Friday, May 27, 2005

MSOKC Race No. 4 - May 22, 2005 - Postponed

Originally sent: Friday, May 27, 2005 11:35 AM

NEWS - The early morning weather last Sunday was cool and crisp, which suits our karts well, so we were looking forward to a good day of racing. As the day progressed, the weather got cooler and crisper, the wind picked up, and then it rained. The persistent nature of the rain resulted in the second event postponement of the season. The new date for Race No. 4 is October 2, 2005. We did get to practice and Henry and Conor got their first heat races in before the rain came however.

PRACTICE - Just after we unloaded the karts, we noticed that Henry had sustained a bent rear axle during his incident in the second heat of Race No. 3. I checked with a few other teams, but no one seemed to have a spare. While we were trying to decide whether to make due or to scratch his entry, the dad of the driver with whom Henry is tied for second place in the championship offered to have his wife drive home and bring back their spare. We gratefully accepted their offer and within an hour, we were making the switch. This made practice very hectic, however. We managed to get Conor and Peter on the track twice, change the axle, and get Henry on the track for one complete and one abbreviated practice session.

JUNIOR UNRESTRICTED - Henry started second (of eight) in the first heat race and both he and the pole-sitter held off Adam, who started from the rear, until Lap 5. A bit of a gap had developed between Henry and the kart in front of him (from whom we had borrowed the axle), but Henry reeled him in in the closing laps. The margin was less than a kart length at the finish. The bent rear axle must have been a factor in the feature of Race No. 3, because Henry recorded a personal best lap time of 48.44 sec on what would be his final lap on Sunday before the rain came.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN II - Conor started sixth (of seven) in his first heat race. He made a good start and moved up a position by Turn 3. He made another pass and was up to fourth by the end of Lap 2. He then settled in behind the third place kart, who was having trouble getting around a slower kart in front of her. Conor waited patiently for an opportunity to arise, which it did at the end of Lap 4. The third place kart momentarily thought about making a pass on the outside in Turn 10, which left room for Conor to slip by on the inside. Conor was able to get around the second place kart between Turns 7 and 8 on the next lap. He then set out after the leader, and while he was able to make up a significant portion of the gap, he ran out of laps. He would have started on the front row for the second heat, which would have all but assured him of a good starting position for the feature, so when the rain came, it was a big disappointment for Conor.

ROOKIE BOX - The rain came as Peter's class, which consisted of seven karts, was sitting on the grid for their first heat. This was a disappointment for Peter, too, as the smaller rear tires we had switched to seemed to be working well for him. In practice, he also recorded a personal best lap time (58.52 sec) and is now consistently lapping in the 58 sec range.

NEXT RACE - The next race is MSOKC Race No. 5 on Saturday, June 4, 2005, which is the first night race of the season. In the mean time, Conor and Henry are going to participate in an SCCA Solo II event (OVR Points Event No. 3), which will be Sunday, May 29, 2005, at Cooper Stadium in Columbus.


Friday, May 20, 2005

MSOKC Race No. 3 – May 7, 2005

Originally sent: Friday, May 20, 2005 9:48 AM

NEWS – After beautiful weather for Race No. 1, MSOKC Race No. 2, which had been scheduled for April 24, 2005, was postponed due to… …not rain but snow! The weather on May 7 for Race No. 3 was much better, and I’ve let this go for so long that the details are sketchy, but early morning showers did delay the start by about an hour and a half.

PRACTICE – Peter got to try out his new bodywork in practice (Conor’s old bodywork). The bodywork was fine but he was uncomfortable with the dampness of the track. Conor and Henry also took it easy in the first practice because of the damp conditions, but were able to record reasonable times in the second practice session.

ROOKIE BOX – Peter drew the third starting position (of six in his class) for his first heat. He dropped two positions at the start, but made one back up at about mid distance and finished fourth. Starting fourth in the second heat, he again dropped a position at the start and ran fifth to the finish. In the feature, starting from fifth, he again dropped to the rear at the start. He benefited from off-course excursions by two of his competitors, and was challenging for third when he decided to try an outside move in Turn 10. The kart behind Peter tried to go around the third place kart on the inside at the same time, however. Three-wide is no way to go through Turn 10, and Peter was pushed up into the ‘marbles’ where he had a half spin into the grass. He was able to get going again, but finished sixth. Peter recorded good lap times throughout the day, setting a new personal best of 0:58.76 seconds in the first heat, but we’re going to have to work on his lack of urgency at the starts so that he in not mired in the back of the pack.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN II – There were eight karts in Conor’s class for Race No. 3. He made a great start from the fourth position and was up to third by Turn 3. The second place kart was holding up a faster group behind it, and it took Conor several laps, bur he was able to move up to second on Lap 4 (of six). By then the leader had gotten away. Conor was able to reel him in at the finish, but too late to challenge for the win. Starting third in the second heat, he again got bottled up behind the second place kart. By the time he made his way past, the leader had again gotten away. In a re-play of the first heat, he reeled the leader in, but could not get past. Two seconds did earn him the pole position fro the feature, however. He made a great start and held a somewhat comfortable lead for the first few laps. He then began to be the recipient of quite a bit of pressure from the second place kart, who with Conor, were distancing themselves from the field. The second place kart seemed to be getting a better run through Turn 4, which leads onto the back straight-away. She was able to pull along side Conor sever times, and on Lap 6 (of eight), got by... …momentarily. In order to get by, she had to carry a bit too much speed going into Turn 5, and went wide on the exit. It was one of those classic get-passed/re-pass things and Conor was back in the lead. When the white flag came out on the next lap, Conor had a lead of about two kart lengths. The next time by, as the leaders were coming up on a back-marker, they got the white flag… …AGAIN!!! I’ve always told the boys to race to the checkered flag, and I hoped that Conor had that in mind. He did seem to back off a bit, but I was relieved to see him continue at what appeared to be full pace past the cut-off area. By that time, the second place kart was also back on his tail. At the end of the back straight-away, Conor had no choice but to make his way around the back-marker, who apparently didn’t see him coming. There was brief wheel-to-wheel contact going into Turn 5, but Conor kept it under control. The second place kart also had trouble getting around the back-marker, so when the checkered flag finally flew (a lap later than scheduled), Conor was ahead by a comfortable margin. By recording his second consecutive win of the season, he extended his lead in the championship to 18 points.

JUNIOR UNRESTRICTED – Henry made a great start from the second position (of six) in the first heat to gain the lead. He ran in the lead for about a lap until he was passed by the locomotive of his class, Adam, who again won both heats and the feature (this will be a recurring theme this season). Henry ran second for the next few laps, but it became apparent that his lap times were not quite up to snuff. He seemed to be holding up the third and fourth place karts, who eventually got by in Turn 6 on Lap 3. He then had a half spin in Turn 6 on the next lap and lost another position. On Lap 5, the second and third place kart tangled in Turn 5 with one going off into the grass, elevating Henry to fourth, which is where he finished. The benefactor of the incident in Turn 5 was later found guilty and demoted three places, which moved Henry up to third. Starting from third in the second heat, Henry followed the pole-sitter through Turn 1 and into second by Turn 3. Both were passed by Adam on Lap 2. At about mid-distance, Henry was able to get along side the second place kart on the inside of Turn 10. Despite a blatant attempt at closing the door by the second place kart, which resulted in wheel-to-wheel contact, he and another kart were able to get by. At one point when it did appear that he might come under some pressure, the third place kart had an uncharacteristic spin. A third and a second place finish in the heat races earned him the second starting position for the feature. He made a great start and led through Turns 1 and 2, but relinquished the lead to Adam in Turn 3. He held off the third place kart until about Lap 5 and finished third. This, along with his strong heat race finishes, was enough to bring him from third in the championship to a tie for second, however.

NEXT RACE - Even though Conor and Henry ran well in Race No. 3, we may have tried to extend the life of the old tires on which we started the season one race too many. Both have new tires for Race No. 4, which is Sunday, May 22. We will also try something new on Peter's kart (smaller rear tires), which we are hoping will help him in the opening laps. Springtime weather in central Ohio can be fickle, so we're also hoping that it won't snow...


Monday, May 16, 2005