Tuesday, August 19, 2008

CSC Races #5 & #6

The weekend started off with cold and rainy conditions for more than 2 days! That is really odd for august in Denver, but a lot of racers still showed up at The Track at Centennial on Friday morning ready to practice. I was driving AJ Noud's kart again with the hopes of learning as much or more than last month. My Tuner, Kirk Deason was in attendance all weekend. We have been working really well together and learning a ton. It's one of the cooler teamings I've experienced by chance or just dumb luck.

The weather looked the same for Friday and Saturday, so we decided that we'd need to practice in the wet on Friday to be ready for Saturday. 50 degrees f and constant rain... awesome. I'd never driven or raced a kart in the rain. After spinning off ~15 times, I kind of got the hang of it. Stay the hell away from the normal racing line is what it boiled down to. The long way around had a lot more grip.

Saturday morning was still cold and wet. I decided to not go out for warm up. It was hammering rain as the first 2 groups were qualifying. We were the 3rd group, but the track activities were red flagged just before we rolled to the grid. A few spots on the track were basically flooded all the way across and the drainage just couldn't handle the constant rain. We are used to 15 minute storms around here. So the event was on hold for an hour. After that hour, there was no relief in sight, so they decided to call it a day and try to fit in both main events on Sunday, no heat races.

So, it cleared up on Sunday. Peak temps in the 70s, but the track was still soaked in the morning. The plan was to do a warm up, qualify, then run both 15 lap races (1 each direction). I went out on rain tires in the warm up and smoked everyone else trying to pull off slicks on the wet (but no puddles) track. That was good for confidence. Qualifying would be dry and I did 3 hot laps. The 3rd lap being a 55.3, not bad for such a cool and green track, but only good for 2nd place.

The first race was clock wise. I got a crappy start and faded to 5th for the early few laps and then started picking off positions. By the end of lap 5 I was back in 2nd place chasing down the leader and home track favorite Jack Bradley. I followed him for several laps. I wasn't pushing super hard to keep up, but he was pretty consistent and not leaving the door open for me anywhere. Finally, at the end of lap 10 he touched a curb under braking and got a little out of shape. I took advantage and moved through for the lead. I think Jeff Welch followed me through into P2. Welch wasn't far off me, but I did some consistent quick laps to bring home the 2nd win of our season. It felt great. Fair fights and no lucky breaks needed. Just good racing and lots of smiles and thumbs up.

Several hours later and a short rain shower (then dried up again) was the counter clockwise race. This was my weak direction and wet practice on Friday didn't really help me at all. This start was a bit better and I held 3rd after 1 lap. Some chaos on lap 2 saw me slip to 5th. We settled in to a really fun 5 kart train for 5 laps. It must have been really exciting to watch as we were all nose to tail on this technical track. Snider spun off on lap 7 moving me to 4th. I could hold the pace but I was being gapped in the wrong place and I had little hope of advancing. I was pushing to find a bit more time when I drop some wheels off the track on lap 12. That was it, the top 3 had a gap on me so I just brought it home in 4th.

1st and 4th was our best weekend of the 6 race series. 2 wins in the regional series with only 1 year of experience was quite a bit above my expectations. Not too shabby. I think we ended up 3rd in the championship. We'll take it and try to improve on it next year. Big thanks to Kirk, AJ, and Rocky Mountain Kartworks.

With the weather, I never broke out either camera. Sadly, I would've got some good video. Oh well.

Results link

Monday, July 21, 2008

CSC Races #3 & #4

With my motor still in pieces, I decided to run the team principle's kart and see how a new chassis performs compared to my 2005 model. Rocky Mountain Kartworks owner, AJ Noud, suggested we give this a go and I'm glad he did.

This month's race weekend was held in Dacono, CO at the IMI motorsports complex. A fast, sweepy, Spa-esque track. Definitely my style. Long gearing and brave apex speeds.

Friday practice went pretty well going both clockwise and counter clockwise. Well ahead of most of our competitors. AJ's ultra loose setup needed to be tamed a bit for me to become comfortable and dance on the limit around this 0.9 miles of asphalt. A few fit adjustments and I was at home. The newest chassis in the fleet was pretty strong. The huge front end components looked like they meant serious business.

Saturday was the counter clockwise race. I was well clear with the top time on old tires in practice that morning. We bolted on new rubber for qualifying, but I failed to get a good hot lap in. My second heater was best but was foiled by traffic in the 2nd to last corner. Oh well, we are starting 5th and there is plenty of time to make up positions. In the heat race, the setup was just too tight and had to settle in 4th. The top 3 guys pulled out a big gap and I was under fire from Jack Bradley for 4th. We had a clean fight with him pulling along side at least 3 times but I think I fairly held the position and cleaned up my problem corners to maintain 4th. We made a little gearing and chassis tweak for the Main. I launched to 3rd as the pole sitter, Jake Snider, bogged the start. In the first major braking zone, it was obvious I had a braking problem. The rears locked and I spun off, narrowly missing Jeff Welch in P2. I rejoined and lost it under braking a few more times. Upon returning to the scales on the meat wagon, we found the brake bias adjuster mysteriously at maximum rear bias. That'll do it. Saturday was a failure. I think we ended up P6 in the light class after a retirement or two from others.

Sunday, we switched to my more familiar clockwise direction. We were up in morning practice by 7 tenths. I think we did a couple 51.7's. In qualifying I laid down a heater. 50.96 seconds. That is the fastest I'd ever gone in this direction. Stoked, till I learned we missed pole by 0.02 sec. Daaaaammn. Oh well. The heat race started pretty dicey with some fighting for 2nd 3rd and 4th spots. I had the camera facing the rear and got a few minutes of action before the bolt holding the camera head backed out. On lap 5 of 10 I dropped a few wheels and lost the kart. It just looped as I had 2 in the dirt. I was scared for the 1st time in a kart spinning near 60 mph towards the new fence on the bordering property. I braced for impact. Hands in, head down and mouth closed, but ended up barely glancing it. I was pretty upset with the mistake, making a ton of work for myself in the main. I wanted to prove to myself that I could podium with some of these talented and experienced fellas. I knew I had the pace to make it to 4th by the end of the main (from 13th or 14th). Maybe a lucky podium with some breaks. Well, it went pretty well. The drive of my 11 month long racing career. I turned it to 11 and sliced through the field with some lucky breaks in 19 of 20 laps. I only lead the most important lap. The final tour.


CSC Races #3 & #4 Spec Moto Video Clips from Jeff Field on Vimeo.

CSC Race #4 Spec Moto Main Event from Jeff Field on Vimeo.

Friday, June 27, 2008

CSC Races #1 & #2

Good weather, good racing, good weekend. I picked up my tuner, Kirk Deason, on Thursday night and we were off for a long 3 days at the track. Friday was practice in both directions. Saturday was CW race day, and Sunday was CCW. It was my first time ever at the track, and I was not sure how I'd deal with 3 full days. So Friday was all about learning the track and trying to get on the pace with minimal mistakes. We tried some worthwhile setup experiments, and probably only accumulated 25 laps in each direction. I new I still had a few corners to figure out, but I'd do the best I could and tweak my line as the weekend went on.

Saturday meant serious business. After warm up, we slapped on some new tires and I laid down my best CW lap of the weekend. 53.3 seconds was only good for 9th (out of 10 or 11). Yikes! These dudes are fast. I picked up a spot in the heat to finish 8th. we made a few changes as the track was getting more rubbered in. In the main, I had a decent start then made a mistake while dicing with another guy that cost me big (only time off track the entire weekend, not bad). Ran 8th for most of the main and reeled 7th in just in time to take the position with 2 corners to go. Unfortunately, that main is not on video. It either quit or I was too concentrated to remember to turn it on. Oh well. Good first day at this level of competition. We got some momentum going and kept moving up. It was really hot out. 100f easy for most the day. I was pouring bottles of water in my suit to help cooling on the track.

Sunday was a bit cooler in the morning. Nice because many of us were sore and still cooked from the 2 previous days. I felt strong and ready for more. Sunday was CCW configuration. After warm up, new tires went on and I went out to qualify. It did not go as smooth as the day before. I aborted the first hot lap and laid down 2 more that were really high 53s. Pretty sloppy and not real happy with it, I was surprised that 53.9 was good for 6th. And the next few guys were within reach. Now the heat was baking, and we made a few setup tweaks accordingly. We found moving the 5lb ballast weights around on the seat was a handy tool as the days played out.

So starting the heat race, I went from 6th to 4th in 3 corners. Pretty happy! Then I realized at 2 laps in that I was comfortably staying with the top 3. There was a moment in the hair pin after the back straight as the leaders were dicing, 3rd got a bit balked and I did not leave quite enough room. Unfortunately, his rear tire lifted me up and the bumper quickly knocked off his pipe and air box. I was upset about the accident, but kept pushing. I'd prefer not to pick up spots like that, and later apologized. The later half of the heat race saw me close the gap to 2nd a bit while I was under fire from the rear. I was pretty comfortable holding off the attack and came home 3rd. Awesome result and I think a few people noticed. Most the elements came together, but I know we can fight even farther up.

So we didn't change much for the main, and I was looking forward to a good fight. This may be the only start all weekend that I won't smoke someone off the line. But, on the out lap the motor feels super weak. Oh no, the jet can't be that wrong. Did we suck up some debris or something fall off? Damn! As I approach the grid the revs fall and it stalls. It's probably a good thing that I didn't even get to my grid spot, I would have been run over. It still ran, so I putted around at the back for maximum available points, getting lapped before the white flag flew. The motor was so weak, I was 2.5 seconds off my pace and the heavies pulled me no problem. Because of a retirement, I came home 8th in the light class. Turns out that a wrist pin circlip broke and a small portion of that clip damaged the piston and ring (low to no compression) and found a home in the cylinder wall. Damn! That is not supposed to happen. So ~$400 in parts, but the cylinders are unavailable at the moment. I'll figure something out.

We were pretty down because of the missed opportunity, but we'll get it together. The heat result was just a taste of things to come. We packed up and made a swift trip back to Denver. The Subaru WRX makes a nice tow vehicle. With my little trailer, 23 mpg was achievable at ~75mph and you can leave it in 5th gear up the mountain passes!

Next CSC race weekend is July 18-20th. Results, pics and videos below.

#1 CW

#2 CCW

CSC Grand Junction Spec Moto Video Clips from Jeff Field on Vimeo.

CSC #2 Spec Moto Heat Race from Jeff Field on Vimeo.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Club Race June 1st

Nice day and some good footage from the heat race. In that heat, I finished 5th overall and 3rd in spec moto class. I didn't get the main video, but the spec leader had a gearbox problem, giving me 2nd in class.

I learned some more about jetting thanks to some helpful competitors. My ribs hurt for the first time this year. Maybe because the track was rubbering in. The good news is that when I bolted on new spec tires, I was right on the pace of 2 other spec motos even with a terrible qualifing lap (Q'd between them, 3 karts inside .3 seconds). I still have some pace to find, But there were some encouraging things to take away.


CO Karting Club Race #5 Centennial, Shifter heat from Jeff Field on Vimeo.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chassis Mounted Camera

Here is a short clip from last Monday's test. The flickering is from a cable backing out. I shouldn't have that problem in the future.

Shifter kart onboard video from Jeff Field on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Testing

We got a little crew together to run at Centennial on Memorial day. We had a blast. Weather was cool and it was only damp for ~30 minutes. Our buddy Josh was already packing up his 4 stroke TaG kart and he captured this video of our last session of the day. I'm in the white Helmet, driving the old kart to make sure it's ready for sale. It's still plenty quick! I think its actually faster than my 7 year newer kart. Tyson in mostly black and Steve in the light suit/black helmet.

I also tested a new mounting method for my helmet cam on my stock Honda kart. I mounted it on a strut over my right shoulder. The view is pretty cool because you see the wheel and shifting. It's reasonably stable as well. I ran that kart for most of the day and got some footage. I should edit that up sometime in the next week.

Since my last post, I ran a club race at Centennial on May 4th. It was kind of a setup nightmare, and I was off the pace, running harder than spec tires. But we learned a few things and I really appreciated Tyson coming out to be my Tuner. The video of the main was lost for an unknown reason. I've got quali and the heat race, but nothing really to share from it. Maybe I'll get a mini highlights reel from it.

1st big state race weekend is on June 20-22. I plan to rebuild most of the kart before that event. I hope to be well prepared and save energy throughout the weekend. One last tune up club race will be on the 1st. I hope to run that one a bit more seriously.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

1st club race of the year (dancing with myself)

Well, the cliff notes are that Steve and I went out to spend several hundred dollars on plastic trophies, but I learned a few things too.

They run all the shifter classes in one go at the club races and only 1 other stocker was there. They are crushing me at the moment. But, I've got some ideas and some people that can help get me up there. I'm willing to work for the gains, this stuff is a ton of fun.

I ran into traffic on the 2nd hot lap of quali, so I shut it down and tried a 3rd, but botched it. Had to settle for the 54.0 i set on the 1st timed lap, only good for 8th or so. As I was pulling up the grid for the heat race, I had no clutch, AWESOME. The cable had come out of the yolk on the motor side. Nothing broken, I got a push and ran a lap down for the heat. I knew I'd start at the back for the main, but my tires were used anyway and I wanted to evaluate the setup some more. It was a little tight and I was just running out of gear. I've still got plenty to learn, but I think we are on the right path.

He is the video of the main. All of it. Hope you enjoy. My adjustments helped, but I could only run high 53's, I need another .5 and I figure the other .5 is in new rubber. We'll see. Kinda boring race, as I could not catch the modified guys in from of me. I got a good start, but a blinding dirt cloud caused me to get back out of it a bit. Also a nice little fight at the end of the race, as I went into cruise control and didn't realize I was under fire. More mental notes for the bigger races this summer.

Shifter Kart Race, IMI 4-20-08 from Jeff Field on Vimeo.

Results here, but lots of the data is suspect as several of us had no transponders.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

IMI test

My buddy Steve and I got out for an afternoon test last weekend. My welded up shift lever did great and both karts worked awesome.

Shifter Kart Testing, IMI Colorado from Jeff Field on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Testing day

I got out on Thursday and got to play with the camera a little. I'm also experimenting with editing software. Anyway, here is my 1st attempt. The Camera field of view is a little smaller than I hoped. You don't get the full view of the wheel and the track. I'll try a different camera position next time. Any comments welcome.

Download test video from rapidshare.


Friday, March 14, 2008


This is a sweet example of a lap at Grand junction from 2 seasons ago. We will race there in late June.

Also, here is the view from the front of a race that I was in. This is one of the local hot shoes. I think he is moving to cars soon. Matt in IMI heat race. It was so hot that day. Notice how his front left tire develops a blister (he points passing the pit wall). I'm glad I didn't have any tire problems.

And here is some shots of the wet weekend at GJMS in 2007.

Youtube videos look horrible. I hope to have a much better solution for sharing high quality ones.


I'm starting this blog so I'll have a little corner of the internet to share some of my racing trials and tribulations. I hope to capture and share some helmet camera footage of shifter kart racing this season. I know some friends and family have no idea what kind of excitement is going on at the track. Picturing the little lawn mower powered yard karts that you see kids driving in the neighborhoods.

This year I plan to run a few club races and make a full effort on the 6(maybe 7) race regional series. More info here, Colorado Sprint Championship. My local playground is The Track at Centennial.

Last year was my first year racing any sort of kart. I jumped right into one of the faster classes and learned some hard lessons. I think we also turned a few heads as rookies. My buddy Steve and I bought our first kart together and soon graduated into newer equipment. That 1st kart will be for sale shortly. Now I own a G.P.6 chassis (made by CRG in Italy) and a Honda CR125 dirt bike engine for use in the Stock Honda class (AKA Spec Shifter, or S3). This Spec class has been growing in popularity and is much less of a wallet competition than some other classes.

So, in the coming months I plan to share pictures, links to some videos, and links to results. I suppose you'll have to suffer through some of my poor writing as well.

Some links of interest that I'll toss in here...
Helmet Cam
Local Forum
Best Simulation Racing in the World

The helmet Camera arrives next week, pretty excited. Check back soon.