Wednesday, July 23, 2008

MSOKC Race Nos. 6 and 7 – July 12 and 13, 2008 – Double Header

NEWS – Circleville Raceway Park hosted the first Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club double header (back-to-back events on the same weekend) in quite some time on July 12 and 13, 2008. Both were supposed to involve timed qualifying sessions, but thunderstorms knocked out the AMB timing system on Saturday night, so Sunday’s event used the normal heat race format. To mix things up, Saturday’s race was run in the regular (counter-clockwise) direction and Sunday’s was run in the reverse direction. The annual MSOKC ‘Hog Roast’ followed the race on Saturday.

PRACTICE – Henry was back with us for Race Nos. 6 and 7 after returning from two weeks in the UK visiting family and friends for his high school graduation present. Practice for Race No. 6 was his first opportunity to try the new the new club-spec Bridgestone tires. Conor broke in a new brake disk that we installed to replace the one he chipped during practice for Race No. 5. Peter re-acclimated to the lighter brake system that we used last year.

BRIGGS SPORTSMAN – There were three karts in Peter’s class on Saturday and four on Sunday. On Saturday, Peter easily had the fastest lap time in his qualifying session, which put him on the pole for the start of his heat race, which he led from start to the finish. As his class was being lined up for the feature, it began to sprinkle. After a short delay, Peter’s and the remainder of the day’s feature races were called off, with finishing positions being awarded according to earned starting position, which gave Peter the win.

On Sunday, Peter started his first heat race from the pole position and led every lap for another heat race win. In his second heat race, starting from fourth, he worked his way into second position by Lap 4. Peter latched onto the tail of the leader and applied pressure all the way to the checkered flag, but could not find a way past. The first few laps of the feature were much the same, except that Peter did manage to make a pass to take the lead entering Turn 5 on Lap 6. Two laps later, the favor was returned, however, which resulted in a second place finish for Peter.

YAMAHA JR. SUPERCAN – There were a season-high 15 karts in Conor’s class on both Saturday and Sunday. We seemed to be a bit down on pace during practice on Saturday, and this showed during Conor’s qualifying session where he qualified sixth. Fourth through seventh positions were separated by less than 0.1 second. We made some changes for his heat race, which seemed to help. Conor made one pass at the start and another entering Turn 5 on Lap 3. The second pass resulted in some contact, which allowed the other kart to retake the position in Turn 6. Conor repeated the move on Lap 5, making it stick this time, for a fourth place finish. Unfortunately, Conor would not have an opportunity to improve any further, as the feature race in his class was also a victim of the rain, which resulted in another fourth place finish for Conor.

On Sunday, the possibility of a big pile up was a real one with 15 karts starting from a random order, but fortunately there were few incidents all day. Conor started his first heat race from the eighth position. He made two great passes and finished sixth. From the seventh starting position in his second heat, he actually lost a position at the start, but then starting picking off karts at about one per lap. By the time the checkered flag flew, he was up to fourth. A sixth and a fourth were good enough for the second starting position for the feature. He timed the start perfectly and was in the lead by the second corner (Turn 9 going backwards). The first five karts, with Conor in the lead, broke away from the remainder of the field by about Lap 4. Conor could stretch it out a bit in the faster places, only to have the others reel him back in coming out of the slower corners. There was obviously more than one gear ratio strategy being used on Sunday. I thought that Conor was going to be able to hang on for the win, but on Lap 8, the second place kart got a good run coming out of Turn 3 and dove under Conor in Turn 1. The top three separated a bit after that and finished in that order.

80cc SHIFTER – Henry’s class had 10 karts on Saturday and a disappointing six karts on Sunday. He was liking the Bridgestone tires after his qualifying session on Saturday, where he posted the second fastest qualifying time. After getting a reasonable start in his heat race, but began to struggle a bit and ended up finishing fourth. Henry’s class and several others were the only ones to get their feature race completed before the rain came on Saturday. In his feature, where Henry lined up third, the flagman held the green flag for an inordinately long amount of time to make sure several ‘creepers’ would come to a complete stop. Henry managed to stall his engine when the green flag finally flew. After giving himself a push start, he worked from about a third of a lap back to catch and pass several karts and eventually finished seventh.

On Sunday, Henry started his first heat race from the fourth position and finished fifth. We discovered a broken seat-mounting bracket, which may have been the cause of some of his handling difficulties, and managed to get this re-welded without missing a session. In his second heat race, starting from third, he got a good start and managed to finish where he started. He started his feature race from the fourth position, lost a spot at the start, but was able to make it up on Lap 4 when the kart in front of him went wide in Turn 5. In the later stages of the feature, his lap times were on par with his qualifying time on Saturday, so we’re hoping that the repaired seat-mounting bracket did the trick.

NEXT RACE – We’re in Kansas City visiting family this week after having taken Conor to Iowa City for a belated one-year follow-up appointment with Dr. Menezes. I am happy to report that Conor got a clean bill of health. The same cannot be said for my car, which we had to leave in Peoria, Illinois, for a water pump and timing belt replacement. We’ll return the rental car and pick up my car on Friday, after which we will head home. Conor’s engine will be waiting for us to re-install Friday evening after having been freshened-up at the engine builder. The following day, Saturday, July 27, 2008, is MSOKC Race No. 8, another night race under the lights at CRP.

p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found at (Race No. 6) and (Race No. 7)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

MSOKC Race No. 5 – June 22, 2008

NEWS – It’s been a busy couple of weeks since MSOKC Race No. 5, which was the first reverse-direction race of the 2008 Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club season. It was also the first race where the new club-spec Bridgestone tires were required. Henry missed this race, as he was in the UK visiting family and friends for his high school graduation present.

PRACTICE – Conor had used the new Bridgestone tires during the Great Lakes Sprint Series race he ran back in April. They’re supposed to be a bit more durable than the Vega tires we’ve used for the past few seasons, but we found that they are about a half second or so slower per lap at Circleville Raceway Park. We arrived a bit earlier than usual so that both boys could re-acclimate to the reverse direction during open practice. Conor pushed a bit too hard and had an innocent-looking spin that resulted in a broken chain, a bent sprocket hub, and a chipped disc brake rotor. We managed to make the necessary repairs to the chain and sprocket in time for the organized class practices and decided that the brake rotor would last throughout the day. Peter enjoys the reverse direction races and had no problem coming to grips with the Bridgestone tires.

BRIGGS SPORTSMAN – Peter's class had one new participant, but two of the regulars did not show up, so there were only three karts for Race No. 5. Peter timed the rolling starts great all day. From the second position in the first heat, be pulled out a bit of a lead over the first two laps. The kart that appears to be is main competition in this class closed the gap by mid distance and passed Peter going into Turn 4 on Lap 4. Peter managed to lead from flag to flag in the second heat. In the feature, which was shortened from 10 to 8 laps because of the threat of rain, Peter once again pulled out a bit of a lead only to have the gap closed up by mid distance. He managed to hold on this time, however. We’re looking forward to when there is a full complement of karts in this class.

YAMAHA JR. SUPERCAN – There were 10 karts in Conor’s class for Race No. 5. Some of Conor’s success this season has been the result of our using Vega tires for the first four races. Others chose to start the season on Bridgestone tires in anticipation of the remainder of the season. Conor started his first heat from the second position and ran there to the finish, at about 0.4 seconds per lap off of the pace of the eventual winner. Starting from seventh in his second heat, he picked up two positions on Lap 1, another on Lap 3, and another on Lap 4. The winner of the first heat had run into trouble at the start, so a second and a third would have given him the pole position for the feature. He was clearly faster than the second place kart, but these two tangled when Conor went for an inside pass going into Turn 4. Conor lost two positions and finished fifth. Fourth is where he lined up for the feature. After holding his position at the start, he was a bit more patient this time. He made a pass for third on Lap 4 and another on Lap 5. The eventual winner had gotten away by that time and continued to extend his lead, so Conor finished second. The eventual winner is doing mostly national and regional races this year and will not compete for the MSOKC championship, so they forfeited the win to Conor when they learned that we were going to have to tear down the top end of the engines in post-race technical inspection, which they decided was not worth their trouble.

NEXT RACE – Henry has since returned and will participate in Race Nos. 6 and 7, which are back-to-back events on the same weekend – July 12 and 13, 2008. Both will involve timed qualifying sessions as opposed to the normal heat race format. Race No. 6 is in the regular direction and Race No. 7 is another reverse direction race. The annual MSOKC ‘Hog Roast’ will follow Race No. 6 on Saturday. The week after this, we will head to Iowa City for a belated one-year follow-up appointment for Conor with Dr. Menezes and then on to Kansas City to visit family.


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