Monday, August 31, 2009

MSOKC Race No. 9 – August 15, 2009 – Hot August Night

NEWS – Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 9 was a Saturday night event under the lights at Circleville Raceway Park and another event that featured standing starts for all classes. Thank goodness that most of the activity took place after the hottest part of the day because it was hot – and humid. Many repairs were required prior to this event following the Commercial Point Grand Prix. The one repair I saved for the day before – installing a new spindle on our Yamaha SuperCan cart – is the only one that didn’t go well. The spindle I ordered had the wrong size bearing, so I straightened the old one out for the third time and reused it. We also devised and installed a brake cooling duct on our 8Occ shifter kart – using a piece of downspout that was left over from when we had new gutters put on the house…

PRACTICE – We arrived at the track a bit early for shake-down runs to test all of the repairs we made. Peter felt comfortable in his kart, but Conor complained of massive understeer in his – in spite of using Bridgestone YKC tires that are only one race old. We tried increasing tire pressure in his first class practice, which didn’t help. We have his front end as wide as it will go using his standard wheels, so we went narrower for his second class practice to see if that would help. It didn’t. For the last-chance practice prior to the driver’s meeting, we decided to try the front wheels, hubs, and tires from Peter’s kart, which allow the front end on Conor’s kart to be about an inch wider per side than with his own wheels. This was a massive improvement – partly because of the width and partly because Peter is still using Bridgestone YHC tires. We put Peter’s practice tires on the front of his kart, which felt fine to him, and decided to go with this swap and some heavily used YHC rears for Conor for the race.

YAMAHA JR. SUPERCAN – Peter started his first heat race from the third position (of six karts in his class). We obviously have a good clutch setup on this kart because, like Henry at the CPGP, Peter had good starts all day. He gained a position at the start and ran in third until Lap 4 (of 8) when he dropped one position. He held on to finish fourth. He also gained a position from third at the start of his second heat and ran in second until Turn 1 of the last lap. He had a wiggle coming out of the previous corner and the kart behind made an aggressive move up the inside from quite a ways back. The contact allowed two karts to get by, which resulted in another fourth place finish. The offending driver received a rolled black flag warning for the infraction. Peter made another great start in his feature but had another incident in Turn 1 of the first lap with the same kart. Peter had to recover from being completely sideways, which put him at the tail end of the field. Just as he was beginning to find his groove, he experienced a rare mechanical failure that put him out of the race – the same clutch that had provided him with such good starts all day lost the gear off of the drive basket.

8Occ SHIFTER – Conor started his first heat race from the fourth position (of seven karts in his class). He maintained his position at the start, made one pass on Lap 2, and another on Lap 3. He ran in second to the finish but, on the last lap, the lead kart lost an exhaust silencer and was disqualified, which gave the win to Conor. In his second heat race, Conor started fourth again but dropped a position on Lap 2. He caught up to the new fourth place kart on Lap 4 and followed closely for two laps. Conor was setting up for a pass when the kart in front slowed dramatically. Conor could not back off quickly enough and hit the other kart from behind. After another momentary airborne adventure, Conor landed hard on his right rear wheel, which bent a wheel and flattened the tire. A first and a last were good enough for a third place feature race starting position. He maintained his position at the start and set out after the second place kart. He got a good run through Turn 4 on Lap 7 (of 10) and made the pass in Turn 5. He then set out after the leader, and while he came up a bit short in the end, he did set the fastest lap of the race (44.733 seconds) in the process. In addition to the other changes we made, the downspout-based brake cooling duct seemed to help, too.

NEXT RACE – The annual MSOKC Hog Roast is Saturday, September 5, 2009. This event is preceded by MSOKC Race No. 10, which is a qualifying format event at CRP that follows the normal Sunday (non-night race) schedule. There will be plenty of food for all and all are welcome to attend. Laura will be taking Henry back to Providence for the start of his sophomore year at Brown University that weekend, so they will miss the fun (we'll miss them, too). In the mean time, Peter has attended a driving clinic given by a club member/racer/parent who is also a test driver for Honda Research and Development in Marysville, Ohio. Peter is looking forward to putting what he learned into practice. We also did some back-to-back tire testing with Conor that day and clawed back most of the time we lost when we switched from YHCs to YKCs. Peter’s clutch has been repaired and his new spindle has been installed, Conor will have new wheels and extended front hubs, and both boys will have new tires – YHCs for Peter and YKCs for Conor.


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