Friday, July 30, 2010

MSOKC Race No. 7 – July 25, 2010 – The Return of Pietro

NEWS – Peter is home from his four week trip to Italy, where he spent most of his time lounging on a beach on the northwest coast of the island of Sardinia. When I was 14 years old, I got to spend part of the summer on the southwest shore of Buckeye Lake! In any event, it’s good to have him home. We had what can best be described as a mediocre day at the race track for Mid State of Ohio Kart Club (MSOKC) Race No. 7 on Sunday, July 25, 2010. Both Peter and Conor had some great dices during the day, but we came away knowing we had left some valuable championship points on the table. None-the-less, we had our usual enjoyable day. The day dawned much cooler than the day before, but the skies opened up not long after we had unloaded. This postponed the order of events by about two hours. So that everyone could get home at a reasonable hour, the number of laps was shortened from eight and ten to six and eight for the heat races and feature race, respectively. This would work both for and against us as the day progressed – Conor needing more laps in his feature race and Peter needing less.

PRACTICE – The washing that the track got before practice began meant that no lap records were going to be broken on Sunday. Less than ideal atmospheric conditions, which changed as the day wore on, and re-rubbering of the track necessitated many chassis and engine changes throughout the day to stay on top. We experimented with different setups during practice. Peter had badly damaged his right front spindle in his most recent feature race (Race No. 4), so he had a chance to try out the repaired one during practice and to break in his new tires.

YAMAHA JUNIOR – The random draw for starting positions had Peter starting in the third position for his first heat race (of seven karts in his class). He was lined up behind a relative newcomer but with good equipment. I advised Peter to stay behind the pole sitter in an effort to pass the second place starter in the first corner and then the pole sitter in Turn 4. That turned out to be bad advice. The pole sitter checked up in the first turn which resulted in Peter dropping all the way back to sixth by Turn 4. On Lap 3, Peter got a good run through Turns 9 and 10 and managed to pull out a double pass going into Turn 1 on Lap 4. This resulted in a fourth place finish. There was a pileup in Turn 3 on the first lap of Peter’s second heat race, in which he started fifth. The action occurred ahead of Peter. He managed to miss it and advanced to third in the process. He got around Turn 9 well again on Lap 2 and dove to the inside in Turn 10 to take over the second position. These two ran nose to tail for the remainder of the distance with Peter hanging on for a second place finish. A fourth and a second earned Peter the third starting position for the feature. Peter had complained that his kart was too tight during his second heat, so we made a slight adjustment to loosen it up. Unfortunately, this was not enough. Peter held his position at the start, but the two in front began to draw away fairly quickly. One of the karts involved in the second heat pileup caught Peter on Lap 2 and got around him on Lap 3. He completed the laps in a comfortable fourth place.

80cc SHIFTER – Conor started from pole position in his first heat race. He led into Turn 1 and began to pull away a bit over the next few laps. The series leader, who had started from the rear, caught and passed Conor on Lap 4. Conor had to defend his position for the remainder of the laps to bring home a second place finish. In the second heat, it was Conor’s turn to start from the rear (seventh). He gained a position at the start, and two more on Lap 2. He was faster than the next kart in line but ran out of laps and finished fourth. A second and a fourth earned Conor the third starting position for the feature. He made a great start, but the second place starter dove to the inside to keep Conor behind in Turn 1. On Lap 3, it was Conor’s turn to get around Turn 9 well and dive to the inside in Turn 10 take over the second position. He pulled away slightly, but it was apparent that he was pushing hard to do so. After loosing a position by locking the rears during Race No. 6, Conor had been nudging his brake bias forward all day. He must have gone a bit too far because he locked the fronts in Turn 3 on Lap 5 and took a detour through the grass. This was enough to let the kart behind through. Conor caught back up in the next lap, and made one last ditch effort to regain the position in Turn 10 on the last lap, but came up about a kart length short for a third place finish.

NEXT RACE – In the week leading up to MSOKC Race No. 8, which is Sunday, August 1, 2010, both Henry and Peter had birthdays – 21 and 15 years, respectfully (how can that be?). For Race No. 8, which is a qualifying format event with standing starts for everyone, Peter got a carburetor and clutch rebuild and Conor got a top-end engine rebuild. After that, there is a much-needed two week break prior to the Commercial Point Grand Prix, which is August 14-15, 2010.


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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MSOKC Race No. 6 – July 17, 2010 – Three Deuces

NEWS – There can be no delay in these next few race reports as Mid State of Ohio Kart Club (MSOKC) Race No. 6 on Saturday, July 17, 2010, was the first of three races on consecutive weekends for Bruce Brothers Racing and the first of five races in a six week span. Peter was still in Italy, so once again had only one kart to look after during Race No. 6, which was a night race that followed the qualifying event format.

PRACTICE – We had made a few changes to Conor’s kart for Race No. 6, so he tried these out during practice but saved his new set of tires for the qualifying session. New tires seem to have a “golden lap” in them on about the third lap. The first two laps scrub off the mold release and scuff them in, and then after the golden lap, the performance begins to fall off a bit.

80cc SHIFTER – There were 10 karts in Conor’s class for Race No. 6, so the class was split into two groups for the three-lap qualifying session. Conor went out first in his group and took his time coming up to speed on new tires. The kart that went out behind Conor didn’t maintain a proper gap during the warm-up lap. Conor got one clean lap in before the kart behind passed him in Turn 5 on the second lap. This spoiled Conor’s second lap, and because of a misunderstanding in the tower, the checkered flag was given after the end of the second lap. So much for our planning around the golden lap! Needless to say, I was not happy, but the circumstances were the same for everyone. It didn’t make much difference either, because Conor was 0.4 seconds (i.e., a significant amount) behind the eventual pole sitter (the kart that passed Conor, which was also on new tires) and nearly 2 seconds (i.e., an eternity) faster than the next fastest kart. After qualifying second, Conor made an excellent start in his first heat race, nearly jumping the pole sitter but settling into second in the first turn. He ran within sight of the eventual winner for a comfortable second place finish. Starting from second in his feature, he did jump the pole sitter at the start. His lead was short lived, however. Much to his own dismay, he had neglected to mind his brake bias, which was not far enough forward, and locked the rears going into Turn 5 on the first lap. After the pass, he again settled into second and ran within sight of the eventual winner for another comfortable second place finish.

NEXT RACE – Qualifying format events do tend to be processional affairs, which was certainly the case for MSOKC Race No. 6. I’m not sure what else we can do to get Conor a feature race win it 2010. We seem to have squeezed every bit of speed out of the equipment that we have. We are content to be ahead of the rest of the field, however. Peter will be back in action for MSOKC Race No. 7 on Sunday, July 24, 2010, which is a regular direction event at Circleville Raceway Park. It’s good to have him home.


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

Sunday, July 11, 2010

MSOKC Race No. 5 – June 26, 2010 – Good News, Too

NEWS – The best news of all first – Conor and I have just returned from University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in Iowa City where Conor had his annual check-up from the spinal surgery he had there three years ago. Dr. Menezes was thoroughly impressed with Conor’s condition and gave him a clean bill of health. While there are still some things that he will never be able to do (play football, wrestle, jump on trampolines), Conor was told that he doesn’t ever have to return unless he begins to have problems again. So ends a very trying chapter in the life of the Bruce family… Now back to racing – Mid State of Ohio Kart Club (MSOKC) Race No. 5 on Saturday, June 26, 2010, was our first night race of the season at Circleville Raceway Park (CRP). These events are intended to make use of the cooler evening hours, but while the morning was relatively cool, temperatures rose significantly throughout the day and then it ended up raining on us in the evening.

PRACTICE – It’s been quite a while since we had only one kart to look after during a race day, but that’s just what we had for Race No. 5. Peter is spending the better part of a month this summer in Italy. We had planned to put Henry in our Yamaha SuperCan kart during Peter’s two-race absence, but he decided that the potential enjoyment wasn’t worth the expenditure involved. Also, Henry is working full time during the week this summer and wanted to spend time that weekend with friends. Conor had new tires for Race No. 5. As usual, we had him practice initially using an older set that we have mounted on a duplicate set of rims. At least I thought they were a duplicate set. We discovered that the hub offset is different on the fronts of one set compared to the other, which explains the difference in handling we’ve been experiencing between practice and race conditions. We would struggle with lack of rear grip (too much front grip) during practice, only to have it sort itself out during race conditions – or vice-versa, which was worse. With this under control, and with new tires and a carburetor adjustment that seemed to help, Conor was easily turning laps in the 44 second range during his second practice session.

80cc SHIFTER – The random draw for starting positions had Conor starting from pole position in his first heat race. He didn’t get away from the standing start as cleanly as he has been and was squeezed out of the lead in Turn 1. Further back in the field, two karts made wheel-to-wheel contact with one being launched into the hay bales on the outside in Turn 1. Everyone was okay, but fortunately for Conor, this caused a red flag condition which meant that the race would be restarted. Conor got away much more cleanly during the restart and led easily into Turn 1. He immediately began to pull away and developed a fairly large gap back to second place. At about mid distance (Lap 4 of 8), he backed off a bit to save his tires yet still continued to pull away. He won easily and recorded the fastest lap time in the process (44.781 seconds and the only kart in the 44 second range). Conor made another great start from the rear (sixth of seven) in his second heat. He immediately began slicing through the field and was up to third by the end of the first lap. The two karts in front of him were involved in what would become an epic dual for the lead. Conor was right on their tail and waited for his opportunity, but it never came. He had the speed to be more offensive, but seemed to be content knowing that a third place finish would give him a front row starting position for the feature. The rain came just as the starting lineups for the feature were being posted. After it became apparent that the rain was not going to let up, points for the feature were awarded based on earned starting position, which resulted in second place points for Conor. This was a bit disappointing since Conor seemed to have the speed for his first feature race win of the season.

NEXT RACE – The MSOKC schedule for the first part of the season has been rather spread out this year. By the time that Race No. 6 rolls around on Saturday, July 17, 2010, we will have had after another three week break. Race No. 6 will be another night race at CRP but with a qualifying format, in which we seem to do well. Peter will still be in Italy (he returns July 19), so unless Henry has a change of heart, we will once again have only one kart to look after. Beginning with Race No. 6, we have five races in a six week span, which includes a two-day event – the Commercial Point Grand Prix on August 14-15, 2010.


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