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2008 US Rotax Nationals
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John Wehrheim

Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 2388
Score: 35144
Location: Norcross

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations to our Rotax National drivers on all your efforts. A special shout out to Matt Tilden and Jesse Seeley. Matt finally got up to speed in the final with a 9th place finish. In addition, I believe Matt's fast lap was a top 5 lap time. Jesse had a 5th place finish.

I am sure you all are coming home with huge grins on your faces. No matter how you finished, how can you not love a national event and a track and facility like USA International. This is a very technical track.

For all considering next year, if it is going to be held at Norman, this is also a great facility. Long straight, fast sweepers and tight technical. Norman is a 12 hour drive from Atlanta.
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Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Posts: 529
Score: 5814
Location: Stockbridge, Ga.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wehrheim wrote:

For all considering next year, if it is going to be held at Norman, this is also a great facility. Long straight, fast sweepers and tight technical. Norman is a 12 hour drive from Atlanta.

I might be making hotel reservations in South Bend IN, but that is just me Very Happy

Lost in the pats on the back was the efforts of Carl and Donna Cottrell taking Ross up there, and if not for the used rain tires going away in the pre-final and a flat right front in the final Ross would have had the perfect week. Good driving Ross. We will keep working with Carl Laughing

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Ihor Bilyy
Site Admin

Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 1824
Score: 30601
Location: Canton, GA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Day 6, final.
Day started great, from 27th position Michael improved to 17th with one spin passing through the deep water, which resulted in loosing 2 positions (could have been 15th or higher).
Start of Final was accident free for us and he was 18th after lap 1. Unfortunately in second lap coming to hairpin another Arrow hit Michael on a breaking. Parents/Mechanics can't see that part of the track and it was the worst few seconds of my life checking on all passing karts/helmets until I saw small dude (he was second youngest in a field and smallest of all) with white helmet and familiar 98 on fairing good 10-15 karts behind other karts.
It took him 1 lap to come to the bumper of #11 and next lap to pass him. At the same time #22 moved to the back of the field. For next 7 laps Michael was trying to pass #13 lapping 1:16s, 2 seconds slower that his third lap. I know myself how hard it is in a rain, especially if it is last race of week and you don't want to be last. After finally making a move on #13 in lap 11, Michael did his best on last lap 1:13.6 but he was too far from other karts. That lap time was what karts in between 6th and 14th were showing in final race. You know what he said after race? "I hate rain!", complete opposite to "I love racing in a rain" before the event Smile
We have to buy a rain suit, he went through the scales 15 pounds over the class weight.

Oh, we didn't come home without trophy, Michael got Rotax Grand Nationals Paintball Tournament Champion trophy Very Happy

Congrats to Matt. He was surprised with his lap times, but happy with progress 25th to 9th in Prefinal and Final.
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Matt Tilden

Joined: 20 Aug 2006
Posts: 34
Score: 366

PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm by no means a frequent forum poster but figured some would appreciate a few highlights of my experience at this year's Rotax Nationals.

We drove up to Shawano on Saturday in a little under 15 hours. It was a pretty uneventful drive with a few expected hiccups in the Chicago area. Unfortunately, I rented a vacation home on Legend Lake just north of Shawano through Craig's List. Legend Lake is on an indian reservation and has a very interesting history. The house turned out to be on an incredible piece of lakefront property but was an absolute dump inside. We split and headed for a motel. We ended up staying in the Shawano Best Western. The place is run by local Mennonites, is immaculate and super close to the track - less than 5 minutes. The highlight of this place is their comp breakfasts - eggs, waffles, pancakes, fresh fruit and anything you request from the kitchen. The town of Shawano is pretty basic and can get mighty boring by the end of the week or long weekend. Best place we found to grab dinner was the Farm Inn on Main - ask for Angie or Emily. Close second would be Luigi's (also located on Main St.) - about the best Italian food you can reasonably expect in rural Wisconsin.

Practice was interesting. We started on Sunday and were fast right out of the box - definitely among the top 10 in practice. No transponders and no posted times, so having someone with a stopwatch is key to determining where you stand. We got faster and faster and began to feel pretty confident. Unfortunately, by the last practice on Monday, everyone appeared to be getter faster at a quicker pace than us. The top guys would drop 3 tenths and I would drop 2 tenths. This pace continued on Wednesday during official practice. We tried some radical set-ups in hopes of discovering some magical combination but found they usually sent us in the opposite direction. Couple this with a technical track that takes some time to get used to, a newly rebuilt then stuck motor and you've got yourself quite a challenge - exactly what I came for. Evil or Very Mad

Following on the heels of blowing things up, qualification was horrendous. I got caught in traffic like a rookie and was unable to put together a good clean lap. That put me 27th for the start of the heat races. Heat 1 went okay with a few passes in the wet putting me in 10th. Heat 2 was horrible - getting involved in some eh em traffic on the first lap but able to barely finish avoiding the dreaded DNF. Heat 3 was a total game of survival and ended with me in 10th again. I was happy to have actually finished all heats but disappointed in my individual finishes, knowing that the kart and driver were both capable of much more. Confident that the pre-final and final were the true test, I was condfident Saturday would provide a different story to tell and, with any luck Murphy's Law would no longer apply. We decided to do an engine swap for race day and after making the swap, realized the water pump seal and gear case gasket on the replacement motor weren't quite up to the job - a late night warm up on the stand resulted in water spewing from the weep hole and oil dripping from the gear case. Exactly the way I like my motors for a nationals pre-final and final! Shocked

Murphy's Law being in full effect, my instinct on Saturday morning was to pack the trailer and watch some good racing....yeah right! We thought the pre-final would be dry, according to the forecasts, and had what we believed would be the best dry set-up for the pre-final. To no avail, it started raining and rained hard! We frantically changed everything to a wet set-up in parc ferme right before gridding. Realizing rain rewards good driving, we were stressed but hopeful for a good outcome so long as the start refrained from throwing any avoidable curve balls. I survived the start and was able to gradually pick off other karts and work my way up to 17th from 25th. Shawano is a difficult place to pass with it's technical tightness but the rain makes it an entirely different experience.

Starting 17th in the final, we joked about the possibility of salvaging a top 10 finish; thinking there was no way. Note to self: if parc ferme rules allow a maximum number of tires, buy and put in the max. I never thought I would need two sets of rains...wrong! While most everyone else had a new set of rains mounted for the final, I was on my set from the prefinal - driving balls-to-the-wall in the pre didn't leave me much for the 20km final. Nothing like trying to agressively move through the field on bald rain tires!! As if the weep hole water drainage and oil issue weren't enough, while warming the kart up on the stand on the grid, one of the springs in the clutch snapped seizing up the clutch. Fortuntaely, I was able to take the drum off before taking the track to remove the spring pieces. Regardless, the clutch was no longer and now I was in direct-drive mode, making the start a nightmare. A blessing in disguise, a sluggish start allowed me to avoid the masters final start melee which was nothing short of spectacular. The rain was pouring down and mud and grass was flying everywhere. Anti-fog and rain x didn't stand a chance and vision was optional at this point. The list of DNFs emphasizes this point. Once clear of the starting ameoba, I was able to focus on targets ahead and pick off karts one-by-one eventually ending up in 9th with the 5th quickest lap time. Normally, I would never wish for a race longer than 20km on a track like Shawano in the rain but what I wouldn't give for just a few more laps...
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Jory Holbrook

Joined: 22 May 2006
Posts: 164
Score: 1771
Location: Cumming, GA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Great run....

Jory Holbrook
GunBroker.com Racing
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Matt Tilden

Joined: 20 Aug 2006
Posts: 34
Score: 366

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jory! That means alot coming from someone who appreciates first-hand how difficult Nationals can be.
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