As we prepare for the 2011 STA-BIL Keeps Fresh Finals in Delaware, Ohio this Labor Day Weekend I thought I would try to provide you some Tips in preparing your Mowchine and make it easier when passing through Inspection. Prior to having your mower inspected you must register and be issued a transponder and tech sheet for your class.
Observations from races that I have witnessed Mowers passing through Tech, I have noticed some of the following areas that need to be focused on. Though we have not turned any mower away, “which is our policy”, unless a serious safety issue is present, there are areas that drivers need to make sure they remember prior to departing for Nationals in Ohio or any other race.
JP / IMOW
- Make Sure your engines are hot prior to getting RPM’s check Rpm. Engine RPM is effected by engine temperature.
- If your Ratio is 8 to 1 and you put a new belt on recheck your Ratio, chances are it might change it
- Don’t try to set your rear air pressure right at 15 psi; it will change with the temperature!
- Make sure that your spark plug wire is easily accessible to the inspector for RPM check both during Tech and after Feature races. This has become a major problem!
- Remember DO NOT SHUT DOWN YOUR ENGINE AFTER THE FEATURE RACE!. IT MUST GO THROUGH A POST RACE RPM AND AIR PRESSURE CHECK BEFORE THE RESULTS ARE FINAL!
- Throttle return safety springs (double) should not go on the carburetor butterfly arm this will affect the governor operation. Instead they should be mounted at the point where the throttle cable connects to the governor/housing area so that it will return the cable to an idle position in the event the throttle sticks. These springs should be 2 separate springs mounted at 2 separate locations at both ends. Also these springs should be strong enough to do what they are intended to do; many are putting weak springs that are just too weak to return the throttle to the idle position.
- Remember checking RPM, 8 to 1 ratio and tire pressure during tech is more of a courtesy for the drivers. It is your responsibility to ensure that your mower meets the set rules. They will be checked after features! If not in compliance then you will be disqualified.
- Remember Parents of JP drivers are encouraged to be in the infield during their Childs race. But they must remain no less than 10 feet behind the hay bale and not yelling instructions to them once they are lined up waiting for the green flag.
All Other Classes (does not apply to US Open Classes)
- All mowers must have STA-BIL Stickers and no profanity on them.
- Lettering for Class and assigned Number must be visible from at least 150 feet so that timing and scoring can easily match numbers with data which comes up the screen during transponder check and during the race when verifying line up after cautions.
- Too many drivers trying to take short cuts on the throttle return springs by using any type of return spring! Remember this return spring has to be strong enough to return the throttle to an idle position if the carburetor sticks in a wide open position. These return springs must be mounted on 2 separate locations on both ends of the spring. In Ohio I will make drivers change this spring if it is determined it will not do what it is intended to do!
- Positive terminals/leads on the battery, solenoid, and started must be covered! Again Too many drivers are taking the easy way around this rule and taping them. However as the temperature raises this cause the tape to just slide off. The easiest solution is to get a terminal cover normally 1 or 2 dollars and put these on them.
- Mowers with adjustable front axles; this past weekend alone about eight mowers were found to have their helm-joints loose along with tie rod ends.
- We have found several fuel lines to be dry rotted and fuel clamps missing
- Batteries not properly secured, In one instance the battery fell out and cause an major accident during a race
- Hoods and body parts should be secured and not loose and rattling/bouncing around.
- Too many engine kill switches have been found to be sticking and not shutting down the engine when disconnected.
- Kill switch tethers cords way to long, if a driver would come off the mower during a race the tether should be at the right length to kill the engine before the driver hits the ground.
- Many driver during the course of race day deicide to change tires, however some fail to ensure they still meet the required 38” side wall to side wall rule.
- Mowers must be clean specifically in and around the engine compartment, this way we can insure there are no leaks of fuel or oil that could become a safety issue, especially around the exhaust system.
- All chains must have a chain guard to prevent the chain from flying and hitting another driver during a race.
- Steering should be snug and not excessively loose to the point that when the wheels are turned all the way right or left the steering wheel does not turn any further.
- I have found some Engine mounting bolts loose.
- All race teams must remember that it a requirement to have fire extinguishers.
The USLMRA has had an excellent safety record and when accidents do happen, they are normally due to driver errors rather than mechanical failure. With that being said lets continue to ensure that mowers are well prepared for race day and go out to the track and have fun!
Since some drivers do not have access to e-mail or internet I ask that local chapter and affiliated chapter presidents to please print this message and pass it along to members of their organizations.
Thanks and happy Mowing!