Seasons First Race at Badger

IMG_20160403_174925The racing season has at long last started.  We haven’t been just sitting around just pinning for race day.  We have been very busy working, while pining for race day.  Last season the animal motor spun its bearings and died.  We had a new one built using some of the parts from the LO206 motor we blew up at the last years first race.  Jason has been practicing at K1 Speed and has now moved up from their small karts to the adult karts.  I have been inspecting and repairing lots of little things on both karts as well as adjusting the karts to accommodate Jason’s growth over the winter.  The LO206 kart remained mostly the same just a bigger seat, while the Animal kart kept is seat but got bigger tires, more weight, and a more powerful motor from Regan at 4 Cycle Central.

12916251_1051697234891311_4392144678230672148_oThe racing weekend started with some hockey practice, then Jason and I headed up to Badger Kart Club for their first race of the season.  As a bonus Karen and Katie would meet us at the track.  Karen was towing our old trailer to deliver to its new owner.  I was hauling the new to us toy hauler with a, also new to us, pickup.  It was a cold and SNOWY(!?!?) day.  I managed to get the 206 kart ready for Jason to get a few rounds of practice in but they were very short due to freezing hands.  The rest of the night was spend in the trailer hanging out and keeping warm.  The warmth lasted till about 8 pm when the trailers heater stopped working.  Thankfully, our friends the Murray’s live near by and brought us a space heater for the night.

Sunday’s race day started early with some last minute work(and snow) on the animal kart to get it road worthy.  IMG_7561Badger has moved to a single practice format and added laps to the races.  This is great for racing but makes fine tuning the setup a challenge.  During the LO206 pracatice the kart took some damage as he was collected some novice drivers crashing in the hair pin, but was repaired with lots of orange Duck Tape just like NASCAR.  The Animal, on the other hand, was having handling issues and the break caliper too tight.  Most of my time was spent working on itto get the brake to stop rubbing and then repairing a broken brake line.  It was finally fixed by adding some washer as emergency shims.

IMG_7452The LO206 ran very well and Jason brought home second all day long with some excellent driving.  He led the feature for most of the race but the local favorite was able to catch him.  There was a puckering 3 wide pass in the hair pin involving Jason, the leader and lapped traffic, all made it out clean.  The kart just needs some fine tuning and seat time to run out front again.  The animal kart is another story.  The kart was reconfigure with more weight to run the Jr class and was out of balance and over weight by 22 pounds.  Fixing the weight made the kart more out of balance and hard to turn right.  The breaks are better but need some TLC to be perfect.  The feature race was exciting from the stands and there was smoke coming from brakes, later it was discovered that number plate was rubbing the break disk and smoking.  It will be a challenge this week to get kart balanced correctly in just a few hours of work each night.   Despite the wacky kart Jason met some luck and finished second due to two other drivers falling out due to their own mechanical issues.

Jason’s next race will be this weekend at the Mid-State Kart Club in Springfield, IL for the Mid-American Sprint Series’ first race of the season. The races at Badger last weekend were rained out, but we did get some practice in on Saturday and the Animal kart is starting to shape up.  Some more seat time and tuning should get it right.

Thanks Marty Murray for preventing our untimely frozen demise and doing technical inspection for both CES and Badger.  Karen and Katie it great to have you around cheering us on and lending a hand.  Reagan of 4 Cycle Central saw the problem with the sticky brakes and built a great Animal for the season.

Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors for their continuing support.
Bell HelmentsGoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS Sports, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross, Christian Lantry Photographer, Jennings Chevrolet, Worx Industrial Solutions

Fathers Day Weekend, Briggs 206 Cup Race

Jason and I got to spend Father’s Day weekend at Briggs and Stratton Raceway Park at the first Briggs and Stratton LO206 Cup race of the season.  It was one of my favorite weekends so far.  The only thing missing was my own Dad, who was home with the rest of the family.  Though they were cheering us on via the internet and text messages.  We were in for a lot of work, with this being our first real competitive run with two karts.  It was all worth the effort.

IMG_5033Jason has been racing and practicing most at Badger this year, but he has not yet used the 206 Cup’s spec tire, Vega FH Blue.  Usually, we use Bridgestone YDS tires, which is the spec for most local tracks.  The YDS tires are very hard and the karts tend to slide sideways (drift) as they fly through the corners.  The Vege Blue is very soft and sticky, giving loads of grip to the track.  This allows for faster speeds through corners but requires a different chassis setup.  The drivers need to adjust their line, style, and speed to account for what has turned out to be a dramatic change in kart handling.  After consulting with some experts, we made some adjustments to both of the karts on Thursday night and then spent Friday fine tuning.  We managed to drop several seconds from our normal Badger lap times mostly due to tire changes but also due to changes in Jason’s driving over the last few weeks.  He has gotten much faster, to the point were he is driving most of the track with gas held to the floor and just a touch of break to slow into the corners as he pitches the kart sideways.

IMG_5051The Briggs Animal Sportsman class turnout was not the best, with only Jason and one other driver.  We made the best of it though.  We got some more laps in the kart and made small changes to the kart to try to eek out a little more speed and improve handling.  In the end it was really just good practice for Jason.  He was about one quarter of a second slower then the other driver, who also happens to be the Animal Sportsman class champion at Badger.  Both Saturday and Sunday Jason took second place but was able to keep up, only dropping back when the other, more experienced teams’ tires really started to work.  As the weekend progressed Jason’s extra seat time really showed and he made steady improvement in both classes.

Jason’s second class, Briggs LO206 Sportsman, on the other hand, was great.  It was everything that the LO206 racing is supposed to be.  The motors are basically equal, so it is all about chassis setup and driver skill.  The class had five very good drivers, all of whom Jason has raced before at one time or another.  TIMG_5060heir mechanics all had done a great job of getting karts prepped.  All weekend long these kids were running nose to tail with each other, each one of them in contention for a position.  It made for some very exciting racing.  Jason raced extremely well on both days.  On Saturday he finished 2nd in the first two heats starting from the middle.  The first heat was marred by a pileup in the third corner.  Jason, who was in the lead, was tapped by another kart in the rear and spun, causing a chain reaction.  The resulting damage slowed some karts in the second and third races of the day.   In the feature (on board video) he started in second and got a good start.  Halfway through the race, the leader made a mistake heading in to the boot.  Jason took quick advantage and moved into first.  He led to the checkered flag, taking his first regional win!

Mini-Sportscasters coverage of Saturdays LO206 races

Sunday’s racing was more complicated.  Jason started the first heat on the pole.  His start was a little off and he dropped to second and stayed there.  He started last in the second heat, picking up two spots by turn one, and finished third after a defending his line and trying to make it past the drivers in front.  He started the 12 lap feature in 4th and was not able to make any progress but neither was anyone else.  Those kids drove hard and pushed each other to drive smart and fast.   All of their lap times were within a quarter of a second.  Despite the lack of action it was very exciting.

Jason is now in first place in the Mid-American Sprint Series and the Championship Enduro Series,  and is in 2nd place in both classes in the Briggs 206 Cup.  His Animal finish also puts him in first place for the CES/206Cup Challenge.  After taking a few weekends off, on of July 11th and 12th we will be heading to Grattan Raceway for the next race with the Championship Enduro Series and Jason’s favorite track.

Happy Father’s Day to Joe, and to Gary, who is very much missed here on earth.  Thanks to T.J. Ross for this weekend’s support.  It means a great deal to us.  Thanks Steve, Greg, Briggs and Stratton racing, and the Badger Kart Club for putting on a great weekend.   Regan at 4 Cycle Central – thank you for your technical support.  Thanks to the Murray clan for feeding us chocolate and lending us tools.  Payton and family – thank you for helping me keep Jason sufficiently rested and hydrated so we could race safely.

Thanks to our 2015 Sponsors for their continuing support.
GoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross.

CES Gateway


This weekend we are headed to St Louis for the first weekend of racing with the Championship Enduro Series.  This is a little different from our usual sprint racing, because it takes place on a full size car track and there are two days of racing.  Jason is very excited about it.

Saturday’s race is sponsored by Greenwood Restaurant in Glenview, IL.  This is a great family-owned and run diner that my family has been visiting for may years.  If fact, when I was 10 years old, it was the first restaurant I went to where I paid for my own meal.  This is one of the places the memories are made.  Thanks Mike, Ann, Pam, and Grandma Lee.7177660182_292ea02ba8_z

Practice is from 8 to noon and I expect his 25 minute race to be around 3 pm CST on both days.  If you are interested in following along online you can watch live timing on the CES timing page or on your iPod/IPhone/Android by installing the Race Monitor app.  We are also going to tweet updates @wildduckracing.

Danrr Auto Body Sponsorship

The really big news for Wild Duck Racing is Danrr Auto Body has sponsored the paint on the new kart.  The Danrr  family has been in the auto paint and auto business for almost 40 years.  They provide professional body work and paint for just about every type of motorized vehicle.  In our visits they have been working on collision repair for insurance companies, custom motorcycle paint, and painting trucks for national and local businesses.  They also work on vintage vehicles,  including VW and classic muscle cars.  There always seem to be a few classic Rolls Royces in the shop that are being carefully restored to their original elegance and beauty.  Thanks guys for a beautiful paint job on the kart and on our VW bus.

Thanks to our sponsors Phil Danrr and Bruce (Atomic Decals)

Officially 2013 racing season has started and we hit the track!  We broke in Concept Haulers‘ track for the 2013 season with our first practice on March 16.  It was really cold, between 32 and 36 degrees, so we were the only ones there.   We both put several layers on and Jason had some chemical heaters stuffed in his shoes and shirt for some extra heat.  His fingers got a little cold and his arms got tired, but he was quite the trooper running 4 or 5 sessions without complaint.  In the photo below there is snow still on the track but not enough to get in the way.  On his last session Jason took the pit road which was covered in snow and managed to pick quite a bit of it in his kart.


Just a little snow on the monza corner.

For the last few months, I going over the chassis and putting all of our electronics, re-configuring the LO206 for the faster class, and generally getting the kart ready for the season.  He has had no time on the track since November and only a few hours in the new kart.  More worrying is, the first race is now only three weeks away.  So, despite the cold and the snow, we headed out to shake down the kart before and get his chops back.  His times weren’t very good, 1′ 20″ which is almost 30 seconds off the pace, but he is getting working the line.  There is lots of room for tuning the kart (mostly getting the gearing right) and he has to work out the timing of the breaks and throttle in and out of corners. The ice cold tires don’t help.  Hopefully, he will pick that time up quickly    For those interested, there are some videos, Practice 1, Practice 2, Cornering.

Thanks to our sponsors, AtomicDecals and Danrr Autobody.  Alicia, Jason, Diane and Les for opening the track.  And to my lovely wife who commented,”You go to go-kart things and return with meat and cheese”.

Atomic Decals Sponsorship

We have been suffering from parked kart syndrome and and getting itchy for the season to start.  The new kart is coming along and we are starting to spiral in on where and what we will be racing next season.  In the mean time we have been working with local business to to provide a way for them to support our team and give them some publicity.

Wild Duck Racing is pleased to announce Atomic Decals as a sponsor for the 2013 season.  Atomic Decals will be helping Wild Duck Racing with stickers and numbers for the kart.  We also plan to have some pre-made items with us at the track for sale.  Atomic Decals use modern tools and techniques to produce high quality and eye catching graphics for signs, vehicles, and clothing to promote your business, an event, or “just because”.  Please take a moment to visit their web page and on Facebook to learn more about their work.  When you order something, please be sure to mention you heard about them from Wild Duck Racing.

You may ask yourself, “Wait, Jason isn’t even 8 years old! Why do you need sponsors?”  Kart Racing is one of the least expensive motor sports there is and we try to race on a very efficient budget.  However, it is still requires investment in equipment, track time, and training to field a competitive team.  So, every bit helps.  If you have a child on a soccer or baseball team they have a sponsor too.  This is not much different.  It also gives Jason the opportunity to learn about how business and marketing works.  He is learning to speak with adults about what he does and what he needs to race.  These are skills that will last him a lifetime.

If you know a business that is looking for the opportunity to support youth athletics and expand their audience please let us know.   There are many way that we can work with business and there are many large and small ways we can be helped.

Thanks again to Bruce at Atomic Decals for helping us,  And also to my wife for getting my daughter into horse riding which led us to meet Bruce at the Timmermann’s Ranch Fun Show.

Very Special Thanks to Our Friends at C&M Auto


Wild Duck Racing would to like to thank Charles Hartogh at C&M Auto Service for their invaluable assistance repairing the crack in the go-kart frame from last week’s disaster.


Our family has been taking our cars to C&M since 1997.  They are a extremely trustworthy and reliable mechanic.  I have always found that they always stand by their excellent work.


Weld from C&M

That looks and works much better with the 15 deg motor mount.

Along with C&M ,thanks Dave Faitz, Viking Karting and US Kart for other parts and advice.

The kart is back together and was shaken out at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway.  The track record for comer powered kid karts is just over 42 seconds.  Jason’s fastest time that day was just over 43 seconds.  Granted, he does have a different motor.  He has changed the way he runs every corner.  All of them are now fast and smooth and he runs consistent 44 second laps.  There is a bit more tuning to the kart to get a a little more speed, and as always, more practice to find those next few seconds.  I think he is ready for next week’s race at Briggs and Stratton Raceway Park where they have been running 24 kid karts.