Dover National Tour

posted Jun 5, 2011, 5:51 PM by Scoob Edoo
Just about a perfect weekend, weatherwise.  The tow down was made interesting by the sway struts loosening somehow, forcing me to stop in Delaware then I experienced sway for the first time.  It is seriously not fun... But we got there safe and sound and I worked registration from 4 to 7 and partook of the very good welcome dinner (only a lot better than the NJ Pro travesty).  We both got a few walks in and it was a LONG course.  We figured about 60 sec for karts, spread across the two huge lots.  The smooth lot was set up top be fast and the other, known bumpy lot, was more technical.

As usual, the first night I did not sleep well, but I managed to get enough to function.  Saturday was spectacularly beautiful and my kart was jetted too rich for my first run (178 from the NJ Pro Sunday set up) so I changed down to a 175 and it ran perfectly after that.  Unfortunately I was not finding my groove and I was well off the fast pace.  The bumps on the first lot were incredibly bad.  The worst was one we didn't even consider when walking, but I was still being tossed like a rag doll with a bobble head.  And I got karter's elbow immediately after my first run.  So not a great first day for me, but it was beautiful and Kieran's kart was running very well.  And he dropped time for all three runs, getting to the high-76 sec range.  Unfortunately Vicky went off course all three of her runs (at the same location) so she did not get a time for Saturday.

So Saturday evening the course was essentially reversed, with one section removed to get rid of one of the big bumps from the Saturday course.  We walked a few times, cooked some hot dogs on the grill.  We went to bed before 10 and I crashed.  My elbows hurt so badly that I woke up several times during Saturday night, but what really woke me up was the thunder and lightning at 2 am.  I checked the weather map and saw that we were right in the middle of two lines of storms heading almost due-South.  I went out and rearranged everything under the awning and put the generator under the garage and went back to sleep.  I slept until 6:15 and Kieran slept until I woke him up at 6:55.  He would have slept longer, but we wanted to do another course walk and eat before I had to get my kart to grid.

Sunday dawned a humid, cloudy day.  We had gotten a little rain, but there was nothing in the area or on its way, so it was just destined to be cloudy.  At least it was not as humid as Sunday at the NJ Pro.  Kieran's kart was still running well, but my motor was doing its hesitation thing again, telling me that it felt a little too rich, but I did not want to risk going leaner, so I swapped spark plugs for my second run to see if that would help.  After a problem in the first slalom, after I spun backward and released the clutch while still rolling backward, I got the motor to go backward, too.  Two strokes are funny!.  I thought I was done when a course worker told me that it just needed to be pushed forward again to get it moving, so I jumped in and took off.  The motor did run a lot better on the rest of that run, so I didn't rejet for my last run.  And that last run was interesting.  I was having a pretty good run when I came into the last third of the course and somehow managed to spin through a wall of cones after apparently counter-steering off a bump and landing on one tire and whipping it around violently.  Josh said I was at least two wheels up and just whipped around in a bizarre spin from his vantage-point.  All I know is that it killed my chance for a good run today.

Kieran's runs started with me "fixing" his high side too much and he was very frustrated with the result.  I really fixed it this time and his next two runs were golden.  The interesting part came when he got weighed: 248.  No matter how many times we weighed on the different pads, 248.  We were very perplexed since Friday and Saturday he weighed 264.  I had removed one 5-lb puck right before his runs, but we could not account for 16 lbs!  The Protest Chief talked to us, the Chief of Impound talked to us, and they both talked to Pete (the Youth Steward).  After several minutes of consideration and discussion Cathy talked to us about theories of what went wrong between the two days and the mistake we'd made not weighing today after removing the weight (I agree with that), but that the two pounds didn't lead to any real advantage so they were going to allow his runs after all.  I will definitely take this to heart in the future and I'm planning to leave that 5-lb puck in place now until next year when we can weigh again on the National scales.  Maybe Kieran will gain a few lbs in the interim, too...

So it was a long weekend and only partially successful, but I learned a lot about my kart and how to be smarter with his kart.
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