It was a long drive from Tucson to Prairie City. Mike Klensin says “It took us almost 16 hours to get up there; the speed limit in California is 55 if you have a trailer.
When we finally arrived, I was pretty excited. For the last two years [before the new car] we broke trying to run, just in qualifying. So I was real happy we were able to run our preliminary race; we took third.”
There’s good reason for the outcome.
‘Timmy’ after prelim Friday, 5/8/15; photo by ColeCar Motorsports
“This year we’re putting a lot of hours into race prep. That way, if we lose a race, it’s not for lack of trying. Even the engine builder – Jim Murphy from Calypso Automotive – takes one night before each race to go through the car again, just to make sure we didn’t miss anything.”
Mikey as spotter
Klensin drove #4431, Mat Carpentier co-drove and Mikey Florian acted as spotter. Mike explains, “I wouldn’t want to be racing without a spotter on these kinds of races. The way it works in these races where you can see the track is he tells us what’s going on with all the other cars via radio, so we have a real-time, third look at what’s going on on the race course. That’s a fun job; you’re saying ‘speed up’ or ‘slow down,’ ‘you’re going too wide on this turn – two cars are coming up on you,’ ‘lap time is a little slow.’
After mid-point in the heat race, we got a right front flat; it slowed us down a bit – and there were faster cars. We could have pushed harder to get second, but Mikey was saying ‘you guys can take it easy because fourth place is half a lap behind you.’
We stayed in it for a third place finish; we were a solid third.”
‘The actual race was chaos.’
Klensin said he expected a lot of competition and was excited about “seeing where we can end up with the top guys;” but things didn’t exactly go as planned. “The actual race was chaos. I didn’t realize we were going to start as far back as we did. I expected further forward because of how well we did in our other races. I was a little bit disappointed.
Photo by Corey Osborne
We talked about it as a team and decided we had to hit the rocks hard on that first lap. There was one burned-in line for the fastest line thru the rocks; if you wanted to pass somebody, you had to go through a less used section of rocks.
We pushed hard, passed a bunch of cars and that put us in a good position; we were fourth or fifth after the first lap. Then we tried to go fast enough to stay in front of those young kids, Wayland Campbell and Levi Shirley. Eventually we got passed by those guys, but not too far off of ’em.
We came in sixth. We get points for entering, points for finishing the heat races and points for how we do in the main race. So this race definitely helped us out for our season points.”
Photo by ESAB Welding & Cutting Products
‘We’re still getting used to the car’
“This was our first race on a groomed track with Timmy; everything else has been on actual desert. We’re still getting used to the car, weren’t sure how far we can hit the turns and push through stuff. So we weren’t quite as fast as we could have been. We’ll only get better when we get more seat time on actual tracks.
So we’re excited. This weekend it’s Dirt Riot in Tucson. It’s our home track, even though we don’t go out there often. It’s tight and windey and Timmy does better at high speed on open desert. But we’re still going to go out there and do our best and have a good time.”
Looking forward to Glen Helen
“We’ll be getting the car ready for the next Ultra4 at Glen Helen in July. Being a motocross guy, it’s one of my favorite tracks – one of the oldest motocross tracks in California. It’s got features you don’t see at other races – jumps, turns and berms. Some of the turns are banked, close to 90 degrees; it’s like riding a wall when you go around it. We should do real well.”
Amanda Products: Title Sponsor of ColeCar Motorsports
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