It’s all part of building a race car. Nothing works perfectly the first time around. Ask Rhys Millen. They built a million dollar car for Pikes Peak last year and without enough testing they had issues with the wing, the transmission and on and on. Well, for the Kern’s it isn’t that different. Each test has revealed a problem. The first showed some issues with the diff. The second test showed some issues with the suspension and between those tests we had some issue with the oil pump.
Yesterday we headed out to CORE and we tested again. 11-2:30 with only a few stops that were each under about 10 minutes. About 3 hours of running at 80-100% (except when I was driving that was probably more like 50%!) This thing is proving itself! The engine runs strong, very strong! The transmission is working nicely and the suspension is nearly dialed. One more switch around with valving and possibly a bit of a change on the rear spring rate and this thing should be ready for whatever you can throw at it.
Check out some video from the day and don’t forget to check out RaceKern.com for updates from the Kerns
The Kern’s BMW is finally running. we rocked, we rolled and Dave just straight up deprived himself of sleep and rest, but in the end: that car rocks. Yes, it is running. we finished up saturday, did a big donut in the parking lot at around 9 pm and then headed out to CORE for some testing at 10:30 the next day.
First impression… EVERYTHING WORKS! it is incredible how many little things you need to think about when you do this type of thing, but everything works! It is kinda a miracle. The car was a blast and Dave gave me a ride in it to show me what all the sleep deprivation, bloody knuckles and just general tinkering is all about. Man that is fun.
The course is rough, it is narrow and it is pretty quick. I think we topped out 5th gear in the straightish parts and jumps, tight corners and “other” were regular occurrences. It makes me want to get my hands on a car that I can play out there with…
No post is complete with out video right.. well check out some in car action!
I’ve been helping Dave Kern build his BMW rally car whenever I have free time. Unfortunately that isn’t that frequent! It has been teaching me a lot about cars and letting me do one of the things that I enjoy the most, figuring out solutions to problems!
Dave has about 16 months into this car, I have maybe a few weeks, so I can’t take a whole lot of credit, but I was down there the other night and we got some of the “you may actually drive this soon” parts put on. Brakes are bled, the engine is all ready, pedals are in, skid plate mounts are in. It is actually looking like we may run this and stretch its legs this Sunday!
A quick note about Dave. Man can that guy drive. It is pretty incredible really. You don’t really have a solid appreciation for what a good driver can do until you are riding along and seeing all the things they can do with a car. Last year he drove my car at Georgetown and I watched as my car did things that I didn’t know it was capable of. I am pretty sure that even Subaru may have been baffled. This year I rode in my car again with him at the wheel at BWDS and again, wow. How does it do that! However one of the most awesome experiences was in Mitch Williams rally car. Dave threw that thing around and at one point said “yeah, that is about as far as I would want to push someone elses car.” I was thinking “well that is about 45% more than I would want to push my own car! Allison, his wife and co-driver is brave enough to ride with him and incredibly skilled at keeping him on track. I suspect we will see her behind the wheel of the Bimmer soon! Check out their website in my links, you’ll be following along with their adventures soon enough.
When the pedals are in, the steering wheel was installed and we could sit in the drivers seat. Well your imagination puts a track in front of you. Your peripheral blocks out the shop walls and you create the sense of speed and suddenly you realize that you are making the engine sounds you imagine will emerge from the hood. Yes, we both did this, but Dave quickly remembered…. TURN THE KEY!
This year has been quite the year for speed on the ice for me. I have raced nearly the entire season at Georgetown and now I have had the chance to run up at Bridgestone Winter Driving School as well!
Georgetown is a pretty amazing thing to have nearby. The Our Gang Ice Racers provide very affordable racing very nearby. Heading up there takes an hour and the racing usually lasts all day. For only $20 on the race days and $5 on the fun days, well it is pretty tough to find any racing that comes close to that type of affordability. We’ve been having a lot of fun getting to know the crew up there as well, attending meetings and just basically hanging out with the guys and gals that run the racing up there. What a great group! I’ve had a great time getting to know them, racing with them and working with them on new ideas. With Jon’s suggestions they have started making some longer tracks which everyone seems to be enjoying. So now we have half to 3/4 mile tracks to run rather than 1/4 mile tracks, combos of sweeper corners and tight hairpins and man they are fun! Check out a video from the last race of the year.
Since I know some people in the racing world I happen to know some instructors at the Bridgestone winter driving school. Since I attended the school back in 2007, I was invited up there by Dave Kern. We headed up with two sets of studs, one car and a closing day at the track.
Bridgestone is a pretty cool place. They create the same ice tracks each year with the help of Gordon Speck, their track manager. It is all laid out by GPS and it is an amazing site when seen from the air. Unfortunately I don’t have access to that video to share with you, but hopefully I can dig something up for you in the future. In the mean time check out www.winterdrive.com for their information.
Bridgestone teaches winter driving skills to students that are novices up to advanced drivers. They do their entire school on bare rubber with Bridgestone’s Blizzak tires. They also do truck and trailer driving classes which are pretty incredible to see as well. We were fortunate to be able to try out the studded tires on the track. From what I understand this is either the first or one of the very few times a studded tire has ever been run there. I can tell you that it was an incredible experience!
We bolted up the tires on my car and we bolted up Jon’s set on Mitch Williams rally car. WOW what an awesome time. The studs hooked up like crazy, the track has big walls of snow which provide a bit of intimidation, but man, when you nail a corner it is just an incredible feeling. The studs scuffed up the track a bit and combined with the temperatures make the Blizzak’s hook up even better. HERO GRIP! So I bolted my studs onto another car to let others have fun with them then ran my Blizzak’s and had a blast as well!
In addition to driving the track it was incredible to be able to ride with some awesome drivers. Dave Kern took me for a spin in the Rally car and what an awesome experience. We hit 90+mph on the ice and the confidence and control that these guys have is amazing. Matthew Johnson was out in the rally car as well and it was amazing to see him tearing up the track.
I am sure you are wondering, where is the video from Bridgestone… well look no further! Click play and enjoy. Keep your eyes peeled for some rally cross videos this summer.
It was a beautiful day at Gerogetown Lake this week. Sunny, warm and the wind was only intermittent. We’ve actually had some really nice race days up there even if the first days were hovering around-50 with the wind chill!
This week I talked my co-worker, Szady, into coming up to race. He has an Audi S4 and we talked about winter tires for a while until he decided to go with the Bizzak’s. So what better way to test them out than to come up and race on Ice! He ended up winning his class!
I had the good fortune of winning one of my two classes this week. We had a subaru studs race and a Pro Street race on a big long track with lots of speed. I got a bit hesitant with the speed on some of my laps. Wow it sure seems different when you are hauling at 45+mph on a glaring sheet of ice into a hairpin turn. It is a LOT of fun though and I really didn’t get to comfortable with it until my victory lap… which seems a bit funny now that I say it.
Jon got 3rd in pro street studs, which is a solid accomplishment as well. I went out in the first round!
This time however we added more cars to the video. More jeeps, bronco’s subaru’s audi’s. Everything! Mix all that together with a bit of rocket man and tada! You have a cool Our Gang Ice Racin’ video.
Another weekend in Georgetown and another fun time. We headed up there to compete on the ice with the Our Gang Ice Racing club and had a blast!
I always feel as though I finally have the course dialed about 2 hours after my race. But I love going out there and doing lap after lap to go play on the ice. I am also glad that I haven’t gone out in the first round yet this year which at least gets me a second run. Hopefully at some point I will have some familiarity with their course setup and be able to start visualizing the fast way a bit sooner so I can be more competitive!
It has been great getting to know these guys too. It is a bunch of people who are basically just looking to have fun. I can appreciate that because that is my whole motivation for going out there. I just want to have fun! Sideways action and “fast” speeds always bring a smile to my face!
This time I made another video. I am fortunate to have a friend in the film world. I chatted with him last week and he gave me a few process ideas, pointers from a guy who uses Final Cut Pro for his job. “Naw, don’t use that format, use this format,” was how the conversation went. Use this format, do it like this, it will turn out awesome. So I did and I did a bit more research in color correction in FCP and a few other things and I am really psyched with the progress. I love making these videos because they all help me learn the program and the motivate me because I am so excited to actually work with this video. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this weeks installment on Youtube.
Yeah, ice is cold. Maybe too cold… But wow is it fun!
New years day we headed out to Georgetown to go racin’! The Canadian Conti Ice tires we have spec’d out to fit into the mens pro street class and we were able to race with the big boys. The day wasn’t without controversy, but Jon and I were, eh, less than impressive on the ice this time out. Maybe it was the recorded -20 degrees, maybe it was all the hairpin… Maybe it was the pressure. Who knows, but I ended up with 5th place and Jon, well I don’t know what he got. I did win $5 though with my certificate of AWESOME.
The day was very cold, we were able to get out and race however and unfortunately there were no practice runs on the course. It was a fun course however and definitely challenged me. The course was what they refer to as a “coke bottle” which should describe the shape well. At each end there was a hairpin and this was pretty tough. Without using the handbrake we had to rotate the car around this pin and I can honestly say that this isn’t something I have tried to do before. My first round I was doing horribly, but the guy I was racing hit a cone so I won by default. My second round I did fantastically, my turns were perfect and as I crossed the line I let the back end get away from me… and I hit a cone! My racing day was over, but we waited around and once the Pro Street class was done everyone moved to the Cheaters course. Jon and I spent another hour and a half driving the course. We got lap after lap on the course and had an amazing time. We are a bit competitive, but we mainly just want to go have fun, go sideways and just play! Of course, as you are aware, we will take a GoPro everywhere we go…
Another fun day on the ice, we are looking forward to more races soon!
It has been probably 8 years since I have really done anything big with video. I have been tinkering a bit more recently however with POV cameras mainly and basically just having fun learning Final Cut Pro. It is quite different from the Media 100 system that I used in the past, but I am beginning to figure out some of the quirks and getting a bit more comfortable with the system. In addition to that, in 2005 YouTube came out. I missed the early years of figuring out the proper compressions, file types and workflows that are optimized for online streaming so I am catching up now as well. Trust me on one thing. I have been making a bunch of mistakes. One right after the other typically. But I am getting a bit more comfortable and working out a workflow that is getting a bit better to deal with these things.
In the next year I am hoping to get some more of this stuff dialed in. I like having the ability to make videos that are more professional in quality. Hopefully with a bit more tinkering in my “free time” I will be able to get prepared for a few more projects I have in mind.
This year I am playing with the GoPro’s at the Kart track and using the video to tinker with more and more settings, export options and all kinds of other things that the programs have to offer. I am hoping to make a short Ice Racing video from this season as well to show off how awesome it is to race on the Ice and I would love to try to do a bigger and better Pikes Peak video this year too.
Over the past two years or so I have shot a bunch of smaller videos, just quick edits and rough things that I threw together with music or just threw together in an afternoon. I was doing short videos for our SoapBox teams too. They were all done at some ridiculous hour and squeezed in before I fell asleep.
Here are some videos from over the years from some of the adventures we have been on.