Thursday, October 18, 2012

MSOKC Race No. 12 – October 7, 2012 –Double Champions!

NEWS – For Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 12 a week ago Sunday, all Conor had to do to clinch the championship in his class was to show up.  Peter however, had work to do to win the championship in his class.  Race No. 12 was a reverse-direction (clockwise) event at Circleville Raceway Park that featured qualifying instead of the normal heat race format.  While chilly mornings have become the norm here in Central Ohio, it was downright cold that morning.

PRACTICE – The first practice session for everyone was a bit of a comedy.  There was so little grip from the cold tires/cold track combination that more karts had spins than not – some as they were leaving the grid area.  Peter started on the tires he raced on last time with the intention of switching to a slightly better set that we had in the trailer for his second session.  We had one last set of new tires in the trailer, which Conor would race on after practicing on old tires.  We didn’t learn much in the first session other than nobody was breaking any lap records.  In the second session, Peter pulled into the pits after only one lap with what he reported as a bad vibration.  We checked a few things, including the tire balance, made a few changes, and sent him back out to practice with Conor’s class.   The problem seemed to be fixed, but he was still a bit off the pace, so we decided to make a gear change for the qualifying session,

SPEC 100 PIPE – There were again only four karts in Peter’s class.  During his qualifying session, Peter’s first lap was again off the pace.  His second lap (of three) was almost a second and a half faster.  He must have dug deep for the third lap, because it was another half second faster and good enough for pole position.  Everyone else had improvements during their three laps, but none as dramatic as Peter’s.  Peter knew that the start of the heat race would be important.  He got a bit of a jump on the kart on the outside of the front row (his main rival in the championship), but the flagman waived off the start.  On the second attempt, it was Peter’s rival who got the jump and the start was waived off again.  There is a little-used rule that says, if the start is waived off twice, the front two rows are inverted for the next attempt.  For whatever reason, the race director decided to invoke this rule.  The green flag waived the next time around and, after qualifying on pole, Peter ended up going around the first turn (Turn 10 in the reverse direction) in fourth place.  His main rival tried unsuccessfully to make a pass in Turn 9, which let Peter slip by into third.  Peter got a good run out of Turn 5 and made a pass for second going into Turn 4 on the first lap.  He duplicated that maneuver on Lap 3 to move into the lead.  On the same lap, Peter’s main rival tangled with the third place kart while attempting a pass and lost five seconds or so in the process.   They ran in that order to the finish.  The results up to that point meant that all Peter had to do to win the championship was to not finish last in the feature.  At the start, Peter held the lead and his rival made a pass into second (after starting third).  The first three were nose to tail for the first few laps before Peter began to edge away.  Peter set the fastest lap on Lap 9 on his way to his sixth feature race win of the season in this class and clinching the season championship.

80cc SHIFTER – While it would have been nice to send Conor out with a win to go with his second consecutive season championship in this class, one of the younger guys did not cooperate.  He also had a new set of tires, which he used to out-qualify Conor by several tenths of a second (45.133 to 45.506).  Conor responded in his heat race by turning his fastest lap of the season (44.895), only to be outdone by the younger guy (44.807).  These two were in a class of their own and finished first and second (out of nine).  Conor was once again in the 44s during his feature race, but the young guy lowered the bar once again with a 44.694 – easily the fastest lap of the year in this class – in spite of the conditions.  These two once again finished first and second.  Like Peter, Conor also finished the season with six feature race wins – five of those in his class and one in Peter’s class when he doubled up for MSOKC Race No. 3.

NEXT RACE – That’s it for the 2012 season for Bruce Brothers Racing.  Twelve wins, two championships, and a clean sweep at the Commercial Point Karting Classic – you can’t ask for a whole lot more than that.  Thanks to everyone who has supported us this season.  Conor is beavering away at his second year in the Mechanical Engineering program at The Ohio State University and continues to be involved as a member of the Buckeye Bullet electric-powered land speed record vehicle team.  Peter is focusing on his studies as a Junior at Upper Arlington High School and is a key member of the Varsity Crew team.  His boat will race in the Head of the Charles in Boston this weekend, which is largest two-day regatta in the world.  Laura and I will meet there to watch Peter row and spend some time with Henry, who lives and works downtown just minutes from the Charles River.  Life is good...


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results from Race No. 11 can be found here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

MSOKC Race No. 11 – September 23, 2012 – Another Double Win

NEWS – Although we had a few difficulties a week ago Sunday for Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 11 at Circleville Raceway Park, the end result could not have been a whole lot better.  One of the difficulties was, of all things, a tire that would not hold air.  All had gone well during the previous race, so the only major preparation for this event was a partial clutch rebuild for Peter.

PRACTICE – Race No. 11 was the penultimate event of the year.  Peter had two decent sets of used tires to choose from and Conor had a set of one-race-old tires that had been flipped around on the rims to race on.  Peter split his two practice sessions deciding on which set to use and fine tuning his clutch.  Conor practiced on a well-used set of tires initially and then switched to the better set.  During his second session, he slowed on his second lap and then crept around to the pit entrance with a flat right rear tire.  Submerging it in a bucket of water resulted in no bubbles, so we assumed the leak was the result of the tire spinning on the rim under acceleration.  It seemed to be holding air after we re-inflated it, so we decided to use it.

SPEC 100 PIPE – The field in Peter’s class has thinned out toward the end of the season – only four karts for Race No. 11.  Peter started his heat races from the third and second positions, respectively.  At the start of his first heat, the two karts on the front row banged wheels going through Turn 10, which caused Peter to have to back off a bit.  He lost a position as the result, but gained it back on Lap 3 (of eight).  He caught the leaders but was not able to make any further progress.  In his second heat, he timed the start perfectly and went through Turns 1 and 2 side-by-side with the pole sitter, which put him on the inside for Turn 3.  He took the lead and held on for a heat race win.  A third and a first earned Peter pole position for his feature race.  Peter put on another display of how to perfectly time a rolling start at CRP, even though pole position is not necessarily the best place to start.  Videos of Peter grabbing the lead from both the second position and pole position can be found here and here.  With Peter setting the pace, the first three ran in lock step for 10 long laps.  Peter prevailed in the end for his fifth feature race win of the season.  The gap between the top three was less than 0.6 seconds.

80cc SHIFTER – There were 11 karts in Conor’s class for Race No. 11, including one new competitor.  Conor started his heat races from the second and eighth positions, respectively.  The start of his first heat race went well for Conor – he was in the lead by nearly three kart lengths by the exit of Turn1 – but didn’t go so well for several karts towards the rear.  A mid-pack kart spun/got turned around and was hit by the new guy, which caused him to go briefly up-side down – see video here.  Five karts were involved in some way, so the race was red flagged.  After a brief delay, engines were restarted for the second attempt, which didn’t go very well for Conor.  When he dropped the clutch as the green flag fell, he discovered he was in neutral!  He somehow managed to get going without causing a melee or loosing too many positions.  If he would have sat there for another split second, he would have been engulfed by the entire field (see video here).  What could have been a disaster turned out to be third position by Turn 3 on the first lap.  Conor made a pass for second on the second on Lap 2 and another for the lead on 5.  One of the non-regular competitors, who was on brand new, super-sticky, non-spec tires and would be disqualified at the end of the day, reeled Conor in on the last lap and piped him at the line by 0.001 seconds.  In the pits, we noticed that his right rear tire was nearly flat again, so we replaced it with a well-used one.  With championship points in mind, Conor took it easy at the start of his second heat.  He finished Lap 1 in eighth place.  He worked his way to fifth on Lap 2, gained another position on Lap 4, and stayed there to the end.  A second and a fourth was good enough for the second starting position for the feature.  The first two got away well and Conor settled in behind the leader.  On Lap 4, the leader made a mistake in Turn 6 and Conor was able to get by for the lead.  He went on to win – also his fifth feature race win of the season in this class – by 2.3 seconds.

NEXT RACE – For the third time in 2012, Bruce Brothers Racing scored feature race wins in both of our karts.  Conor’s win consolidated his firm lead in the season championship and Peter’s win took him from two points behind to three points ahead with one event remaining.  The final event of the season is MSOKC Race No. 12 on Sunday, October 7, 2012.  Both boys are looking forward to this, as it’s another reverse-direction (clockwise) event at CRP that will feature qualifying instead of the normal heat race format.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results from Race No. 11 can be found here.