2000 Western Canadian Ice-Race Championship

Pass Attempt #4

Saturday, March 4, 2000

Track Layout This next series of incidents covers almost an entire lap.  It's the final lap of Rubber Race #3, late on Saturday afternoon.

I'm still mad at myself for having hit Jim Graham on the first lap.  And I'm really starting to lose patience with #98 weaving back and forth in front of me.

It's not a good thing to lose your cool when racing.  Bad things usually result from that.


 
#1 Here we are rounding the last corner and crossing the start/finish line to begin the final lap.  Again, I'm faster than #98 through this right/left corner sequence, but I'm still stuck behind him.

On the previous lap, I tried to pass him on the right here.  Perhaps to prevent a repeat attempt, he's drifting a little wide now.  But in doing so, he opens the door on the left, and I'm in there immediately.

Watch in the video as #98 crowds left again once he realises what I'm up to.  We almost touch, but not quite.

So what now?  I'm well beside him, but I'm on the outside for the next corner.  If I turn in front of him now, can I trust him not to hit me?

01
#2 Not a chance!

I pull back at the last moment as #98 streaks across my path.

It feels like I just dodged a bullet there.

I don't know how he managed to keep from stuffing himself into the outside snowbank, but we exit the corner with me close on his tail again.

02
#3 Turning onto the back straight, I really want to get inside to the right on the exit of this turn.

But the ice surface is polished smooth at this point and it's hard to find any traction.

03
#4 I cannot get to the inside, but I do have quite a bit more speed than #98 coming onto the straight.

So I go left to pass him on the outside.

04
#5 But now I'm far off the normal line.

I should be way over there on the right, behind the car of "Jeff Gordon".  Heck, #98 should be over there too.  Instead he's still crowding right next to me, making sure I stay stuck over here on the far left where the ice surface is good and slick.

In fact #98 has much better traction now and is steadily gaining ground on me.

The next corner goes to the left.  I'm on the inside for that, and I'll be damned if I'm going to back off for him again this time.

05
#6 Except I'm screwed again.

This is the entrance to the fast 3rd gear chicane on the back straight.  This left turn on the entrance is relatively easy.  It's the much tighter right turn on the exit that's tricky.

If I continue barrelling in here at this speed, I will surely make a mess of the right hander that follows.  I have to ease up at this point in order to set up an acceptable line for the crucial right hander.

06
#7 Damn that #98!

I eased up for just a moment, and now he's right back in front of me again!

I'm going to have to drive a wooden stake through his heart.  He simply refuses to give up.

Curses and drats.

07
#8 However, in order to move ahead of me like this, #98 did come barrelling into this corner too fast and off line.

This is dangerous!!

#98 looks like he's hurrying for an appointment with the magnetic snowbank.  If I had stayed beside him, he would surely have taken me with him.

Once again I'm forced to back off to give him lots of room as he slides across in front of me, exit stage left, and goodbye.

08
#9 "Jeff Gordon" easily pulls away from me because I've had to compromise this corner for #98.

With a slower exit speed, I now have no problem keeping more to the middle of the track in order to leave a wide margin for #98 as I cruise by him (finally!).

In the video clip, you can clearly hear the sound of #98's engine out my open window as he falls behind.

Then he hits me hard!

TWICE!!
09
#10 That was totally unnecessary.

I can understand getting hit in a corner.  I know how those mistakes happen.  I've been there, done that myself.  (Sorry Jim).

But we're driving in a straight line here.  What is the justification for hitting someone on a straightaway?
 
Pass Attempt #4 This is an ASF file video clip (0.8 MB) of the lap as recorded from my in-car camera.

10
  Fortunately the damage was minimal.

The driver side window wouldn't roll up later because the door panel was bowed in slightly.  We stuck a crowbar in there and bent the panel back into shape and all was well after that.

So after a day of intense racing, having completed 3 Chevette Races and 3 Rubber Races, the car survived relatively unscathed.  There was only a small red paint scuff from #98 on the right rear fender, and a combination of red paint from #98 and Jim's #78 down the left side on the door and rear fender.

Ironically, the worst damage of the day inflicted on my yellow #79 Chevette was the broken tail light from when Jim Graham gave me a push start in the pits!

We closed out the day at the Saturday night banquet for all racers at the "Trucker's Saloon" in beautiful downtown Lac La Biche.  That was good fun.  Chris Zuke (#98) and I exchanged war stories over several beers and looked forward to more close racing on Sunday.

But I should have stayed in bed on Sunday morning.  Sunday was a total disaster...


 

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