Updated: Nov 8, 2020
My eyes slowly flicker open, bright sunlight attempts to burst enthusiastically through my curtains. I uselessly wave my arm in front of me, patting around for my alarm clock. I eventually find it and squint as I read the time - 11.58am, 16th August, 2019.
Late last night I had returned from a lovely adventure week in North Wales with a long-term friend of mine - cave-trampolining, riding the fastest zip-wire in the world (longest in Europe) and zooming through the trees on an exhilarating alpine coaster were some of the things that we did. Not to forget to mention finding a beautiful hidden waterfall called Swallow Falls! With my newly acquired drivers licence (passed in May) and no college, the world was literally my oyster...
Despite having a few teething issues, my new team (Kabort Motorsport) was still getting a couple of good results - a rare top 10 at Barber Motorsports Park was probably our last decent finish of the season.
Another week of sitting around playing racing games until 3am passed these unoticed. Now and then I would go out and do something, but this was once a fortnight or rarer.
August 22nd arrived. Results day. I was nervous, I tried very hard - being my 2nd attempt (I also failed in Secondary School) I was really desperate for a good result.
Eventually I braved looking. A "3". The equivalent of a "D". I needed 4 or a C or above...
This meant I had to take GCSE Maths for another year. Last year's teacher was very good, I couldn't fault her...I could only blame myself. iRacing and the new team must've taken a toll, or I was too lazy/unmotivated to revise.
The previous time I had attempted my Maths GCSE, I had not yet begun iRacing, and I had put in the minimal revision, only revising when I was physically forced to - so by doing SOME revision in the run up to the 2019 Summer Exams, I'd already made an improvement on the first time I tried.
This result was especially painful, as my dad said that I could have a PlaySeat Challenge (PC Racing Seat) if I passed my maths, which is incredibly unfortunate as I was quite desperate for one...but you live and learn, and everything happens for a reason - and I'm just waiting to find out why...
I'm not one to look in the past, so, all I can do from here is put my head down and work harder than I've worked before - work harder, do more practice papers and study harder and in more varied ways (maybe I'll find a way that works for me?)
My last maths teacher told me that I was 5 marks off passing...which is actually incredibly inspiring - it means that I have it in me, and it's not hopeless, and with a little bit of revision on the harder subjects, I should pass, which, if I do, it'll feel even greater than before as it took even longer and more effort to achieve this, but we'll see what happens.
With the start of the new season, and some new drivers hired, Kabort Motorsport slowly began to gain some traction along with converting my personal wix website to a more Kabort related site by adding driver, blog, car info and even a shop page. Joseph Griffin was one of these new names to join Kabort Motorsport. At first, I just regarded him as another driver, but he'd soon prove to be so much more!
Before we resume with the good news, there are a couple of massive names we must remember, all for different reasons.
Florian Hundertmark, Sven Olaf Jansen, Oliver Mandrish, Declan Eady and Greg Claud all left Kabort Motorsport within the period of August to October 2019. Below I have written a few words for each driver.
The first is Florian Hundertmark - The Spa Star who left a large hole in our team and hearts. Florian Hundertmark (GER)
Florian Hundertmark was a huge part of the team. Despite not doing too many races (2 normal, 1 special), he was always active, always messaging, always had great humour and always helping out.
As the 6th oldest driver (since the team began) Florian has seen the team develop from a very young age.
I think the most impressive thing is the fact that despite his absolutely appalling luck (both at Donington and at Spa) he stayed with the team, and continued being positive.
Early in the season, Florian was able to bring the car home in a very respectable 10th place at the Circuit Gilles Villnerve, one of my most favourite race memories still to this day!
At Donington, me and Maxim Badidi managed to disqualify the car, before Florian got to drive - meaning that he woke up early for no reason.
Florian was our "big man" at Spa - starting the race, and although internet connection problems marred his stint - and dropped us down to 31st with a long repair period, after a little shouting, he was incredibly positive and enthusiastic, he looked forwards instead of behind, and his second stint in the chaotic morning of mass confusion (CMOMC) he kept his cool, even when I was f**king everyone around with my hardware and software problems and (calmly?) got into the car after Kelson.
He was a massive part of the team, was very enthusiastic and will be deeply missed by the team.
Here's what he said to me on his final morning (with typos corrected)
"Hey there. I was really busy over the last days. Due to a number of reasons, I won't participate in any races for the team in the next weeks. To be honest, one of those reasons is that I am currently building up an own, German team, with guys I know in person. Other reasons are private circumstances as well as time due to high workload at work.
I'm sorry to let you know. But on the other hand, I've seen your team growing very fast over the last weeks"
It was incredibly interesting and exciting to get to know Florian as he worked for an airline, and his surname literally translates to "Florian Hundred-Marks" (German Currency)
I wish him all the best for the future, both in his real life job, and his iRacing team and career and hope he enjoyed his 2 months at Kabort Motorsport as much as possible.
Auf Wiedersehen Florian.
Florian Hundertmark, Kabort Motorsport - 14/06/2019 - 07/08/2019
Sven Olaf Jansen - The Dutch Hero That Faded Away
Sven was a piece of platinum within a gold mine. Drivers on iRacing are pretty darn good, but when one tells you that he does real life racing and wants to be on your team, you know you've struck something pretty good. Sven races/practices in Porsche Supercup or other GT series, so he knows how a car should feel, and how to sort it. Sven was very active on the discord, and took up multiple opportunities to race - highlights include racing the second car (When there was one) with Dave (South) and Oliver (Mandrish).
Problems only began to arise recently when he revealed to me (and another racer) his plans for the future - which I shall not disclose, as he asked me to. Every so often I look for evidence for his project, and nothing seems to have happened - even months down the line. Due to this inactivity (on discord and everywhere else) I had to dismiss him, he has not seen anything about it thus far, but when he returns it will be a huge shock, but I hope he understands. He will be able to rejoin once he returns.
Cheerio Old Friend
Sven Olaf Jansen: Kabort Motorsport 22/06/19 - 24/08/2019
Oliver Mandrish - The Canadian Superstar We Couldn't Afford To Lose
Oliver. Thank you ever so much for your time here, in the beginning you were a little quiet, but after a little bit of coaxing, you turned into a huge part of our team...Kabort Motorsport will be incredibly quiet without you, and I'm sure every single one of us here will miss you deeply.
I know this whole thing may seem like a sim and all virtual, but it's been great knowing you both as an iRacer and a friend. Having someone with such experience in real life racing as well as setups was really amazing....You were a really fast racer and have surely given Kabort Motorsport a good few seconds.. and it makes me so proud that you can take this opportunity with this very professional team, which I hope can bring you great things...And the only other I thing I can say is thanks for making this such a fun little environment, your name always lit up the server.
Hopefully one day you'll drop by and say hi, or mention us after a win...
Good luck and stay safe old friend,
Oliver Mandrish: Kabort Motorsport - 09/07/2019 - 16/09/2019
Declan Eady - Another Quality Canadian Lost
After he left, Oliver only told me to keep one driver and that driver was Declan Eady.
Declan joined Kabort Motorsport after Florian did, so has been here since the very early days. Completing 2 races in his first season with us (VRS Endurance), and his last 2 races in our second season, Declan has seen the team grow, evolve and adapt, yet something was not right - before he left he told me
"’I'm also not really interested in a team that's content being a few seconds off the pace you know slow but safe (my Discord nickname) isn’t really my philosophy"
Declan Eady: Kabort Motorsport - 14/06/2019 - 30/09/2019
Greg Claud - Another Great Spa Star Gone After doing multiple life-saving night stints with Nicholas Boccanfuso during the Spa 24 Hours, Greg Claud was one of our key drivers. I asked him if he wanted to race in this/next season, however after thinking about it, he said he couldn't commit to a season. When asked about S1, 2020, he said the following
"The more I think about it I'm gonna say no. Just gonna go solo. Thanks for the invite. Spa was a great experience, always wanted to do that, but. I'm out. Team racing weekly just sounds too much like another job, if you know what I'm saying."
Greg only did the Spa 24 Hours with us in the end. Greg Claud - Kabort Motorsport- 13/07/2019 - 1/10/2019
Then on Saturday August 31st 2019, the unimaginable happened.
On lap 2 of the Formula 2 feature race at Spa Francorchamps, 22 year old French Driver Antonie Hubert was involved in horrific accident, and passed away barely half an hour later. Even now it feels like it happened yesterday. The pain of losing Hubert was worse than losing my own grandfather - it's rather odd because I should have been much closer to my paternal grandfather compared to a famous racing driver, but I've heard so much about him in F2 - highlights, wins, good races and more it's almost like I have been supporting this whole time. Behind my joyful little smile I put on, I am still thinking about him - the things he could have achieved...he was 22 - a friend of mine that I got to know very well over the summer called Lukke, is 24 - ..it's mortifying to think that he had so much life ahead of him, Charles Leclerc was the same age as him and just look how much Charles has achieved...that could have been Hubert in 5 years.
What scares me the most is the similarities to Jules Bianchi who we lost in 2014.
Both were young French-men in their 20's (Jules being 25 at the time of his accident), and both were in lower teams with big futures rising in front of them. Both of these heroes scored their best result of the year in the Monaco Grand Prix of the same season - Jules finishing 9th for Manor in the 2014, and Hubert winning for BWT Arden in not only Monaco, but his home race at Paul Ricard as well. Depending on how you look at it, positive or negative, both drivers survived the initial impact...both drivers were alive moments after the impact - Hubert half an hour, Bianchi a few more months
Finally, both of these drivers crashed in extremely rare circumstances - Had the tractor moving Esteban Guteruizz's car. either been forward or backward of Jules' trajectory, and had Hubert or the driver who hit him (currently in hospital in a stable condition) been in a different position (In front of Alesi or further back) circumstances would have been very, very different.
I would just like to say that I blame neither driver for his own accident. Until you sit in the cockpit of a racing car and have the pressure of the race and the team on your shoulders whilst also pushing yourself and your car to the absolute limit, will you only begin to understand what is going through the minds of these courageous men. In response to Hubert's death, Lewis Hamilton tweeted
"This is devastating. God rest your soul Anthoine. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family today.
"If a single one of you watching and enjoying this sport think for a second what we do is safe your hugely mistaken.
"All these drivers put their life on the line when they hit the track and people need to appreciate that in a serious way because it is not appreciated enough.
"Not from the fans nor some of the people actually working in the sport. Anthoine is a hero as far as I'm concerned, for taking the risk he did to chase his dreams.
"I'm so sad that this has happened. Let's left him up and remember him. Rest in peace brother."
Below, I have described the events of the collision in chronological order,
Alesi lost the rear of his car and backed into the the inside barrier at the top of Radillion, everyone slowed down to avoid him. Hubert went wide to avoid the slow-moving cars. remember Radillion has a blind crest. Hubert clips a car which sends him skidding into the wall.
Huberts car bounces off the wall. his car is not in the middle of the track, but the run off. Being lap 2, the cars are still fairly bunched up. Juan Manuel C. is naturally wide and hits Hubert's car in the side-pod, Huberts car splits in two, (safety cell and rear and Juan's car flips onto its halo. the force of the impact so severe his feet are visible.
College started the week after this. i don't know weather it was my obliviousness or the first stage of dealing with grief, but I hadn't completed my summer media work. I had a good 8 weeks to complete it, yet I had not written a single word.
As summer went on, my mum got more and more desperate for me to get a job and earn money. At first I thought Uber would be ideal, since I liked driving, and knew Woking rather well...however you could only use a car 5 years old or newer.
Hermes also arose to me, but after not phoning back when they said they would, I closed that idea too.
Not long after, Amazon Flex also appeared on my Facebook timeline, and I had a lot more success. After filling out my information, and watching 6 "How-To videos" (Which I think I understand) I was able to advance. I am currently (Oct 2) at the stage of taking a profile picture, but I've got to do it when I don't look ugly...
With every week that passed, college got faster and faster - bigger and more work was due - which I somehow just kept on top of.
I then lost my best friend Drew.
Andrew Kay Johnson was more than just a friend, he was almost like a brother. In his last several months, we dated - and I have never had such a loving partner. He loved me for who I was, and I loved him for who he was - not only was he a damn good cook, hilarious and had a great personality, he was drop-dead gorgeous too. A couple weeks into dating, we went to Bournemouth, Sidbury and Sidmouth...and I have got to admit - it was one of the best weeks of my life. Lower Knapp Farm was absolutely phenomenal - a really great location near some really cool locations - highlights included singing opera in the swimming pool (nice echo) sitting in the sauna (and um...making out) and then having a nice, relaxed evening in...with no action whatsoever ;)
I'm getting a little sad now, so I will return to the positive. Mid to Late September also saw a monumental change. A change so large that I regard it as "Kabort Motorsport Gen-2". Joseph Griffin (who I mentioned earlier), Shaw and Gas Cohen have all transformed Kabort Motorsport for the better. It all started with me making a "suggestions" channel to allow the drivers to have somewhere to put forward their ideas, and it snowballed from there - Discord (not sponsored) channels and categories exploding into life....the only problem after this was that it was a little too "explode-y" and many of the drivers had to restrain the mad TP (Team Principal) from continuing the channel-making. A few days later, I was making good progress in deleting unused, useless and surplus discord channels.
As half of our team was at a B-Licence, and the other half was a Class A licence we could run in ELMS (Endurance Le Mans Series as opposed to European Le Mans Series). Each race is fortnightly, and 6 hours in duration. In this series there is the option to drive an LMP1 car (Le Mans Prototype). Not only is this considerably harder to drive than the GTE, it's also much, much faster. Like with real racing, the majority of the grid race in the GTE, with a couple of the LMP1's running up front. This in turn meant that as long as they didn't stack it, or disqualify themselves, those driving the P1, could get an easy earnt podium. The new LMP1 "squad" - consisting of: A. Sintes (ESP), N. Boccanfuso (USA), T. Kasigkeit (GER) and formerly Declan Eady (CAN) also got their own manager and Discord channels. (At the moment of typing, Boccanfuso and Galindo are LMP1 Managers).
Whilst all of this was happening, Joseph (Griffin) was slaving away at our new website - I had no idea that this was happening - so was very surprised to see a half-functional (Very early WIP) website, which was both beautiful, professional and leaps and bounds over mine. In later stages of the website's development, there was oh so much you could do! there was fancy scrolling effects, clicking "Team Owner/Team Principal" would take you to a small, short auto-bio about me, clicking "drivers" would show you the drivers that race for Kabort Motorsport (heavily WIP), among other sections, like an icon that takes you straight to iRacing's website. Also in progress is both the blog (Kabort Motorsport race reviews etc) and the shop, which is being worked on. My ears have also picked up that we may be getting a forum among all of this as well!
Heading off from the half-way point in the season, the suggestions keep flooding in, and improvements are keeping on being made - And it appears that next season we will have a new member of the Kabort family...The BMW M8! As long as they don't tailgate, all is fine!
October will also be a big month as we have 2 Breast Cancer Awareness Liveries (one arty, the other respectful), as well as a Halloween livery in progress as well (don't worry, nothing to do with politics, as that's the MOST terrifying halo ween prank! Whatever happens, it's for the best - and it's happened for a reason - let's just hope it's not to trigger the apocalypse.
Finally, October will see the 1 year anniversary of my newest YouTube Channel, and the one that I am using for Kabort Motorsport as well.
Not only is the website looking stunning, our Facebook Page too, which Joseph manages to somehow up-keep and post almost daily.
I am control of the twitter side of things as with sub-4000 character posts, there is little you can go wrong on. Retweets and hearts are also incredibly popular on the Kabort Motorsport twitter page.
In the beginning, it was just me adding/deleting and/or swapping catorgories and channels around, but now I'm doing a little more.
So yeah. that's exactly where time went. I must thank everyone who did read to the end for coming along on this journey with me, it means a lot to me, and I'll catch you all very, very soon.