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  • Russell Soto

What have I been up to...

Hello everyone! It has been a very challenging summer, to say the least. On the personal side, I've had to spend the first half of the summer taking a Calculus course needed for my transfer to Rutger's School of Engineering. This kept me on campus from the end of May to the first week of July, but racing-wise I've kept myself at least mentally in shape by doing a great deal of simulation work. Right now, I have a week until I have to report back to Rutgers to start my sophomore year.

Racing opportunities have been extremely difficult to come by, but I am still trying to make it happen via things like MSD (please see the link here) and trying to identify and connect with people that may be able to help. As I've said before, it's hard when one is also paying for college. That being said, I've been continuing to do a lot of testing with the Birel that we own.

We have plagued with a lot of engine issues which have slowed us down - but what this also gives us is the opportunity to learn even more about solving issues on the fly, and dealing with adversity. Just during we've had to deal with extreme engine over heating, power valve issues (on the Rotax Senior) and fuel pump, to name but a few. Throughout all this, I've had my friend and fellow racer Nicholas Leone helping out and providing invaluable help and insight.

We've raced each other very fiercely over the years, and are now sharing a common goal of trying to make racing work, somehow. We have practically no monetary backing, just a lot of ability and enthusiasm - all in all, it's always good to know you are not alone in this.

Engine issues now resolved, we are left with a kart that now has plenty of power, but absolutely NO tires left. Nevertheless, it gives me the opportunity to hone my car control skills - no tire means the kart now felt like literally driving on ICE...steering the chassis more with my feet than with my hands, taking advantage of the kart's insistence on spinning to coax it into the corners and still come up with halfway decent laps on tires that were almost down to the steel belt plies!

This reminds me of my early sprint karting days with McAleer Motorsports, in which Stevan had me bet on tires he had chosen out of the dumpster at the track. Or those two days years ago with Aponte Karting Team when I tested at the Orlando Karting Center in the middle of a hurricane. Racing opportunities may be few and far betwen, but at least I'll do as much as I can to pounce on them when I so much as smell them! Next time I'll have better (newer) rubber, and I'll be sure to write about it. Until then, take care and thank you for reading.

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