December 10, 2012

2012 – New Driver, New Dragster, New Sponsor

Wow, it seems like the racing season flew by and here we are finishing up the year at the Saskatchewan Drag Racing Association Awards Banquet in Saskatoon.  If we look back a few months to the beginning.....

Here we are at Saskatchewan International Raceway on Sunday, May 13, 2012, Mother's Day for a test and tune. We've got both Junior Dragsters ready to go and the drivers are ready as well. 

Taliya is a little apprehensive given that this will be the first time she drives her Junior Dragster down the track, having just completed Drag Racing School in Medicine Hat on May 6th.  This will be a little different for her as she obtained her license in a gasoline powered Junior Dragster that was less powerful than her alcohol powered Junior Dragster.  After four passes Taliya has achieved a best ET (elapsed time) of 14.107 seconds and reached a speed of 42.26 mph over the eighth mile track.

Taliya Knight, Knight Motorsports

Taliya Knight, Knight Motorsports

 

Alaina has a new Junior Dragster this year built by Louis Martin and she's looking to run an 8.90 second ET or close to it. She is excited to be able to go faster than last year’s 12.90 ET’s. For her first pass Alaina only runs the dragster to half-track and shuts off early to break in the engine.  She still manages to go faster than she did all of last year completing her run in 11.886 seconds and a speed of 13.31 mph.  Once the car is broken in, she's ready to run and three runs later has completed the 1/8 mile in 9.10 seconds and reached a top speed of 73.09 mph.  Alaina was extremely happy and excited at the end of the day as she achieved her personal best to date.

Alaina and her new Louis Martin Junior Dragster on one of its first runs. Alaina with her Junior Dragster builder, Louis Martin of Martin Components

 

...............................
Back at the Awards banquet its almost 7 and we're waiting for supper to start and then the awards to follow.  For both Alaina and Taliya the Junior Dragster Thunder class has awards for the Best Engineered, Best Appearing, Barry Davies Most Improved Jr. Racer, Points Champion, and Crew Chief of the Year.  Both Alaina and Taliya had great looking cars designed by Guy Laird of RealGoneGuy Graphics and sponsored by Knight Archer Insurance.  When we made the first appearance at SIR everyone loved the new look of the cars and we received numerous compliments so we might be in the running for Best Appearing.  Time for supper and off we go....
....................................

 

Taliya’s 2010 Martin Components Junior Dragster with new sponsor, Knight Archer Insurance Brokers graphics.

Alaina’s 2012 Martin Components Junior Dragster with new sponsor Knight Archer Insurance Brokers graphics.

 

LET THE RACING BEGIN (or IS THAT LET THE RAINS BEGIN?)

May 26/27, 2012
The first points race of the season!  Both girls are nervous, Alaina with the performance of her new Junior Dragster and Taliya as this will be her first runs with a competitor in the other lane. The first day of qualifying goes off quite well, Alaina's car runs consistently around the 9 second mark, and runs a personal best of 8.969 on her last run of the day.  The new 2012 Junior Dragster works perfectly and everything looks great for the day.  Taliya's day was all over the place as she struggled to put her foot into until the last time trial where the timing system malfunctioned and she appeared to run too fast.

Race day and its threatening rain.  We manage to get two more time trials in before the rain came and the race was cancelled.  Both girls decided to shut off early in the last time trial so we were unable to gauge how the cars ran, but everything appears to be working.

June 9, 2012
We are in Saskatoon for the Jet Car feature race and it’s raining.  The dragsters are ready to roll with Knight Archer prominently displayed on the cars with the new wraps,  but unfortunately  the race is called before noon due to the rain  and we're heading home.  Hopefully it is not the start of a trend this year as we had enough rain last year!

June 23, 2012
It’s early in the morning, we're up and heading to downtown Weyburn for the Weyburn Car Club Show 'n' Shine.  We get there early and park the trailers; registration begins at 10:00 AM as does set-up.  10:00 AM rolls around and as we roll out the cars, it's a beautiful hot day for the car show.  The girls hand out brochures and talk about the cars and how they love the sport of drag racing.  Access Communications is out and about and we snag them to come and do an interview of the three girls racing, Diane (Grandma) and her 65 Cuda, Taliya and her 2010 Martin Components Junior Dragster and Alaina with her 2012 Louis Martin Junior Dragster.  The day winds up at 7:00 PM and off we go home to get ready for tomorrow's race in Estevan,

Three racy ladies, (l to r), Alaina Knight, Diane Knight and Taliya Knight

 

Weyburn was busy with a steady stream of interested spectators from 10 AM to 7 PM.The Junior Dragsters attracted a lot of attention as they were “REAL RACE CARS” driven by two very poised young ladies.

 

OFF TO THE RACES (FINALLY)

June 24, 2012
Off to Estevan, and the race track, or should I say the Estevan airport?  Estevan drag races at the airport and this should be interesting.  The track (airport) is very nice with pit spaces on the paved taxi-ways.  The day is cold and overcast with rain threatening but the race gets off.  Both Alaina and Taliya won the first round and advanced and in the second round lost to a brother and sister team from Beinfait.  Oh well, better luck next time!

Alaina Knight at Estevan. Yay!  No rain for the 1st time this year.Taliya Knight at Estevan. It’s June 24th and this is just the first race of the season due to rain-outs at Saskatoon earlier in the season.

 

June 29/30 & July 1
Canada Day weekend and we are in Medicine Hat for their Big Buck Race.  Three days of racing with the ability to buy back into the race if you lose in either of the first or second rounds.

On the first day Alaina's dragster develops a gremlin and her dragster is now running inconsistently.   She can no longer run her normal 9 seconds ET’s consistently and the dragster slows up to 10 seconds ET’s.  Adjustments to the starting line rpms appear to work for one round and then the car acts up again.  Alaina loses the initial rounds and the two buy backs and is eliminated in the 3rd round.

Taliya fairs no better on the first day and loses after the third round, although she does run faster and faster due to a tail wind that picks up her speed and her time by two tenths of a second.

The second day starts off better. An emergency call to Louis Martin has brought him from Regina to assist with Alaina’s gremlins.  First thing in the morning, with Louis’ help, we take apart the clutch on Alaina's car and replace the weights lowering them from 6 grams to 5 grams.  Alaina manages to win three straight rounds before losing in the semi-finals. It appears that the gremlin has been eliminated that plagued us the day before.  As a semi-finalist Alaina wins $50 for the day, her first winnings.

Taliya also does quite well and she wins three rounds to make it into the semi-finals.  Taliya's car is working perfectly and she's working on her reaction times and getting better at racing.

The third and final day of the Big Buck shootout starts off with water on the track and in the pits due to the rain overnight.  The rain does stop by around 9 and it looks like everything is going to dry up so we can race.  Once again Alaina and Taliya race the first round and are not successful so they buy back into round 2, lose and buy back into round 3 where they both end up losing.

It was a great weekend as Alaina tested her car, we fix the gremlin (so we think) and she won $50. Taliya does great winning four rounds over the weekend and getting more experience driving.  Things are looking up for the remainder of the season.

July 14/15, 2012
Rain rears its head again and Saturday's test day is rained out.

Sunday is cloudy and cooler and due to the threat of more rain, we only get one time trial instead of the normal three.  Taliya cuts the best light in her class and qualifies #1 which gives her a first round bye and an automatic win.  Alaina manages to eke out a win as her dragster's clutch acts up again but the other racer breaks out (runs faster than their dial-in) and she wins the round.

Round two and Alaina and Taliya are racing each other.  Adam talks with both girls and lets them know what his thoughts are on how they should dial in their dragsters and ultimately they each set their own dial-ins.  Taliya beats her sister as Alaina red lights, that is, Alaina left before the light turned green and she got a red light which is an automatic loss.

Taliya advances to the third round and loses but still manages to do her best finish yet!  Alaina appears to have some bugs to work out in her clutch and its back to Regina to drop the dragster off for Louis Martin to see what's going on.

July 27/28/29, 2012
We are back in Medicine Hat for the National Open and looks to be a great weekend for racing with the temperature reaching close to 30 degrees.

All three days Alaina struggles as the clutch continues to act up and her dragster becomes inconsistent, resulting in first round losses each day.

Taliya fairs a little better winning a couple of rounds on the second day and losing in the first rounds on the first and third day.

The weekend ends with lots of frustrations as Alaina's dragster began the season with consistent performances that has now been lost due to a clutch that is now acting up.  Taliya is struggling with reaction times but her car is very consistent, and only the tail wind manages to affect her speed and times.

..............................
Back at the banquet, supper has wrapped up and they are presenting the awards for the individual classes.  Alaina has won second place in the points for the year. Something that wasn't even in the cards given how the first half of the season played out.  Her clutch acted up in July and it appeared that we would be dealing with a problem clutch for the remainder of the season.  Alaina steps up to the podium and gives her speech, she is definitely nervous. She thanks her sponsor, Knight Archer Insurance Brokers, thanks her mom and dad and Grandma and Grandpa for this past year.  Way to go Alaina!

The girls really ROCKED in Junior Dragster Thunder in 2012 taking the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes. (L to R) Megan Madarash, Wynyard -1st place, Alaina Knight, Weyburn – 2nd place and Rachel Walde, Saskatoon – 3rd place. Alaina Knight accepting her trophy for her 2nd place finish in Junior Dragster Thunder.

 

August 11/12 2012
We are back in Saskatoon this weekend for a two day race.  Alaina's time trials go well and it appears we kicked the clutch issue and the car is running great. Taliya's dragster is consistent and runs well until the third time trial when the fuel line falls off.  Back to the trailer and a quick zip tie to the fuel line and she is ready to go again. The first day ends with two round wins by Alaina and a first round win for Taliya.

The second day Alaina and Taliya’s qualifying positions have them racing each other in the first round.  Alaina wins and now each has won a race against the other.  Alaina continues to win rounds and in the final round sets her own dial-in and wins the race!  She's ecstatic winning the first race in her career and all thanks to Taliya letting her????? win in that first round. Thanks Taliya!

August 25, 2012
This weekend is the Alcohol Funny Car Shoot Out at Saskatchewan International Raceway in Saskatoon and the day starts off with rain and by noon the race is cancelled.  We head out back to Weyburn and on the drive back decide to attend the Estevan Drag Racing Season final on Sunday.

August 26, 2012
An early start puts us in Estevan at 8 and in perfect weather for a race; dry, sunny and hot.  Alaina's car once again has clutch issues but she manages to win the first round before being eliminated in the second round.  Taliya fairs no better and loses in the first round due to sleeping on the start line (her reaction time was .23 which means she left the start line .23 seconds after the green light which was way slower than her opponent).  So ends the weekend with the clutch an issue again for Alaina and Taliya still learning to drive the Junior Dragster and needing to work on improving her reaction time.

 

FIVE RACES, FIFTEEN DAYS

September comes and with rain outs throughout the season Saskatchewan International Raceway decides to run the five remaining races of the season over three consecutive weekends starting September 8.

September 8/9, 2012
Back in Saskatoon for two rain out dates.  Alaina's clutch is still malfunctioning and she loses in the first round.  Taliya loses in the second round due to throttle adjustments that we are making to fine tune the dragster to compensate for the tail winds we have been experiencing.

Sunday arrives and the clutch continues to act up and Alaina loses in the first round.  Taliya fairs a little better and wins round one and loses in the second round.

At this point it looks like the season is going to end with a number of issues with Alaina's new dragster that had started after beginning the year with a perfectly working dragster.  Taliya is still learning and is working on her reaction time and ensuring she is driving the dragster full out.  Taliya is limited to running 12.90 seconds and is finding that is a hard thing to do when everyone is faster than you.

September 15/16, 2012
This is the weekend the Junior Dragster drivers have been waiting for, the Knight Archer Big Buck Shoot-out on Saturday and the NHRA Wally race on Sunday.  On Saturday the winner of the race receives $400 and the runner up wins $200. On Sunday, the Juniors are racing for an NHRA Wally, the most sought after trophy in National Hot Rod Association racing.

 Louis Martin of Martin Components has adjusted the clutch and we think the clutch issues have been solved for Alaina. Saturday's weather is great and we all get three test runs down the track.  We changed the clutch weights back to seven grams from five grams for Alaina and her dragster seems to be on track.  Taliya has been working on and has improved her reaction times.

The first round starts with Taliya losing as she ran faster than what she was allowed.  Alaina wins the first two rounds to race in the final round against Megan Madarash (who drives the first electric dragster in Canada). In the final it's heads up racing with Alaina running too quick and breaking out which gives Megan the win and the $400 prize.  Alaina places 2nd and wins $200.

Sunday arrives and it’s the NHRA Wally race.  We decide to put a new clutch in Alaina's dragster and adjust the throttle to compensate for the new clutch. We will see if this solves the clutch issues.   Alaina's car performs great and everything seems to be on track.

Taliya heads into round one and leaves the line too soon with a red light of .1 seconds to lose the round.  Alaina's new clutch works great and she wins both rounds placing her in the final against Megan Madarash for the second day in a row. Alaina runs great, wins the round and takes home the NHRA Wally.  At this point it looks like Alaina has a chance to finish in second place in the points if she can win one round at the last race on September 22.

Alaina accepts her winnings for a runner-up finish in the Junior Dragster Thunder Class segment of the Knight Archer Insurance Big buck Shoot-out from Hank Wolbaum of Knight Archer Insurance.

The weekend of September 15/16 was the best weekend of the year and of Alaina’s two year driving career. After scoring a runner-up in the Junior Dragster Thunder Class segment of the Knight Archer Insurance Junior Dragster Big Buck Shoot-out on Saturday Alaina won the Wally Race on Sunday. Way to go Alaina, a win and a runner-up finish in the same week-end! The following week-end Alaina drove to a runner-up to finish second in the Junior Dragster Thunder class for 2012. Alaina poses with her crew chief (dad) Adam Knight, crew (mom) Ester Knight and her fellow competitor (sister) Taliya Knight.

September 22, 2012
Saturday comes sunny and a bit cool.  The day goes great and Alaina advances to the final where she loses to Rachel Walde but in doing so she wins second place in the Junior Dragster Thunder class for 2012.  Taliya goes out in the first round and ends her season.

September 29, 2012
Mom and Dad have jetted away to Paris for seven days but Alaina and Taliya are busy displaying their Junior Dragsters at the Knight Archer Insurance location on Rochdale Blvd. (Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for all their help!) The display goes well and the girls finish the season with a busy day showing off their dragsters and explaining drag racing to a good crowd of Knight Archer Insurance customers.

The Knight Archer Insurance display at the Rochdale location on Sept 29. THANKS A BUNCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN 2012 AUNTIE GLORIA!

Gloria Archer with son-in-law James Rogoza and granddaughter (future racer?) Jasmine (Jazzy) Rogoza.

 

..................
Time for the award for best engineered Junior and we listen with excitement.  When Skippy announces the winner is Alaina she looks surprised, she wasn't expecting that!  Alaina's podium time is spent telling a story where she thanks Grandma and Grandpa (Diane and George Knight) for convincing her parents to let her race even though they thought it unwise.  Good Job Alaina!

The awards wrap up and everyone disperses.  The girls of the junior thunder class head up front and begin to dance the night away.  The boys won't dance unless it’s to Gangnam style and once that comes on the kids make up the most of the dancers.  We wind up the night around 11:30 and head back to the hotel.

 

Alaina accepts the BEST ENGINERED AWARD for her 2012 Louis Martin Junior Dragster from Saskatchewan International Raceway track manager Shawn (Skippy) Zezula.

The Junior Dragster Thunder class competitors who attended the year-end banquet along with Teryn McBain from the Junior Dragster Lightening Class. Way to go to all of you.

The Junior Dragster Thunder class competitors who attended the year-end banquet along with Teryn McBain from the Junior Dragster Lightening Class. Way to go to all of you.

Only 143 days to go until we hook up the trailer and head on out to SIR to start the next season.......

Alaina, Taliya, Adam and Ester Knight
December 10, 2012

 
  • January 29, 2013

    The Long Way to the Hockey Game 

    On January 18 the Knight Motorsports Junior Dragster Team attended a Regina Pats Hockey Game...

    Read more...  
  • DECEMBER 10, 2012

    2012 – New Driver, New Dragster, New Sponsor

    Wow, it seems like the racing season flew by and here we are finishing up the year...

    Read more...  
  • March 10, 2012

    Looking Back At 2011, Looking Forward To 2012

    The Junior Dragster Team had a learning year in 2011 as they learned to race. It was busy from April 30, when things began at the Cosby Jr. Drag Racing School to the final race of the season at Oahe...

    Read more...  
  • May 31, 2011

    The Thirty Day Wonder

    So you want to go Junior Drag Racing? Follow our example at your own peril!

    Throughout the winter of 2010/2011 we encouraged Alaina to attend the Junior Dragster Racing School taught by Cosby Motorsports. We anticipated that...

    Read more...