Thursday, September 4, 2008

MSOKC Race No. 9 – Saturday, August 23, 2008

NEWS – Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 9 was the seventh day of karting for us in the past 15. It also represented the last race of the season for Henry, who we moved into his dorm at Brown University in Providence over Labor Day weekend. His biggest complaint so far has been that they stop serving breakfast at 10:00 AM... An entire day of preparation was required to reconfigure Henry’s kart from his Commercial Point Grand Prix setup, Conor’s kart from his New Castle Motorsports Park setup, and Peter’s kart from the long layoff since MSOKC Race No. 8. This also involved dismounting and remounting 12 tires (four of which I got wrong and had to dismount and remount), which provided me with my exercise for the week.

PRACTICE – We decided to try some of the chassis settings on Conor’s kart that we learned at the Zoom-Zoom Nationals at NCMP for Race No. 9. He seemed to be comfortable with less bite in the front end, so we decided to give these settings a try. I also corrected a problem with Peter’s rear wheel size when I remounted his tires which resulted in excellent lap times for him during his practice sessions. Henry was content with minor tire pressure adjustments during his practice sessions and the maintenance I performed seemed to take care of the slight misfire at high rpm that he experienced at the Commercial Point Grand Prix.

BRIGGS SPORTSMAN – There were three karts in Peter’s class on Saturday, which were combined with one additional kart from the unrestricted junior class. In each of his heat races. Peter timed the start perfectly and pulled away to dominant victories. This earned him the pole position for his feature race. He got the field rolling a bit early at the start of his feature, which allowed the kart on the outside to sling-shot around him as they crossed the start/finish line. His lap times had been up to a full second faster than the rest of the field, so it was only a matter of time before he would have a chance to reclaim the lead. This opportunity came a bit sooner than Peter expected. On Lap 1, the leader made a mess of Turn 4 and Peter’s momentum carried him over the rear end of the leading kart as they got onto the back straightaway. These two became tangled and came to a stop. Peter had to get out of his kart and lift his front end off of the rear of other kart before he could resume. The kart that had been in third place had gotten by without incident and had amassed a 25 second or so lead by this point. Peter put the hammer down and was catching the leader at a rate of about one to two seconds per lap. That would not be enough in a 10 lap race, however. The leader made a mistake on Lap 9, which allowed Peter to close the gap to within striking distance. Had the race been one lap longer, I’m sure that Peter would have pulled off the remarkable comeback. The margin of victory was 0.337 seconds.

YAMAHA JR. SUPERCAN – For classes of 10 or more karts, the MSOKC Board of Directors voted to change heat races from six laps to eight laps to allow faster karts that start towards the rear more time to make their way to the front. Conor’s class consisted of 10 karts on Saturday, so they got 8/8/10 as opposed to 6/6/10. Conor started from the pole position in his first heat. He led the first two laps but got a little wide on the exit of 10 on Lap 2 and was passed. He ran in second to the finish. Conor made a great start from the back of the field in his second heat and was up to sixth by the end of in Lap 1. He lost a position on Lap 3 and then gained two on Lap 4 and another two on Lap 5. At this point, the two remaining karts in front of him were holding him up. On Lap 6, he made an unsuccessful attempt to pass for second, which ended up with him and the kart behind him in the grass. He fell to seventh but recovered to finish sixth. The heat race finishes resulted in three karts tied for the second starting position for the feature. Conor ended up with the short end of the stick and started fourth. The outside row lagged behind the inside row at the start, but the flagman threw the green flag anyway, which resulted in Conor ending up fifth at the end of Lap 1. He made his way up to fourth on Lap 3 but then got stuck while the leaders got away. Conor, who had been on the bumper of the kart in front of him for six laps, made a dive to the inside in Turn 4 on Lap 10 after the kart in front of him made a small bobble in Turn 3. He made the pass, albeit with a bit of contact, pulled away from the kart that had been holding him up, and finished third. We learned soon afterwards that Conor had been assessed a one position penalty for ‘rough driving’, which dropped him back to fourth. The irony in this is that we had been advised earlier in the season that we needed to get Conor some experience at the national level so that he could learn to be more assertive. When we did this, and he used what he had learned, he ended up getting a penalty. Go figure…

80cc SHIFTER – Henry had a relatively uneventful day on Saturday. He started fifth of nine karts in his class in his first heat. He lost two positions on Lap 2 and gained one on Lap 6 to finish sixth. In his second heat, again starting from fifth, he made one pass on Lap 3 and finished fourth. The heat races did an excellent job of sorting the karts out by their relative speed, because in the feature, there were no passes in the entire field except for a retirement towards the rear on Lap 9. Henry started fifth and ran there to the finish. His fastest lap was a bit better than the fourth place kart, but not by enough to do anything with it.

NEXT RACE – In spite of Peter’s mishap, he ended up extending his championship lead by several points. Conor’s results dropped him into a tie for the championship lead in his class. For MSOKC Race No. 10, which is another reverse direction (clockwise) event at Circleville Raceway Park is this coming Sunday (September 7, 2008), we will put some of the bite back into the front end of Conor’s kart. In the mean time, Henry will be busy manning the new Bruce Brothers Racing East Coast operation.


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