Wednesday, October 26, 2005

2005 MSOKC Season in Review

Originally sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 5:00 PM

Well, the 2005 season has come to a close for Bruce Brothers Racing. We decided to skip the final MSOKC race of the season, which was a make-up for a rain-out earlier in the season. Henry and Conor decided that they wanted to do an SCCA Solo 2 event that day instead. They traded fastest times on their first few runs. Conor continued to improve while Henry pushed too hard in his last few runs. Conor ended up 0.326 sec faster than Henry and both were more than 5 sec faster than the only other competitor in their class that day. The final Solo 2 event is this weekend, but we have all had enough for this season and have decided to skip it, too.

Looking back at the 2005 MSOKC season, it was a quite remarkable. Conor, who went winless last season, began this season with five Junior Sportsman 2 feature race wins in a row. In the 11 events in which he competed, he won the feature in eight of them. The other three were two seconds and a fourth. In his 22 heat race starts, he recorded nine wins and nine second place finishes. He qualified on the front row for the feature 10 times, including five poles. He led the season championship from start to finish in the face of some stiff competition. Late in the season, he was still eight for nine in feature race wins. His fastest lap was a 49.62 sec recorded under ideal conditions during the rescheduled Race No. 2. If we had broken down and bought him some new tires late in the season, he might have done even better. Conor had a truly remarkable season.

Henry also had a good season in the face of even stiffer competition, including Adam Roberts who is poised to win the WKA Gold Cup championship (the final event of the season is November 4-6 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC). Another competitor in Henry’s Junior Unrestricted class also competed on the national level and learned a lot in doing so. Henry had beaten him in the MSOKC championship last year, but third place this year is about the best that Henry could have hoped for. In the 11 events in which he competed, Henry recorded two second place feature race finishes and finished third five times. He also recorded nine second place heat race finishes and finished the season championship in third, one place ahead of last year’s champion. His fastest lap was a 48.44 sec recorded early in the season during Race No. 4 before the rain came.

Peter improved his performance steadily throughout his first full season of competition in the Rookie Box class. A mid-pack runner at best at the beginning of the season, he was nipping at the heels of the leaders by the end. He improved his personal best lap time in each of the first five events, knocking it down from 59.13 sec in Race No. 1 to 57.67 sec in Race No. 7 (two of the first four races were rained out). In the last four events, he recorded four podium finishes (a second and three thirds). He also led a significant number of laps toward the end of the season. He lowered his personal best lap time to 56.63 sec during Race No. 11. Because of his strong finish to the season, and the inconsistent participation of one of his competitors, Peter finished the season championship in fourth place.

My favorite statistic for the 2005 MSOKC season is this – in 99 starts (66 heat races and 33 features), Bruce Brothers Racing recorded not a single DNF (did not finish). I’m proud of this because there were no mechanical DNFs, which is my department, and I’m proud of the boys for always making it to the checkered flag. They did have numerous off-course excursions, which is to be expected when pushing hard, but they always managed to get going again without loosing much time.

All that is left for this season is the Awards Banquet, which is November 18, where the boys will receive their trophies for the season championship. Because of their ages, Conor and Henry will have to move up a class next year – Conor to Junior Unrestricted (or some other class for 13-15 year olds) and Henry to one of the adult classes (16 and older). Peter will remain in the Rookie Box class for another year. The switch for Conor will be easy, but we have yet to decide what to do for Henry.

This season review would not be complete without a heartfelt acknowledgement to the most important member of the Bruce Brothers Racing team – Laura – for all of her support, patients, and understanding. She was not mentioned nearly enough in the post-race reports, but was there at every race helping and keeping the team together. Thanks also to everyone else for all the help and support throughout the season, including my mom for being there more often than not and my dad for providing us with a way to transport three karts to the track, and for all of the kind words of encouragement.