|This is the start of Sunday's first Rubber Class race.
It's another typically hairy start...
|At the rolling start of the Rubber class race, the silver #14 of
Bob Mathieson and the black #3 of Colin Lolacher are just ahead of
The front-wheel-drive #28 Honda CRX of Nick Burnett is off to my right.
|The Honda CRX is much faster than the Chevettes in a straight line. Partially because of that, and partially because I don't entirely trust him, I leave lots of room for the CRX as we charge off to the right following the drop of the green flag.|
|It turns out I needn't have done that.
Nick in the #28 CRX generously keeps well over to the right to ensure the left lane stays open for me.
But by moving over to the right, the CRX gets onto the slick ice on the outside of the following left-hander and loses ground, allowing me to pull ahead on the inside.
|This is the only part of ice-racing that I really hate.
I'm somewhere in the middle of a pack of nearly 30 cars, all full on the throttle, accelerating hard onto the long straight, and I can't see a damn thing.
If I squint into the blowing snow, I can just barely make out the shape of Colin's #3 Chevette off to the right.
|Visibility is a bit better now, but I'm still not comfortable in
taking my eyes off the road, even for a second.
Taking time out to study my rear view mirrors is definitely not in the plan at this point.
I suspect the Honda CRX is creeping up somewhere off to my right, which is why I'm not slotting over behind Colin's car.
If I'm really not sure where the other cars are, I figure it's best to just hold a straight course and not be blindly weaving about.
It's a good thing I didn't squeeze right, because I was completely unaware of Magne's superfast #97 VW Rabbit flying past me until he suddenly appeared slicing across my nose!
And it's another good thing that, in my sudden fright, I didn't take evasive action and swerve to the left, because the equally fast #19 Nissan Pulsar of Ken Staples was easing past me on that side.
|As we arrive at the hairpin the Rabbit, carrying way too much speed,
spears across the nose of Colin's #3 Chevette and understeers deep
I'm tempted to say that's a typical FWD trait, but in comparison the FWD Nissan of Ken Staples is nicely latched into the apex on my left.
The Nissan apexes perfectly, nipping past both me and Colin in the process.
|Ken is already hard on the Nissan's throttle hoping to use the full
track width to drift out to the right on the exit, which should also put
him ahead of Magne's Rabbit.
But Magne has turned his car around and already has it hooked up and accelerating hard down the middle? of the track, which sends him cutting square across the nose of both Colin's Chevette and Ken's Nissan.
This must be a technique peculiar to VW Rabbits. You can see a similar video clip of a different Rabbit demonstrating exactly the same unorthodox line in Saturday's first Rubber race. In the process, that Rabbit collected both the Chevettes of Mark Stevens and Jay Esterer. See Mark and Jay tangle for that story.
|I have the utmost respect for Ken Staples' driving skills.
He has the inside line, and thus the right-of-way in this corner. Still he has enough situational awareness of all the cars around him that he recognises in time the threat of the VW Rabbit bearing down on him from across the other side of Colin's car.
Ken smartly pitches his car sideways and narrowly avoids a collision with the Rabbit.
Meanwhile Colin swallows a face full of snow, as both of the FWD cars spray a shower of loose snow through his open driver's side window!
|I exit the hairpin tight on the tail of Colin's car.
Ahead, Ken Staples is forced to tuck in behind the VW Rabbit.
Those two faster cars would normally have started the Rubber race up at the front of the grid, as the starting order is determined by the finish order in the previous race.
I rarely ever get to see those guys until they come around to lap me. They must have had some sort of problem in the previous race which caused them to start this race from the back of the grid.
Ken Staples eventually finished this race in 2nd place. But for some reason the Rabbit was scored dead last. Even I beat him!