Roadracing in Arizona & New Mexico

Race Reports

Sandia 2008

I bought a helmet mounted camera from and we used it last weekend at the race in Albuquerque.  We ended up having a horrible bog at times and in the video you can see Tyler raise his right arm in frustration when the bog hits him.


When we got there for the practice only Friday sessions we did not change anything on our setup from our last race down here in the Valley.  First session was just to set a baseline, knowing that our carb jetting would be way rich and that our gearing would not be right either.

After the first practice we leaned out the main jet from 175 to 165 and went back out.  Engine ran better.

After the second session we changed the gearing.  Went from an 18/22 to an 18/24.  The third session seemed good.

Saturday morning we went out for first practice with the same setup we ended Friday on.  Tyler came back in and I asked him what I needed to change or adjust.  He said the kart was perfect.  I did not have a transponder on the kart for that session but our MyChron Data logger showed a best lap time of 55.36.

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George and Will’s Adventure Part 2

One more week on the trot 

The parts arrived to put the 250 back together. Cleaned up the bore and put in the new piston, everything is looking good. Take the 125 off and switch things around on the kart. Decide to make a new water pump cover/inlet for the 250. Get that made and check the water pump while I’m getting ready to put the new cover on. Is it supposed to spin like that? Check the pump on our old parts motor. It doesn’t spin. Hmmm…Oh yeah, it’s only supposed to turn when the engine is running. That’s why the motor stuck at the March race – broken water pump drive gear! Glad I decided to make that cover. After a quick switch job on the side covers the kart is all put together and fired up on the stand. Everything seams to work. That’s good because tomorrow morning we leave.

Got going with same routine as last time. Waited a few minutes until George pulled up. Went and got gas at the Luvs station across the freeway from Firebird. Filled the truck and bought some race gas. Their race gas pump is over by the RV and Diesel pumps. I wouldn’t want to accidentally fill up my RV at the wrong pump!

The drive to Tucson was the usual deal. Lots of cars, lots of trucks. Lots of people that like to drive exactly in my blind spot and go exactly the same speed as me. Grrr..

We knew we were in Tucson because the road construction started. Got through most of the city and decided to stop for lunch. Found a Chinese fast food place and chowed down. The place also had the windiest path to the bathroom I’ve ever seen. Then back on the road. The drive to Benson was easy and traffic was light.

Then it was time for another stop. You know the one. The destination you’ve heard about your whole life. On every family vacation you saw the signs. Bright yellow and blue. Asking if you’ve seen it. Calling to you. It can only be one thing. And that one thing is, THE THING!


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George and Wills Big Adventure – Part 1

George and Wills Big Adventure
Three Weeks on the Run.

At the conclusion of the March 2nd race, we had the opportunity to run at two more events. The first was with Southern California Karters and HSR West at Willow Springs International Raceway. The second was a track day at Arroyo Seco Motorplex near Deming New Mexico. This is the story of that journey and all the strange and wonderful things that happened at those events. I would have changed the names of the innocent, but none of them are innocent. Besides, you all know who these guys are anyway.

Part One

The Willow Springs Trip.

Got up early Friday morning, went to the bathroom and went back to bed. About three hours later I got up for real and started loading the trailer. Went to get the boy up. Finished loading the trailer. Went to get the boy up. Left the house at about ten. Got just outside of Phoenix and pulled over to trade drivers. I figure if he can go100 mph with a bunch of crazies around him, 80 mph with 8500 pounds of truck and trailer should be a piece of cake. I mean, what could go wrong?

Well, nothing went wrong and I got to take a nap. Stopped for gas and lunch in Quartzite. Not as busy as usual, maybe everybody already left. Crossed the border into California and he got his first brush with the law. He had to stop and tell them what was in the trailer. Whew! Then it was more nap time for Dad.

With the boring part of the trip out of the way, we got to the exciting bit – Windmills!


Then, another gas stop. We stopped at a lot of gas stations. A quick run over the mountain on Pearblossom Highway to Georges house and the party could begin.

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What a SUCKY Day

Last race in November we burned up the gears when the bolt in the weep hole came loose and ported out the tranny fluid. I most of the replacement parts for the gearbox (shafts, gears, bushing, forks, etc…) but our engine builder did not get the additional three parts we needed (a main shaft, a bushing and a shiftfork) in time for this weekends race. Found that info out on Thursday afternoon so I was scrambling to find a motor we could use. Another racer who had moved up from a 125 motor to a 250 had one he let us use.

Got that motor late Thursday night and I got it mostly mounted Friday evening. Had to instruct out at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday so it was a sprint Saturday night to complete mounting this motor to our kart. Got “done” just after midnight. The sky looked ominous so before heading to bed I checked the weather report and saw that the forecast was for rain all day long.

Alarm goes off at 6:30am and first practice is at 9:30. Decide to skip it since it will be cold and wet. Got dressed but took a nap for another two hours before heading to the track.

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Firebird Main – Endurance Race 11/25

The kart had run well at the last event so we have not made any changes to it.  Then this morning just prior to the practice session Tyler decided he wanted to try and adjust the throttle cable to help the kart idle better (well, actually to idle at all).  Adjusted the cable and off he went to the grid but the kart was activing odd so he asked me to take the tension back out of the cable.  Thought I did.  He heads out for the track at increasing amounts of throttle.  When he approached he first corner where he would need to lift the throttle did not want to cooperate and he had to kill the engine there in the first turn.  Missed ALL but about 100 yards of practice.  Not real helpful for dusting the cobwebs off.

Got the kart back to the paddock after the session and made sure to get rid of the tension in the cable.  Gave the rest of the kart a once over and pronounced it ready .

Head out for Qualifying with some sticker tires mounted.  Not sure how many karts but it was a lot.  Not as many as last months 48 karts but certainly more than 30.

Qualifying went well except for a short black flag incident where another kart also had a stuck throttle and did not end as well as Tyler’s incident.  First reports we heard on grid was a “broken ankle”.  Turned out to be a broken axle. Big difference!  The kart did flip and the driver did play superman but other then some bruises he was ok.

I was blown away with Tyler’s qualifying effort.  No practice laps, just 7 full laps run in qualifying and he ended up third!

The really amazing thing however was seeing the times posted by the top four karts.

Pole:   1:06.507
2nd:    1:06.692
3rd:    1:06.865
4th:    1:06.870

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Oct 2007 Race Report – HUGE FIELD

Went out to Firebird West Track on Oct 7th for the second to last race of the 2007 season.  Outside of replacing the left rear hub that we broke at the Sandia race we made no changes to the kart.   I forgot to order new tires so Tyler did the weekend on the three heat cycled front tires from the last race and a set of six heat cycled rear tires that we had previously taken off the kart.

We got to the track pretty late in the morning (couldn’t get the tailgate down on the pickup truck and that of course delayed getting loaded up in the morning!) so we were pretty rushed when we finally got to the track.

I dumped in all the left over fuel we had from the last race into his tank and sent him after changing the jet in the carb from the really lean setup we had run at Sandia and a quick check of the tire pressures and the spark plug.

He was looking pretty good and was catching and passing the karts he normally runs with until a few laps from the end of the session when I saw him put his arm up, slow down and pull off the track over on the back straight.  After the session he pulled the kart back on track and tried to push start it himself.  No dice.  As he came in on the tow strap I asked him was was wrong.  Ran out of gas!  I guess we need to fire the crew chief.

Put the kart on the stand and gave it a once over.  Checked the plug (a little rich but looked ok), downloaded the data (top speed on the back straight at 89 mph and the temps and rpm looked good) and filled the tank.  Seemed to be ready to go.

Hit the track for the second practice session.  After a lap he came in complaining that the engine was sputtering.  Quickly changed the plug and sent him back out.  That seemed to have fixed the problem.

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Sandia Race Report 8/10 – 8/12

This past weekend (8/10-8/12) Tyler and I made the six hour trek from Mesa to Albuquerque to run at Sandia Motorsports Park.

We had just pulled out of Mesa and travelled about four miles on the Beeline Highway when something prompted me to ask Tyler if he had his driving boots packed.  He checked and he did not.  We turned around sprinted the twelve miles back home.  That little side trip would cost me a little bit because the combined 24 mile detour left us 2.6 miles short of a Gas Station in Payson! 

Fortunately we were hauling race karts and gear in the trailer.  Coasted to a stop on the side of the road, opened the trailer and poured in two gallons of mixed race gas into the tank. With 110 octane unleaded race gas costing $7 a gallon and a bottle of the castor (two bottles to five gallons) we mix with the gas also costing $7 each the per gallon cost of fuel to get us off the highway was almost $20!  In case we had this same issue further on in the trip I took the opportunity to fill one of our gas jugs with 5 gallons of the “cheaper” premium pump gas.

Since it was going to be a long weekend we stopped in Holbrook for the night before pushing on to Albuquerque the next morning to run test sessions that afternoon.

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Firebird Main 5-6-07

Highlights (and lowlights) from the next event.

Prior to the next Race on 5/6/07 we did quite a bit of maintenance and upgrades on the kart.

New triple-pass radiator, new carbon fibre silencer and new carb. As well as a new pistion, ring and cleaning up the cylinder walls. No real damage from the previous event. Thank goodness

Got it all put together and put the kart on the ground to give it a push start to see how it drove. Would not start! Pushed that thing down into our cul-de-sac and just about died from the exertion. The motor was trying to start but no joy beyond about two feet and then chug to a stop.

Back up on to the stand (after some rest and a big glass of ice water). Called around for some advice. Changed main and pilot jet and checked the plug. No spark. Changed the plug. IT LIVES!

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Testing the “new” 125 – 4/2/2007


Yesterday was our first day to take out Tyler’s new 125cc Shifter kart to give it a run.

While the picture “seems” to make the new kart look bigger then the old kart it is not.  The bodywork and chassis are the same size.  The double-decker stand that the new kart is on is just taller and closer to the camera.

The old chassis with the 80cc shifter engine on it is blue so Tyler decided he wanted the bodywork to mimic the Williams F1 team colors.  The new kart has a purple frame so we had to find a color combination that would not “clash” with the purple and yet be acceptable.  We decided to mimic the Crown Royal Grand-Am prototype car.  Sam at SummitWest did a great job.

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2006 St. Johns Grand Prix Race Report


Saturday saw the schedule calling for two practice sessions.  One in the morning and another in the afternoon.  Set up our space.  Made a few adjustments to the kart I was waiting to do once we got up to the cooler mountain climes of St. Johns (better then doing it in the hot garage down in Mesa).

Tyler went out for the first practice session  on his 80cc shifter and came back in on the very first lap.  No brakes and the kart was pulling really bad to the right on the straights.  On a track like St. Johns brakes are very important considering that it has two downhill straights (1/4 mile and a 1/2 mile long that end in 90 degree left hand turns) and an uphill 1/4 straight that has a greater then 90 degree right hand turn.  In short section of track at the top end of the hill with five quick fast turns.

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