Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Overall Victory in the WTKA 2-cycle Karting Enduro Race

The West Texas Karting Association is based in Midland, TX with Rimrock Raceway as their home track. As you have probably seen in previous posts, I have practiced several times at Rimrock, but this would be my first race on the 10-turn 0.4 miles track. Despite it's small size, Rimrock is a blast to drive with a good mix of corners with top speeds reaching 61 mph. However, the surface is extremely coarse and rough on tires despite not having a ton of grip. I was worried this would factor into the enduro because my strategy was too stretch my tires and fuel to the end doing my best to avoid pit-lane.

I was hoping for more of the WTKA shifter kart drivers to show up, but only three 2-cycles entered the race. However, driving a 1-hour enduro in a demanding shifter kart is a challenge in itself so the race would still be interesting. We drew numbers for the starting grid and I started on pole against the two other 2-cycle karts which consisted of one other Honda-powered shifter kart and a Yamaha Pipe kart. Just like at NTK last weekend, I had a poor start which allowed the other shifter kart to pass me at the start. I passed him back entering turn 2 and opened up a comfortable lead as I pulled away from the P2 shifter and he started to encounter problems. He made three pit stops totaling 15-20 laps down and I was able to pass the Yamaha kart 3 times in the first 30 minutes. By this point, I knew I had a comfortable lead so I backed the pace down to save myself and the kart for the end of the race.

Despite the reduced pace, I started to pick up a violent vibration when shifting from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd and my water temp started to creep up shortly thereafter. I was worried something catastrophic was happening, but it felt like one of my engine mounts had failed which didn't explain the water temp issue. I pulled into pitlane for damage assessment at the 35 minute mark with a 4-lap lead over the Yamaha. I was quickly apparent that the front engine mount bolt had sheared and my radiator mount had failed under the violent shaking caused by the engine mount failure. With the kart up on the stand and gloves off, I quickly found my spare engine mount bolt and replaced it while two of the local racers attacked my radiator mount. With good ol' duct-tape and zip ties, they fashioned a jerry-rigged mount that seemd pretty solid. Thanks guys! The repairs took about 5-6 minutes and I was back on track. At this point, I had no idea where I was in the order but I knew the most important thing was to run for the rest of the race problem-free. I dialed in a reasonable pace of 35.5 - 36s laps for the final 20 minutes. The Yamaha's clutch failed with 15 minutes to go so it was down to just the two shifter karts competing for the victory. Luckily, the "custom" radiator mounting held up and I was able to finish the 1-hour enduro with no other issues.

When we got the checkered flag, I still had no idea what the finishing order was. Whenever you are in the pits while cars are passing you, it feels like an eternity so I thought I finished several laps down to the other shifter because it felt like he passed me 40 times while I was in pitlane. After about twenty minutes, I was informed that I had won the race and the $60 in prize money with 84 laps completed with the other shifter kart completing 75 laps for 2nd place and the Yamaha finishing 3rd with 64 laps.

Here is a fast-forward video of the full 1-hour enduro:


  1. I cracked up when this actually started fast forwarding...thought a mosquito had flown into my ear. Good jerb.

  2. I cracked up making it. It sounds ridiculous.