First Race Second Time Around, CES at Gateway

This weekend marks our return to Gateway Motorsport Sports Park and the Championship Enduro Series.  Gateway was the location of Jason’s very first Road Race in 2013.  Jason was 7 and running his LO206 kart in the Novice Jr class, and we had no idea what we were doing and it was awesome.

Jason on the start/finish then and now
This time around Jason was racing with the Animal Junior class in two 15 minute races each day with some fast and talented drivers.  These races are crowd favorites with big classes and fast and close racing.  Jason was driving a his Animal kart, the motor is unrestricted, putting out about 12 HP and weighing about 300 lbs with the driver, compare that to the 5 HP and 265 lbs of his LO206 Kart of just a few years ago.

IMG_7774_cropSaturday’s race 1 was a bit of a surprise, Jason’s main competitor had softer tires(better speed in the corners) then we did.  This allowed him to pull away from Jason quickly from the start.  It was still a great race to with Jason and an Animal 360 kart trading places just about every lap.  Jason would catch and pass the 360 in the twisty infield and the 360 would return the favor on the long straight.  While all this was happening Jason and most of the Animal drivers were lapping the ~15 kart LO206 class.  Jason crossed the finish line in 9th over all and 2nd in his class only 6 seconds back from the class leader.

IMG_7791The second race was rained out by a fast moving storm, but not before a great attempt at getting everyone on the line and ready.  When the tornado siren rang out from the near by town we knew it was time to give up, put the karts to bed, and seek shelter.  After the storm passed we had a chance to hang out with our kart friend and family.  My aunt and uncle came to visit and watch racing and just like last time did not have a change to see Jason race, still good company.  Hopefully, we will be back here next year, and they can watch us play.

Watch for the yellow blur!

For Sunday’s race 1 I put on softer tires on Jason’s kart.  With a little gearing adjustment he had dropped 2 seconds a lap by the end of practice and was looking good for the race.  At the start he stuck behind his class mate for the opening laps and then passed and pulled away, never looking back(Video from classmate).  He was flying around the track lapping the slower traffic and his lap times only a second off from the Animal 360 front runners.  In the end he finished 5th over all and 1st in his class, beating second by 13 seconds.IMG_7806

The sky’s remained open and bright for race 2 on Sunday.  The down side of soft tires is they wear out faster.  To save these fast tires, for other racing, I needed to switch back to the hard tires.  At the start his class mate pulled away and Jason again traded spots every lap with an Animal 360 kart.  There was a chance that the class leaders tires would fall off dramatically and Jason would be able to catch him, but, that gamble did not pay off. Jason did finish 8th over all and 2nd in his class.  Unfortunately, the first place driver was disqualified handing Jason a technically earn first place.  No one likes to win this way, it sucks the fun out of things.  We have been DQd and it is no fun no matter who looses out.

CES rules allow the use any tire compound.  The softer the tire the better the kart will stick in the corners but the faster it will wear out.  Harder tires will last longer and let the kart slide more.  Event the construction of the tire side wall can make a difference, soft sidewall give more lateredsral grip then a stiff tire.  We normally run a Bridgestone YDS tire on our animal kart.  It’s a hard tire and allows the kart to drift through corners on both road and sprint tracks, however, you do need to keep the corner entry speeds down to prevent the kart from drifting off the track.  For the first race on Sunday we used a Vega Red which is a medium tire, turns out to have about the right grip for road racing but might wear out quicker.  We might try to use the reds again, but for the moment we are going to stick to the YDS or find some used Bridgestone YLC tires that are similar to the Vega Reds but are more readily available.

Our next stop is the Mid-American Sprint Series race number two at Badger Kart Club.  Jason knows Badger very well but some of the very fast locals are likely to attend.  It will also be Jason’s 11th Birthday.

IMG_20160507_123612In other news, the fiercely competitive, Katie won 5 of 8 blue ribbons and Grand Champion at a show this weekend.  She is preparing for a summer of competition with this summers horse friend Simba.

Yes, we are again racing on Mother’s Day.  We are very grateful that our mothers let us not just race but do it on this of all weekends.  Thanks to all of our Moms for taking care of us and letting us race this weekend.  Wish you where there.

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