|The first lap of the Relay Race had me in a collision with #15.
Then I made a big mess of the second lap.
I finally pass #15 on the third lap.
|Gord McKay in the #15 Chevette just passed me in the previous
corner at the end of the second lap. As he slid wide to the right,
I crossed behind him and went left to set up a better approach for this
As we cross the start/finish line to begin the 3rd lap, he is approaching the corner from a very tight angle, whereas I am well off to the left from where I should be able to take a much straighter line through the corner.
This tactic worked well for me in an earlier race. See An Even Better Opportunity for that story.
|I was really hoping that he would either be slower than me through
here, or that he'd slide off to the left and let me pass on the right.
To my surprise, he had no problem maintaining his speed and he found enough traction to hold his line steady in front of me. This would normally be impossible.
Usually we Rubber-shod cars would only take to the track after the running of a Studded Car session. Traction is great for the first couple of laps, but degrades rapidly as we buff the ice smooth with our rubber tires. Normally traction gets worse and worse until there's none left by the end of the race.
But the Relay Race started immediately after the running of the last Rubber Class race. So we started this Relay Race under zero traction conditions. That's already unusual for us. And, because some Studded Cars are circulating concurrently with us, the traction is now rapidly improving!
It feels bizarre, and takes some getting used to.
|I still have a good run on him, so I'm gaining on
#15 as we head onto the long straight.
Gord sees me pulling up on him and very kindly moves aside to leave me some room. I think I've got him now.
But again my car seems to run out breath the moment I shift up into third gear.
|We were pretty well side-by-side starting down the long straight. But gradually #15 eases ahead again.|
|And, as we reach the braking area for the hairpin, #15 angles
left across my nose to dissuade me from trying to outbrake him up the
In doing so, he again approaches the hairpin too tight and too fast.
|On the first lap his approach to the
hairpin caused him to spin out in front of me.
On the second lap the same scenario allowed me to pass him from a long way behind.
This third time I'm already much closer to him than I was on either of the first two attempts. So when I see him take the same line once again, I'm thinking, what the heck, let's do it again.
|Except now it's me who's being stupid.
I haven't yet fully clued into the fact that traction has dramatically improved along the line followed by the Studded Cars.
By braking deep in a straight line and turning in later than #15, I fall off the tractionised groove and suddenly find myself with no grip.
In the video you can see that I have difficulty slowing the car down enough to get it turned around.
But once I do get it turned around and back into the tractionised groove, I get a great launch.
|I don't end up any closer to him on the exit, than I was when entering the hairpin.
However it's interesting to note that, despite my mistake, I really haven't lost any ground either.
From there on, it's as though we're tied together with a rope. The space between us doesn't change a bit.
|Except right here in the chicane.
The Studded Cars have carved a deep rut into the ice here. Gord's #15 seems to be upset just a tiny bit more than mine as we both cross through this rut.
As a result, I pull a bit closer to him. Just enough to raise my hopes that I might be able to pass him now.
|No such luck.
I'm bending the gas pedal right through the floor, but that's all she wrote. I just cannot quite stick with him on the long straights.
He's starting to inch away from me again, so I give up the chase and ease over to the far right to maximise my approach for the upcoming left hander.
|As we brake for the left turn, another Studded Car is coming up
fast from behind on our left.
Despite that, and despite the pressure I'm applying, Gord is completely in control, braking nice and early, and defending the inside line so I can't jump in there.
No way is he going to overshoot the corner the way I did on the previous lap.
|It would be convenient for me if the Studded Car were to push Gord
off line, allowing me to sneak by on the inside.
But Gord braked early enough to allow the Studded Car through, timing it perfectly so that there was no interference whatsoever.
|The #15 Chevette tucks neatly in behind the Studded Car, closing
the door firmly to prevent any opportunities coming up for me.
But his right rear wheel drops into one of the deep ruts cut into the ice in this corner and Gord yanks the steering wheel to regain control.
|In the process, the #15 Chevette steps off the tractionised racing line and falls onto the slick ice surface to the right.|
|I however still have great traction and take advantage to power past
him. I managed to stay ahead from there on.
Up ahead, the Studded Car peels off into the pits. The driver has to stop in the pits, jump out of his car, run to his teammate's car, and tag it before his Relay teammate can leave the pits.
We've only done about 5 minutes of our 10-minute stint so far.
|The best thing about the Relay Race was that the traction
kept getting better and better. Whereas before we'd eventually be
tip-toeing around corners slowly, trying not to slide off the lake, now
we were instead going faster and faster with every lap.
This was FUN!
It's a completely different game. When it's really slick, a lack of power isn't quite as much of a disadvantage. But when there is ample traction, it becomes a game of horsepower and a question of who can reach the highest speeds down the long straights.