2000 Western Canadian Ice-Race Championship

Dog's Breakfast (Part 1)

Sunday, March 5, 2000

On Sunday morning all the ice-racers were treated to a great breakfast buffet at the Lac La Biche Inn.  That had nothing at all to do with the Dog's Breakfast which followed later that morning.

I'm not exactly sure what a Dog's Breakfast is supposed to be.  But I know it's not a good thing.  It was an expression used by retired World Driving Champion James Hunt when he was doing F1 commentary alongside Murray Walker on the BBC F1 coverage.

James Hunt didn't like Riccardo Patrese and never missed an opportunity to criticise his mistakes, such as once when Patrese got all crossed up and well out of shape exiting the Lesmo corners at Monza.  Murray Walker was jabbering away, as usual, on one of his long rambling over-excited diatribes concerning some totally unrelated issue.  James Hunt calmly interrupted Murray in mid-rant to point out that Patrese had just made a proper "Dog's Breakfast" of that corner.
Track Layout This series of images illustrates how I made a complete Dog's Breakfast of the opening lap of Sunday's first Chevette race.

Note that on Sunday we ran the track in a direction opposite to that of Saturday.

By the way, James Hunt would have loved this Chevette Ice-Racing series.  The 1976 Formula One World Driving Champion himself used to drive a Chevette.  See Emma's James Hunt stories and Chevette pictures.
#1 Saturday had been overcast and grey.  But Sunday started off bright and sunny.  Visibility would be much better today, or so I thought...

Jim Graham won the last race on Saturday afternoon, Jay Esterer was 2nd, I was 3rd, and Chris Zuke in #98 was 4th.

This is the starting grid for Sunday's first Chevette race.  With the top ten positions inverted for the next race, that meant I started from 8th on the grid, #98 was beside me on the left, Jay and Jim are behind me.

Standing on the snowbank at right, the flagman waves the green flag and we're off.

#2 Curiously, on the front row of the grid Bevan George pulls the orange #19 car aside to the right and lets everyone go by.

Just as curiously, the black #9 car of Jay Esterer comes rocketing past me.  If this was Formula One I would suspect the use of illegal traction control.  But as it's not Formula One, a more likely explanation is that Jay is very good on the starts.

Landon Goudreau in the yellow car ahead of me is no slouch either.  He sees Jay coming and tries to close the door.

#3 Landon and Jay are leaning on each other pretty heavily, but Jay manages to scrape through.

Jim Graham and #98 are beside me on the left and the snow starts flying.

Visibility is not good.

#4 Okay, visibility is seriously not good.

But I see Lionel ahead of me, so I follow him.  I trust Lionel.

Everyone else is somewhere left of us.  I'm not too worried yet because I can still see Lionel and I can see the snowbank on the right edge of the track.

#5 Alright, there is no visibility at all now and I'm seriously worried.

There is always some pushing and shoving to watch out for in the first corner.

I can't see a friggin' thing.

#6 Someday soon we're gonna reach the hairpin where we have to turn left.

I can just barely still see the outline of Lionel's car ahead of me.  But this is scary.

Normally I'd be full on the gas here, but I'm only using half throttle now.

#7 Phew!  As the cars ahead slow for the hairpin, the blowing snow begins to clear.

Landon (1) is on the inside.

Jay (2) is taking a wider approach.  This corner tightens up a lot and it really is better to approach it from out there.

Lionel (3) has done a good job of leading us safely down the fast straight, through the blizzard, and he's now setting up his line for the hairpin.

#8 Then disaster strikes.

Or rather, #98 strikes!

Or, to be more precise, #98 spins and then Landon strikes him broadside.

How did #98 get all the way up there anyway?  He started right beside me.

Whatever.  Somehow #98 has managed to block the track and Landon is parked up against him.  They're squarely blocking the line that both Lionel and I had intended to take through this corner.

Lionel is forced to swerve wide around the outside of the two stopped cars.  I follow him, planning to clip just past the rear bumper of the red #98.

#9 No sooner had I committed myself to that line, when Landon pulls his yellow car to the right directly into my path.  To avoid him, I have to swing even further off line to the right.

I still can't see where I'm going.  Lionel is leading the way, and I'm just following him.

#10 Holy @#$% Batman!

There is ZERO traction out here!

Lionel eats the snowbank, and I'm right behind him.

#11 Lionel hit tail first.  Now his car has kicked around so it looks like the nose will get buried next and pull the car into a spin.

If Lionel spins in front of me, I will not be able to avoid him.  Fortunately Lionel straightens it out in time.

I barely managed to slow enough not to stuff my car into the snowbank as well.  I just kiss the bank and then carry on in pursuit of Lionel.

#12 Meanwhile, Landon has brought his car back up to speed and easily passes me as I scramble for traction.

What a lousy start!  I sure made a Dog's Breakfast of that corner.

But there's no harm done.  All four wheels are still on the ground, or ice, and there are still several laps to go.
Dog's Breakfast Part 1 This is an ASF file video clip (0.6 MB) of the start.

Jim Graham started this race directly behind me.  His camera recorded a different view of the incident.  Have a look at just how close Lionel's green car came to hitting Landon's stationary yellow car.
Added Sep 20, 2000. View from Jim's camera Jim Graham's in-car camera captured the start of this mess. (0.5 MB)
  I thought this was already quite a lousy start to the race.  But it's still only the first half of the opening lap.  I made even a bigger mess of the next half of the lap!

Please see Dog's Breakfast (Part 2).


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