I was really debating on actually going to the race this weekend. It had rained all night and the roads were wet, but according to the Englishtown Raceway Rained out Notification all activities were on. I started to notice around 9AM that the roads were showing some dryness, so I packed up my things and off I went.
I managed to get 3 rounds of practice sessions in while I was there. The first session was kind of crazy because the track was still wet and you would go sliding like crazy into the fastest turn on the track. I spun the kart out twice while trying to figure it out but eventually was able to get the kart slowed down enough to make it around the turn. The water on the track actually helped be figure out the line quite a bit because you needed to get the kart turning way before the turn to have it slide into it. I called the water the great equalizer since I was running similar times as everyone else. You can read this post about the last race and can see that I was quite a bit off the pace, finishing last on race day.
As the practices went on, the track got dryer and dryer and you could brake later and later into the turns. By the end of the practice session, if you could avoid the puddles, the track was actually pretty good. My times had dropped into the 44 second range keeping pace with some of the karts on the track.
The first heat went pretty well, I actually was able to pass another kart during the race and got around 2 others while they were busy crashing. I forgot to put the camera on so there is no video but I got passed by one of the crashed racers and was able to hold off the other to finish 4th.
After speaking with one of the other racers after the race, I was informed that maybe I should take out the stiffening bar from the front of the kart to free it up a bit. He told me that by removing that item I would get better turn in on the corners because the kart would dig in and flex. This would help the rear inside wheel get off the ground and rotate the kart. I pushed my kart back to my pit and promptly removed this item.
Heat 2 was going quite well. I had started in the back and was actually racing and working my way through the pack. Removing that bar really proved to be working, allowing me to put the kart where I wanted and having a lot less push that I had be getting. The kart was rotating good and I could keep the revs up much easier. The racing was good and then…….it wasn’t. The kart was still running but it would no longer go. This ended up being a broken screw on the butterfly shaft for the carburetor.
When the race was over, the same person who told me about the bar was inquiring about how it was without it. I told him it was great until the kart stopped running. Being experienced as he was, he knew exactly what the issue was. This guy was completely awesome! He took the ball on this and did everything in his power to get the kart working again for the main. We, we meaning he, were scrounging for parts and asking all his friends for stuff, man I’ve never had someone help me so much in my life! We managed to find all the parts we needed and he took the carburetor apart and put the new parts in. All the other racers dragged their feet getting to the line so we could get this done. Unfortunately, when I started it at the grid, the kart took off! Apparently in our haste, we forgot to put the butterfly back in! Oh well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
Props to all the PRD Spec guys at Englishtown NJ, they were all extremely helpful to a newbie karter. I am mechanically inclined but there was no way I would have even gotten the kart to the line. These guys were extremely resourceful and helped me when I needed it! Almost got me out there too! Thank you for all your help! I’m going to buy a new carburetor and rebuild the one that I have, this way we all have a working spare laying around in case we need it. That is something that I can do!