Summit Point Karting 17-Hour Enduro

Toby, an occasional karter, joined his friends Michael, Sam, Bob, Lashdeep and Chase at the Summit Point Kart “Time Shift” 17-hour karting enduro.  (It was the weekend when daylight saving time ended, hence the name of the race.)

Toby (left) at a pre-race practice weekend
Toby (left) at a pre-race practice weekend

As Summit Point expanded, an outdoor karting facility (Summit Point Kart) was opened for “arrive and drive”.  It was separately owned, but a great complement to events on the main track.

To learn the track and the karts, Toby went up to Summit Point Kart on two Saturdays.  He got some valuable seat time and also good pointers from experienced racers there.2013_11 SPK 103

Everyone arrived early on race day to squeeze in some additional seat time, then came the customary registration, rules review, safety briefing and weigh-in (to equalize teams through a lap adjustment formula).

Michael looked at the extravagant (for rural West Virginia) table spread of cooking ingredients, Weber grill and rice cooker (brought by a non-Asian member of the team!) and came up with our team name “The Foodies”.

The rules are simple:
1)  Drive for as long as you want
2)  Change driver any time (keeping the same kart)
3)  Change kart any time (with no choice of kart, whichever is front of the line)
4)  All kart were fueled to run for at least an hour; teams bore the risk of running out of gas
5) Course changed from counter-clockwise to clockwise configuration at halfway point

Given the fuel tank capacity, the basic strategy was:
1)  Pit board to call for kart change 60 minutes into a stint
2)  Change kart
3)  A few laps to check the new kart had adequate power and handling (~15 minutes)
4)  Change driver

The outgoing driver checked the new kart because he already had a “feel” for acceleration, handling and track condition from the stint.  New karts were found to be duds and were exchanged for “new new” ones a couple times.

Although it was a long race (3 stints of 65 minutes each for each of us), the adrenaline rush push each stint to be driven like a sprint race.  The drivers’ skills ranged from “karting there all the time” to “why is the pedal on the left?”  The Foodies were somewhere in-between and were in a “upper mid-field” 🙂 battle with two other teams.

It was a great experience racing through the night.  It was late fall and was quite cold and the track provided firewood to keep warm.

Toby never managed to stay awake overnight watching 24hours of Daytona or LeMans, but it was easy when racing himself!  The sun rose and everyone were excited by the warmer temperature and their last stint.

The Foodies finished fourth.  (Don’t feel sorry they were quite a long way behind third after 17 hours!)  Every team got a bottle of bubbly for their effort and everyone had an absolute blast.

Michael's stint at dawn
Michael’s stint at dawn
The crew (sans Lashdeep) with our bottle of bubbly!
The crew (sans Lashdeep) with our bottle of bubbly!
A "shut eye" between stints.  A fire kept us warm and a Weber kept us fed.
A “shut eye” between stints. A fire kept us warm and a Weber kept us fed.
Additional use of the pit board
Additional use of the pit board