Working Weekend

This weekend we had three very specific goals.  The first is to get both karts setup for race speed.  We have not run either of them in this configuration this year, the white kart with the LO206 motor and the orange kart with our freshly rebuilt 4 Cycle Central Animal.  The second was to get Jason some coaching to break some old habits and bring some new one to find those those elusive seconds.  At lastly, simply see if we were capable of managing two classes.  If things go really well, Jason should win some races this weekend.

IMG_4284The first challenge of running two karts, is getting them there, so, I rented a trailer to transport the second kart and a bit of equipment to the track.  The first trailer had a tail light out and it took some extra time to figure that out and get a new one hooked up.  We still were able to have a relaxing breakfast at The Greenwood Restaurant before hitting the road.  A few hours later we were unpacking karts and getting them ready for a day of practice.  We met up a veteran Badger driver Robert Murray and his father for some assistance for the day.  Robert was going to help Jason find a faster line around the track and give him some general driving tips.  Robert is a former champion at Badger and knows his way around this and other local tracks.  He is also now an Eagle Scout,  Congratulations Robert!

Once the karts were ready, Jason took a few warm up laps in the orange Animal kart and found that it really pushed, the front was sliding instead of turning.  While I fixed the pushing by moving the front wheels our by 1/4 inch,  Jason and Robert discussed how he could go faster if he turned deeper(later) into the corner and let the kart slid to the outside more in the first corner.  The gearing seemed about right, he was hitting the right RPM at the end of the straight for maximum speed.   When Jason the the track again working with Robert he got faster and faster with each lap.

We then began working on the LO206,  this is a well known kart for us and we can tune up quickly since we have run it this way for 2 years.  Robert and Jason began working their way round the track giving each corner adjustments that where really shaving time and altering his style.  The kart its self only needed some minor gear changes to keep up with his new found speed.  The only thing that went wrong the 206 kart was a lost bolt on that held a side panned bracket on and it suddenly “would not turn”, I found a new bolt and he was back out.  It is amazing how he can feel the changes in the kart to that degree.  He knows when something is not right, can’t always tell me why but has the clues to find the problem.

IMG_4300While practicing with the animal kart the clutch came loose and the exhaust bolts started pulling out of the head, that put the Animal on hold for the day.  Jason was also starting to lose focus, so, he took a quick trip around the old practice track in the 206, which was a bumpy kidney buster, we packed up the trailer for the night.  We put the Animal in the truck and took it to Regan to fix the head bolts and get clutch parts.  Jason’s repaired primary LO206 motor was also ready for pick up as well.   After returning from 4 Cycle Central, we grilled meatballs for dinner, did a bit of kart work(LO206 motor swap, fix animal clutch), hung out with friends, and got a good nights sleep in the tent.


First lap of first Sunday practice and he is pushed into the bags
Sunday was race day and the test of Saturday’s work.  Jason now needed to put all the things he learned on Saturday to the test and I needed to keep track of two karts and one boy.  The LO206 class qualified first, Jason ran his three hot laps, and then he got the Animal for its turn.  As we waited for Animal qualifying to start it was announced that the LO206 class would have to re-qualify because the timing computer crashed, so right after Animal qualifying he and another driver quickly walk over the their LO206 kart, hopped in, and drove off.  The rest of the racing day was a bit like that out of one and into the other.  Jason qualified 3rd in LO206 and 1st in his Animal besting his lap time from last year by nearly 2 second in both classes.

Jason’s LO206 pre-feature was probably the best race I watched all day and one of his best ever.  He qualified in third putting him at the very back of the pack.  The Senior Class was also in this race starting in front of the Sportsman.  He made a quick shift to the outside to get the fast line at the green but was a little late and far back to gain position.  In the hair pin of the first lap Jason and Camden #57 both passed Riley #91, putting Jason in second, 4th over all.   By the hair pin of lap 2 they both had caught up to a slower LO206 Senior and Jason was putting pressure on #57.  They both passed the Senior in the boot and as they came out of the tree turn Jason made a good attempt at a pass on #57 but it didn’t stick.  For the next four laps Jason just dogged #57 looking for the mistake or way around.  In lap 7, Jason made the pass out of the tree turn as #57 bobbled, just as Jason perfected his timing through corner.  They flew passed the white flag into turn one where #57 tired to pass on the out side but Jason held his foot down into and through the sweeper and headed down into the hair pin in first place.  He started to pull away and took the checker with a very loud yell and fist pumps.  A really great race, no matter who won, both drivers really worked hard and challenged each other.


LO206 Pre-Feature
The Animal race was not quite as exciting but still very good, there were four drivers and Jason was on the pole.  At the green flag Jason took the lead and never looked back.  With each lap Jason pulled farther ahead and in end he held the lead with out a challenge.  At this point the Animal kart was really dialed in and ready for more racing.


Animal Pre-Feature
Jason started the LO206 feature race on the pole but gave up the lead at the start as #57 got the start right.  He stayed on #57 for 4 laps until they caught up to a senior driver in the sweeper.  #57 kept looking behind him to see where Jason was as they drove through the infield turns.  As they came up to the tree turn he looked back again and lost concentration and drove wide touching the grass and dirt loosing momentum.  Jason took that moment to drive throughIMG_4303 and start to work on the senior driver.  By the time they hit the boot again he was first in his class and second over all.  With two laps to go Jason was making distance and as he entered the boot, the motor suddenly sounded “faster”, the drive chain had fallen off forcing him to pull to the infield and retire from the race.  If you remember the new LO206 motor, I had put it on the night before in the dark and put the wrong washer on the clutch.   I found the mistake before the feature and fixed it, but did not tighten the motor mount down enough.  This allowed the chain to pull motor back and loosening the chain until it fell off.  Drat.

Even worse, the Animal feature never started for us.  The motor stalled out during the parade lap and I was not able to get it to keep running to start the race and that was that.  IMG_4314It was a really disappointing way to end what ultimately was a great weekend.   However, we were  able to get him and the karts in a state where he can go fast and win races.  All of the problems we had we fixed before the race or will be fixable in time for the next weekend.  Once he got over the shock of not finishing both feature he was proud of the work he did and was looking forward to the next race.  I think we are in pretty good shape to race two classes as long and we stay focused and keep our wits about us.  Though, I have to admit, it was a lot of hard work for both of us.

Next weekend Jason will be at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway for the first race of the Mid-American Sprint Series.  The weather on Saturday is looking good but Sunday has a good chance for rain.  As long as its not a monsoon rain there should be racing.

We owe a heap of thanks to Regan at 4 Cycle Central getting the motors in shape for the season and help us out this weekend.  Marty and Robert Murray both of which provided in valuable assistance in keeping the karts on the track and getting Jason driving tuned up.  To Karen for not being to ticked off about renting a trailer, it seemed to work and will keep up on budget and out of trouble.

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

Last practice before the first race

Back to where we started.  Our second practice and we are both still a little lost.  New kart, new motor, new track.  There was some stress when I asked Jason to push his kart until it spun.  He wanted to keep it safe.  To find the fast line in his own time, in his own way.  There is a fine line between the pressure that we need to put on each other to keep making progress but keep things fun.  Thankfully, we both kept our cool and focused on our jobs.  So, he has been getting the laps in and I have struggling to figure out the right setup.  We will have time later to watch the video see where his line was and if he needs to move it.  Lately he has been watching the videos just for fun.Down the hill at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway

Jason is no longer in kid karts – he has moved up to the sportsman class.  Sportsman class is for kids ages 7 to 12 and the rules are much less restrictive compared to kid karts.  We can now change gearing to optimize the kart for the track and conditions.  Over the winter I upgraded the Briggs & Stratton LO206jr motor by removing the 4100 rpm coil with a coil that’s now limited to 6100 rpm.  I also replaced the very long kid kart with a shorter red slide.  This will let more fuel and air in but not as much as the stock slide.

6100rpm Briggs 555733  Briggs LO206 Red Slide

The red slide is the kicker.  It causes the motor to perform very differently from the stock.  The speed and power are on a different curve from stock so the normal gearing has not been working. Usually, the stock motor uses a 17 tooth gear on the clutch and a 68 tooth gear on the axle for a gear reduction of 4.  It takes a bit of patience to find the gearing ratio that gets the most speed and acceleration.  With the few sessions we have had, and the lack of experience, we have not been able to put different gears on and see how the kart performs.  We have been all over the place with 17/55, 17/68, to 22/70, nothing was doing what I had hoped.  With some more research and discussion with experts, I hope to have a better handle on it soon.  This was our last chance to test gearing.  Come race day it is going to be guess work.  The first race of the 2013 season is April 6th at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway.

Wild Duck Racing extends our thanks to our sponsors, AtomicDecals and Danrr Autobody.  And Karen my ever patient wife, who is shuttling Jason around so we can get the final weight done on the kart.

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.

IMG_0074

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”.

What is that Orange Thing on that Kid Kart?

Some of you might be asking “what is that orange thing on that Kid Kart?”  Until recently, most kid karts run a 50 cc comer motor.  The comer motor is a purpose-built 2 cycle racing motor similar to what can be found on older grass trimmers and other small lawn equipment.  They produce somewhere in the area of 2-3 horsepower.  What is pictured below is a Briggs & Stratton LO206jr.  It is a 206 CC 4 cycle purpose-built racing motor similar to the motor on riding mowers and other similar equipment.

That looks and works much better.

It can produce up to 5 horsepower, but for kid karts it has been limited to about 2-3.  The LO206jr version is basically the same as a Briggs Animal with the following exceptions:

  • The case is factory sealed so no internal modification can be done
  • It has a very long carburetor slide to limit fuel and air imput.
  • RPM is limited to 4100 by a digital rev limiter

With the above limits it is very close in speed to a well-tuned Comer 50.  The best description I have come up with to define the differences between these two motors is that the Comer 50 is a highly tuned Honda Civic and the Briggs is a stock V6 Mustang.  The Honda is going to be faster in the corners but the Mustang is going to be faster in the straights.  Since the kart chassis are the same, unlike a Civic and Mustang, the racing between the two is very interesting.

The main advantage to the Briggs motor over the Comer is the rules.  With the Comer you can modify and blueprint the motor, and you can game the system of rules easier.  There are folks out there spending $4500 on a kid kart motor alone.  With the Briggs 206jr you can’t open the sealed case nor can you modify the head.  The rules allow very few modifications.  The list price for the motor is ~$500.  Even after the driver has grown out of a Kid Kart, you can take the same motor and for $100 in parts, move it to another LO206 class.  Even after that, you can strip it down open-tuned and run in the Animal classes.  The main purpose of this motor is to make the driver the factor in the race and not who can spend the most on a motor.

This Sunday we practiced at CHMS.  We have never seen the same kid karts there more then once. The week was no exception.  Regrettably, Jason and our new friend collided when the other driver spun in the second corner.  Jason had no place to go and drove right into into the other kart.  Thankfully, no one was hurt but the kart was tweaked and the steering arm was bent.  Despite that he put in some of the fastest laps of the day.  Jason is a pretty agressive driver and does ok with kids that are up to speed, but every time we get on the track with someone who is still new we seem to wreak.  Well, as they say “That’s Racing”, though I think we might limit our practice when there are newbies on the track.

Jason has really starting to bring on the speed at this track.  He started the day running 45 second laps and ended the last session in the 43s.  We discovered that his fastest time was 43.08 seconds a few weeks ago and the track record for Comer karts is 42.16.  I expect that sometime soon he will crack the 42 second mark. Over the summer, as he gets more time at the other two tracks he runs, he will pick up time there as well.  He is very  focused on chasing that last second, and loves to see his time drop.

Once again we are the kart taking to VPK to be straightened with the hope it will be ready for Saturday’s night race.  That’s right!  We are finally racing at our “home” track!  I have already changed his visor to the clear one.  As long as we can put all the pieces back on by 3:30 or so on Saturday, we should be ready to go.  So, come and cheer us on with the other racers.

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.

C&M

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

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.

I am SPEED


The excitement mounts, as we are only a week away from our first “race”.
Last Saturday we went to the Road America Karting Club for out introduction to the race day and a track tour.  Jason was excited to ride in a golf cart, for the track tour.  He listened attentively to the guide and was able to use the info during practice the next day.

Sadly, practice on Sunday was only exciting in a rainy way, heavy rains and storms where predicted and arrived in short order.  No other kid karts showed so, between the rain and “racing yourself”, we ended practice after a few half dozens of laps.  At least we spent some time on the track and now how to get the kart around it before the first race.

Wish us luck as we finally see and feel go kart racing.

Badger Trip

For a change of pace we went to Badger Karting Club for practice. I would really like to thank the folks up there for their friendly welcome and great setup. Jason had a very good time and so did I.

He was able to put in some very consistent lap times (60s), once he figured out the course.  It is a more technical course compared to CHMS, more corners and they are tighter, so you really need to hit your marks or end up facing the wrong way.

Another success, this weekend was one cleanly-executed pass.  This is a first!  In previous attempts someone ended up in the grass.  It was fun and nerve-racking to watch all at the same time.

Karting Dad Note: Pay attention to your kids,  Jason was tired when we left and lacked enthusiasm except when he was driving.  Kids will have more fun when they are not tired.  I always ask him if he is ready to go again or pack it in for the day.  Sometimes, I suggest “One more and then home?” or even “I think we are done for today, what about you?”.  Most of the time he on board with the suggestion.  There are times when it might be better to skip practice or go home early, then to push a tired kid and possibly ruin the fun, not to mention have an accident! (Karting Mom put that last part in, but it’s true)

Back on the Track

Two weeks ago we had our first practice.  It went poorly,  we forgot everything, and I think we where a bit tired.  It went so poorly the kart was wrecked, coming up on a slower driver he touched wheels and went for a ride landing hard on the front right bending the kart. That was it for the day and the kart when to the shop.

So, now we are back on the track and have our wits about us.  Despite having a failing rear tire, he turned in a 49.59s as his fastest time and stayed in the low 50’s.

We also played with the go pro and got this.