|I was way too far back on the previous lap to make any serious
passing attempt on Jim. That was just a little experiment to see
if I could mess with his head.
But this time around I'm close enough to give it a try...
|The flagman at the finish line is holding up a sign indicating that
this will be the last lap of the race.
Jim is aware that I'm closer to him now than I was on the previous lap. In response, he changes his line.
Instead of going deep down the left side and turning in late, this time Jim turns in much earlier.
|He's taking a line similar to the one I used on the previous
lap. He came into the corner a little quicker and it carries
him further left on the exit.
Since he's taking my line, I switch over and take his usual line. I exit the corner tight over to the right side of the track.
|But right here I make a dumb mistake and turn left too early.
I really should have gone much deeper on the right before turning sharp left across the slippery stuff to head for the traction on the inside.
|Jim is now committed to the slippery line along the dark polished
ice surface. He won't be able to accelerate until he slides clear
of that stuff.
I manage to hook some of the good traction on the left. But because I turned in too early and have too much speed on now, I can't hold the car over here and I'm forced to let it slide across the slippery stuff over to the right.
|In the video, watch the tachometer and listen to the engine revs drop as
I shortshift up to third gear for a moment. To help keep the tires
hooked up as much as possible on the really slippery ice surface I try
to use a higher gear to limit the torque to the rear wheels.
But the moment I get back onto the better traction the engine lugs badly at those low revs in third gear, so I'm forced to pop it back down to second gear again.
I don't know if I gained anything at all from momentarily using third gear like this. Probably not enough to make up for the time it took to make the extra gear changes.
I didn't catch Jim's car at this point. But I think I have closed the gap a bit more.
|Here's another clever technique that Jim has been using. Under
braking for the hairpin, Jim deliberately runs into the deep snow on the
outside of the turn to help him slow his car.
But under pressure this time he goes just a bit too deep.
|Turning back around the hairpin, Jim misses the apex by quite a large margin.
It can sometimes be quicker to run around the outside like this where there is better traction. But not this time...
|With my line I clip the inside apex on the snowbank which
lets me start accelerating earlier than Jim.
It was only a small difference in lines, but it makes a significant difference in our exit speeds.
|Now I'm right up on Jim's rear bumper.
I could have tried running up beside him here, but we're already too close to the kink.
Trying anything here would surely have created a messy situation in the kink. Jim would be pissed at me if I took both of us out of the race on the last lap! So I just hang tight to see what develops.
|As we turn into the kink on the back straight, I keep the pressure
on tight hoping to force Jim into making an error big enough to
allow me to pass.
But Jim doesn't get rattled easily. He won't allow himself to be pushed into entering this critical corner too fast. He's doing his best to ignore me completely.
|Jim is sensibly avoiding the dark ice line as much as possible. Note how he has crossed over to the left edge to find better traction as we both pitch our cars sideways to transition into the right-hand portion of the kink.|
|The goal here is to cross over the slippery stuff again and hook onto the better traction available on the right after the apex of this turn.|
|But Jim missed.
He manages to get only one wheel, his right front, onto the traction for a moment before the car slides off to the left.
|You can see that all four of his tires are on the dark ice surface
where there's almost no traction at all.
I was lucky and now have both right side tires hooked onto the better traction.
|I have just enough of a traction advantage that it allows me to ease
the car even further right until all four tires are solidly hooked up
with good traction. From here I can confidently feed in full throttle.
In comparison, Jim's car is still drifting out further to the left along the very slippery dark ice surface.
You can see the dark ice line extends all the way to left snowbank before gradually swinging back to the right. I'm already hard on the throttle, but Jim won't be able to regain full traction until he gets clear of that polished surface.
|Here you can see how the dark line sweeps back to the right side of
the track. Most of the traffic follows that path in order to set
up properly for the sharp left turn coming up at the end of the back
I keep my car positioned to the right of the slippery line, and Jim opts to stay left of the line.
Now it's a drag race to the next corner. I already have a speed advantage on Jim, but Jim has the inside line for the left-hander. I think I'm ahead of him enough now, but this could be interesting.
|I'm usually reluctant to try passing anyone on the outside of a
turn. If the other guy comes in too hot, locks up and slides wide,
he'll hit me and push me off.
But I have complete trust in Jim. He would never hit me deliberately, and I'm confident he has enough skill and experience to prevent even an accidental collision. Besides, I have another ace up my sleeve.
I'm driving Jim's second car. If he hits me now, he'd be damaging both of his own cars.
In any case, I don't pinch in tight to the apex. For safety, I leave a car width of room on my left and run a bit wider around the left turn. If Jim tries to stay with me, he'll have to run on the really slippery stuff on the left. Jim is forced to give ground.
|On the video clip you can see flashes of red in my rearview mirror
as Jim swarms all over the back of my car. He would really like me
to slide wide on this second left turn, but I've got things well under
I'm surprised to see the 2nd place car of Kevin Sakaluk so near ahead of me. And not that far ahead of him is the leader Landon Goudreau.
Those two have been running up front, relatively in the clear all race long, whereas Jim and I have had to pass a couple of cars and have been battling each other for most of the race.
I had expected both Kevin and Landon to be way ahead and well out of sight by now. Maybe they just backed off on this final lap. But it's very encouraging to learn that both Jim and I appear to be on the same pace with the leaders.
Crossing the finish line, the chequered flag is waving, and I'm 3rd!
Yes! This is good.