CPTC Season Opener - December 2015
Another season has officially gotten underway. The pre-season preparations are done on the race sled, and the new trailer is 85% complete. We headed to Beausejour, Manitoba for the first race of the season. We arrived late on Thursday evening, driving through rain, sleet, and snow to get there. This winter looks like it's going to give us some weather challenges all season long.
We got to work on Friday setting the sled up with a rough guess as to what we'd need to get things underway. With the new motor package, and a handful of other new parts on the sled, we had our work cut out for us. We struggled to get the motor running strong, but we weren't too far off the path and we worked hard all day, slowly making improvements in a positive direction.
Saturday morning came quickly as we worked late to look the sled and engine over for anything that may cause us an issue on race day. We went out for practice, and we had our speed we were looking for on Friday, and were putting some pretty good laps in. We lined up for heat 1 and got set for the first race of the year. The green was thrown, and we went into corner 1 3rd, and maintained our position until the 2nd lap when our lack of straight away speed allowed us to slip into 5th. We held that position throughout the race. We headed back to the trailer and went to work, making adjustments, knowing we could compete, but taking our time to learn more about our new set up. The second round saw us lined up mid pack, and I bumped the throttle to engage the clutch-forcing me to regain my composure, but not soon enough. The green flag was thrown before I could get the rpm back up to where it needed to be, and we went into corner 1 running 4th, but managed to come out 2nd. We held second place for the first lap, and got passed going into corner 1 dropping us back into 3rd place. We weren't too far behind, and the competition wasn't pulling too far away from us as they were before, so we were defiantly on the right track of making adjustments. The third round came up, and we had to start on the outside of the pack. We had a great holeshot, going into the corner with the group, and coming out 3rd. we held that position the whole race, and kept on the heels of 2nd and first. We got set for the final and were confident we had a good sled considering all the changes we had made throughout the day. The green flag was down, and the up. We headed into corner 1 running second. We held onto second place until corner 3, where we got passed on the inside and raced into the third position. We managed to hang onto that spot and I made a wide turn, allowing another competitor to pass us. We managed a 4th place finish out of the day, which we are very happy about. Things are starting to come together, and we are getting the sled dialed in with every lap we put on.
Sunday morning, we were eager to get going, and get underway. We hit the track for practice, turning our fastest lap times, and speeds of the weekend so far. We hit the track for round 1. We lined up, and were turned loose heading into corner 1 running second, and completed the first lap running 3rd, and right on the heels of the competition. We finished in 3rd, and were running strong, just looking to make a few minor adjustments to get the last little bit out of the sled. We hit the track for round 2 and found ourselves in the hunt for a win right off the line. We managed to battle with the lead 3 guys until we eventually spread out, but we managed to keep right on their heels. We walked away with a 4th place finish, knowing the sled was coming along, and knowing where we needed to make our improvements. We got things set for the third round, and hit the track ready for a win. We lined up and were let loose down into turn 1. We managed to come out running 3rd, and still with some tweaking to do. The fourth and final round meant one last chance to find that last little bit before our last final of the weakened. We lined up and were set to go. The flag was drawn, and we were off into corner 1. We came out running 4th, and saw ourselves battling for 3rd. We made the move on the third lap, and needed one more lap to get into the second position. We had the sled dialed in, handling and the motor package finally came together. We did the last little adjustments and waited for the end of the day. The time came to run the final, and we hit the track to finish off the weekend. We lined up mid pack, and the flag was thrown. We dove into the corner, running a mid to high line and running 6th. Down the backstretch we battled into corner 3. We managed to make a pass into 5th, and set our sights on 4th. We had to work for it, but we made a clean pass into 4th, and started to battle for 3rd. We ran right on the heels on the competition, and found ourselves 1 lap shy of getting on the podium.
All in all, I feel we had a great weekend. We were learning all the new products we had on the sled, and learned more about the handling of the sled than ever before. It seems as though the more laps we make, the stronger the sled runs. This leaves the team eager to run the rest of the season. The next stop is Ironwood, Michigan. Hopefully we can get the big "W" there, and get the rest of the season started off in a positive way. Until next time, keep the handlebars to the left, and the throttle wide open. - Nick