NJ ProSolo

posted May 23, 2011, 11:49 AM by Scoob Edoo
The weekend got off to a rocky start: I retrieved the trailer and was driving home in a slight shower.  When I was slowing to turn into the subdivision, the rig didn't slow as I expected, the road was slick.  I got to the point of no return and decided to make the left when all hell broke loose.  The brackets holding the hitch on the trailer tongue shifted (right side forward, left side back), the struts shifted and the pins holding them broke through their allotted holes, preventing a jack-knife.  But it sounded really bad.  I limped it all back the block to home and inspected.  I thought it was done, toast, kapput.  But I called Hensley and they explained exactly what happened, down to every detail.  I was able to move things back into place and continue on my way..  The only thing I need to replace is one of the weight distribution retaining bolts that broke the grease zerk when the bars went off center.

So I waited for Kieran to get home from school and we drove up to the Meadowlands just before rush hour on Friday.  90 min later we arrived and parked with the rest of the kart guys on the far side of the lot, right by the finish of the right side course.  Spectacular viewing from there, but safety was a bit of a concern since a spinning car could conceivably reach our happy abode.  It was a concern, but we just paid attention to things and everyone remained safe throughout the weekend.

The weather on Friday remained a but iffy, with rain coming and going, but the night was beautiful, clear and crisp.  We got to walk both courses a few times and eventually got to eat at our trailer when the "Welcome Party" didn't turn out so well, with only a few person crew cooking in a lunch wagon and wait times of 1+ hour..  We did another course walk with the Garfields once they arrived (the junior walk since there were only the three kids) and then we retired to the trailer to get some rest.  I was exhausted after the incident with the trailer/hitch earlier and after I got the circuit breaker reset and the fan working, I was able to get a few hours of quality sleep before the dawn.

The kids were running at the beginning of Heat 2 and we got everything ready just in time to get the motors warmed up and the kids sent to the line.  I hadn't reminded Kieran about the starts and when to go for good reaction times, so his first few were very slow - and on cool tires, the runs weren't very pretty.  So I talked to him before his 3rd run and told him to leave on the third yellow light on the tree and he got better after that.  And the sun and friction continued to warm the surface and tires and he was more comfortable for those last two runs.  He was about 7 seconds back from Carson, but improving almost every time.

F125 was running at the end of the 3rd heat, so by the time we got the kids back from impound, we only had a short wait to get ourselves moved over to grid.  There were 14 karts and 16 drivers, so we had quite a presence in grid.  On course, I was having a blast on the right side with its fast finish section, but couldn't quite figure out the left side's very different turn-around.  I was getting suckered by the sucker apex because I wasn't looking far enough ahead.  I had a plan to fix it in the afternoon runs... I did come out of the morning session in 4th or 5th, with a pretty good right-side time.  I thanked Julian for "teaching" me how to drive that section by watching his autocross videos.  The way he pitches and catches in just such elements worked perfectly for the finish on the right.  VERY fun!

The afternoon session had beautiful weather and again saw Kieran improving his reaction times and overall times.  Carson also improved, but Kieran made up some ground.  And the best news (for me) was that his motor was tuned very well for the event.  He and Carson were very close in 60' times, essentially splitting the twelve runs evenly between them.  Carson drives more aggressively than Kieran on course, thus the spread of overall times, but the motor is strong and was working flawlessly all weekend.  Yay for me.

My afternoon session, however, went fairly badly for me.  My plans for improving on the left side were not realized when I bogged and stalled on both of those runs.  I was trying to line up off the car's main rubber line, but was getting one side in the slippery stuff and the other in the thick rubber.  Not a happy camper with that effort.  Meanwhile on the right, I had cool tires on my first run and center-punched the two finish cones in what had to have been hilarious to see since I pushed them right in front of me for about 15 feet before they split.  And on my 2nd right side run, the motor started to sputter badly and stall, so I pulled off-line and it refired and ran strong the rest of the way through the course, but I went off-course when it sputtered, so that run didn't count either.  All-in-all, a forgettable afternoon for me.  We made it out of impound just before the end of the 4th heat and the clouds started to move in.  I started the charcoal for the ribs and got the trailer loaded with everything just in time for the rapture to come.  Oh wait, it was just a thunderstorm.  I cooked the ribs and was going to share with folks, but almost everyone had taken off to go various places to eat.  So instead I shared the ribs with the Michigan (Nut Pack Racing) crew who was paddocked next door.  We all got to eat well that night - and the rain cleared to leave us with "green" courses for Sunday.  I got some help rewiring my troublesome ground wire and got some quiet course walks in, again paying particular attention to the left course and that troublesome turn.  Kieran was already asleep when I got back from playing with the Nuts and I slept very well that night thanks to a little joy juice from the Nut himself.

Sunday dawned gray, cool, and ugly - but with no more rain in the forecast!  The temps were down 15-20 degrees from Saturday, so a lot of people were making changes to their karts.  After talking with Alan, I decided to go with a little richer main jet after the motor sounded like crap starting around 12k rpm.  After the change (from a 175 to a 178) the motor didn't rev as high, but it also wasn't breaking up badly as it had before.  Meanwhile I don't think I even touched Kieran's motor and it ran like a top again.  Yay, again.

Kieran improved his time on the right side to pull within 5 sec overall of Carson's times, so he had a successful morning, even though the kart was pushing badly in the lower temps.

In my runs I was able to improve on the left side times on both runs, but got the two finish cones on my first (cool) run.  I dropped 0.6 s on my second left run, but I wasn't able to improve the right side at all, though I was able to run the finish complex flat-out again and finish the weekend with that wonderful feeling of a perfectly executed maneuver at the very end.  I held on to 8th by a slim margin over Josh and Justin.  It would have been a better finish for me if Adam hadn't gone from 13th to 5th on his last two runs.  And then Alan found almost 0.9 s on his last run to shoot from 8th to 2nd.

So a pretty successful weekend for both Kieran and me.  Again, no motors broke, my brakes worked beautifully, the trailer did its job, the hitch did its job (despite me trying to kill it), I got my ground wire fixed for good, and we got some quality time with some great people from the East Coast and Midwest.  That's more important to both of us than winning anything, so we're both pretty happy.

The Delaware (Philly) National Tour is up next in 2 weeks!