|After battling with Diedrich and his #27 Honda Civic for the entire race, I finally got ahead of him!
For a moment at least...
|Braking into the hairpin, compare this shot to the previous lap.
On the previous lap Diedrich had his car tucked up close to the inside snowbank. This time he's run wide of the apex again. Unfortunately though, so have I.
Even more interesting is the fact that I'm even closer to him than I've ever been before at this point. His speed advantage down the long straights seems to be disappearing the further we get into this race as the ice surface gets more and more slippery.
|Turning around the hairpin, I'm trying hard to keep my rear tires
hooked up. I don't want to give it too much throttle yet, because
it will only kick me sideways and lose drive traction. I need to
give the car free rein to accelerate in a wide arc out to the right side
On the previous lap Diedrich also let his car sweep all the way out to the far snowbank .
|But not this time!
Because I'm closer to him than ever before, Diedrich changes his line yet again and chops across my nose, heading to the left side of the track in search of better traction.
|He had to slow right down in order to make that sharp left turn, whereas I continue to let my car build speed in a smooth arc out to the far snowbank.
If this had been a battle between two RWD Chevettes, I would surely have passed him right here.
|But that blasted FWD Civic hooks up on the better traction over there on the left, and takes off like a cork shot out of a champagne bottle.|
By the end of the straight line, leading into the Kink, he's again pulled out a comfortable lead.
|But he's slow, as usual, negotiating the Kink.|
|I would really, really, really like to stick my nose into
that gap between Diedrich's car and the snowbank on the right.
He knows it too. Look where his front wheels are pointing.
|But I'm carrying way too much speed again and can't hook the
traction on the right.
I have to allow my car to drift all the way over to the left edge of the track, as Diedrich again blasts off down the straightaway.
|At the end of the straight, we turn sharp left and I'm right on his
This is getting old. I've seen this movie too often.
|At the second left, I've set up my turn the same as always, starting
nice and wide on the snowy surface where there is good traction.
Diedrich is taking his usual tight defensive line, which puts him at a further disadvantage because he's on the very slick dark polished ice surface. But it's the same thing he's been doing lap after lap.
|He's going to slide wide to the right.
I could stick my nose in to the left.
|But I know from past experience that won't do me any good, because
look at his front wheels...
He's going to chop left the moment his front wheels regain traction and I'll be forced off line again for the critical Esses that follow.
So I'm not going try anything at all here.
|Instead I concentrate on setting up a nice wide approach, so I can take as straight a line as possible through the Esses.|
|He senses that I'm pushing hard here, and this time he makes a mistake...|
|I've got my car nicely hooked onto the traction available along the
Diedrich however has allowed his car to step off the traction and back onto the dark slick ice surface.
|Despite where its front wheels are pointed, that understeering pig of a Front-Wheel-Drive car plows off line to the right.
A nice opening appears for me and I go for it.
|YES!!! I am a brilliant genius -- a racing God!
My patience, what little I have, finally pays off and at last I'm ahead of Diedrich.
Please let that be a chequered flag I see at the finish line.
Nope. It's the board showing we're about to start the last lap. And, it's a blue flag indicating that Diedrich is trying to pass me back.
|And that's when I make my mistake. (Not like I haven't
already made enough mistakes this race.)
I need to enter this turn slowly, so I can exit tight up against the right to set up for the next critical left hander leading onto the long straight.
But because I'm an idiot (not a brilliant genius), I allow Diedrich to pressure me into screwing up this corner.
|I was worried Diedrich would hit me if I took my usual line and
approached the corner wide and slow to ensure a tight exit.
Instead I took the defensive line into the corner, and consequently drifted way too wide left on the exit.
I know I'm in trouble now. I should be way over on the right side of the track.
|It was an okay line around the right hander, but it leaves me
completely screwed on this fast left hander because for sure it'll make
me slow on the exit.
And this is where I needed to be as quick as possible, as it leads onto the long straight where Diedrich has the advantage.
I look to the left, and watch Diedrich as he happily cruises past me onto the straightaway.
There was some heavy editing required on the sound track of this video clip to blot out all the cussing and swearing here...
|And then I make yet another stupid mistake...
Anxious to keep the pressure on, I went a bit too deep into the hairpin before getting on the brakes. I squeeze too hard on the brakes and lock up the wheels.
Because of the way brake bias works (on stock brakes), it's always the front wheels that lock first resulting in instant understeer as the front tires lose their grip.
As a result, I plow wide of the turn.
|But not only that. I was on the brakes hard enough to also lock the
rear wheels, thereby stalling the engine. (Watch the big tachometer
dial show engine revvs drop to zero.)
That shouldn't be a big problem (other than the car goes off the curve in a straight line when all the wheels are locked.) All I have to do is, let go the brakes, punch in the clutch to get the rear wheels rolling, pop out the clutch to bump start the engine, and Bob's your uncle.
Except, I'm on glare ice! There's not enough friction to turn the wheels. When I pop the clutch out, the dead engine just drags the rear wheels. It's the exact equivalent of yanking on the hand brake to lock up the rear wheels, which is a bad idea in the middle of a corner because it'll spin the back end of the car around.
In the video clip you can see me crank the steering over to the right to catch the sudden oversteer. Simultaneously I use my right hand and turn the ignition key to crank the engine over and restart it.
Unfortunately whenever the starter motor is engaged, electrical current to the cigarette lighter is interrupted, which is where I'm powering my video camera from. So the video camera stops at this point.
Fortunately you missed nothing. This being the last lap, other people were making do-or-die last lap efforts to pass and were running off the track left and right. Yellow flags were flying at every corner, so there were no more passing opportunities for me.
I finished this race in 12th place behind Diedrich.