The 2021 Machismo 12 Hour Endurance race marked the 14th edition of the annual once-around-the-clock, with 38 teams across three classes doing battle for the trophy, bragging rights, and prestige of winning the longest running endurance race in America. The event moved back a couple weeks to the month of November, and was greeted with warm temps, and perfect weather for both the practice and qualifying sessions on Friday, and the race itself on Saturday. With the event selling out the arrive and drive entries and at half capacity for the Pro class, it was a very busy track all weekend, with the high level of talent on display across all three categories…
That talent was put on display first during the customary ‘under-the’lights’ 1 Hour qualifying session on Friday night, with all three classes proving to be hotly contested, a precursor to what would end up being a very exciting race. Right out of the gate, 33 teams hit the track including all but two of the arrive and drive classes, making for a very crowded track to kick things off…
Based around being a ‘gentleman driver’ type of category, the S2 (Sport) class sees a cap on the experience level for its competitors, and with a rule set that sees them make more driver changes, they are not typically in running for the overall win. They are however in the hunt for the overall pole position in the arrive and drive field, as the are also set to average weight of 200lbs, allowing for some lighter drivers to hit the track. And that is exactly what happened, with the top time being set by Terlingua Racing’s Ian Odermatt, clocking just over a quarter second advantage in class over Red Mist Mulholland, setting the stage for what would be a race-long battle…
Super Sport [S1]
In the more experienced class of S1 (Super Sport), we typically see longer runs as the class requires fewer pit stops, and with each driver required to cross the scales at 200lbs, not necessarily quite as quick of times in qualifying. For the 2021 edition, that would be the case, but while the top time would be good for 3rd overall for the sport kart categories, the battle for the top qualifying honors was even closer.
Making things a little more interesting is the fact the S1 teams start the race on whatever fuel is left after the 1 Hour qualifying session, so we sometimes see teams clock a time, and then park it to save fuel. That is exactly what the Stage Two Racing team elected to do, setting the early time to beat before calling it enough after just under a quarter of the session had elapsed.
Their time would end up being good enough for P2 in the session, as team APR SS Racing’s Sean Fite would find a little more time over the next several laps, scoring a lap just under one tenth faster by the halfway mark, a time that would hold up for their S1 pole position honors for this year.
In the Pro Class, teams bring their own Briggs 206 powered competition karts to the event, and the 2021 edition was a 50/50 mix of first time entrants, and endurance veterans looking to find the podium. Also set up as an average weight class, drivers still have to meet a minimum of 160lbs, but it is not unusual to still see some larger margins in qualifying. That wasn;t the case in 2021 however, as we saw one of the closest ever margins in the 1 hour session, with each team trying to come to grips -pun intended- with their harder Prime set of tires that they are required to qualify, and start the race on.
Making their Machismo 12 Hour debut, Stag Racing out of the Pacific Northwest set the early bar just 5 minutes in on their Redspeed machine, before pulling into the pits to sit on the time for the next 30 or so minutes. Then just passed the halfway mark on the session, BBi Autosport’s Race Liberante found a little more out of their Race Factory ride, nipping the time by just over a tenth. Stag would head back out to try and steal back the top spot, but would eventually settle for second, just .064 astern in the end…
The Machismo 12 Hour Race…
Saturday morning began with a drivers meeting to go over the nuances of the track, the pit lane, and some of the specifics of the rules, before lining all 38 karts up along the back straight for the running Le Mans styled start to start the clock on the 12 Hours. First drivers would line up across for their team karts, while a teammate would hold their kart on the other side; the action commencing at 10:07am with the waving of the green flag. Aside from a couple of spins on cold tires, the full field made it through the opening laps unscathed, with the 14th annual Machismo 12 Hour underway…
Sport Class [S2] / Sport Experience [SE]
The first class we’ll cover in this recap will be that of the SE (Sport Experience) sub-category, which is a part of the S2 clas as a whole. This sub-cat was created last year to give the one-off attendees and those with little to no time at CalSpeed or the event a chance to battle for their own piece of hardware. Following the same rules as the rest of the S2 class, only the top SE team gets the honors, awarded a bronze wreath trophy at the end for their efforts…
Ironically, the SE category would have the closest race of any of the classes, with two teams emerging as the ones battling for the hardware in the end. Raising eyebrows with a P4 in the S2 class in qualifying, team Too Fast to Crash were the early favorites, and led their SE compatriots for the first third of the race. A slightly rocky start turned into superior lap times and more importantly, quick and mistake-free pit stops for team Live Laugh Kart, and they would take over the lead on lap 192, with the two teams nearly even in required stops.
The real turning point would be in the strategy; at the end of the race it would be drive time that would play a factor, with Too Fast to Crash making two extra pit stops than required, handing the advantage to Live Laugh Kart. It would be an advantage that they would maintain, but only just – winning by just under 4.5 seconds after 12 hours…
Terlingua Racing may have scored pole position, but it would be Red Mist Mulholland crossing the line first, as the S2 squad linked up with S1 leaders APR SS racing to clock fast laps out of the gate, before eventually taking the overall sport kart lead. Terlingua would slowly catch back up however, eating up a near 3 second deficit to get to their back bumper by lap 24, before being the first to head down pit road for one of their 35 stint changes. This would be the theme in class, as these two teams would never be far from each other, whether that be on course, or in strategy. In the end, both Mulholand and Terlingua would be on the same lap, the latter circulating about 45 seconds astern, but gaining, clocking their fastest lap of the race just two from the end. They would have to settle for second, while Red Mist Mulholland brought home a first time win for the Red Mist team, having been a part of the Machismo for many years.
Outside of the top two it was a battle for the final podium spot, with team Full Send and sister squad to the eventual winners -Red Mist Activated- trading the third spot back and forth with Pinhead racing not too far off. Full Send would lead the trio in the early going, before a difference in strategy saw Red Mist take over the 3rd spot for a multitude of laps. In the end, that strategy difference would again play a part, with the latter having to make a couple extra stops to get drive time right, bump them off the podium run, with Full Send bringing home the final set of hardware.
- Red Mist Mulholland Best Lap – 71.728
- Terlingua Racing – 1 lap Best Lap – 72.164
- Full Send – 5 laps Best Lap – 72.597
Super Sport [S1]
In the Super Sport category it was class pole sitters APR SS Racing getting to the front at the start, working with the aforementioned S2 class team of Red Mist Mulholland in the early laps, before running station in second overall and with the class lead over Dark Horse Domination by about a second. Little by little it would be the latter reeling in the gap, and by lap 11 there would be a new leader in class, and one that would establish themselves as a team to beat. In fact, they would keep the lead through the opening hour and 45 minutes, before sister team DH Third Wheelin reeled them in and took over the top spot. Domination would emerge as the clear leader from that point on, while the back and forth between the next two would be constant throughout the race, each needing to overcome obstacles thrown at them, but none losing touch with a podium spot. Domination would have issues of their own, but they too would not lose their position, holding on to the top spot and eventually claiming the S1 win by nearly a full lap, while DH Third Wheelin claimed the second spot by less than a lap over third place APR SS racing.
- Dark Horse Domination Best Lap – 71.549
- DH Third Wheelin – 1 lap Best Lap – 71.963
- APR SS Racing – 2 laps Best Lap – 72.233
Of all the classes, the Pro Class would have the most leaders and lead changes, with BBi Autosport leading away from the start over Stag Racing, Nash Motorsportz, HRT, and Dark Horse Pro. At 7+ seconds a lap faster than their sport kart compatriots, traffic became a thing very quickly, and would stay that way for the duration of the 12 Hours. Slicing through said traffic like Prototypes through GT’s, the Pro Class drivers have to balance their speed with the delicate nature of their karts, plus the strategy of Tire Management all at the same time.
For BBi, their time at the front came to a brief end after ten laps, as Dark Horse worked through the traffic a bit more efficiently to climb up from the 5th spot to take the lead on lap 11. There they would stay for the next 40 or so laps, before BBi -on a different fuel strategy- would take back over the lead when Dark Horse pit on lap 53. When they came in for fuel on lap 74 however, it would be the last time they would be out front, handing the top spot over to NASH Motorsportz. For the next 7 hours, NASH and Dark Horse would trade off the lead during fuel or pit stops, with the latter emerging with the advantage between the two at about the halfway point.
Then at about the ⅔ distance mark, reigning champs of the event HRT entered back into the conversation, taking over the lead after having been inside the top 3 nearly the entire race. Veterans of the event, HRT found speed when it mattered, and not only held onto the lead, but kept the pressure on Dark Horse from then to the finish, both teams swapping the front via altering strategies. Behind them, NASH Motorsportz settled into a solid third, a little off the top two, but well in fron tof the rest of the pack, who each had issues at some point over the 12 hours.
In the end, the strategy would see Dark Horse hold on to their lead from a charging HRT camp reeling them in, crossing the line one spot better from the year prior, the margin of victory just a little over one lap…
- Dark Horse Pro Best Lap – 64.376
- HRT -1 lap Best Lap – 64.318
- NASH Motorsportz -3 laps Best Lap – 64.221
CalSpeed would like to thank everyone for coming out to the 2021 Machismo 12 Hour, whether it was your first, or you are a repeat challenger to the endurance challenge. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s event, December 2-3 2021!
Full Results: https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1937546
Event Coverage: https://www.facebook.com/machismo12hr