|In order to give you a proper appreciation of just how unbelievably BAD the start of Rubber Race #1 was in 2003, I first need to take you back to one of last season's races to show you what a 'reasonable' race start looks like for the Rubber Class.|
|This is the start of Rubber Race #3 from last year at the 2002
Championship event. We're approaching the start line, gridded
two-by-two, in a rolling start. I'm slotted 11th, with what feels
like another 100 cars crowded behind me.
I'm a bit gun shy around this particular cast of characters. The blue #25 VW Rabbit directly ahead of me is the one that hit me from behind at the hairpin on the start of the previous Rubber race (see A Scrappy First Lap). He's a little (ahem) 'aggressive', so I plan to stay well away from him.
On the right is the green #27 Honda Civic. My encounters with this car are described in a series of stories starting with Blatant Blocking.
Ahead of the green Civic is the white Honda CRX. It's very quick in a straight line. But, quick or otherwise, it seems like it only ever goes in a straight line, including in corners. That car understeers something awful.
Starting beside me on my right is a black and red #57 Dodge Omni, another quick car that I'll try not to hold up too badly.
Way up ahead (just under the bottom right edge of my rearview mirror), you can see the green flag waving to signal the race is underway.
|I've said it a few times before, but just in case you haven't heard
it already, I really don't trust FWD cars, especially on the
starts when we're all bunched tightly together.
Front wheel drive vehicles tend to take bizarre lines through the corners. I find it difficult to predict where they're headed, so I am not comfortable mixing it up with them in close quarters.
You can see by the generous gap I've allowed to open between us, that I am reluctant to crowd tight into this first corner alongside all these FWD guys.
While everyone else is turning to the right into the first corner, the white Honda CRX does its thing and instead keeps going straight, which forces the green #60 Dodge Colt ahead of the blue Rabbit to swerve left to avoid a collision.
|The green Colt then runs way too deep and wide off to the left, and
consequently loses three positions as the white CRX, the blue Rabbit, and
the green Civic all blow past him easily.
Run the video clip several times and watch the line taken by the green Colt. Now hold that sequence in your mind and remember it when you read my next story, because the green Colt runs very much the same line at the start of the first Rubber race in 2003.
Except, on account of all the blowing snow, you won't see him at all on the video until the very last second (like I did) just before I hit him, hard...
|I might have tried taking a run at the green Colt here, except I
couldn't get on the throttle as early as I would have liked because I'm
boxed in and being pinched by the Dodge Omni on my right.
Take a close look at this photo. Visibility is fine over here. But note how the cars are throwing snow off to the outside of the turn, where the wind is helping to carry it away to the right. Try to imagine what it would be like if you were driving over there, downwind of that blizzard.
In the 2003 event the wind was blowing in the other direction, bringing the snow straight back into our faces and forcing us to run these corners utterly blind...
|All in all, this was an okay start. Sure I could have been a
bit more aggressive. Then again, I could have stuffed it in a
snowbank and been dead last by now too.
There's still a long way to go. I didn't hit anyone (yet). I only lost one position to the black and red Omni, but he would have passed me for sure on the straight anyway. All things considered, it was a reasonably good start.