Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 10 (Rain Make-Up) - October 14, 2007

Originally sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 12:18 AM

NEWS – The 2007 Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club racing season came to a close with a make-up for rained-out Race No. 10 a week ago on Sunday. The turn-out was light in some of the classes for which the championship had already been decided, and because of a conflict with the 2007 Mazda RoboPong 200 Presented by Bridgestone, a 200 lap endurance race at Newcastle Motorsports Park near Indianapolis. We played 'musical tires' again to make use of the last bit of rubber we have. We used the fronts off of Peter's kart for Henry's fronts and mixed-and-matched the best left-overs that we could find for Henry's rears and Peter's fronts. The weather was warm again on Sunday for an October race, but not as warm as the previous Sunday.

PRACTICE – Race No. 10 was designated as a 'backwards' race, so the make-up race was run in the opposite direction (clockwise) at Circleville Raceway Park. There was moisture on the track initially, so both Peter and Henry took it easy in their first practice sessions while they re-acclimated to the opposite direction. One of Henry's rears didn't look like it was going to last the entire day, so we replaced it with a spare that we had brought along. We obviously did something right, because Henry recorded a personal best lap time ( 44.08) in his second practice session. We had also elected to leave the gear ratio on that Henry runs in the regular direction for this backwards race, which may have accounted for the majority of this improvement. Peter got down into the mid-52 second range in his second session.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – One of the karts in the class that Peter ran last year made the transition to Peter's class for the last race of the year. Four other 'regulars' showed up, so there were five in all. He started his first heat from the third position and held it through the first few corners, which are Turns 10, 9, 8, etc., for a backwards race. He was able to run deeper into the turn at the end of the long straightaway than the kart in front of him on Lap 1 and moved up to the second position. He was able to repeat the out-braking maneuver on Lap 3 to move into the lead, which he was able to hold to the end. In Heat 2, starting from outside the front row, Peter didn't waste much time moving to the front. He made an excellent move to the inside on the approach to Turn 9 (the second corner) and motored away to another heat race win. He made an excellent start from pole position in the feature and pulled away initially before backing off a bit. The newcomer in the class, who had started from the rear all day, made his way through the field and began to catch Peter. Peter responded and was able to keep the gap constant from about the midway point on. Peter capped off his season with another perfect 1-1-1 finish, his fourth this year.

80cc SHIFTER – I always prefer when Henry starts one heat race towards the rear and the other towards the front (as opposed to both from mid-pack). Such was the case on Sunday where Henry lined up for his first heat in the seventh position (of eight). He got a great start and moved up one position in Turn 9 and another in Turn 6 on the first lap. On lap 3, he was right on the tail of the kart in fourth place going into Turn 10. He was able to get underneath going into Turn 9 and made the pass stick. He had to downshift mid corner to maintain his momentum, and this turned out to be a key to quicker lap times throughout the rest of the day. He caught up with the leaders at the end, further improving his personal best to a 44.04 along the way. Henry made another great start from the pole position in Heat 2. With clear track in front of him, Henry reeled off a series of laps in the low 44 second range while those behind him scrapped for position. Henry amassed enough of a lead, further improving his personal best to a 43.97 in the process, to hold on for his first 80cc Shifter class heat race win. A fourth and a first were good enough for the second starting position for the feature. He made another great start while the pole-sitter hesitated momentarily, and once again found clear track in front of him. The pole-sitter recovered quickly, but he and the next few karts had nothing on Henry, who continued to lower his personal best lap times, the best of which was a 43.89. On Lap 7, the third place kart (the eventual season champion in this class) passed the second place kart and set out after Henry. Henry seemed to be able to hold him off everywhere except the braking zone at the end of the long straightway, where the lack of front disk brakes (everyone except Henry and one other kart in his class has them) was a detriment. Henry would pull away slightly through Turn 9, but get reeled back in at the end of the straightaway. On the last lap, the eventual class champion got a good run through the turn leading up to the long straightway and was able to muscle his way inside at the end. Henry could have taken a defensive line and held him off, but chose not to do so. Ten laps on a ten turn circuit is a total of 100 turns. Henry led through 96 of them. A second place feature race finish was another personal best for Henry in this class, however.

NEXT RACE – That's it for the 2007 MSOKC season. Peter is the 2007 MSOKC Junior Sportsman 2 class champion and Henry finished a solid third place in the highly competitive 80cc Shifter class, improving one position from last year. The MSOKC season-ending banquet is November 16, where trophies and prizes will be awarded. Henry will continue in the 80cc Shifter class next year, although his participation in the latter part of the season will depend on what college he decides to attend. Laura and I are still trying to come to grips with that and other similar realizations. Peter can contest the same class next year, but we are considering some alternative classes for him. And then there's Conor. He has been incredibly patient with having to sit out this season. While he has enjoyed his timing and scoring responsibilities, I'm sure he's chomping at the bit to back into action. With the help of a generous benefactor, we purchased a highly competitive Yamaha Super Can kart for him at the end of the 2006 season. It has been waiting patiently in our basement since then. Conor's return to action will depend on what the doctors have to say, however. Conor has a check-up in Iowa City scheduled for November 9, after which we hope to know more.


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

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Subject: MSOKC Race No. 12 - October 7, 2007

Originally sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 5:07 PM

NEWS – Tomorrow is the final race of the 2007 MSOKC season – a make-up for Race No. 10 which was rained out. Race No. 12, the last regularly-scheduled race of the season, was last Sunday, October 7. The only special preparation kart-wise was playing 'musical tires' to make use of what we have as opposed to buying new ones. The other special preparation for Race No. 12 was packing an unusually large quantity of Gatorade for an October race, as temperatures were predicted to be in the 90s.

PRACTICE – Henry continues to turn some of his fastest laps of the day during practice. He was obviously pushing hard however, as he spun in Turn 6 in both of his sessions. 'Borrowing' two of Peter's tires to use on the front of Henry's kart didn't seem to have too much of an adverse effect on Peter's performance, as his lap time were as good as ever.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – Peter's class had a season-high of seven karts, including two from other local clubs whose seasons have concluded and the former club member who has joined us for several races late in the season. The two from other clubs were on non-spec tires for our club and would be disqualified at the end of the day. Peter lined up last for the start of his first heat. He went from seventh to fifth at the start and then from fifth to fourth to third in the first three laps. He dropped position on Lap 4 but made it back up on Lap 6 to finish third. Peter started from pole position in the second heat and pulled out a lead over the next few laps. The faster karts that started towards the rear made their way forward, but could not catch Peter, who went on to record another heat race win. A third and a first was good enough for the pole position for the feature. Peter made a good start and went side by side with the former club member through Turns 1 and 2. Peter's engine is in bad need of a rebuild, and he didn't have enough to hold on to the lead going into Turn 3. He settled into second but pushed the leader hard throughout the first lap. It became apparent that the former club member was in need of a new set of tires as badly as Peter is in need of an engine rebuild. He went wide in Turn 10 and Peter dove to the inside for the pass. But so did the kart behind Peter. These two got together and the other kart actually rode up on the side of Peter's kart, pushing him into the infield. Peter dropped all the way to last place. Only minor damage was sustained and Peter was able to regroup and continue, however. He made his way past one kart on Lap 2 and two karts on Lap 3. He then reeled off several laps in the 51 second range, which brought him to the tail of the leading group. The leader was still struggling with tire trouble and was holding up the three karts behind him. Turn 10 of the last lap was a repeat of the first lap. The leader went wide and the second place kart dove underneath. Peter crossed the line fourth but was promoted to second when the former club member elected not to go to post-race tech inspection and one of the other karts in front of him was disqualified for tires.

80cc SHIFTER – There was some confusion during the grid formation for Henry's first heat, in which he was supposed to start fifth (of 10). Another kart had lined up in Henry's position, and Henry was directed to the sixth grid position. He got away well and ran in sixth for the first few laps. He was being held up by a group in front of him when a kart behind made an aggressive move in Turn 4, which put Henry in the grass. He fell to ninth. He made up one position and finished eighth. Henry was supposed to start Heat 2 in sixth, but tried to return the favor by lining up fifth. The starter was a bit more diligent this time and made Henry go around again and line up sixth. He must have been seething, because he made an aggressive start and muscled his way to fourth in the first few turns. He ran in fourth, in sight of the leaders, to the finish. We were hoping that an eighth and a fourth might be good enough for a better starting position than sixth, but that is where Henry started the feature. He got away well, making up one position at the start. He ran in fifth for seven laps in close contact with the group in front of him. Sunday must have been the day for returning the favor, because the kart in front of Henry did just that to the kart that had pushed Henry off in Heat 1. Henry was able to get by, too, and finished fourth.

NEXT RACE – Peter had enough points to claim the Junior Sportsman 2 championship as of the previous race. Henry's results last Sunday were good enough for him to claim third place in the highly competitive 80cc Shifter class. With only the best nine of 12 races counting towards the championship, we don't even need to show up tomorrow. The weather is finally starting to feel like fall, it's supposed to be nice tomorrow, and we have just enough rubber left, so that's what we're going to do.


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

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 11 - September 23, 2007

Originally sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2007 12:36 AM

NEWS – Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 10, which had been scheduled for September 9, 2007, was rained out, so Race No. 11 on Sunday, September 23, was our first event in almost a month. The club only scheduled one 'rain date' for the 2007 season, so we were glad to be greeted by sunny skies on Sunday. All of the preparation work had been done prior to the race that was rained out, so the 'getting ready' part for Race No. 11 was fairly simple for once. The regular head of timing and scoring had a commitment at a Great Lakes Sprint Series race in Newcastle, Indiana, so Conor was asked to assume those duties for Race No. 11.

PRACTICE – Practice was fairly uneventful. We made a minor gear change for Peter, which seemed to help. In his second practice session, he improved his personal best lap time from a 51.48 set on June 9 to a 51.30. Unless my stopwatch finger is letting me down, Henry actually set a faster lap time on year-old practice tires in his first session (44.30) than he did on one-race-old tires in his second (44.91). He had found a video clip on YouTube the night before of Gilles Villeneuve and RenĂ© Arnoux battling it out at the French Grand Prix in 1979. Maybe whatever he got from that was only good for one session…

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – Peter's class had six karts, including one newcomer and the former club member who had joined us for Race No. 8. Peter lined up in third for the start of both of his heat races. He maintained his position at the start of the first and ran in third to the finish. The former club member ran away from the field, as he had done in Race No. 8, and one of the regulars in Peter's class ran better than he has all season to a well-deserved second place finish. Peter even lowered his personal best lap time to a 51.23 on Lap 4 but could do nothing more than keep up. The inverted order in Heat 2 resulted in much more action than in Heat 1. On the first lap, Peter made his way past one kart and then was passed by the eventual winner. He was then being held up by a slower kart in front of him for several laps. While trying to find a way around, he left the door open and was passed on Lap 4. The two in front of him battled hard for the next two laps. On the last turn of the last lap, an aggressive move resulted in these two tangling just long enough for Peter to slip by both on the inside to take second place. An action-packed heat indeed! A third and a second earned Peter the second starting position for the feature. Peter made a good start and followed the pole sitter through Turn 1. He was able to keep the leader in his sights for the first half of the race while pulling away from the rest. His lap time crept up a bit after that as he consigned himself to a second place finish.

80cc SHIFTER – Henry's class had 10 karts for Race No. 11 – eight regulars and two newcomers. Henry drew the eighth and third starting positions for his heat races. His standing starts have been getting better and better throughout the season, and he made a great one in Heat 1, passing two karts in the process. He made another pass in Turn 9 on Lap 2 and ran in fifth, while nipping at the heels of the kart in front of him, to the finish. He made another great start in Heat 2 and ran in third, with lap times consistently in the low 44 second range, to the finish. A fifth and a third place finish earned him the fourth starting position for the feature. Oops! I spoke too soon about his great starts, because when the green flag flew, he sat there for what seemed like an eternity (which I'm sure was milliseconds). He lost three places but made one up on the first lap and settled in to seventh for several laps. At the beginning of Lap 4, there was a scary accident involving two karts in front of Henry. The fourth place kart spun in the very fast Turn 1 and found himself pointing the wrong way on the track, rolling backwards slightly, at the exit point. Indecision on the part of the fifth place kart resulted in him going to the inside, and then the outside, of the backwards kart. The backwards kart was still moving towards the outside, however, and was clipped in the left rear wheel by the left front wheel of the fifth place kart. A kart with a deranged front wheel does not stop quickly on the grass, and he made his way all the way to the fence before coming to a stop. The impact with the fence was not hard, but the driver sat there for what seemed like a long time before getting out – shaken up but not hurt. Henry and the kart in front of him made it through the mess okay. Henry was able to make a pass later in that lap and ran in fourth to the finish.

NEXT RACE – The next two races are on back-to-back weekends and will conclude the season. Race No. 12 is Sunday, October 7, 2007, and the make-up for Race No. 10 is the following Sunday (October 14). Baring some unforeseen circumstance, Peter now has enough points to claim the championship in his class, equaling the feat that Conor accomplished in 2005. Henry's consistency has earned him a fairly solid third place standing in the championship in his class, but he will need to maintain that consistency to stay there.

We were joined at Race No. 11 by the newest member of the Bruce Brothers Racing team – Weston – who is a four-month-old chocolate Lab/Pointer mix.


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

p.p.s., Gilles Villeneuve and René Arnoux video can be found at