Tuesday, May 8, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 2 - May 6, 2007

Originally sent: May 8, 2007 11:49 PM

NEWS – Bruce Brother Racing had another great outing last weekend for MSOKC Race No. 2. It was a bit windy and cool in the morning, but it turned out to be another beautiful day. Peter got a new clutch disk and a new drive gear during the two week break. Henry ran well in Race No. 1, but we decided to make a slight gear change to his kart to make better use of the increased horsepower from his engine rebuild. Conor again had duty in the tower, this time as a full member of the timing and scoring crew.

PRACTICE – Peter started tentatively in his first practice session, but got down to a reasonable lap time. His gear ratio seemed to be a bit low, which I attributed to the strong tail wind down the back straightaway. I made a fairly drastic change for his second practice session, which he didn't get to sufficiently test because we forgot to top up his tank with methanol. He pulled off early complaining about his engine cutting out in the right hand corners. Henry also complained of engine problems in his practice sessions. We tried a few things and eventually traced it to an electrical short with an un-used kill switch connection, which we were able to easily rectify. After having made gear ratio changes to both karts, we had still not determined the effectiveness by the end of practice for either.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – There were five karts in Peter's class on Sunday. One was a fellow graduate from the Rookie Box class from last year, whose kart wasn't ready in time for Race No. 1. Peter started fourth in the first heat, and because of several relative new-comers in front of him, took it easy at the start. He dropped a position, but made it up on the first lap. He found himself behind one of the new-comers who was running laps several seconds slower than Peter is capable of, but he could not get by and finished fourth. His new gear ratio seemed a bit high, but I didn't know whether to attribute this to the need for a change or being stuck behind a much slower kart. He started the second heat from the second position and ran there to the finish. It was apparent that he was faster than the leader, but again could not get past. We did make a gear change back to where we started from for the feature. A fourth and a second resulted in a third place starting position. He was able the follow the pole-sitter through into second in the first few corners. He again ran right on the tail of the leader for 10 laps, obviously faster but unable to get past. His gear ratio was again a bit high. Had we remembered to put fuel in his tank for the second practice session, we may have figured this out in time to make the necessary changes for the feature.

80cc SHIFTER – Unlike Peter's problems, Henry's problems seemed to sort themselves out for the races themselves. There were 13 karts in his class on Sunday. He started the first heat towards the front in the third position. Concerned about his mediocre starts, I thought to put it into terms he could relate to. I told him that it was not all about getting a perfect launch from a dead stop, but rather it was a mater of accumulating as much distance as possible in the least amount of time possible. In other words, it was better to get moving as early as possible, albeit slowly, than to stand still while attempting to execute a perfect launch. I even put into math terms by explaining it was a mater of accumulating area under the time-distance curve. This seemed to help as he got off of the line as well as he ever has in Heat 1. He did drop a position in the run to Turn 3, however. After that, he seemed to be having trouble getting through Turn 4, as he lost another position on Lap 1 and another on Lap 2. He benefited from several off-course excursions later in the race and ended up finishing second, recording a near-best lap of 44.51 in the process. Starting towards the rear in the second heat, he got bounced around like a ping pong ball most of the race while being held up by slower karts. He eventually finished seventh. A second and a seventh resulted in a fifth place starting position for the feature. I'm hoping that my words of wisdom are the trick, because Henry got the best start he has ever had in the feature. He moved as soon as the flag dropped and followed the two karts in front of him past the two karts on the outside. The leader began to develop a gap fairly quickly, but Henry was right on the kart in font of him. In fact, it became apparent fairly quickly that the kart in font of him was holding Henry up. The fourth place kart nipped at Henry's heels for a few laps, but then fell off a bit. Henry followed the second place kart to the finish. At the end, they were separated by less than a kart-length. A third place feature race finish is a personal best for Henry in MSOKC 80 cc Shifter class competition.

NEXT RACE – I'm not sure we're going to make it to the next race, which is Saturday, May 26. In fact, we're probably going to miss it. Conor and Laura will leave for Iowa City the day after tomorrow (Thursday, May 10). Conor has a full day of testing and various apparatus fittings on Friday. I'm going to meet them there on Sunday, May 13, as Conor begins his treatment (starting with several days of traction) on Monday, May 14. Henry and Peter will fly to Iowa City to be there for the surgery on Thursday, May 17th. Henry and Peter will return to Columbus on Sunday, May 20 (they have school until June 7). Depending on how thing go, I will most likely return on Sunday, May 20, as well. After that, Henry, Peter, and I are planning to commute to Iowa City on the weekends. Laura and Conor are prepared to be there for about a month. We'll see how thing go for Race No. 4, which is Saturday, June 9. In the mean time, Conor has finished his school work and will have his last day of middle school tomorrow (a month early). He also had his hair buzzed off this afternoon in preparation for next week. When I got home this afternoon, I had a hard time figuring out who that short-haired kid was sitting on the living room floor. Weird...


p.s., Lap times and results can be found at http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=204505