Monday, May 18, 2009

$%&#!!! (Race the Rockies #1)

Other possible titles are "Can't win them all", "S*** happens", and "SRSLY, WTF?"

Grand Junction Motor Speedway. FANTASTIC track. If you like driving karts, you should put this place on the to do list.


Kirk (My buddy and super tuner, or is it tooner?) and I shoved off from Denver just after 7 am on Friday with my super fancy big rig ($200 open trailer behind my WRX). We grabbed some lunch as we pulled into Junction and were at the track before noon. We set up camp next to our buddy, Mike.

We did a bunch of laps on Friday, working on the chassis and carb. This track is a lot of fun. The grip was super crappy for most of the day, but I was having a good time. Saturday was more practice all day. There were more karts showing up and it looked like spec Honda would have an ok field (10). We used some better tires and tried another axle and found ourselves doing about the same time as other class favorites. Many of the hot shoes appear to be within a few tenths (53.7-53.9sec/lap). I was looking forward to a good race. With kirk's tune up and my dialing of the driving line, we felt pretty confident. There would be 50 laps (15,15,20) of racing plus qualifying. I wasn't too worried about qualifying way up front, just do 2 or 3 good laps and save the tires.

Kirk, super tuner

Crack dealer, err, I mean, AJ Noud. Get you karts and parts from him. Rocky Mountain Kartworks

Sunday was Business Time and I was ready to go at it. Warm up is bizarrely restricted to cruising around as if everyone rebuilt their engine overnight. I did a few laps to evaluate balance and carburetor settings. We mounted new tires for qualifying and since all the shifter classes qualify in one 10 minute session, we elected to watch the first 5 minutes and then find a hole in traffic as drivers that went out in the mayhem peel off the track. It worked beautifully. I found a nice section of clear track and laid down a 52.79 in the 2nd of 3 hot laps. Less than 0.02 off the spec class pole, good for 2nd. Sweet, I could have gone just a little better. I'll start 6th overall because we are on track with the ICC karts (they are supposed to be a little faster).

I suited up for heat #1
and proceeded to have a HORRIBLE first half lap. Royally bogged the start and then spun as I got too greedy following someone deep into the braking zone on the dirty line. AWESOME job, now get to work. I got my rhythm going and hunted down the rest of the class. As I was approaching the lead group of 4 or 5 spec motos (fighting with 2 ICCs), there was a small tangle that made my life much easier. There was one more spec driver in front of me that I managed to pick off with several laps to spare in the heat. The kart felt good, the driver felt like an idiot. All this made for fantastic video footage, as you'll see. There is some weird audio problem with the left hand turns. Damn, oh well.


In Heat #2, Jake snider got a better start than I did, so I ran 2nd to him for the first few laps. He eventually had a little contact with an ICC that let me by to the point. I ran some consistent quick laps, but didn't get away from Jake. We had a nice little fight at the half way point when he got along side on the front straight. I didn't want to go at it too much and let others catch up. I took the spot back and held it for the heat win. That felt good.


In the main (final) race, I finally nailed my start. We all got on with it and I found a rhythm at the front of the class. I saw Jake was out very early. There was an ICC all over my ass, but I couldn't afford the time to lift and "let" him by. They have like what, 7 more horse power? I expected him to drive around me on the straight. It only took a few laps for that situation to turn into a mini-accident. Tim got his kart lifted onto mine by my rear tire in a slow corner. I continued, but it really F'd my focus. As the laps counted down, I was clobbered again from the rear by an ICC as Jack Bradley was finishing chasing me down. Now I was just furious as the 1st thing I saw was Jack and I (wrongly) though he punted me. I was coming apart. We missed the tire pressures for the main, the 1st accident broke my silencer (changing the exhaust note), and I was imagining bent parts and flat tires. Jack got by me as I was recovering. I managed to get the lead back, then later that same lap he got through again (great move, btw). I lost my cool with 3 corners to go, thinking if I could get a killer run, I may be able to force it with 2 corners to go. I spun it, and let one spec driver by, dropping me to 3rd. @*^%*$%^$^%#$%$#!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is not what we had in mind.

Lessons learned. Let's do this again. I'm still pissed, but it was a ton o' fun. Results link and video below. It's a little long, but it made sense to me to just gather all the highlights. The audio problem could annoy the hell out of some of you. Please don't give up on it, just play some of you own soundtrack over it. Maybe, open this in another browser and reduce the kart video volume to acceptable levels.




Race the Rockies #1, Spec Honda Video Clips from Jeff Field on Vimeo.


CG said...

Nice video Jeff! Even got to see myself for awhile.


Ryan said...

Way to go Jeff. That looks like way too much fun. I hope I can join you guys by the end of the season.