On Friday, May 3rd Charlotte Lalonde (2012 NCKC Briggs Senior Champion) of the Circuit Quyon Race Team decided try a new Margay. Charlotte was entering into her 3rd season aboard a CRG RS5, but decided to trial a new Margay Brava 4.11 at Le Circuit Quyon. With a seat two sizes too big, she took the Margay for a quick 10-lap practice session. Her first impressions were that the front end felt light and responsive, but the rear was not tracking the way she was accustomed. We decided to put her personal seat (Ribtect X) onto the Margay in an attempt to tighten the rear of the chassis. The Ribtect accomplished its job and made the kart produce additional rear grip. The kart was originally set up with full caster from previous testing sessions earlier in the month (cooler weather) and a 44-inch wide front end. We decided to return the caster and camber settings back to stock, and the kart reacted perfectly; it was fast and free! As the temperature rose to over 25c and as the track grip increased, it was easy to remove grip from the chassis with minor tire pressure changes and adjustments to the tracking settings.
Charlotte decided that with the chassis set-up more to her liking, she would debut the Margay for the first race of the year in the 2013 Ottawa-Gatineau Kart Championship (May 5th). Saturday practice went really well; awesome, in fact! We decided to stay under the radar and practice alone. The kart performed very well in both the morning and afternoon sessions.
Practice: the session went well – the kart was loose due to worn out tires, but Charlotte posted a 41.263 sec lap time. We put on a fresh set of Bridgestone YLC for the qualifying session and expected great performance!
Qualifying: this session did not go as planned. Running a 15-57 sprocket to gear ratio on a #35 pitch chain, we were hoping for low 41’s; however, those low times did not materialise. As we started our third lap, without a chain guard, the chain let go and managed to destroy a brake pad at the same time. Charlotte only completed two registered laps and managed to qualify 3rd, so we decided to take advantage of the destroyed sprocket and chain and switch to a #219 pitch chain set. We opted for the exact ratio that we were running with the #35 pitch chain (3.8).
Prefinal: the prefinal race was uneventful , with Charlotte starting 3rd. She was able to make her way up to 2nd, but did not have enough time to get by Micheal Forget in his extremely fast Tony Kart. Charlotte noted that the kart was not turning in as well as she expected, and was a little over stuck, so a couple of minor adjustments were made to free the kart up, and we expected big results in the Final!
Final: The race started with absolute mayhem, with one of the racers over-cooking the first corner and taking four additional karts off the track and into the sand trap. The race was immediately red flagged, debris cleared off the circuit, and the race was restarted. There were no injuries and none of the karts suffered serious damage. On the restart, Michael Forget took off into the lead with Charlotte a close 2nd. It became apparent that this final event would be a two horse race. Lap after lap, Michael and Charlotte crossed the start/finish line separated by less than a kart length; however, on lap 17 of the 20-lap event, Charlotte was able to sneak past Michael and build a small 1.5 second lead over the next three laps. Tyler Devlin finished in a strong third, racing in his first full season of the Briggs Senior class.
It was a very successful debut for Margay at Le Circuit Quyon! We are expecting more success as we continue to race in the Ottawa-Gatineau Kart Championship as well as in one-off races in other series throughout the summer! Thanks to Margay, Briggs & Stratton, and Bridgestone for the awesome kart package!