Race Report for Viking Racing, Kart #464. Redline Oil Karting Championship, Dixon, CA. Race #6 August
After a busy month with business travel in Europe as well as preparing two new karts from grounds up time was up for round 6 of the Norcal Rotax Championship. I had not had time to be on the track since last race, but the few other times we had run on the very physical track in Dixon we had done well so I was confident we could repeat that.
As briefly mentioned in my last report I have decided to run two classes going forward and as such I was going to run the Rotax DD2 class, which is a 2-speed shifter kart with a more powerful engine as well as running more sticky tires meaning that the DD2 class is quite a bit more physical to drive than the regular Rotax. As the whole rational behind running two classes is to build up more strength and stamina in the kart, we were anxious to get on the track in the DD2 for the first time.
We arrived early on the track Friday and started to break in our various new and or rebuilt engines as well as tune in the Karts. Unfortunately I was starting get sick and at the end of Friday I had pretty high fever sore throat etc. I only did a few sessions Saturday as I was not feeling better, but thanks to Kris (coach/mechanic) who drove some sessions in both karts we got everything dialed in, and despite having fever and unable to breath through my nose I was still able to put down faster times than last year. I went to bed early Saturday night but did not feel significantly better Sunday morning.
Fortunately Kris had bought a great assortment of (legal) drugs for me and mixed with a bunch of Aleve and Gatorade I managed to get in reasonable shape for racing but not really 100% ready for driving two classes!
In the Masters Class they once again decided to run us together with the 40lbs lighter drivers resulting in a pretty big field. I went out for qualifying, which is tricky here as they only run 2 laps meaning that your tires will hardly get up to temp. I qualified 1st in class and 3rd overall on the grid.
In the pre final I gained one position in the start and kept that position for the rest of the race meaning I finished 1st in class and 2nd overall. I then started off pole in the final, which is very difficult on this track as you will almost surely lose at least a position going in to corner #1 on the outside and that was exactly what happened.
I tried to settle in as there was no reason to risk anything being in 1st place and staid close to the two karts in front of me. The lead driver went out with engine problems and when the new leader was hesitant for second trying to lap another driver I saw my chance and passed both of them on the inside at the same time and took over the overall lead and kept that to the checkered.
In the DD2 class I got a bad qualifying. As mentioned you only get two laps and just as I was going in to my hot lap with full throttle down the straight the flag man let out another driver from the pits just in front of me - not exactly the most intelligent move of the day! (which I certainly let him know inside my helmet) and I qualified 2nd 0.5 second of my morning warm up time and 0.5 second off the pole sitter.
The DD2 class was small this day but very competitive and as this was my first race ever in a DD2 my plan was just to take it easy and see if I could stay close to the leader. My tactics worked out pretty good, probably better than the lead guy had expected, because just like in the Masters race, the leader hesitated for a second and again I passed both the leader and the back marker at the same time finding myself in first place, which I again held to the checkered.
Going in to the DD2 final I was starting to get worn from the combination of driving two classes, being sick and the very physical track so I knew I had to do my very best to win. I managed to keep the 2nd place driver behind me for 13 out of 18 laps and when I blinked for a second he did the same to me as I did to him in the pre final. At this point I was so exhausted I could not keep my head up in the high speed corners but I did not intend to give up. I managed to get up to him again going side by side down the main straight but could not mobilize the last to pass him and finished 2nd.
Everything said and done a very successful weekend with probably some of the best and smartest driving we have done all season. Bringing home two trophies and finishing 2nd in our first ever DD2 race is more than I had even hoped for. The DD2 class absolutely gave me what I asked for and there is no doubt it will be a great help in building me up going forward. 6 races in to the Championship we are still undefeated and things are starting to shape up nicely for us. Next race will already be this coming weekend back at our home track at Infineon Raceway.
We would like to thank our sponsors for making this season possible!