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First impressions... 
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Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:27 pm
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Post First impressions...
It's been a couple days now since I competed in my first-ever official karting event. With the rain keeping us off the track for the first half of the day, I have to admit I was very disappointed and wondered why the club didn't just postpone the race until a later date. Clearly, LAKC can't control the weather but they can certainly be more flexible when it comes to dealing with the weather.

Once the skies cleared up and we finally got out on the track, my disappointment turned into excitement and a bit of nervousness, especially since we were running with three other classes. Some of us have already expressed our concerns about such a decision and one of those people ended up in an ambulance on Sunday... probably as a direct result of that decision. Nonetheless, I wasn't thinking about any of that while Ron Rossetti was bringing us to the green flag for heat 1. Having gotten to know Ron over the past few weeks with all of the advice he gave me, having him in the first row, right in front of me, calmed my nerves. I knew he wasn't going to make any mistakes.

As we settled into our starting positions heading into the carrousel, I can't do justice in words how intense the feeling was to be taking my first green flag. I can certainly see, now, how addictive this sport can be. Through the horseshoe, heading into long beach, oh my... here we go!! :mrgreen: No problems through turns 1, 2 and 3. No problems through the infield... at least not for me and the three drivers in front of me. We get back to long beach and we see the red flag. Not good... Geno is being hauled off the track in an ambulance.

More problems... We’re told we can’t race until the ambulance gets back from the hospital. That’s understandable as I would clearly want an ambulance there if I ended up on my head like Geno. What’s not understandable is why another ambulance isn’t on call if an unfortunate event like Geno’s does happen? LAKC has scheduled the race day events so tight, there is no room for error on anybody’s part, including waiting an hour for an ambulance. Unfortunately, I think this problem arises because I see LAKC as trying to do too much for too many people.

Throughout the discussion that took place last week on this forum, we heard that safety is the number one priority when it comes to grouping classes. While safety might be the number one priority when it comes to grouping classes, it seems that safety isn’t the overall priority of the club. Based on what I saw this past weekend, maximizing race attendance, or club membership, or profits is the number one priority. If safety was truly the number one priority, there would be no grouping of ANY classes on race days. However, that would require eliminating some classes and I don’t think that is an option for the club.

So after all the waiting we finally get back to racing and I get another chance to take the green flag. Woohoo! It was even more fun the second time around because I got a much better start. Sorry, Brie for giving you a little push while coming to take the green, I was trying to get you out in front of Ron. Everything went great this time around… until the last lap. I’m racing John Abusham (#8) for second place and a Rotax pilot (from a class that was started a few seconds in front of us) spins out going into the carrousel. John avoids him but I hit his nose cone and I’m launched into the air, looking at the pavement just like Geno. Fortunately, I come down upright, but with a broken chain and bent axel. My day was over… taken out by a driver not even in my class. I don’t blame him, however. We shouldn’t have even been on the track at the same time.


Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:17 pm
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 6:58 pm
Posts: 26
Post Re: First impressions...
hey matt the Feburary race was my first race with lakc also. but i"m on the other spectrum of your opinion. having raced 1 time previous with socal sprinters, lakc is a much more organized and punctual club. it can definitely seem like all they care about is about getting you in an out but its not for their profit its to
make sure that everyone gets their moneys worth. the grouping of the classes did make the group a little large. but thats all we can expect being in the classes that are the most popular. the only other class grouping that i could see working out is maybe to have the masters run separate from the pilot classes and give a bigger gap between the 2 classes to keep em as separate as possible.


Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:12 pm
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Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:14 am
Posts: 368
Post Re: First impressions...
Matt - I could be wrong but I don't think local clubs/series have multiple ambulances so I think LAKC operated within 'standards'. I could also be wrong but I think it is common practice for other clubs/series to stack things up and run things tight (provided that demand exists), so I think LAKC operated within 'standards'. On the safety side, when I heard of Geno's crash, I tried to get more information so I ended up calling Chris Latorre. To be clear, I don't know Chris and he probably hates me for messing around too much on this forum so for that reason, so that feeling would have to be mutual; however, I felt that Chris was very sincere in his concern for Geno and his concern for safety - so I do think LAKC cares for safety and I would imagine that they will be further looking into this. In my view, you guys had a case of unfortunate circustmances (relatively beyond people's control) made worst by the 'winter months' (less day light).

Matt Magilke wrote:
...
More problems... We’re told we can’t race until the ambulance gets back from the hospital. That’s understandable as I would clearly want an ambulance there if I ended up on my head like Geno. What’s not understandable is why another ambulance isn’t on call if an unfortunate event like Geno’s does happen? LAKC has scheduled the race day events so tight, there is no room for error on anybody’s part, including waiting an hour for an ambulance. Unfortunately, I think this problem arises because I see LAKC as trying to do too much for too many people.

Throughout the discussion that took place last week on this forum, we heard that safety is the number one priority when it comes to grouping classes. While safety might be the number one priority when it comes to grouping classes, it seems that safety isn’t the overall priority of the club. Based on what I saw this past weekend, maximizing race attendance, or club membership, or profits is the number one priority. If safety was truly the number one priority, there would be no grouping of ANY classes on race days. However, that would require eliminating some classes and I don’t think that is an option for the club.
...


Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:06 am
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Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:27 pm
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Post Re: First impressions...
Stephen,
I agree. I would much rather race with the Rotax masters than the PRD pilots. Or any pilots for that matter… at least this early in the season. Perhaps later this season the pilots could be combined with the masters after they've gotten a few race laps under their belts. While I am new to karting, I spent many years racing bicycles (oftentimes in packs of 125 on narrow city streets) so I know how important it is to hold a line and not to make stupid mistakes with a bunch of people behind me that will pay the price. So when I registered as a grand master, I was hoping to avoid dealing with the rookie mistakes like we saw on Sunday. Hopefully LAKC will get this figured out soon. :sh Does John have a new axel, yet? I'm planning on picking up a new one today or tomorrow so I'm ready when the weather warms up again.

Alex,
I have no doubt this is standard practice for many clubs. It seems unfortunate, however, that given the tight schedule, the club doesn't have a better backup plan for medical care. I think there were a lot of disappointed drivers and fans when the "big event" (the PRD Seniors race for $1,000) was cut short due to darkness and rain. I was really rooting for #94 to take the checkers. :( If I was the sponsor that ponied up $1,000 of prize money for the winner, the money would have been conditional on the race going a lot more than just four laps.


Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:36 am
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Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:14 am
Posts: 368
Post Re: First impressions...
I think that anytime something goes out side of the box, you immediately open up the door for issues and/or criticism - because some will favor one side and some will favor the other side and some will favor totally something else - very tough! I think it was best that the Sponsor/LAKC honored the prize at the end of the day. We may be critical of the fact that race was cut short but I think we might be even more critical knowing that race was cut short plus prize was not given, right? Again, circumstances that occurred somewhat beyond people's control - I think these guys from LAKC mean well and I think they are always open to learning in making things better for us - that is all I think we can hope for and expect. By the way, we haven't met. I am internationally known as the Brazilian supertar with superb natural racing skills and the god given right to win. All the shifter pilots fear me...I can sense in their eyes...I am very humble too by the way. See you next month. Best, Alex.
Matt Magilke wrote:
...
Alex,
I have no doubt this is standard practice for many clubs. It seems unfortunate, however, that given the tight schedule, the club doesn't have a better backup plan for medical care. I think there were a lot of disappointed drivers and fans when the "big event" (the PRD Seniors race for $1,000) was cut short due to darkness and rain. I was really rooting for #94 to take the checkers. :( If I was the sponsor that ponied up $1,000 of prize money for the winner, the money would have been conditional on the race going a lot more than just four laps.


Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:51 am
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Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:27 pm
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Post Re: First impressions...
I can't wait to see the Brazilian Superstar 8) in action... glad I'm not a shifter pilot. :)


Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:37 pm
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Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:14 am
Posts: 368
Post Re: First impressions...
You won't miss me - paparazzi scene is insane when I am there!!! Welcome to LAKC! Maybe soon you can join us in shifter - bunch of great guys there and great fun - execpt for 'BlackBullet', 'German Ace GoldenHands' and 'Every Wednesday Curtis' - stay away from them, they are trouble!


Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:42 pm
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