Home Forums Road Racing Spring Test @ Grattan *UPDATES*

This topic contains 49 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Robert Lawson 3 years, 9 months ago.

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    Gene Davis

    Looks like perfect weather for you guys tomorrow. Enjoy the sun. So Robert since you are the only weatherman that has hit it right this year what is your prediction for our race in May.



    Dennis Chappell

    Good job on the weather Robert and thanks for getting this together each year. Always a good time.



    Jerry Revely

    Almost loaded up . . see you in the morning.


    Robert Lawson

    Glad everyone made it there safely!

    Not sure what happened to the weather, even at 5am this morning it was still a solid sunny forecast.

    It warmed quickly but then got overcast. After lunch we got a heads up that rain was coming from Chicago over the lake and should arrive near the end of the day. Unfortunately it came earlier, between 2:30 & 3!

    The dry track was extremely slick as we were the first to turn laps in 2014. In the wet…..forget it. A few continued but it did come down harder and ended the day early. We did get very long green flag runs to that point, it was a free for all out there!!!!!

    The guys I spoke with were satisfied, as was I. Continuing all day would have just put more time on the engine with a slick surface. My program was complete with the first run after lunch. It was good fun turning the kart with the rear, especially after getting the chassis tuned for that condition. It didn’t make for great lap times but as mentioned all the testing was finished.

    The track is in good shape, it always is in the Spring. The new bathrooms were a HUGE success as everyone agreed they were very well done. Going to show the Wife the video so we can make plans for May/July to weekend there with the dogs! She really didn’t like going out there simply because the potty was less than attractive. So that is good news for sure.

    The National is just a month away so make plans to join us!

    Hope everyone made it back home safe, thanks for coming out and we’ll see you next month!!!!!!



    Dennis Chappell

    Had a good test day got some things sorted out and ready for season to start. Day started out nice warm and sunny then some rain moved in about 2:00 in the afternoon. NEW Bathrooms at Grattan ARE NICE NICE NICE………..Lets keep them that way.

    Thanks to everyone for getting this day going.



    Linda Baldus

    In following this thread I have thought this really sounded like a fun day. Wish we here @ KART MARRS could take advantage of a facility and do it.
    Robert, you are too much like The Man. We don’t allow him to make statements like “Chance of precip down to 10% with a wind out of the South at 14mph.” or ever use the “r” word, but it did take a long time for him to learn that one.
    But what the heck, by 2:30 everyone had probably done all the testing they really needed and what better way to continue the camaraderie of karting than under someone’s EZ UP or in their trailer bench-racing in the rain.

    Keep on kartin'. llb
    Raymore, MO


    Robert Lawson

    Thanks Linda,

    I’ve been around this hobby of ours for a few years and really look up to the long term families like yours that keep plugin away year after year. It isn’t easy, obviously, we have seen soooo many families and individuals come and go. Recently we have seen a couple come back!!!!

    There is only 1 “Man” and I have no problem bowing out to Kelly. He is a full throttle wide open guy that will do anything to get folks out to the track and involved. And passion??? I can’t match his level!!!!!

    We had a young man come by and ask about a metric bolt or 2. My brother took care of it as I was busy swapping out parts but I did hear them offer to pay for it. When it comes to nuts and bolts, and we have something they need, as trivial as that……we give it away. It’s the culture we like to create and be a part of. Were all in it together!!!!

    This time around I took Sam’s (track manager) advice and let them pull the strings and run the program. Glad I did because it allowed me to help many other guys get going and run more laps than I really needed. They even cooked the food for me!!!!!!!! (sorry, I forgot to send the coolers down with the food!!!)

    I must give a HUGE shout out to Frank Dawley. He got out of bed Friday night to answer his phone and agree to my desperate request. I was at the track (3 hours from home) and forgot a side panel for my kart! He gratiously picked it up from my front porch on his way out……to WATCH!!!!!!

    That may sound like a once in a life time favor from a good friend, right? Welp, back 10 years ago or so I need him to do THE EXACT SAME THING…..except it was a tail piece. He came through that time too, it’s why I called him this time.

    Frank, today….JUST today…..you are “The MAN”!!!!!!!!!

    We now refer back to Kelly…….



    Robert Lawson

    ……oh and, we were the absolute last rig to leave!!!!!!

    Still can’t get over the remainder of a snow drift on the shore of the pond……


    Brian Wilhelm

    Glad you guys had most of the day. I’m really looking forward to the May race, and I encourage folks to come to this event. It’s a very good track, unlike any other.

    See you guys there!


    Kelly Read


    Thanks for the compliment. 

    Glad everyone had a good, safe time at Grattan. As we all know, it is normally just a few people who are involved with the backside of putting on any event rather it is small or large. It is nice to see people post like they have here THANKING YOU for what you did for these drivers at Grattan. Even though I wasn’t there, THANK YOU racers for supporting Robert!!!!! People like Robert take gambles to make it possible for the racers to run there karts somewhere. I don’t know about the rest of the road racers but, without a place to run my R.R. kart, I don’t want to plan on using them as paper weights!!!!

    Now, back to Robert!!  haha

     “THE MAN”


    Robert Lawson

    Kelly, and others that “do”…..we don’t do it for the “Thanks You’s” but they do help the motivation!!!!

    As always I forgot a bunch of folks that deserve a Thanks….

    Bob Cole towed them in…
    Larry Rumsey provided a ride….
    Kenny Lawson (took an HOUR for B-fast!) got the coffee and signed them in ….
    Rich Lawson (no kart) helped everyone in need….
    Frank & Shawn Dawley supported anyone whom asked….
    The Farr family also came out just because!!!!

    The Fassen family allowed us to use their backyard, the EMT’s and corner personnel kept us safe and all the participants used there heads! Thanks to all of you for making it possible.

    We had a small group of “new to karting” visitors that stumbled upon us and will return for the National to see and learn more, guys that have not been out came back to smell the fuel and caught the itch, karts resurrected as new packages with renewed drivers……

    You get the picture. No, it wasn’t a big event with record numbers but we did what we could and got blessed with a decent day! It wound some folks up and got us some well needed attention.

    There are those that do, and those that do not. It really is up to US as individuals to keep Road Racing as we know it alive. As the Original “MAN” Kenny D once said: “If 1 guy doesn’t make it, it’s a lesser event.” That has become very pronounced in this day and age, we have to stick together.

    On that note we really missed our comrade (even if he is a Buckeye!) Scott Lowenstein. Unfortunately, like Rich, his kart was not complete.

    Although coming out to watch or just to socialize was free on Saturday it sure was a good feeling to see folks in groups watching from different areas of the track. YES, I did see you out there watching while trying to stay on the black stuff!!!!!!!

    I’m going to do my best to make M-O as a driver for the first time in 8 years. At worst, I will buy a pass and show up to help whomever I can and the DKC as well.

    You never know when things may change and take all of this from us. Put in the effort, even if just to support your friends!

    Brian, Mitch, Linda & family, Kelly and your “fans”……we look forward to having you guys and anyone else who may be able to make it supporting our local road course! We’ll try to do the same!!!!

    I may have cleared $100, which looked good in the envelope on Sunday! 🙂

    If that is all I ever get from it……it’s worth the trouble. (Ehhh, just don’t tell the Wife!)




    Robert Lawson


    I apologize, somehow I missed your post.

    The DKC will have 3 days of great weather I’m sure!!!!!!

    My guess is you’ll be treated to some clouds & sun with temps in the 70’s. Passing precip will not slow the pace of the racing or the racers!!!!!!!

    Won’t try to predict winners but I have a feeling we’ll see some tight races in all formulas. Jerry and Wayne looked as if their specific packages were running very well. I had a good day too, ran very competitive times with no grip at all. A few of the CIK guys were gettin’-it as well.

    The locals will be ready!!!!

    Had a bit of a set back, was going to pull the kart out of the trailer and clean it up and noticed quite a bit of water on the floor tray. The expansion bottle was empty so it’s certainly not a good problem. We’ll look into it this weekend and see if it can be fixed in a hurry.

    Got a few weeks to go, hope everyone will make it out.



    Robert Lawson

    I just couldn’t wait until the weekend. So I took an in depth peek……

    Personally, when my kart is…..wounded, I can’t think straight! It truly is like a child, a creation that I know every little inch of.

    It looked promising….at first. The problem was at the engine not the rad. After removing the engine I found catastrophic damage!

    The Monday after the test date we got some very cold weather. The garage was full with Rich’s kart project and the transitional/seasonal junk as usual. I didn’t off load the karts and didn’t pay much mind to the weather.

    The water froze in the cases, expanded and cracked the case on the very bottom of the engine. It lost all the water and the gearbox oil as well. It’s much worse than it sounds, if that’s possible… not only is it cracked but it pushed one side of the case down enough to expose about half the width of the mating surface. Simply welding it is not an option, at least not in time for the event in a few weeks. Because the crack starts at the seam and travels east/west from the north/south mating surface of the right and left halves it will need to be completely disassembled and machining done. Welding this material is not going to be favorable, we all know the quality of these types of castings.

    I have a back up engine, it’s the previous homologation (VL125) and is not nearly as strong as this model (RVS). We ran it last year in July at Grattan and it was considerably down on power, revs, and more importantly lap time! To make this model compatible with the RVS would take quite a bit of machining to the intake tract and reed cage/carb boot mounting area.

    So, in a nut shell, I’m finished. At least for awhile. Too bad, I was convinced we had a package that would run with the National guys next month.

    I will try to be there in support!!!! We have to keep the chin up and march on….right???

    The vintage Hartman may make a come back much sooner than I expected!!!!!!



    Robert Lawson


    I had a change of heart.

    Figured what do I have to lose…..and I started the repair of the engine cases. In my mind it’s scrap, if it doesn’t work it did cost anything but my time. Did the prep, knocked the dislodged bit of the case back in place and took it to Tony Cantenaro to let him finish it off….or not. It’s ugly but it’s in one piece again. Part 1 complete!

    Tomorrow after Church it’s out to the garage to tear it down and try to repair the damage to the inside. If I’m able to keep the oil and water separate part 2 will be complete. The gasket surface will need some work due to the welding and if that goes ok part 3 will be accomplished.

    Part 4: we seal it up and give each void a pressure check.

    If it makes it that far we might just have a ride for Grattan after all!!!! With that said, I don’t expect this to work because it was damaged so severely.

    Must say thanks to those whom offered engines and full rides, the karting community never ceases to amaze. You guys are awesome, I am truly grateful!!!

    We’ll surely be there, just not sure what it is we’ll be driving yet.

    I’ll keep updating ya.



    Robert Lawson

    Parts 2 & 3 are complete as she sits on the bench curing overnight.

    Going to take the proper amount of time at this point. The seal surface where the damage was done had pulled away from center slightly during the welding process. Fortunately I know a fiberglass guy ( 🙂 ) and had access to PVA (poly vinyl alcohol), the parting agent used on unconditioned or non class A surface composite molds. After repairing the opposite side I hit the gasket surface with PVA and used Devcon on the side needing to be built up. Tomorrow I’ll pull it back apart but it will now fit every tiny scratch, ripple, dent, or imperfection in the opposing side it needs to seal to. This is much quicker, easier, and will be more accurate than even machining a welded repair. It’s very much like a “splash” taken from a given surface in composite tooling.

    I’m STILL not convinced it will work though! Time will tell, we’ll have to turn laps to gain any confidence in the repair lasting for the long term.

    I have been snapping pic’s as I go, when it’s finished I’ll try to share them.



    Robert Lawson

    Had a schedule change that kept me home today so I was ready to get the engine back on the chassis. Just to be absolutely sure I put Devcon on the outside of the case covering the seam where it was repaired. Not only do I not want to be responsible for oiling down the track no need to go for a wild ride either!!!

    In the detailed cleaning process (Grattan was very dusty) I found a crack in the chassis at the engine mounting point. Bummer. It had just started and is only about 3/4″ long. Will have to get it over to Tony’s tonight rain or shine and get it welded. It will take longer to get the kart out of the truck and in his garage than it will to do the welding!

    My last concern (besides the mixing of oil & water in the engine itself) is the condition of the rad. That will be a deal breaker if the core is compromised. It was a custom order from C&R that I had to build myself to fit my kart.

    On a much more positive note my good friend Neil Brown was inspired by his ride at the test. So much that he has picked up a complete race ready kart and will be contesting the Stock Honda class!!!! He has been out of the karting picture for a few years after destroying his TM K9B. Good to have you back Neil!!!!!

    Good Luck to all heading to Afton, have a safe weekend folks!!!!!



    Robert Lawson

    It’s been an interesting couple of days. Someone has been testing me!!!!

    Today, I got the kart back together after welding the chassis. As I started putting water in it I noticed a leak (why not right?). It was a small cover I had never removed in the past. After draining it down I removed the small cover and noticed what looked like a crack. After looking more closely it was a scratch. Cleaned both surfaces and resealed it, put a hair dryer to it and walked away. Later I added water, ran the pump, topped it off and started looking for leaks everywhere (Hey! The rad isn’t screwed!!!). So far so good! Lets fire it up and get it hot. Ran it for 30 minutes, in gear, to fling plenty of oil and still all is well. Looks as though a track test is all that remains (fingers crossed!!!).

    Thursday when I put the engine back together I split the Ign rotor in 2 reinstalling it. The nut just never tighten up!!!! No biggie, didn’t pop a cork just grabbed the spare and put it on. Yesterday I had to run out to my sisters place. As I sat in my truck and it warmed up (it was cold in the AM) something told me to press the brake pedal. And it worked as usual…….then it went straight to the floor!!!!!

    Everyday the past 2 weeks has included some sort of “issue”. Anyone else having days like mine…..or is it just me??????

    This water freezing debacle has easily been the single stupidest mistake I have ever made. What an absolute nightmare! I noticed as I have gone on about my misfortune and the epic battle to fight back that a few hundred views have been added here. I hope SOMEONE has found my pain helpful to them or at least a distraction from whatever they may be going through themselves!!!!

    PS: (Oh yeah, it continues!!!) The pipe on the kart is cracked and leaks like a B***H!!!! Of course, I didn’t notice that until I started feeling good about the engine issue being over (maybe?????).

    Gotta smile though, what else could possibly go wrong????? (now I’m asking for it)

    Enough, hope to see ya’ll at Grattan. If nothing else I will run the guts out of the new showers out there!!!!!!! 🙂

    Over & Out,



    Robert Lawson

    I have 1 last update.

    The above post was premature, this morning I found water had contaminated the gearbox oil. It’s a pretty light grey after that brief running on the stand.

    I’m fully confident in the work I did to repair the damaged wall between the voids. It must be leaking at the gasket surface of the wall.

    So, I guess we change our focus to Mid-Ohio!!!!!!

    Sending pic’s of the 2 different homologation of cases to Chicago for expert analysis. Maybe an updating of the older model can be done.

    I’ll be keeping my eye on the EKN classifieds of course. Not sure why the Vortex ICC’s of ANY homologation (RVS, RVX, RVXX or RVZ!) are never for sale but maybe that is a sign.

    My need to do things differently than most lead me to the Vortex originally. With that said, I would love to get my hands on a Maxter if the right deal came along!!!!!! 🙂

    Safe racing folks!!!!



    Jeremy Baldi

    I haven’t had the bad luck you have had so far but am still way behind were I would like to be. I had hoped to have a new kart started but that will have to wait a bit. So I have been prototyping stuff on the current chassis and it will have a much different look for Grattan. Looking forward to getting back on the track.

    Jeremy Baldi


    Robert Lawson


    Rich has been working on his chassis mod’s forever now so don’t feel bad! At least you have seen a track in the past 2 years!!!! 🙂

    Glad we didn’t loose you to the 250 class. Looking forward to the new look.

    I’ve been trying to help Rich get his kart to a point where it will be track ready. He has made wholesale changes to the front track width as well as the overall width of the kart. You’ll have clearance issues when getting all the components that tightly packaged but it’s moving along. New body is mounted but paint will have to wait.

    I was cleaning up out there a bit today and found something interesting. I took a very small sample of the tainted GB oil and put it in a glass beaker last weekend. Today, it still had not separated. It wasn’t the typical “foamy” looking oil & water, as I said it was a light grey. I remembered blowing carb cleaner through it to flush it out. This may be wishful thinking but I’ll drain it tomorrow, let it sit and take a good long look at it this weekend.

    Probably just beating myself up but I can’t let it go…..



    Robert Lawson

    After draining it down in a measuring cup I was pretty happy. It was right on what I put in it. What I found after mild heating to accelerate any separation was that there was no water. I did find the problem, the light grey color is the Devcon filler I used in the gearbox. The metal/plastic content is heavier than the oil and started to fall to the bottom and leave perfectly clean oil on top. I’ve used this stuff everywhere you can imagine in an engine with very good results but never in a bath of oil. Looking at the bottle, I bought the wrong stuff too. It’s not full synthetic but conventional. Not sure yet if it matters but I flushed it and got clean fluid back out of it and will run it tomorrow and see if it stays clean.

    If that test fails I’ll pull it back down and remove the filler and replace it with a non metallic brand I have also used in the past. This will have to be done anyway to get gasket surface templates to compare to the older model engine for the machining process.

    Bottom line, I can have it ready by the end of the weekend….baring any other complications! But that would not fit my luck….would it??? 🙂

    If my Pops were still here he’d tell me all this builds “character”. Of course while he sat and swallowed a few beers & laughed at me!!

    I must admit, I’m ready for the NHRA now. Wonder if they need a weather man…..



    Dan Meray

    Robert….I feel your pain.  Maybe I can make you feel better….. My trailer and karting support equipment and spares were stolen last fall from in front of my house while connected to, with a lock, to my Durango.  This is all I have left so I hung it up on the wall.


    Robert Lawson


    I forgot about that, but no, that wouldn’t make anyone feel better.

    This might help though…..

    I bet yours isn’t leakin anything!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Looks fast up there. 😉



    Robert Lawson

    Sorry, I can’t stop….

    Letting it sit over night before getting too excited, but it did pass the test today. Clean and clear just after shutting it off.

    We’ll see tomorrow.



    Robert Lawson

    It looks good, I’m gonna go with it!

    We’ll see how it looks after getting to full temp and track conditions.

    Time to move over to the Event thread!!!


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