Roadracing in Arizona & New Mexico

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

Beat out fourth place by 5 one thousands of a second!  That’s close.

Feel good moment.  The top 6 places were all filled with karts running purpose built ICC motors other then us running our Honda moto 125.  Definitely hitting above his weight today.

The really warm fuzzy was the fact that the fourth placed kart and driver took 2nd in class at the SKUSA SuperNationals this past week in Las Vegas (over 400 kats!).

The race.  Not so much.

The only thing we changed was the plug.  Put in one that is a step hotter.  Were that close in qualifying I think that maybe that might help.  Don’t want to change too much.

Supposed to be a 45 minute endurance race which will require pit stops for a splash and dash of fuel to make the distance.

Got a bad start (yet again – need to have him work on that) and he dropped back to about 11th.  Started working his way back up and was making up places.  We could see him driving the wheels off the thing as he came around the Tower Turn.  Hugging the inside line to decrease the distance around the turn and fighting to catch the kart with handfuls of opposite lock as it skipped and bounced across the bumpy exit.  On lap 17 (about 18 minutes) into the race we don’t see him come back around.  We figure we missed him so we kept watching.  Nope.  The group he had been running with came back around and he wasn’t there.

Figure something is wrong and he his back at the paddock.  Lug the fuel jug and the water bottles back to find him he’s not there.  Walk over to the fence.  See three karts off in the dirt (nowhere near each other however) and we see a complete front spindle, wheel and brake rotor lying in the dirt.  He’s not there either.

Get in the truck to drive over to the “Looper” to se if he’s off over there.  Yep there he is.  See two other karts off in the area too.  Also not anywhere near each other.

Tyler said the kart bogged and sputtered on the start and took another lap before it started to feel ok.  The downloaded data from the kart bears that out.  Pace lap 2:02, Lap 1 1:22, Lap 2 1:10, Lap 3 1:08…

He pulled off with what sounds like a problem in the transmission with no power getting to the wheels.  Hope it’s not too bad.  It’s got compression, the plug looks good and it rolls in neutral without hearing anything that sounds like a “bag of marbles”.  We’ll clean up the kart this week and pull the motor to get it over to our engine builder.

Hope to fight another day.


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