|I'm a bit quicker than Landon this time down the long straight,
so I take a little look down the inside leading into the hairpin.
I really don't expect to be able to outbrake Landon into the hairpin. But by making it look like I'm thinking about it, I might be lucky enough to distract him into making a mistake.
Hoping that I've pushed him deep enough to overshoot the corner, I back off early and swing right to set up a wide approach.
|But Landon ignores me completely and runs his usual line into the
hairpin, hard on the heels of Trent.
This time it's Landon who is surprised when Trent is slow leaving the hairpin. But idiot that I am, I'm too close to Landon to profit from it.
I have to swing a bit wider out to the right again to avoid the rear corner of Landon's car.
|My wider exit line is no good and I lose a bit of ground to Landon
Trent's slower exit allows him to hook onto the better traction available on the inside of the turn. Although both Landon and I were surprised at how slowly Trent leaves the hairpin, his line does give him good acceleration onto the straight.
Net, I'd say we're pretty much equal here though, with me coming off slightly worst of the three of us.
|Note how we three are each taking a different line as we turn left
into the Kink.
I'm starting out wide, then trying as much as possible to follow a straight line across the slippery ice through the left/right Kink.
Trent turned in a bit early and is now approaching the left turn from the left edge of the track, right on the slippery ice surface. For sure he is going to drift wide to the right.
Landon demonstrates why it is that he so often comes up as the Champion. He rides the snowy berm deep into the turn, staying altogether outside of the slippery ice surface.
|Despite the fact that Trent is dangerously close to sliding off to
the right, Landon doesn't hesitate to simply drive around him.
ON THE OUTSIDE!!!
I bet that surprised the hell out of Trent.
|Landon really does have nerves of steel. That was an astounding
passing maneouvre. But again, he is putting his fate completely into
the hands of someone else, trusting Trent not to hit him. If
Trent hadn't backed off, there almost certainly would have been a
collision at this particularly dangerous spot on the track.
It's a very narrow line that separates a gutsy passing move deserving of praise, from a reckless suicidal move that's just plain stupid. Landon has the unflinching confidence to repeatedly pull off passes like this, but I can't help thinking he's nuts to take such risks.
In any case, it's bad news for me. My plan for this race was to stay ahead of Landon. Not only am I still down in 6th place, but Landon has just moved up to 4th, and now I've got Trent in the way separating me from Landon.
This is definitely not a good development.
|The momentum of Landon's bonzai charge into the Kink now carries him
way off to the extreme left edge of the track on the exit of
It looks like he even kisses the outside snowbank, kicking up a rooster tail of snow.
But he hangs onto it and stays ahead of Trent.
|Into the left turn at the end of the back straight, Landon
again rides the berm outside of the slippery surface.
Trent in front of me is hanging left, defending the inside line, to keep me from sticking my nose in there.
I should follow Landon's example and simply drive around the outside of Trent into this turn. But I'm reluctant to try that as Trent is on the really slippery surface, and I don't trust his ability to keep his car from sliding over to the right and hitting me.
|Although this is Trent's first season, Landon and Trent have been
racing against each other all season long already. I'm only out
for this one weekend and I don't know Trent well enough to trust him
It turns out that there would have been enough room for me to go around the outside. But it's too late to do anything about it now because, while he is holding his car to the left, the rear end of Trent's car swings way out into my line. I have to get out of the throttle to slow up. I could haved swerved to the right to get around him, but changing my line in mid-corner would have cost me even more time.
|Finally free of Trent, Landon is giving it all he's got to pull away
from us and hopefully catch up to Kevin Sakaluk.
Meanwhile, Trent is still running his defensive line to cover the inside of the corner.
It is very frustrating for me. When he enters the corner from such a tight angle, especially on the slippery portion of the track, Trent has to be very slow in order to avoid sliding wide of the apex.
I'm still hoping he will slide wide.
|But Trent goes slow enough around the corner and manages to stay
left on the exit to grab the better traction available there.
In the process he very effectively bottles me up. Trent's defensive line is definitely slower than my line through the corner. But right at the apex where I'm quicker, I'm forced to slow up to avoid hitting him. Then we're on equal traction and acceleration and there's nothing I can do about it.
As we approach the right turn into the Esses, Landon and I both stay deep wide to the left, whereas Trent again crowds right to cover the inside.
|In the Esses Landon runs a similar line to the one he used on the
previous lap. On the right turn he cut over the slippery stuff way
over here to the right to catch the snowy traction. Then he swings
sharp left to cross over the slippery line again, exiting the left turn
tight up against the left snowbank.
Trent is pretty much following the classic racing line, which at this late stage of the race has become buffed smooth and is very slippery.
I'm hoping to get a better launch from here than Trent, then pass him on the right side as we leave this corner.
|Except, as I cross over the slippery stuff, I suddenly realise that
this spot is extremely slippery and there's almost zero grip
At the moment I'm still trying to accelerate in second gear. Check the rpm showing on the tach.
To keep the tires hooked up as much as possible, I shift up to third gear to limit the torque going to the rear wheels.
|Safe in third gear, it's easier to control wheel spin to keep
the tires hooked up with what little traction is available. Check the
tach now showing much lower engine revs in this higher gear.
I'm still gaining ground on Trent. But then I'm startled to discover that there is fabulously superior traction available over here on the right side of the track.
Note to self:
In fact, there's so much traction that third gear is now completely wrong and the engine bogs down at these low revs, forcing me to shift back down to second gear.
|But, in the time it takes to make the shift back to second gear, I
lose what little momentum advantage I had over Trent.
And there's more bad news.
The flagman at the finish line is holding up the board indicating that we're starting the last lap.
Damn. Time is running out. It's now or never...
|Crossing the finish line and turning right, Landon and I both stay
wide to benefit from the traction on the snow, then cut across the dark
ice line to grab the traction on the inside at the exit of the turn.
Trent again holds the inside, even though it means entering the corner on the slippery ice surface.
I'm still hoping he will slide wide somewhere so I can cross behind him and get alongside.
|And this time Trent does run wide!
He realises his error and tries to pull back to the right. But that just makes his car swing further into a slide and scrub off even more speed.
It's the perfect opportunity for me.
|I've got him now. He's still a bit ahead of me on the left,
but I have the better track position for the upcoming left turn onto the
I'm on the good traction with a wider approach into the left turn. He's on the slippery ice and approaching the turn too tight on the left.
But I'm not at all sure whether it's safe to stay outside Trent around this scary corner. I nearly rolled my car here earlier in a stupid moment during Rubber Race#2. See A Dumb Mistake. And I'm not as confident as Landon in putting my trust into other people.
To be safe I decide to cross behind him again, and wait for him to slide away to the right.
|But this time Trent does not slide as wide. Instead he slows right up in
order to stay left on the exit.
My lane gets a bit tight at this point, but I stick my nose in there anyway.
|I look over at Trent, thinking that was rather a borderline move to
pinch me like that.
Had he concentrated on following Landon's line and accelerated hard onto the straight, I might not have been able to pass him at all. Instead Trent used a slow defensive line in an attempt to hold me back.
I passed him anyway, thereby successfully clearing that hurdle.
But Jeez, look at how much ground I've already lost to Landon!
|With less than a lap remaining in this race, Landon has a lead of
nearly half the length of the straightaway.
I'll need a miracle to catch him now.
|I wait as late as I can into the hairpin before jumping on the
In the mpeg video you can hear the front tires lock up briefly.
|Then, pitch the car fully sideways into the turn.
In the video you can hear one of the front tires rubbing on the inner fender liner as the steering reaches all the way over to full lock.
|I screwed up my lines through this hairpin far too often all weekend
long. But this time around I think I nailed it perfectly.
Just like that, Landon's huge lead shrinks down to only a few car lengths.