2000 Western Canadian Ice-Race Championship

Pass Attempt #3

Saturday, March 4, 2000

I was no longer worried about the voltage warning light glowing continuously on my dash because we had already installed a new alternator earlier in the day and it seemed to be working fine.

When we were called to the grid for the next Rubber Race I climbed into the car, taking my time to securely fasten my seat belt harness, do up the window net, and put on my helmet and gloves, before turning the key to start the car.  Except nothing happened when I turned the key!

Broken Tail LightJim Graham, in the pits beside me, was just starting to drive away while I gesticulated wildy trying to get his attention.  The horn on my car doesn't work either.  Fortunately he noticed I was having difficulties and didn't leave me stranded in the pits.  He pulled his car in behind mine and gave me a push start.

That worked well.  The car started fine with the push start.  But in the process we broke the tail light on my car.

For some mysterious reason, the starter motor has given up the ghost.  I'll have to be careful not to stall on the starting grid!
Track Layout This next incident occurred during the third Rubber Class race.  But first I had to pay thanks to Jim Graham for helping me get my car started, by running into him on the first lap of the race!  See Saturday, Rubber Race #3 for that sorry incident.

Feeling very sheepish over that embarrassing mistake, I continued in my never-ending, and increasingly frustrating, pursuit of the Red #98 Chevette.

#1 Here we are approaching the right/left corner sequence that brings us across the start/finish line.

I know I'm faster than #98 through here.  Evidently he knows it too because he's well off line, guarding the right side of the track to prevent me from getting inside him going into this turn.

#2 Due to the different lines we've taken approaching this corner, #98 slides left on the exit whereas I cut to the right.  But it does me no good because there's a left turn immediately following.

If I trusted him not to hit me on the next corner, I would move up to the right alongside #98 here.  But I don't trust him one bit.

Besides, the upcoming corner is where I rolled the car last year under somewhat similar conditions.

#3 My line gives me a wider approach into the left corner, and I'm hoping to cut inside to the left of #98 as we exit the corner.

But, even though it's slower this way, he stays tight to the left and foils that plan.

I'm forced to swing right to go around him. 

#4 The way I see it, this should be where I pass him.  I'm on the inside, it's my corner.

But again he's on the good line, and I'm on the slick stuff on the inside.  If he doesn't back off now, I will surely hit him.

#5 Hell.  He hasn't backed off an inch!

And speaking of inches, he's not leaving me much room either.

The steam starts whistling out of my ears as the frustration builds.  There is a serious potential for Road Rage here.

#6 But there's always one sobering thought in the back of my mind.

I am driving someone else's car.

This car has been generously entrusted to me by a friend whose hospitality I don't want to abuse.

So, once again, I squelch the almost overwhelming urge to punt this guy into the woods, and I meekly let him cut me off again.
Pass Attempt #3 This is an ASF file video clip (0.4 MB) of the incident as recorded from my in-car camera.

  I know I'm faster than him.  Given a clear lap, I'm certain I could pull away from him if I was ahead.

But he has one big advantage over me.  As long as he's ahead he can do outrageous things to hold me back, because he is secure in the knowledge that I won't hit him.  And I cannot pass him, because I'm just as convinced that he will hit me.

He blocked me again later on this lap going into the left/right chicane on the back straight.  But on the following lap, the last lap of this race, the gloves came off and things got really wild.

Check out the action on Pass Attempt #4.  It resulted in another incident of contact between our cars, but this time the contact was truly unnecessary.


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