Queen City Gambit 2024 - Pro Masters

I’ll follow @DIG78x 's lead and share some of my notes from the event too, although I definitely won’t get to the same level of setup detail as David because my notes just aren’t as good :laughing:. I’ll also post some of my onboard video later.

I feel like I was able to get up to speed with the track pretty quickly. It’s definitely a very busy track in a shifter - fast and flowing but without any real long straights so you’re constantly ripping through gears and driving one handed most of the time. The lack of straights also means that the tires are really quick to overheat, particularly on the right side, so overdriving was for sure going to be punished. We spent most of the day trying to get a handle on the new MG yellow compound, playing with some gearing, dialing in brake bias as this was a new chassis with updated front calipers and pads for the model year compared to the older chassis I’ve been practicing on, and trying a few small setup changes up front (tweaking camber, caster, and toe mostly). The chassis was pretty quick from the get go, so I didn’t want to make a ton of big swings and instead focused on mostly on driving and tire pressures, though we did have a good plan for how we suspected the conditions might evolve over the weekend. We threw on some new tires for the final practice to prepare for qualifying which did seem to strangely throw things off slightly (this is foreshadowing). We made some additional tire pressure tweaks for qualifying and I managed to get a pretty solid lap in and put it on the outside of the front row. All in all not a bad day.

I got a great start in the first heat and was able to get a pretty big gap early on, despite some pretty horrendous driving on my part. I think I got a bit excited and some overdriving habits kicked in, slid around too much and wound up driving on overcooked tires for most of the race. Skitchy Barnes was able to reel me in, I started to get a little defensive and ultimately he gave me the ol bump and run through the esses - nothing too egregious, he definitely had the pace on me at that point. I still managed to hold on for P2 in the heat.

We took out some caster for the second heat and also dropped tire pressures pretty significantly, curious if the stiffer sidewall might be able to hold up. Unfortunately I bogged down pretty hard on the start and lost a few spots, and the low pressues also meant the kart didn’t really come in until late in the race and by that point a lot of the damage had been done. I could also feel the tire rolling over quite a bit, but it did seem like the caster change helped the balance, and by the end of the race my pace was excellent. There was some pretty fun battling with other guys in the second half with Machiko and Chatfield that I was unfortunately on the losing side of - Matt defended low into the hairpin on the last lap, which is was good because I was definitely going to send it - I dipped down to 1st gear but found neutral on the way out so Brian got into me and then snuck past at the line. He actually got a penalty for the contact but it was rightly overturned. Still a respectable P5 result, which set us up for a P3 start in the prefinal.

For the prefinal we bumped up pressures just a little bit, and also swapped in some aluminum hubs in an attempt to get a little more bite in the rear. In the race I had just an OK start, but pretty much everyone around me had a better one so I was sitting P5 after the first lap. Overdriving habits started kicking in just a little bit and the kart was a bit slow to come in. I made a mistake in the sweeper which allowed Presti to slip by and Rivera was all over me after that. Fortunately I was able to recognize the issue, slow the hands down, cool the tires, gap Rivera, chase down Presti and get that spot back. Pace in the second half of the race was once again excellent and the kart felt great. By the end I had chased Machiko back down and probably would’ve been able to grab another spot with a couple more laps, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. An unlucky retirement from Ruch meant that I’d be rolling off P4 for the final. We did a good teardown and cleanup of the kart, and in doing so discovered that my reeds were pretty well chipped up too, so I was optimistic that we had even more pace in the bag for Sunday.

In the morning warmup the kart felt fantastic, and I figured that the final was mostly going to be about nailing tire pressures and finding my groove early in the race. On the grid I sat down and the shift lever had a tiny amount of play in it which wasn’t normal. I got up and saw that the bolt holding the shift lever to the engine was completely gone, so we had a bit of a mad scramble to get a new one in. Thankfully we were able to get that issue resolved in time so that I could get out there and keep my P4 starting spot. Even more thankfully Kart Chaser was able to capture me looking like a true physical specimen as I awkwardly ran back to the grid while dodging other shifters getting fired up :laughing:.

In the race I had a decent enough start, but with the new tires the kart just never really felt right. I don’t know if it was the higher temperatures or what, but I really struggled to get the kart transitioned from right to left and for it to properly plant out of the left hand corners. Between the warmup with old tires and the feature race with new tires I lost .3 sec running the exact same setup, and while my driving wasn’t by any means perfect and I did take away some notes for improvement after reviewing the onboard (mainly I have a bad habit of upshifting way too early when things get busy on track and I start feeling fatigued), I still felt as though I was still doing a decent job behind the wheel. Hopefully this is something we can get on top of before the next event. Regardless, in the final phases of the race while running P4 my water temp alarm started going off and I saw my water was over 200F so I slowed down ended up retiring with detached water pump cables. Bummer way for what had been a pretty strong weekend to end, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.

Still there were a lot of positives to take away from the event - more often than not the kart felt great, I think we just need to figure out how to make it work better in hot, greasy conditions, especially with new rubber. I also felt like I did pretty well with analyzing and improving my own driving throughout the weekend, both on track and in between sessions. I was also pretty happy with how I held up physically. I started doing some off track training this last offseason to prepare for this year and it seems to have paid off pretty well. My neck was never an issue, the only thing I had to deal with a little bit was just some overall fatigue at the end of some long days. It’s also super encouraging that I was able to consistently hang around at the front, lead some laps, and put up some sessions with purple laps with guys who have been banging gears a lot longer than me. It’s a very fun group to run with.

Shoutouts to Timmy Tech for the support, also was super nice having Jim from J3 there to help with some setup advice, Greg Bell for the engine and carb tuning, Kart Chaser for the coverage, and all the Stars folks for putting on a great event. Almost a month until New Castle, can’t wait.


Sorry to delete my post. I thought this was David’s thread. Great job, Jake. I heard your name over the PA the entire weekend.

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This looks exceptionally turny for shifters. You guys are being kept busy.

I’ll have to swing by and say hi at New Castle if youre there!

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Definitely! I was keeping an eye on the KA masters races throughout the weekend, it was cool seeing you and @Paul_Montopoli both up front a bunch. Grats on the win!

Nice run and awesome footage! That track is definitely busier than I would have guessed. What sort of MPH were the shifters seeing?

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Thanks! I’m not sure about the pro KZ guys, but I was only hitting about 75mph.

62-63 in Ka old guys