Sunday, June 28, 2009

MSOKC Race No. 6 – June 27, 2009

The full report for MSOKC Race No. 6 will follow. In the mean time, here are some pictures (click to enlarge):

Henry was promoted from corner worker to head flagman for Race No. 6.

It's all in the wrist...

Peter chomps on a Twizzler Pull 'n Peel.

You have to peel it first...

What Conor's hair looks like on a hot sweaty day - Phase 1.

What Conor's hair looks like on a hot sweaty day - Phase 2

What Conor's hair looks like on a hot sweaty day - Phase 3


Friday, June 19, 2009

MSOKC Race No. 5 – June 14, 2009 – Henry Gets a Win!

NEWS – Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 5 was another reverse direction event (clockwise) at Circleville Raceway Park last Sunday. Peter was still off touring the Eastern U.S. with a group of teachers and friends from school, so we bolted some additional weight onto our Yamaha SuperCan kart so that Henry could have what may be his only opportunity to race this season. Peter needs very little weight to make the minimum requirement for the junior version of this class (305 lbs), but Henry needed an additional 25 lbs or so for the adult version (360 lbs). Conor did very well in our shifter kart during the previous reverse direction event this year, so except for installing the new bodywork that we’ve had for quite some time, we made very few changes for him in preparation for Race No. 5.

PRACTICE – Most of the karts in the adult SuperCan class run on the wider of the two available rear tire sizes. We thought about having Henry use Conor’s practice tires, but it turned out that Peter’s well-used race tires suited Henry just fine. He had not been in a kart since last October and had only driven this kart once before for about half a dozen laps. In spite of this, he seemed to be near a competitive pace during his two practice sessions. Conor’s practice tires are nearing the end of their useful life – he complained of a serious lack of grip at both ends in his first practice session. Even with his lightly used race tires on, he complained of a lack of front-end grip in the second session. We made a chassis adjustment after practice (increased caster), which we hoped would help.

YAMAHA SUPERCAN HEAVY – This class has been very competitive at MSOKC for the past few years, but seems to be even more so this year. Twelve karts in this class on Sunday meant that the heat races would be eight laps instead of six. Henry started his first heat race from the 11th position. There was a bit of a pile-up in the first turn at the start (Turn 10 going backwards), but Henry was able to sneak by on the inside. There was another off-track event by two karts later on Lap 1, which put Henry all the way up to fourth position. He benefited from another off-course excursion on Lap 6 and finished third, not too far behind the leaders. The supposed pole sitter for the second heat lined up on the outside for some reason, which gave the pole position to Henry. The outside is often the place to be, however, and two karts got ahead of Henry in Turn 9 at the start. Henry ran right on the tail of the leaders and was finally able to make a well-executed pass in Turn 9 on Lap 6 for second, which is where he finished. A third and a second resulted in a pole position for the start of the feature. Henry did a bit better at the start this time (after some coaching from Conor), but still lost one position. This turned out to be okay, however – the leader checked out and would have passed Henry anyway, possibly taking another kart with him. Henry was able to open up a bit of a gap over the third place kart initially, but then came under a lot of pressure at about mid distance. The third place kart made several passing attempts going into Turn 10, the last of which ended up costing him a position or two. The new third place kart couldn’t quite get close enough to attempt a pass, so Henry finished in a relatively comfortable second place. At the post-race technical inspection, the winning kart was disqualified for a minor infraction (ignition timing too far advanced), which gave the win to Henry.

8Occ SHIFTER – Our 8Occ shifter kart has been remarkably reliable since we acquired it used prior to the 2006 season, but it began to show its age on Sunday. In spite of this, Conor did remarkably well. His first heat was one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen in this class. Conor started from the third position of the eight karts in his class on Sunday. He made the first of his three great starts on Sunday to maintain his position through the first few turns. He lost a position in the braking zone going into Turn 4 at the end of the long straightaway on Lap 1. The leaders were bunched up and Conor was able to make a pass to regain third position on Lap 3. On Lap 4, Conor was able to move up to second with another great pass, only to be passed again in Turn 4. I didn’t know it at the time, but sometime during the last few laps, a seat support bolt broke, which allowed Conor’s seat to drag on the ground and altered the weight transfer characteristics of his kart significantly. This cost him two more positions on Lap 6, which resulted in a fifth place finish. Back in the pits, I noticed that the seat support problem also caused one of Conor’s brake lines to become partially detached. Conor seemed to like the chassis adjustment we made, so after replacing the broken bolt and bleeding the brakes, we decided to add a bit more caster. When I started to change the eccentric spacer at the bottom of the king pin, I ended up with a handful of ball bearings and various broken bits and pieces. This was not a good thing as Conor’s class was beginning to line up for their second heat. I didn’t have a new bearing handy, so I just stuffed it all back up there and hoped for the best. The left front wheel had about a 3/4 inch of vertical movement to it, so I told Conor to take the green flag and come straight back into the pits (to get last place points instead of no points). He suggested that, if it felt okay, he’d stick it out to the end. I reluctantly agreed. Starting from sixth, he again maintained his position at the start (and showed no signs of coming straight back in – who would have guessed that!). He improved to fifth on Lap 3, to fourth on Lap 4, and to second on Lap 6, which is where he finished. Most of these were due to retirements and incidents, but you never would have guessed that the left front corner was askew. Like his older brother, Conor’s heat race finishes earned him a starting spot on the front row for the feature. From the second position, Conor got the hole-shot and moved into the lead. In the first few laps, he would pull away a bit only to be reeled back in in the hard braking zone going into Turn 4 at the end of the long straightaway. Our shifter kart has only rear brakes, whereas nearly everyone else in this class has front and rear brakes. While this does not affect overall lap times greatly, Conor was a sitting duck going into Turn 4. When the second place kart got by Conor on Lap 4, so did the third place kart. He ran with these two for a few laps, and after it became apparent that he was not going to get back by, Conor eased up a bit and finished in a comfortable third place.

NEXT RACE – Peter will be back with us for MSOKC Race No. 6 on June 27, 2009, which is the first of several Saturday night races under the lights at Circleville Raceway Park. While he did do double duty on Sunday (drove and worked a corner), Henry will be back to being a corner worker only next Saturday. His performance did attract several substitute driving offers, however, so he may get some additional seat time yet this season. Peter will be on new tires for Race No. 6. For Conor, he will get some necessary maintenance and repairs, and we are also looking into several options for improved braking performance.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found by clicking here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

MSOKC Race No. 5 – June 14, 2009

Some pictures from Race No. 5 are shown below (click to enlarge). Peter was still off touring the Eastern U.S. with a group of teachers and friends from school, so Henry took the opportunity to test his skills in the SuperCan Heavy class. The full report will follow.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

MSOKC Race No. 4 – May 31, 2009 – One to Grow On

NEWS – Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 4 featured standing starts, like the 8Occ Shifter class, for all the classes a week ago Sunday. There was a lot of apprehension expressed before the race about clutch wear, stalling engines, and first-turn pile-ups. None of these turned out to be well founded. In fact, this format turned out to be a huge hit. Preparations for us included new tires for Conor and rearranged tires for Peter. Henry is home from college for the summer and decided to be a corner worker on Sunday – his first bit of gainful employment for the summer. I hope that there will be much more to follow!

PRACTICE – We spent some time getting Peter’s clutch adjusted during his practice sessions. During Conor’s practice sessions, it became apparent that the gear change we made for Race No. 3 was not the hot ticket. With new tires and a return to his previous gear ratio, Conor set a personal best lap time of 44.57 seconds (56.54 mph average speed) in his second practice session.

YAMAHA JR. SUPERCAN – This was Peter’s fourth race on this set of tires. Many of the others in his class had new tires for this race. That was the bad news. The good news was that we seemed to have nailed the clutch adjustment on Peter’s kart, because in both of his heat races, he easily maintained his position during the standing starts. However, after the start of each, he lost two positions; in the first heat because of an oversteer condition and in the second heat because the two fastest karts in his class started behind him. Yamaha SuperCan karts scream when they are running, but they do not like to idle. Peter’s engine stalled during the lineup for his second heat. One of the other dads got to Peter before I did and got him going just in time for the drop of the green flag. Peter’s heat race finishes resulted in a lowly eighth place starting position for the feature. For the feature, we made a chassis adjustment to account for the oversteer condition. He got away well at the start and made two passes at the end of the long straightaway – one on Lap 6 and the other on Lap 8. The second pass appeared to be just as clean as the first, but he was given a pointed-black-flag warning by none other than his brother (someone else had made the call – Henry was just the messenger). Peter ended up finishing sixth, but did record a personal best lap time (46.56) while tracking down the fifth place kart.

8Occ SHIFTER – Conor had a bit more luck than Peter in his heat races, but not much. He lost two positions in his first heat race but gained two positions in his second. Like Peter, he got away well during both of the standing starts, which are the norm for the 8Occ shifter class. In his first heat, he lost one position at the start, but was much faster than the karts in front of him. While trying to find a way past, he left the back door open and lost a position on Lap 4, and finished fifth. In his second heat, he gained a position at the start and another on Lap 6. Like Peter, his heat race finishes resulted in a less than desirable starting position for the feature – sixth. He made up a position at the start and was in position to make up another one in Turn 9 at the end of Lap 1 when the kart in front of him did a lazy half spin. Unfortunately, Conor hit the sideways kart and damaged the nose of his kart (see picture below - click to enlarge). He didn’t loose a position initially, but it became apparent over the next lap or so that the dragging nose was slowing him down. He lost a position on Lap 2 but gained it back on Lap 5. He caught the fourth place kart on the last lap, which would normally be a good thing. He tried to go around the outside in Turn 9, but was pushed into the marbles and lost two positions.

NEXT RACE – MSOKC Race No. 5 is another reverse direction (clockwise) event at Circleville Raceway Park on Sunday, June 14, 2009. Peter will be touring the Eastern U.S. for two weeks, camping with a group of teachers and friends from school, so Conor will be our lone participant. During the last reverse direction event at CRP, Conor won easily and recorded the fastest lap time in each of his three races.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found at

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

MSOKC Race No. 4 - Sunday, May 31, 2009

Henry is home from Brown University for Summer Break. He decided to be a corner worker for MSOKC Race No. 4 on Sunday (his first bit of gainful employment for the summer; hopefully there will be much more to follow). He took his camera with him and got some great shots, some of which are posted below (click to enlarge). The full race report will follow.