2002 Western Canadian Ice-Race Championship

Scenes from the Paddock.

Saturday, March 2, 2002

For the 2002 season, #79 received a spiffy Green paintjob,
and a renewed engine.
#79 Left Front #79 Right Front
#79 Left Rear #79 Right Rear

The weather early Saturday morning was clear, sunny, and wickedly cold.  After we gave it a shot of quick-start ether, the engine started okay on #79.  But I needed both hands on the gearshift lever to drag the transmission into neutral.  And then the engine quit the moment I let the clutch out.  I had to let it idle for five minutes with my foot on the clutch pedal before the engine warmed up enough to turn the gearbox over in neutral.  Yup, it was really good and cold.
This year's track layout was roughly similar to last year's.  But in an effort to keep speeds down to reasonably safe levels, the straightaways were shortened and the corners squared off.  I thought the track was a lot more challenging and fun in this configuration.

  #12 #10 #9 #6 #5 #4 #3 #2 #1
Track Layout Track Layout
Track Layout
Track Layout

Back to Map 01 All the cars first have to run through Tech Inspection in the Pitlane.

The officials and corner marshalls in the background are having their morning meeting, trying to convince each other that the weather will eventually warm up.

These stoic volunteers from the Lac La Biche Lakeland Classic Wheels Club and the Northern Alberta Sports Car Club make the Western Canadian Ice Race Championship such a great event.  These people volunteer to stand out on a frozen lake in the middle of winter, suffering frostbite, windburn, and sunburn, in order that we can have fun racing around in our heated cars.

Back to Map 02 Still early in the paddock.  Many competitors have yet to arrive.

Spectators are still having breakfast someplace warm.

Back to Map 03 The snow clearing equipment makes final adjustments to widen the pit exit.
Back to Map 04 Jim Graham is installing a set of Blizzak tires on "Fast-78".

In the foreground is the Yellow #31 Chevette of Landon Goudreau.

Back to Map 05 Green #79 idling happily now.

Here's a 60-sec panaromic video clip of the paddock (images 1-5) as viewed from the grandstand.  Due to the high compression factor used, the ASF clip has a low-resolution jumpy image quality with mono sound.  The identical clip in uncompressed MPEG format has much better image quality and stereo sound.  Note that the MPEG file size is also 20 times larger.

Paddock Video - ASF format
Paddock Video - MPG format
That whining buzz is NOT a mosquito!
Back to Map 06 Colin Locher's #25 Mazda RX7.

Similar in concept to the spec Chevette series which runs on street legal Bridgestone Blizzak rubber tires, there is a spec RX7 series which runs on limited studded tires.

Back to Map 07 The front tire of Colin's RX7.

Bolts are run out through the tire carcass.  A threaded collar is welded to each bolt to hold it in place.  The protruding end of the bolt is cut to the maximum regulation length and ground into a chisel point.

The RX7 class is limited in the number of studs allowed, hence the wide spacing between the bolts.

Back to Map 08 The studs on the rear wheels are reinforced with large washers to prevent the bolts tearing out of the tire on this Rear-Wheel-Drive RX7.

To keep the wheels inflated, the tires need to have liners and inner tubes.  The local tire shop must really love it when these guys come in asking to have their tires balanced!

Back to Map 09 Competitors in the Unlimited Studs Class are allowed to put as many bolts as they please through their tires.  There is a practical limit though.  Punch too many holes through the tire and eventually the perforated tire carcass is no longer strong enough to retain the bolts.  Especially on some of the really high-powered cars.
Studs Video - ASF format
Studs Video - MPG format
Back to Map 10 This is Lionel McKernan, a.k.a. "Can't drive, 55".

I have somewhat of a reputation [untrue] of being hard on cars.  So when Lionel greeted me, he jokingly asked,

"Are you gonna go upside-down today?"

Sheesh.  They're never going to let me forget that.  It was three years ago when I last rolled the car.  And it never actually went upside-down.  The car only rolled onto its side.

But my spies inform me that earlier this season Lionel flipped his own #55 car right over onto its roof!

Lionel Video - ASF format
Lionel Video - MPG format
Back to Map 11
Back to Map 12 This is what they use to test whether the ice is thick enough!
Bulldozer Video - ASF format
Bulldozer Video - MPG format

Up next, the First Practice Session (Snowbank).

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