Tuesday, May 23, 2006

MSOKC Race No. 4 - May 21, 2006

Originally sent: May 23, 2006 11:45 PM

NEWS - A good time was had by all during Mid State Ohio Kart Club Race No. 4 this past Sunday, which involved running the course at Circleville Raceway Park in the opposite direction. Conor and Peter got a chance to practice on Saturday. While Henry wanted to practice, he had a conflict with a Bocce Ball tournament. Both Conor and Peter enjoyed their first experience going 'backwards,' but we had to hope that Henry was his usual quick learner on Sunday. Conor's first impression of his rebuilt engine was one of optimism.

PRACTICE - Sunday morning was overcast, and when practice got started, it was delayed twice because of light rain. When Henry finally got on the track, his impression was also positive.

PETER - ROOKIE BOX - There has been a total of eight competitors in the Rookie Box class this season, and if we could ever get them all there at one time it would be great. We came close on Sunday with six. Peter started the first heat from the fifth position. He ran there until he was able to make a pass in the now-righthand Turn 6. He made another pass in Turn 9 on lap 3 and finished third. Starting from the pole position in the second heat, Peter brought the field around slowly and made a great start. He separated himself from the field by about 10 seconds in the next few laps. In the closing stages, he came up to lap a slower kart, and in doing so, lost nearly all of his advantage. With the leaders nose to tail coming around to take the white flag, the kart behind Peter made a move to the inside in Turn 1, which was now a right-hander just prior to the start-finish line. The two made side-by-contact with the other kart, which got up on two wheels momentarily and nearly pitched the driver out, getting the worst end of the deal. There was a collective sigh of relief when both were able to continue. Peter was able to hold on for a second heat race win in as many events. Starting from the second position in the feature, Peter tucked in behind the pole-sitter and the two of them separated themselves from the field. Peter hung onto the tail of the leader and began applying pressure on lap 5. He could not find a way past, however, and dropped back a bit. He closed the gap again on the last lap, recording a 58.41 in the process, which is his best lap of the season, and finished a well-earned second place.

CONOR - JR. UNRESTRICTED - We had high hopes for Conor's rebuilt engine, but did not have to put it to the test, which turned out to be a good thing, because his lap times were not good and they got worse during the day. The reason we didn't have to put it to the test was that there was only one other competitor in Conor's class and he was a relative new-comer. Because of the low turn-out, they combined Conor's class with the Jr. Yamaha class. When they combine classes, they start them half a lap apart and score them separately. Conor grabbed the lead in the first turn (Turn 10) in both heat races and the feature and motored off into the distance. His only excitement came then he caught up to and passed several of the competitors in the other class. He recorded a perfect day points-wise, but it was less than satisfying. Most of the other classes were running lap times that were nearly the same as running the track in the usual direction. Conor's lap times were off by nearly two seconds. His lap times normally improve as his tires come up to temperature, etc. Yesterday, once he got around some of the slower Jr. Yamahas, the trend was the opposite - his lap times got worse. He also complained of a lack of power towards the end of the day and his engine seemed to be blowing quite a bit of oil from the breather. His engine is back at the engine builder to hopefully get these issues sorted out.

HENRY - 80cc SHIFTER - Henry had a rough couple of heat races, but was able to redeem himself in the feature. In practice, he was making up loads of time on the approach to Turn 4, which was now a right hander following the long straight-away. His kart has dual rear brake calipers and a healthy vented disk, and this was enabling him to gain about two kart lengths by late-braking into Turn 4 - an excellent place to pass. He started both heat races from the fourth position of nine competitors on Sunday. We need to get him to the track to, if nothing else, work on his standing starts. In the first heat, he dropped a couple of positions at the start, but began making them up quickly. At about mid-distance, he approached another kart at the entrance to Turn 4 who braked much sooner than Henry anticipated. Henry clobbered him from the rear and had a brief excursion through the grass, loosing a couple of positions in the process. He made up one of these prior to the finish and ended up sixth. He got away a little better in the second heat, but the kart he had clobbered started in front of him. On lap 2, Henry managed the repeat the clobbering maneuver on the same kart. This time both karts went into the grass, with the colbber-er getting away a little sooner than the clobber-ee. Henry went on to finish fifth. Words of profuse apology were offered in the line-up for the scale house, but the clobber-ee was clearly not impressed. Henry made his best start of the day from the fifth position in the feature, loosing one position but gaining another. I was relieved to see that the kart two behind Henry was able to make a pass, putting a buffer between him and the clobber-ee. He was able to find a way around the kart in front of him on lap 3 and then set out for the next kart in line. It took him two laps in the clear to catch up to the third place kart, and in doing so, he recorded a 45.50 - less than a half second from his personal best lap. The last three laps were frustrating for Henry, as the kart in front of him adopted a very defensive line. His fourth place finish was the closest he has come to a feature race podium position in this highly competitive class.

NEXT RACE - The next race, which is the second night race of the season, is Saturday, June 10, 2006. You may have noticed that these reports have begun coming from my personal email address. The reason for this is, after 18 years at EWI, I have decided to change jobs. Beginning June 1, 2006, my contact information at work will be as follows: