I figured I’d document my first year running the Rotax Series and the Final coming up in the next few weeks. While my results were a bit poor in the Rounds leading up to this, my driving has been feeling top-notch lately and I’m excited to wrap up this series.
Highlights of Rounds 1 & 2 at Phoenix Karting Racing Association:
First race weekend in the Rotax after moving out West and getting roughly a month to get up to speed with a new kart, engine package, and team. The Thursday/Friday practices started out strong and I felt like I could run with the top five pretty easily. The series had decided to run the track CCW on Saturday and CW on Sunday. I definitely felt stronger running the track “backward” CCW. I’m a circle track guy so I prefer turning left…
Round 1: Saturday’s heat race and qualifying went well and I started 5th in the Main. I made it all of two laps before someone made a crazy lunge and jumped my kart taking out the radiator and front bumper and putting an end to my race.
Round 2: Sunday’s qualify was a disaster as I dropped a wheel on my fast lap and ended up in the dirt. Made my way back up to 6th in the heat. In the Final, I started out strong and held onto 5th for a couple of laps before I suddenly started to lose speed. Turns out my left rear was going flat and I had to fight for my life to keep the train of guys behind me to end up 6th.
Highlights of Rounds 3 & 4 at Grand Junction Motor Speedway:
This track was really fun and I think suited my driving style more. Like before the Thursday/Friday practices started out strong and again I felt like I was in the top five for pace. Again the series had decided to run the track CCW on Saturday and CW on Sunday. Here I preferred the “normal” way around the track running CW. I really struggled with one particular corner running CCW and climbing the esses versus coming down them was not agreeing with me.
Round 3: Saturday’s qualifying I was stuck in a train and was putting precious laps on my new tires. Most likely to get a good lap in I was going to need to waste one more lap passing and another lap to break free, so I cut my losses and pulled off the track. I made up quite a few spots in the heat and a last-lap crash had me starting 5th in the final. The final was probably the most fun I’ve had in a race. It was a solid back-and-forth battle between myself and a teammate for 5th. It came down to the last lap, but unfortunately, our fun was cut short when his battery gave up and he had to pull off the track.
Round 4: Sunday’s qualifying was solid and I started 6th for the heat race. Well, I didn’t make it past turn one as someone decided they wanted to win the race from turn 1 and made a lunge that collected three of us. I managed to get going, but with a slightly bent steering rod, I decided to save the tires and pull off the track. For the final, all hell broke loose literally. As we went out for our out lap lightning struck too close to the track so we had to pull off. No sooner when we wheeled back to the trailer a hail storm came out of nowhere. Time for the wets! This was my first time wet driving in over two years and the first time on Mojo wets. Suffice it to say it didn’t go well. I went out far too low on pressures and never got heat in the tires. It was a race of attrition and I think I ended up tenth.
All in all, I ended up 6th in points for the West division and sit 11th out of 32 overall in West vs. East points. I don’t think this reflects my ability, but things happen. Some better finishes in the two finals that I struggled in would have seen me higher up in points. So I may not be earning my ticket to Portimao via winning the overall points, but the Top 3 in Senior will be earning tickets so that’s the goal! As I mentioned at the top of the post my driving has greatly improved and so has my weight deficit. In Phoenix, I was weighing in at 375lbs, and in Colorado 370lbs. Min weight is 360lbs so finally being down on an evening playing field can’t hurt!
I catch my plane to return to my home state in about a week and a half. This story is to be continued soon!