|I managed to avoid getting hit by Terry Lolacher's suicidal move at
the hairpin, and I set off again in pursuit of Landon.
I should point out that the leaders of this particular race are already so far ahead that they're out of sight. Chris Brandt has taken full advantage of his pole position start and is still leading, followed by Jim Graham in 2nd.
Trent Hamp in 3rd place has been holding the rest of us back. Not that he's slow, or anything. Note that neither Kevin Sakaluk in 4th, nor Landon Goudreau 5th, have found a way past him yet.
But Trent has been doing me, all the way down in 6th, a favour in keeping Kevin and Landon bottled up. Otherwise I very likely would never have been close enough to challenge Landon.
|My usual experience with Landon is that he passes me, leaves me in
the dust, and I never see him again.
But this race has been very educational for me, because I now know that Landon is not invincible. He is capable, just like the rest of us, of making mistakes.
And here in the Kink he makes another small slip. He turns into the left corner okay, but...
|... for some reason he straightens out too early...|
|... then has to swing left again to make the corner...|
|... before pitching the car the other way to slide through the right
turn portion of the Kink.
I didn't get the transition right either, so I didn't gain as much of an advantage as I had hoped. Nonetheless, I'm noticeably quicker at the exit and gaining on Landon.
|Up ahead Kevin has finally managed to pass Trent.
Landon knows I'm catching him up, so he stays to the left again to protect the inside going into the left hander at the end of the back straight. Note how he's on the slippery ice line.
I take a wider approach from way over on the right side of the track. I'm on the snowy surface where there is better traction, so I can turn in behind Landon when he slides away to the right.
|Landon slides into the left turn pretty fast, with the car all
crossed up on full opposite lock.
He has it well under control, but he will definitely need to drift wide to the right.
|As a direct consequence of his higher entry speed and tighter approach, Landon's car is still arcing further out to the right edge of the track, whereas I'm already straightened out and accelerating with good traction.|
|I'm now square alongside Landon, and I have the inside line into the
second lefthander. Is he going to try to outmuscle me again?
Nope. It was his error that let me get up here alongside him, so he very properly stays where he is and yields.
I just have to make sure not to go into this next left turn too hot, otherwise I'll slide wide and leave the door open for Landon to cross back behind me to retake the position in a similar move to the one I just pulled on him.
|But with Landon safely boxed out on the outside I only need to slow
enough to ensure that I can make the corner and simultaneously prevent
him from cutting behind me.
The situation is under control, and just like that, I've passed Landon!
|Now I have my sights set on getting by Trent.|
|At the finish line the flagman is holding up a board indicating that
we've reached the half distance point in this race.
I'm trying too hard to catch Trent. As a result I turn in a bit too early on this right hander, slide wider on the exit than I had intended, then need to back off to avoid hitting Trent.
|Trent's lines are a little different than what Landon and I have
been doing, and it will take me a lap or two to figure out where I
should try to pass him.
But it's difficult to concentrate under these conditions, because Landon is swarming all over my butt.
Because my line was bad on the right turn, it affects my entry into this critical left hander and I already know that I'm going to be exiting with less than optimum speed onto the long straight.
|Check my rearview mirror and you can see Landon's yellow car as he tries to run up my left side.|
|But Landon changes his mind and instead swings back over to the right behind me to set up a wider approach into the hairpin at the end of the straight.|
|I'm nice and tight against the snowbank at the apex of the
hairpin. No opportunity for Landon to get me back here.
I'm already easing into the throttle, aiming to exit in a smooth arc out to where Sakaluk's car is up ahead.
I'm not quite certain yet what Trent is going to do in front of me. If he runs wide I'll head left, or if he stays left I'll swing out to the right. But Trent surprises me by doing neither of those things...
|Holy crap! I really didn't expect him to be this slow here!
As I'm accelerating (and he's not!), I very nearly rear-end Trent's car and am forced to swerve out to the right to avoid clipping the rear corner of his car.
I had hoped to follow in the wheel tracks left by Kevin Sakaluk's car as he sweeps out on the perfect arc exiting the hairpin.
But my sudden swerve puts me way off-line, and I'm screwed.
|While I'm fumbling around over here trying to get my car turned
around, Trent finally hits the throttle and takes off down the
I look over to the left, hoping to see that Landon has also been tripped up. (In the process I very nearly drive into the snowbank!)
No such luck. Landon is already accelerating past me.
|It was clearly my mistake this time. So I make sure to stay
all the way over to the right to leave Landon room as he pulls up
alongside me. No swerving or blocking. But I'm not getting off
the throttle at all.
Still Landon has better speed than I do because I screwed up my line onto the straight whereas he had a much better line and consequently easily out accelerates me and, entering the Kink, Landon easily blows past me.
Okay, so it's a minor setback. But the battle ain't over yet...