2001 Western Canadian Ice-Race Championship

Paul's Confession

Paul Maire writes;

I was to have started 9th on the grid but didn't.  Here's the story.

My day started really well.  We had a pretty good breakfast out at the truck stop, and the drive to Lac La Biche was OK.  It was after that when things kind of fell apart.  I got the tires changed on the car, registered, and was in line early for tech inspection.  However, the extremely vigilant tech officials picked up on one petty little item.  It's seems I had no rear lights working at all.  They said I couldn't race until I got it fixed.  Can you Imagine!!!!

First thing I thought of was fuse and sure enough it was blown.  New fuse, back to tech, and of course the lights don't work.  Big problem somewhere and damned if I could find it.  Well to make a short story long, with the very able assistance of Lionel and Chris we jury rigged some connection that got the lights working, and got me through tech.  However, I had missed practice.

Paul's Car - Blue with white stripes Since I had just put a new transmission in the car, which I hadn't even driven yet, and since I hadn't seen the track, I chose to start at the back of the grid.  My thinking was that I would create one hell of a mess if I went into the first turn in the middle of the pack and didn't know whether to turn left or right.  I certainly didn't want to crunch my own car, nor did I want to have the back half of the field follow me right when it should have been left.  Beyond that I wasn't 100% sure I could find third gear!!!  It was unfortunate for Ferd that he started behind me because what comes next is, I believe, the slanderous story he intends to tell.  If it's not, forget I told you about this one.

Having found my way around the first lap, I found myself in a pretty good position, going down the straight away, to make up a position or two by taking the inside line going into the left hander at the end of the straight.  So here I go, the plan was cut inside, out brake the guy in front, squeeze real tight inside around the corner and voila, pick up at least one and maybe two positions.  It was only the first lap. There was bound to be some traction left  [...following the Studded Car session.].

WRONG!!!!!!  Touch the brakes and nothing, I'm skating!!!!!

Paul's Car - Blue with white stripes Okay, go to plan B.  [Hmmmm, seems like everyone has a Plan-B.]  I'm on the inside, there's a whole row of guys cornering outside of me, find a hole, get through and use the banking to help me around the corner.  So now I'm looking for a hole, I'm getting closer and closer, running out of time!!!  Where's that damn hole?!!!  Suddenly, there's a break in traffic!  Is it big enough?!!  Can I squeeze through?!

Paul's Car - Blue with white stripes Since I didn't really have a choice, I crossed my fingers (and just about everything else I could, which is quite painful really) and drove through it!!!  No crunching sound!  No cries of bent sheet metal!!  I'm through!!!  This is the point were I believe I may have entered Ferd's bad books, because I suspect he's the guy that a cut in front of to get through.  If he was, I don't know his fate but I doubt that I helped him any, in which case I apologize to Ferd.

Anyway, to finish my story, I'm still on plan B.  I'm through traffic and out the other side.  You may recall it was my intent to ride the banking around the corner and continue.  OH SHIT!!!  (pardon my french).  There's someone already stopped on the bank!!!  Go to Plan C.  Bail out!!!  So I turned right to avoid hitting the guy on the bank and hit the gas.  Maybe I can get enough momentum to go over the bank and continue.  That had worked at every other track I'd tried it on this year.  No go.  Not only does Lac La Biche have enough snow to actually make the banking, but right in my target spot is a huge boulder of ice and snow.  No time for Plan D (I didn't have one anyway).  BANG, I hit the bank and the boulder (which wipes out my right headlight shroud and half my grill) and get hung up.

For the record I didn't make it over the bank as I had hoped.  I got hung up with the nose pointed at the clouds.  I was fortunate enough to be rescued quickly by the guys in the tow truck and sent on my way without the further embarrassment of sitting on the bank when the pack came around again.

So there it is; my confession.  Sorry Ferd.  Be gentle if you can.

After that my weekend went straight into the toilet.  The exhaust pipe broke during the last race on Saturday, got that fixed.  Then the final blow, first race on Sunday, the motor goes.  See, I told you I'd make a short story long.