Rounds 5 and 6 of the Northeast Super Series were once again held at Oakland Valley, so we were glad to have had that club race in preparation for it. As far as the chassis was concerned, we did not expect to have many problems, as we have a lot of knowledge of the new surface and set up by this point.
Times during practice and qualifying Saturday night were closer than they had been most of the season, but I did notice that the Rotax runners were much stronger this time around than back in the spring. Our Northeast karting community had always been a Rotax community, so it was not surprising that tuners and coaches would be able to crawl back any disadvantages to the X-30 at OVRP, especially since the Rotax seems to have a stronger bottom end. In spite of this, we had a good qualifying and ended up second behind my teammate Adam Rylance, which was a good achievement for PSL Northeast.
I have to admit to not having made a great start and was passed for 2nd and then 3rd. We seemed to have lost some of the speed we had earlier in the evening, and the changing conditions were sapping a lot of omph from the X-30. This is where were really caught out by our lack of experience with setting up the carburation on the X-30, and as conditions changed we seemed to be just going backwards. We still had very good pace in spite of our issues, but 3rd place was extremely difficult to pass in the tight OVRP layout. At the beginning of the season I saw the IAME engines rocket past us Rotax runners down the straight, but this night the opposite was true, as I was making up all kids of time everywhere on the track except the straight - where I felt like a sitting duck! Fourth place was all we could walk away with>
With that handicap, we realized that the order of the night was fighting to keep that position at all costs, and try to push for 3rd, of the opportunity was there - thinking of the championship and the points haul - and we had to be happy with 4th in the end.
There was a lot to think about that night - it really seemed we did not make the best decision with the engine switch, as even my teammate had abandoned the X-30 in favor of just running the Rotax until at least the last race of the NESS season. We continued to be strong in qualifying the next day, starting third, but only able to managed a 5th place at the end of the day. The learning curve with this engine is steep, and getting around these issues is definitely challenging.