Academic Calendar that this was my "Last Taught Sesh" - coming into that week, I thought what I had written meant "Last Taught Writing For News Features" lecture...but I'd soon find out that Monday's lecture would be my last before Easter.


On the 1st April (Friday), an announcement was made (to the Uni) that COVID cases were rising and that measures (such as testing and mask wearing) were being re-implemented - in light of this (announcement), on Monday it was announced that my Photo-Journalism lecture that week would be postponed, and instead be replaced with personal tutorials.


It did strike me as strange how neither Public Affairs nor Multimedia News Journalism suffered the same fate, but Uni does what uni does.


Monday's lecture was about writing features and how to best write them.


I'd finish the day with a Maccies.


One year ago, on this day, I got a podium with Lorenzo using a very peculiar strategy - this race report can be found here:


https://www.kabortmotorsport.com/post/1-year-since-an-insane-race-at-daytona


5/04/2022


With no "official" lecture to attend, I decided to use the day productively.


To start off, I went to ASDA to fuel up my car, but after looking at the queue for half a second, I decided to instead park up at ASDA and get my weekly food (since I was there, it made little sense to drive home)


After grabbing the food (a Pizza, Kiev and bottle of milk), I headed home (to put the food and milk in the fridge) before heading out again to try to get fuel elsewhere.


I eventually found a Texaco, where there were 3/4 pumps taken. A moment later, I look in my mirror and there's a good 5 - 10 cars queued up behind me...that escalated quickly.


Another car left, (the forecourt) leaving a gap to nip into a pump in front of one that was taken.


After he returned (from paying) I pulled forward almost entirely blocking the pump/s to my left. After fully fuelling I shuffled back....


Unfortunately an estate (car) had come along so where he saw me very far forward, in turn he was rather far forward, so I could only moved back slightly...


Eventually we sorted it and I paid, but Texaco wasn't built for that much traffic! Apparently it had been that way for the past 3 days!


After fuel, I remembered that I wanted to go into town for two things:


1) Paying back Starbucks for food I got (forgot my wallet, only realised whilst food was in oven, they refused me paying them back 2) Haircut - though I realised I wasn't a Highland Sheep, so saved money and didn't have one done.


in the end, I just had a nice walk up to town and back, on the way seeing a few nice cars including a classic Beemer and old Ford Cortina (below)


(Special thanks to the owner for taking the picture!!)


Walk done, I tried/continued on some rather "insane" documents - including listing every iRacing series (over 3,700 of them since 2008!)


The day was also spent planning Thursday's road-trip.


That evening, I went into my Public Affairs lecture on the upcoming group assignment, what needed to be in it and how to get the most marks.


Following this I had Pizza and headed to bed. (Writing this at 23:57 - need sleep!)


06/04/2022


Wednesday was my third and final day without my computer (working on laptop).

After mis-managing time a bit, I was a little bit late/on the back foot.


Upon entering the court-yard, I noticed the Uni set something up, but I didn't quite know what.


With just three people in (on-campus) that day, my lecturer called it a catch-up session.


I'll admit, it wasn't my finest day. I was working on a reflective log on an Assignment that was due in the previous month (March) and I missed a GOLDEN opportunity to get some content (of the thing that the Uni had set up - which I was informed was an international market).


I guess I was at a loss and didn't know where to start or what to ask - there were plenty of people behind individual tents from all corners of the globe. Regrettably, I went back to my accomodation - my attitude on that day was "if I'm not going to be productive here, there's no point in me being on-campus, and I may as well be productive elsewhere" - it was the hardest thing to do, but I just needed to walk away from the situation.


After going back, I began to pack my room and by nightfall had 3/4 of the things packed up - this wasn't just for Easter - but with one week (and three days of lectures) remaining, I only really needed the essentials when I came back - and it'd make that (packing) job much easier too!


That evening I had two Kievs and pasta - finishing the day by packing up the car for the big day tomorrow.


7/04/2022

The 7th was a very, very, very long day.

As it was a such a long day, I will begin with a little anniversary.

On the 7th April, 2021, I got a podium at Lime Rock Park in the GT3 Challenge - it was my 6th of 2021 and is my second most recent to date (most recent being in December @ Red Bull Ring). I could have just woken up at 5am, collected my rig and driven straight to the Island (total distance: 5 hours) - it'd mean more practice for Nurburgring and pretty much no stress or panic about ferries...what fun.



THE LIVING HILLS CHALLENGE


In life, I've had many goals, ambitions, dreams and wishes - most of these have been crushed by the cruel reality that life is, but some remain. Some of my current life-ambitions are:


1) To settle down and start a family (LONG TERM GOAL)

2) To touch the M25/other motorway (not many people have said they've done that!)


3) To have an article (I've written) published in Autosport (LONG TERM GOAL)

4) To do a non-stop lap of the M25 (I don't know what my obsession with the M25 is)

5) get better at iRacing or have an upgrade (PC, Monitor and/or VR)

6) To do something in life that I'm proud of, and can look back on and both tell myself and those who care "I did that".


This is where the "The Living Hills" Challenge came originated from - wanting to do something significant, something I can be proud of...


I'm only a 21 year old "kid" with limited funds and limited athletic ability, so with this in mind, the list of things I can do is significantly reduced.


The fact I also cannot stand snow/ice (the feeling of walking on it) rules out climbing 3/4 of the world's mountains.


But it doesn't rule out all of them.


I never - and still can never - see myself scaling the likes of Ben Nevis or The Scafel Pike - I can't do it alone, and I've got no "mountaineering-interested" friends.


So I did the next best thing. I found the highest points in each of the counties that I have a connection to/have lived in and created a route between Uni and home, crossing off these hill-tops.


I checked they were all doable on Google, and they were - so it was set, I was to "climb" up to the highest points of:

The West Midlands (Uni),

Essex (very close friends I practically live with),

Surrey (birth-place, and lived in until late 2021)

and The Isle Of Wight (current home)


I'd also like to say that my friend (called Will) inspired me on his trips from John O' Groats to Lands End (or vice versa) and I wanted to do my own little car challenge.


The Challenge Itself

I set myself 12 hours to get through all four peaks - this distance also being the exact tank-size of a Kia Venga - so it was very much time VS petrol VS Distance.


"Officially" the challenge started at 04:02am, I took a picture outside of my window - pitch black.


I did the same for 05:00am and 06:00am.


Only at 06:00am did it begin to get light.


At about 06:00am or so, I packed the last of my bags/boxes into the car (overnight stuff) and had a quick breakfast.


I ideally wanted to leave either before or during sunrise at 06:30 (I thought it was 06:40) - if I DID leave at sun-rise, it's likely the outcome of the challenge would be VASTLY different - but we'll come to that.


I only left at 07:14am. Even then, I was advised to top-up my tyre pressures (by my friend) - not wanting a blow-out, I did so - filling the tyres at 07:21am.


by 08:10am, I arrived at the peak of my first hill - Turner's Hill in the West Midlands.

In 12 hours time it would have been past 8pm - I had to make some ground up, but the ETA was still looking positive (before my Ferry left at 6pm)


For elevation, I used three different sources (I don't know why, I just did) - my phone's compass (c), an elevation app (e) and Google (G)/Wikipedia (W)


(No. means Number Out Of) - there are 48 counties (according to Wikipedia), No. is where the hill lies.


West Midlands: Turners Hill

Lived: Sept 2020 - Present

No. : 26th C: 270m

E: 267m

G: 271m | W: 269m



Next up was Chrishall Common in Essex.


Along the way, I'll admit, I stopped for some photos.

Now. I didn't actually get to the peak as it was gated off.

No, there was nothing stopping me from leaning over and opening the gate - but as I said to myself at the time "its not my gate to open" - it's not my land, not my business.


Public Footways have specific types of gates which are for keeping livestock out/in - with farmland right next to the gate, I knew (for sure) that someone owned that land - and I wasn't about to just barge on in.


5 Minutes away, there looked to be a way to the highest point (a field sandwiched by two other fields on either side) but I took into consideration the walking involved and decided against it. Landowners: 1 | Weird Dyspraxic Kid: 0

The closest I got to Essex's peak - not the most "public" of locations
5 Minute drive...followed by an hour walk?!?

On top of getting lost in Chrishall (map froze - ended up 8 minutes away in Clavering) - I wasn't about to drive 5 minutes and go for a hike over some fields.


Next up: Rig Collection...


Rig collected, I was shortly back on the road - and next up, it was Surrey's turn.


The traffic up to that point had been absolutely pitiful - never-ending roadworks, 60mph here, 40mph limit there - only an accident could have made this journey worse.


It wasn't until Surrey however, was it that I realised how much of a spot of bother I was about to be in.


Unlike those before it, Leith Hill (Surrey) isn't so much a "peak", but more of a "high-area" - consisting of very nice views and a castle.


I hauled myself up the steps to top Leith Hill, took a breather, enjoyed the views, texted, took some pictures - and only when someone wanted to call me, came down.


I'm going to reveal it now, the challenge failed*. I missed the ferry by approximately 6 or so minutes.


I put the Asterix because TECHNICALLY I did all the "Living Peaks" on the mainland before 6pm (okay, I got as close as I could - and I did these with hours to spare).


Had it not been for traffic and requiring a fuel stop (my fuel needle isn't the most accurate - and I wasn't going to risk getting down to the last 10 miles with a dodgy fuel needle).

Surrey: Leith Hill

Lived: Jan 2001 - Dec. 2021

No. : 20th (Top half) C: 290m

E: 289m

G: 294m | W: 295m


At 5:54pm, whilst waiting at some temporary traffic lights in Lyndhurst, I knew the game was up - the ETA was 6:10pm and there was no way in space or time that I was going to make 5 minutes in 9 miles - unless all the cars vanished and the boat-ramp jammed...

This was the most heart-wrenching sight...no cars, no boat. I was stuck until 8pm.

I'd like to thank my friend who suggest me getting McDonalds - it was half-an-hour away which killed the best part of an hour - an hour I had spare because of my own tomfoolery.


I did eventually get on the 8pm boat and finished my cookie and drink there.


It was a rather quick journey home and pretty much straight to bed from there.


It's 02:44am as I write this, so Friday's blog will come tomorrow (or sometime). See you then.


Thanks for reading.









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