|I lost some ground to Landon due to my mediocre first lap.
Exiting the hairpin, I'm hoping it's not yet too late to catch up again.
|Into the Kink on the back straight I'm not all that far behind Landon.
Trent is still holding up Kevin and Landon. If I can get my act together and stop making silly mistakes, I should be able to get back into the action with them.
|Right here Landon demonstrates that he actually is human as he makes
a small error. I'm lucky to catch it on my video camera, as
it's rare for Landon to make any mistakes.
In the middle of the Kink, he's just a bit late making the transition between turning left and turning right.
Compare Landon's line this time through the Kink to the perfect line used earlier by Jim Graham in Rubber Race #2.
|Because he's late getting his car turned to the right, he misses the
apex by a few feet, can't hook the traction there, and slides off
to the left along the slippery polished ice surface.
To keep the car heading where he needs it to go, Landon drifts his car sideways more than is optimum. The rear wheels cannot find enough purchase to accelerate the car, so Landon has to wait for the car to straighten out again before he can get fully on the throttle to accelerate onto the following straight.
|And just like that, the gap between us has disappeared!
Note this really is not due to anything particularly wonderful that I've done. It was the small slip on Landon's part that brought him back to me.
In the ideal world, if we had equal cars and were all perfect drivers never making any mistakes, this would all be as boring as F1 where the cars circulate for hours separated by exactly the same gap, and where the eventual outcome of the race more often than not is determined by the mistakes made by pit crews during a pit stop.
In this Chevette series we do have mostly equal cars, and Chevette drivers obviously are all perfect. Still it's bloody tricky racing a car on ice using normal rubber tires, especially as the ice conditions change dramatically from one lap to the next.
Quite simply, the best drivers are the ones that make the least mistakes.
|Landon is aware that I've very suddenly closed the gap to him
because, as we enter the braking zone for the left turn at the end of
the back straight, he eases over to the left to ensure I won't try to
dive down the inside into the turn.
And that is even more encouraging to me than seeing him make a small slip, because now he's admitted that he considers me a threat.
|Because he compromised his entry into the corner, using a defensive
line to protect the inside, he now slides a little wide to the right on
the exit, again having to use a bigger drift angle to hold the car on
the track. And again that makes his line a bit slower than mine.
This is all great news to me. As long as I can keep him under pressure and off balance like this, it should eventually create a passing opportunity for me.
|And there it is!
On the second left turn, Landon again turns in early on a defensive line to protect the inside, which causes him to slide wide on the exit.
He slows right down in an attempt to bring his car back to the left, but it's too late.
I'm already in there.
|For an interesting comparison, have a look back at a similar passing
attempt which was firmly rebuffed by some swerving and blocking in the
earlier Rubber Race #2.
Now watch how smoothly a Champion like Landon handles the same situation.
Note how Landon makes no attempt whatsoever to push me offline, nor does he come back to the left into my path. He accepts that it was his mistake that allowed me to get alongside him and he acknowledges my right to be here.
But he has certainly not yet surrendered the position.
|As we turn to the right into the Esses, I haven't gained so much as
one inch more on Landon. We're still locked side-by-side.
But I know he cannot maintain that speed if he hopes to make the corner from such a shallow approach angle. I have a better line into the right hander from over here. He will need to back off, or he will slide across and hit me.
I'm sure he won't deliberately hit me, so I squeeze him as much as I dare to force him to ease off the throttle, despite the fact that I'm not actually fully alongside him yet.
|Being a nice guy, Landon obligingly eases out of the throttle so as
not to slide into me and to ensure that he leaves me enough room on his
That was the break I needed, and now I am fully alongside him with me on the inside for the upcoming left turn.
|But now the tables are turned and Landon squeezes me even harder
into the left turn than I was squeezing him in the previous right turn.
Note that he is not cutting into my path at all. It only looks that way in this photo because we're both sliding sideways at this point. He is leaving me just enough space for my car, and not one inch more.
But I'm screwed because I'm on the slippery ice surface whereas he's on the snowy berm where there's better traction. I cannot maintain the same speed as Landon without sliding into him.
|I need to feather the throttle to avoid slipping over to the right, and therefore Landon has me beat again.|
|This is great racing! But it's frustrating too.
Landon is supremely confident in squeezing me like this. It's more than just trust. He knows I won't hit him and he's very effectively using that against me to maintain an advantage over me.
I will need to do something to shake his confidence.
|As we cross the finish line to end the second lap, the flagman is holding up a steady yellow.
The steady yellow warns of an incident with a waved yellow at the following flagging station. But the next station isn't until the hairpin all the way at the end of the long straight. So no more passing is allowed from here, all the way until after the hairpin.