Roadracing in Arizona & New Mexico

Firebird East – April 16 & 17, 2005

Saturday (Apr 16) we were back out at Firebird East for a joint event with Southwest Karters and the Southern California Karters groups.

First practice session was cut short when a senior 125 kart punted Tyler off into the right hand “S” on the freeway straight.  After that we got the Jr. 80’s moved out of the 125cc and 250cc shifter group and into the TaG, Laydown and Junior kart sessions.

Second session was much more productive.  Tyler started to experiment with pushing the kart a bit more and keeping it on track on the exit of Turn 1. (Cecil Walker has posted some pix from the last time we were on the East track and has a good action sequence of Tyler spinning off at turn 1.  One of the other photos is really good and close and you can see Tyler looking at Cecil as he comes into Turn 1, although he has my name instead of Tyler’s

With the new Mychron Gold dash and datalogger ( installed on the Kart Tyler was able to see with the programmed shift lights that he had been short-shifting previously and therefore leaving a lot of time on the track that he now started to find as he let the motor windup into higher RPM.  His best time for the session was 1:15.440 (all times based off the laptimer on the new dash)

We also added the custom steering wheel ( from AIM to go along with the new dash and Tyler found that he had better leverage on the clutch for the starts too.

The second session Tyler still continued to better his laptimes and got down to a 1:08.380

The final practice session saw Tyler lower his time even further as he got more comfortable on the technical sections of the track with a session low time of 1:06.440.

The first race of the day was just before Lunch and the organizers gridded Tyler at fourth from the rear back behind the TaG and Laydown karts.  The start was done as a standing start with the karts backed up to the edge of the track at an angle and he did not think they were doing a standing start and would do a pace lap first.  However he quickly discovered at the drop of the green flag that this was not the case and dropped back at first.  By the time they came back round the track Tyler had more than made amends for the botched start by vaulting into 2nd place on the heels of one of the very experienced senior TaG karts.  By the fourth lap Tyler was in the lead when the kart he had been following slowed and pulled off with a mechanical problem.  Without a “rabbit”: to chase Tyler switched into “cruise” mode and was unaware that the TaG now in second place was slowly running him down and when he caught and passed Tyler the race was back on with Tyler nipping at this other Kart’s heels until he too pulled into the puts a few laps from the end from mechanical issues.  Tyler then cruised to the overall win with a best lap of 1:05.620!  The old adage certainly applied – to finish first you must first finish!

The second race (same grid positions from the first start) did not find Tyler making the same mistake at the start and he quickly vaulted into second behind the same kart he had followed during the opening laps of the first race. The two of them ran nose to tail for many laps while a new driver on the same kart that led the later half of the first race slowly reeled in the two karts in front of him.  For a few laps it was a good close battle between the top three karts until they came up on lapped traffic which allowed the third place kart to read the traffic better and move into first and by the time Tyler got clear of the traffic he had lost close contact with the front two karts.  I was glad that the “red mist” did not seem to take over and that instead he settled down into third and spent the balance of the race working on corners and continuing to get comfortable with the kart.  He finished in third with a best time of 1:05.890.
Sunday (Apr 17) found Tyler running with his Kart Design teammate, William Herr, in the third round of the Arizona Indoor Karting Championship at F1 Race Factory. Since both of the kids had driven at Firebird the previous day (it had been a hot 95 degrees) both were and I wondered how they would be feeling today (Tyler had fallen asleep at 7:30pm Saturday evening).

William was first out this time with a grid position of 12th.  As odd as it may seem we again drew kart #13!  That makes four times in a row that we have been issued that kart.

William moved us up to as high as 10th (out of 20 karts) and had some good tussles with our position bouncing between 12th and 10th as he and the group he was running with traded positions. William got a fast lap of 47.9xx

After the pitstop to change drivers Tyler rejoined the hunt in 14th and slowly started to gather in the karts in front of him until he was back up in 10th position and was gaining on the kart in 9th when he got into a great battle with one of the other karts that was also working its way forward trading spots sometimes multiple times per lap.  On the last lap alone they traded positions three times within four corners on the last half of the last lap.  Great to watch!  Tyler finished in 10th with a fast time of 47.5xx

We certainly got our fill of racing this weekend!

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