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Sweeney Racing - Kart Team News

2003 Season

August 9th - Norway Motorsport Complex

Heat 1
Heat 1 had Gavin lining up on the outside of the front row and hopes were high of a good finish. As the green flag dropped Gavin hit the gas but the motor bogged and the field flew by. He quickly adjusted the carb and got to turn one in 7th place. By lap four he had climbed to 4th place and was fortunate enough to take the checkered flag in 3rd place when the kart in front of him dropped out due to mechanical failure.

Heat 2
Starting in 2nd to last position Gavin had little to lose. Unfortunately he had problems again getting away at the start and he was forced to chase throughout the heat. From a starting position of 10th he finished 7th with the 3rd fastest lap of the heat.

Feature Race
With a lot of rubber having been laid down by the SKUSA karts a week before and wuth temperatures dropping, Gavin made some slight adjustments for the feature race to ensure the kartís handling would remain predictable for the entire 12 laps. The strong performance in the first heat race put Gavin on row 2. As usual the carb gremlins struck and Gavin got to the first corner in last place. By lap 2 he was up to 8th and on lap 4 he took 6th. For the next 2 laps he closed in on the 5th place kart of Jeff Dubeau but could not make a move. By the halfway point Brian Duensing had caught him and made several attempts to get by but Gavin didnít make any major errors under the pressure and held on to finish in 6th place.

July 19 - Norway Motorsport Complex

Practice

SetupWe took part in early morning testing in order to try out some modifications and source the root cause of the brake problems we had been having. A couple of sessions later the Tony Kart Chassis was ready. We had succesfully fixed the brake issues and tested out the rebuilt carb. Gavin also made the decision to run old tires for the longer than usual 33 lap race - reasoning they would wear better and provide more consistent grip.

SetupThe season long carb problem struck again at the start. Once again the engine bogged and gavin was dropped to the very back of the pack. Rather than let the red mist descend and overdrive Gavin simply got down to business. Within a lap he had passed two backmarkers. The field had broken into four groups with 3 karts in each group. Within the first five laps Gavin was mixing it with the last of the groups. He quickly cut through them and set about bridging the gap to the 7th,8th and 9th placed karts. Reeling off consistently fast laps he caught and passed each of the three runners to take 7th place.

Mid RaceThe 4th, 5th and 6th placed runners now had the full length of the back straight over Gavin. Lap after Lap he knocked a couple of tenths off their lead. With less than 5 laps to go he managed to jump the gap and get in the draft of the 6th place driver. Having worked so hard to catch the group he was unable to make run on 6th place despite getting in the draft. The combination of the demand on the tires and tuning of the carb were contributing to not havin the power to take the place. After 33 laps thats how it finished. A pretty agressive and patient drive back from disaster. Click here for video action

July 5 - Norway Motorsport Complex

Heat 1
Heat 1 saw Gavin battling with a poorly handling kart. It was a battle he was destined to lose and on the fourth lap as he entered turn 1 his kart became very loose. As he exited the corner the back stepped out and crossed the rumble strips destroying the rear gear and hub and any chances he may have had of getting a good result.

Heat 2
Heat 2 was no better and while the handling of his kart had been rectified Gavin's brakes began to cause trouble. Entering the hairpin on lap 4 Gavin locked the rear wheels of his kart and in so doing also stalled his motor.

Feature Race
Having not managed to finish either heat race Gavin would start the feature race in 14th and last place. Taking the green flag his motor failed to pick up and he entered the first corner in 13th place. With little to lose Gavin kept his head down in the hope of gaining some places by the end of the 12 lap race. On the final lap he nabbed 7th place from Jason Cange and held onto it until he took the checkered flag.

June 14th - Norway Motorsport Complex

Heat 1
Gavin started Heat 1 with a rebuilt carb and had difficulty throughout the race trying to adjust it for the conditions. From a starting grid position of 8th place he could only manage to gain one place by the time he took the checkered flag.

Heat 2
Again Gavin started the second heat in eighth. With the disappointment of the first heat result still on his mind Gavin made an aggressive move into the hairpin on the first lap in an attempt to overtake a slower competitor. Unfortunately it was a little too aggressive and he lost the chain from his kart and was forced to watch the rest of the race from the sidelines.

Feature Race
With two poor results from the heat race Gavin began the Feature race close to the back of the pack and with little to lose. However as the green flag dropped Gavinís dismal day was to continue when his engine bogged and the entire field raced by. It wasnít until halfway around the track that Gavinís problems cleared and he could get some fast laps in but at which point he was already the length of the straight behind the 2nd last driver. He slowly reeled in those ahead of him and took the checkered flag in 9th having been as low as 15th at the end of lap 1.

May 24th - Norway Motorsport Complex

Heat 1
With a season high 20 karts lining up to take the start of Heat 1 in the HPV Heavy class, Round 4 of the championship was set to be a memorable one. Gavin lined up 14th on the grid with the intention of staying out of trouble and yet hoping to make his way up through the crowded field. A good start saw kart 80 gain a few places and take the opportunity to jump inside the 35 kart of Steve DiVirgilio into turn 2. However an out of control visitor to the track rammed Gavin from behind as he hit the apex of the corner. Gavinís race was over and there was extensive damage to the kart including a bent axle and a damaged throttle pedal.

Heat 2
Thanks to a lot of help from Dean Leifheit, Gavin was able to make all necessary repairs to his kart to allow him to take his position on the 4th row of the grid. Another good start saw him finish the first lap in 4th place. However the kart was handling poorly and he could not make any head way on the leaders until the final lap when the chassis settled and he took Jason Cange for third place.

Feature Race
Due to his DNF in Heat 1 Gavin started the feature race in 12th place. By lap 3, Gavin was running comfortably in 7th place. An adjustment in tire pressures had greatly improved the handling of the kart. However, the motor seemed to be down on power and Gavin was unable to challenge those ahead of him. With 3 laps to go Gavin finally relinquished 7th place to the hard charging Randy Phillips who had also been a victim to some erratic driving from fellow competitors in earlier heats. Gavin took the checkered flag in 8th . The lack of power seems to have been attributed to Gavinís inexperience as he may have set up the carb incorrectly for the longer feature race. Hopefully all will be well for the next race in 3 weeks time and another trophy is in the offing.

May 10th - Norway Motorsport Complex

Heat 1
Gavin was drawn 13th out of 17 for heat 1. Within the first lap Gavin ran into carb trouble and fell back quickly. However, an incident on lap two caused front runner Dan Schulz to flip and the race had to be stopped. Thankfully Dan was not badly hurt and would return for the second heat. On the restart Gavin gained a few places but an overly aggressive move at turn 3 around the outside saw him run wide and onto the grass and drop back to last place. With nothing to lose Gavin threw caution to the wind and climbed up to ninth place before taking the checkered flag.

Heat 2
Having started close to the back in the first heat Gavin would get the chance to start in 4th for the second race. A good start saw him slot into 3rd place where he was running comfortably until he was again blighted by carb problems. After a few more laps the problems would subside and Gavin would bring the kart home in 5th place.

Feature Race
Feature Race Gavin would start the feature race in 6th place. After taking some advice from veteran Randy Phillips, his hopes were high that his carb problems had been resolved and that he could finish the race in a trophy winning position. As the green flag dropped he got a great start and tucked into third place at the first turn. On lap 3, keen to get close to the leaders, Gavin ran wide at turn 4 and conceded two places. For the next 9 laps Gavin closely followed the battle for third place between Randy Phillips and Steve DiVirglio hoping that he could capitalize on a driver error. However it wasnít to happen and Gavin crossed the finish line in fifth place to take his first HPV race trophy. The night was topped off with a personal best lap time of 49.079 seconds, second fastest lap time in the race, and just 17 thousandths adrift of the fastest lap.

April 12th - Norway Motorsport Complex

Gavin arrived at the track early Saturday morning to put the finishing touches to his kart and run in his freshly rebuilt Profile prepared motor before the first race of the day. Hopes were high with a years experience under his belt and reconditioned equipment.

Heat 1
With a starting position of 14th the primary objective on the first lap was to stay out of trouble. A good start saw Gavin jump to 10th place. By lap 4 he was settled into 6th and would remain there until the checkered flag.

Heat 2
Heat 2 had Gavin starting 2nd on the grid. With a little help from a fellow competitor Gavin was able to take the lead into turn 1 and hold it for the next two tours. On lap 3 Gavin succumbed to the pressure of a hard charging Trevor Tichy and then followed him home to the finish in 2nd place.

Feature Race
The feature race saw Gavin start on the inside of row 2. Expedctations were high but a poor start saw him fall back to 7th place. With conditions cooling considerably since the second heat race it took many laps before the tires on Gavinís Tony kart warmed and really started working properly. On lap 8 Gavin finally got by the 6th place kart of Jeff Dubeau when he drafted him down the back straight towards the flat out 180 degree, banked Monza turn. With time running out Gavin set his sights on reeling in 5th place but his hard work was to be of no avail when just before he took the white flag to start the final lap his chain broke and he had to retire.

2002 Season

June 15th - Norway Motorsport Complex

June 15 began with major repairs to the Tonykart Racer chassis after an inspection after the previous race revealed serious damage to the steering. Off track excursions in the previous race meant the steering column, right hand spindle and king pin all had to be replaced before first practice. The tires were also replaced since three race weekends had already been run on them.

Gavin began heat 1 in 14th position but by the end of the first lap had moved into 6th. As the race progressed however he succumbed to the pressure of the more experienced drivers and found himself running comfortably in 10th place and slowly gaining on a group of four karts ahead. With just half a lap left it looked like Gavin would get his highest finishing position to date in the HPV Heavy class. However a poorly executed overtaking maneuver by a fellow competitor at the flat out Monza curve sent him over the top of the banked turn at high speed and ended his race. Thankfully neither himself nor the kart were hurt and Gavin returned to the pits with a lot of cleaning up to do.

Gavin began heat two in 6th position and made a great start to climb up to 2nd by the time he had reached the back straight of lap one. But the glory was to be short lived as he found himself way down on rpms and consequently power for the majority of the race. As the race continued Gavin dropped further down the field and finished in a lowly 16th place.

With a DNF and a 16th place Gavin began the final close to the back of the field. A good start saw him gain a few places but he was again struck by the same gremlins as in the feature race the week before. His engine bogged exiting turn three and he could only watch as the rest of the field overtook him. As the laps continued the engine cleared up and he set about gaining some lost places. While he was clearly faster in the slower sections where engine power was not so critical Gavin could not keep up with his competitors in front when they hit either of the straights even after changing his gearing and he finished in 15th place. After the race he turned his carburetor in for a much needed rebuild hoping to regain some engine power. The next race is on June 29th which will hopefully yield some positive results.

June 8th - Norway Motorsport Complex

Round 3 of the MG Saturday Sprint Series marked the beginning of Gavinís season in the HPV Heavy class at Norway Motorsport Complex. Having competed in the HPV Light class for the first two rounds of the series Gavin made the decision to add 50 pounds of ballast in order to make the weight limit for the larger, more competitive HPV Heavy field.

The first two rounds had been a steep learning curve for Gavin and the third was to be no different. Gavin hit the track for the first free practice session at 2.00 pm with temperatures and humidity both in the high nineties and while his time on the track was brief he felt that the kartís handling was vastly improved with the addition of the weight to the chassis. However the oversteer problem had not been completely eliminated.

The first race began with Gavin beginning in a midfield slot on the grid which proved to be his downfall. Entering turn one Gavin was faced with a number of spinning karts in front of him and had to take evasive action in order to avoid a collision. Alas, in so doing this allowed the rest of his competitors behind to overtake him. Somewhat angered by his misfortune Gavin set about regaining some of his lost positions but it all ended suddenly with an over zealous overtaking maneuver into turn one causing him to spin off and retire from the race.

Heat 2 was to be no easier. Again trying to avoid an incident in front of him Gavin had to steer off the track but got bogged down in the soft ground underneath and was forced to retire having not even completed one lap.

With two DNFs in the first two heats Gavin began the feature race from the back of the grid and with little to lose. An excellent start and some careful driving through turns one and two allowed Gavin to avoid all spinners and gain eight places. However as the pack filed through turn 3 Gavinís engine bogged and all his hard work was in vain as those behind him accelerated by. The problem persisted for another three laps at which point Gavin was able to focus on gaining more seat time and lowering his lap times. In the process he managed to catch and pass two of his competitors and finally finish a race.

May 25th - Norway Motorsport Complex

Gavin approached his second race meeting with a little more confidence than his first having spent the morning adjusting his seat position on the advice of some of the more experienced racers. However, since all of his time in the morning was spent on modifying the kart it meant he didnít get the chance to test out his set up changes until the first heat race.

A good rolling start off of the final turn onto the main straight saw Gavin maintain his second place starting position for heat 1. As the field headed into turn one Gavinís inexperience showed and he locked up his rear wheels on cold tires causing him to spin and watch helplessly as the rest of the field filed by. He returned to the track and with no chance of catching the pack set his sights on improving his lap times and familiarizing himself with his new TonyKart Racer chassis. He finished the race with a promising third fastest lap knowing that there was more to come.

The second heat race could not have started any worse for Gavin. As the field prepared to take the green flag off the final turn to start the race the engine died and he pulled to the side of the track as everybody else raced to the first corner. With some help he rejoined the race half a lap behind. The race was a lonely one but Gavin still managed to post the second fastest lap of the race with a kart that was still oversteering considerably in a number of the turns.

The feature race began in fourth place and Gavin made a lightning start having come to grips with the idiosyncrasies of the Walbro carburetor. Approaching turn one he challenged for the lead and having learned his lesson from the heat race earlier he stayed on the track and followed the leader closely through turns 1 to 4 onto the back straight. With a good exit from the previous corner Gavin carried a lot of speed onto the back straight and took the lead before the high speed 180o banked Monza turn. He held the lead until the beginning of lap two but due to his oversteering problem which he was unable to rectify he had to ease off on the throttle as he came onto the main straight ultimately causing him to give up the lead as he entered turn one. He followed the leader for another lap but as he entered turn one on lap 3 his lack of seat time showed as he hit the inside rumble strip and was thrown across the track onto the grass. His race was once again over but he managed to gain one place back to finish sixth and record the third fastest lap.

The next race is in two weeks and Gavin hopes to race in the more competitive HPV Heavy class. Some more set up changes are planned in the hope of combating the oversteering problem so that Gavin can focus more closely on his racing. Stay tuned.

May 18th - Norway Motorsport Complex

Saturday 18th May finally marked Gavinís motorsport debut after two previously rained out meetings. Arriving at the track having spent just a few hours in any kart and having never even driven the TonyKart Racer chassis Gavinís principal task was to familiarize himself further with the track at the Norway Motorsport Complex and learn the characteristics of the chassis.

The format for the day consisted of two 6 lap heat races with grid position governed by a lottery and a 12 lap feature race where grid position was determined by the finishing positions of the two heat races.

With all the time in the morning preparing the kart for tech inspection Gavin did not crank the Mike Manning built HPV engine until heat 1 of the HPV Lite class. Heat 1 began with a rolling start onto the main straight and a dive into the first high speed left-hander at the end of the straight. A great start by Gavin saw him gain two places in the first corner but by the end of the lap it was all in vain. An ill handling kart caused Gavin to spin as he came onto the main straight. As the race continued the handling of the kart worsened and Gavin could only manage to wrestle it home to sixth place.

After some advice from the more experienced racers at the track Gavin dropped his tire pressures considerably for heat 2. This had the desirable affect of taking two seconds off his lap time but he still struggled to keep pace with the pack and finished the heat in seventh place.

With a clearly ill handling kart and not enough time to make any major set up changes Gavin began the feature race with little hope of a good result. The race was uneventful and Gavinís hopes of a better handling kart did not materialize. However he did gain valuable seat time from running the full twelve laps and again brought the kart home in seventh place.

The next race is in just a weekís time when Gavin will return to Norway with an adjusted seat position that he hopes will help the handling of his kart. Stay tuned.

May 11th - Norway Motorsport Complex

RAINED OUT AGAIN!

April 27th - Norway Motorsport Complex

RAINED OUT!!

March 23rd - Norway Motorsport Complex

Gavin began his preparations for the 2002 karting season in earnest last weekend at the Norway Motorsport Complex with an intensive one day testing program. Not only did the test allow him to familiarize himself with the track itself but also with two different chassis types both running a 100cc HPV engine. The Norway track which is reputedly one of the most technically demanding in the USA, is 6/10 of a mile of asphalt combining both high speed and low speed turns and each year plays host to one round of the prestigious Midwest Sprint Series

The day began with a shake down in the American made Margay Brava chassis which allowed Gavin to get an idea of the track layout and to find a comfortable set up for his driving style. The second test was run in an Italian built CRG. After some consultation with the local track expert, Steve Miller, and an analysis of some of the more critical aspects of the track Gavin hit the track again in the Margay but this time running at closer to race speeds. One final test was then conducted in the CRG to determine which chassis was more responsive to Gavin's driving style.

With the track running about a second slower than optimum and Gavin's lack of knowledge of either the circuit or chassis the focus was not on lap times but gaining seat time. It was felt that after testing that the American Margay chassis more suited Gavin's driving style than the CRG. More testing is expected at the track in two weeks time to allow Gavin to increase seat time. Once this test has concluded Gavin is expected to make a decision on what chassis and what exact class he will run in for the year.

For the 2002 season Gavin will have backing from loyal Sweeney Racing sponsors ,Tracey Commercials and SWEENdesign Web Development.

Stay tuned to Sweeney-Racing.com for more details as they are announced

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