Tuesday, November 2, 2004

SCCA OVR Points Event No. 9 and 10 (2004)

Originally sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2004 9:58 AM

Not content to put all of the karting equipment away after the MSOKC season finale, Bruce Brothers Racing decided to give another form of racing a try. The Ohio Valley Region (OVR) of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has a very popular Solo II program, which involves timed runs through a parking lot course full of pylons (a.k.a. autocross). It's mostly for cars, but they do have kart classes for both kids and adults. Conor gave it a try two weeks ago, and this past Sunday, both Henry and Conor participated in the final OVR points event of the season.

The rules for Conor's class (FJ1) allow unrestricted Briggs and Stratton engines, but for his first event two weeks ago, we decided to run him with his existing restrictor plate set up. There are no practice runs and the course layout is not known until the morning of the event. After registration, the participants are allowed to walk the course. Junior drivers get the benefit of walking the course with the Youth Steward, who gives them guidance and tips on how to memorize the course. The kart classes made their four runs in the third and final group of the day. In the first two groups, we saw everything from race-prepared Corvettes to Formula Fords to Subaru WRXs to stock Honda Civics. Good times were in the 40 to 50 second range. Conor's first run was 49.644 seconds. He improved on that in each of his next three runs and ended up with a best time of 46.101 seconds, which was the second best time in his class and just 0.464 seconds slower than the winner, who was running an unrestricted engine. The best time for a stock Corvette was 44.450 seconds.

This past Sunday, Henry, who has been recovering from a dislocated shoulder (fell off of Peter's stunt bike), decided he also wanted to give Solo II a try. His class (FJ2) also allows unrestricted engines, but requires an additional 25 lbs of weight. For Conor, we removed his restrictor plate and made what we hoped would be the necessary carburetor jetting and gear ratio changes to increase his competitiveness. The kart classes again made their runs in the third and final group of the day and good times for the cars were again in the 40 to 50 second range. Henry was a bit tentative in his first run, but improved his time significantly in his second and third runs. Conor was fast immediately, and also improved in his second and third runs. Both boys, having set good times in their previous runs, 'over-cooked it' a bit in their fourth runs. Henry won his class with a time of 43.026 and Conor won his class with a time of 42.287 seconds. The best time for a stock Corvette was 42.194 seconds. Henry's best time was 2.901 seconds better than the second place kart in his class. Conor's best time was 3.529 seconds better than the second place kart in his class, who had not lost an event this year. SCCA has a handicapping system called PAX for comparing times of entries which are not in the same class. The index is composed of data from across the country and tries to take the cars out of the equation and compare only the drivers. Conor got a trophy for the 8th best PAX score out of 154 entries! Henry's PAX score was 38th best in his first try at Solo II.

We certainly enjoyed the experience, and if time permits, we hope to run a few more Solo II events next year.