Wednesday, September 17, 2008

MSOKC Race No. 10 – Sunday, September 7, 2008

NEWS – It’s been an interesting week and a half since Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 10, which was a reverse direction (clockwise) event at Circleville Raceway Park a week ago Sunday. Hurricane Ike blew through central Ohio last Sunday taking many trees, tree limbs, and power lines with it. We were without power for two days and many are still without power. The boys had their third consecutive day off of school today. Race No. 10 was the first of three ‘bonus points’ races, which are intended to encourage participation late in the season. Conor and I broke down and did a test session at CRP during the week leading up to Race No. 10 in an effort to rediscover the chassis settings that gave us the excellent lap times he was able to run earlier in the season. The track conditions were less than ideal, so it was difficult to determine more than what seemed to work best.

PRACTICE – Peter ran well in his first practice session on Sunday. It sprinkled just prior to his second session, so he didn’t bother to go back out after the sprinkles subsided. Conor ran a full complement of laps in his first practice session, but just two laps in his second session to save his tires.

BRIGGS SPORTSMAN – Peter ran with three other karts on Sunday, but one was a visitor and inadvertently registered in the wrong class, which was combined with Peter’s class anyway. Peter lined up for his first heat race on the outside of the front row. He went side-by-side with the pole sitter through Turn 10 (the first turn when running the reverse direction) which put him on the inside for Turn 9. He established himself in the lead on the run to Turn 8. While the pole sitter nipped at his heels all the way to the finish, Peter went on to record another heat race win. He somehow got lined up in fourth for his second heat race. He should have lined up third, but there was some confusion caused by the presence of the visiting kart. Peter was delayed at the start by another regular in his class. He made his way up to second on Lap 2, but could not catch the leader. From the outside of the front row in his feature race, Peter timed the start well and went side-by-side through the first few turns again. These two were still battling for the lead as the came onto the long back straightaway. There was a fairly significant tailwind blowing down the back straightaway at several times during the day (a sign of things to come a week later?). Peter’s data acquisition system normally records engine RPMs in the 5800 to 5900 range. In his second heat, he recorded a 6500 RPM, indicating a much higher top speed than normal. The other kart misjudged his braking point as the result of this and spun as he drew up along side of Peter in Turn 5. This allowed Peter to cruise home to another feature race win, his fourth in seven races this year in this class.

YAMAHA JR. SUPERCAN – There were just enough karts in Conor’s class (10) to invoke the new eight lap heat race rule. It didn’t matter for Conor in his first heat race, however. After settling in from his fourth starting position, Conor dropped a wheel off of the edge of the track while trying to make a pass on Lap 3 and broke a sprocket and a chain, which left him stranded by the side of the track. One other kart had dropped out earlier, so he finished ninth. From the sixth starting position in his second heat, he battled hard to work his way up to fourth at the finish. His lap times and top speed were not quite what we had hoped for after the changes we made during our practice session earlier in the week. We have since attributed this to a problem with his clutch, which we were aware of on Sunday, but had discounted its significance. In his feature race, starting from sixth, he worked his way up to fifth by mid-distance but could not get around several karts he normally has little trouble getting around. While the leader got away, there was an exciting three-way battle going on for second ahead of Conor, who finished fifth.

NEXT RACE – Peter once again extended his championship lead by several points on Sunday. Conor’s results for the day produced the lowest number of championship points for him this season. Only the best nine of 12 finishes count toward the championship, so it wasn’t a complete disaster. Fortunately, his closest rival was not the one who got away in the feature and only established a lead of one point over Conor in the championship. Unfortunately, the one who did get away closed the gap to Conor to one point. So with two races to go, two points separate the top three in Conor’s class. Since Peter will have just the minimum number of races to be eligible for the championship in his class (he started the season in another class), he will have to maintain his consistency if he is going to end up on top. For Conor, we’re hoping that a clutch rebuild and a new set of tires will return him to his winning ways. With the top three that close however, anything can happen. MSOKC Race No. 11 is Sunday, September 21, 2008, at CRP.