Roadracing in Arizona & New Mexico

Race Report – 10/9/2004 – First time running with SWK

Firebird West 10-9-2004

Yesterday I took my twelve-year-old son, Tyler, out to a SWK event on the 1.1 mile west track at Firebird.  He would be driving his new (to him, anyway – 1999 CRG chassis) CR-80cc powered shifter.  Prior to this event he had done two test days with about four sessions each time out.

Because this was to be his first time actually running the kart in competition we elected to keep him on the used tires that were on the kart since we did not think he would be up to speed yet since he is still getting used to shifting.

He had only done tests and practices and had never competed on the Junior 1 kart (with both a Yamaha 100cc and a Comer 80cc) that he previously had but has been running with the adults at F1 Race Factory (in-door, 4-stroke karts) and the last time we were out there a few weeks ago his overall “Pro” ranking placed him as the 10th fastest on their track.

Tyler’s driver coach, Carl Scott ( has been impressed with how fast he has picked up the busy nature of driving a shifter in such a short time.

Tyler drove three practice session in the morning and got progressively faster each session.  The first two sessions he was up to speed with the rest of the fastest of the other Juniors in turning 1:11’s but in his third session he was able to get his time down to some consistent 1:08’s.  Significantly faster than the competition.  When he got back to the pits however we noticed a problem in that he had corded both of the front tires leaving us just the one other set of used tires that we had with us.

After lunch two qualifying sessions were held before the race.  Since the Junior field was fairly small (just five karts) they decided to do a split start and combine the Adult TAG karts with the Juniors. Because we had been last to register for the event Tyler started the ten minute qualifying session at the back but quickly worked his way up to the front of his group and earned the right to start the second qualifying session on pole (he even caught and passed two of the TAG karts). Only one of the TAG’s managed to catch Tyler on the White flag lap so he was quite happy.

Going into Turn 4 of the Second qualifying session found Tyler going off track on the exit as the front end plowed on it’s used tires.  He was unable to get it push started himself after stalling it when he hit two hay bales and had to then wait for a corner worker to reach him get some assistance running again.  However the damage was done and he finished at the back.  Last to first and then first to last.

When he got back to the pits we saw that this last set of used front tires had no rubber left on them either so we asked around and found a guy running a TAG 125cc kart that had a set of practice tires that were close in compound to what we had on the rear and would fit the european style spindles that we have.  That at least got him in the race.

Because he of where he finished on the second qual session had to start from the back again but quickly worked his way to the front and pulled of his first win with a margin of victory of over 10 sec. at the end of the fifteen lap race and none of the TAG karts managed to catch him.

Loaded up, headed for home and the boy was asleep before we hit the freeway.  End of a good day for father and son to spend together.

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