2002 Western Canadian Ice-Race Championship

Rubber Race #2

(Blatant Blocking)

Saturday, March 2, 2002

There is a difference between taking a defensive line to discourage an overtaking attempt, or going out of your way to deliberately block someone.  Sometimes it's just a subtle difference.  Then again, sometimes it's blatantly obvious.

In my opinion, this particular maneouvre was a blatant block...

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Track Layout Track Layout
Track Layout
Track Layout

Back to Map 01 Coming back to where we left off, Diedrich Will in the #27 Honda Civic overshot his braking point for the hairpin.

As I'm rounding the hairpin and drifting my car out to the right edge of the track, #27 cuts back to the left side of the track.

Back to Map 02 That wasn't the block yet.  That's just the usual peculiar difference between FWD and RWD cornering techniques, compounded by the fact that Diedrich was way off-line to begin with.

Watch the way he pulls away from me on the straight sections of the track.

Back to Map 03 Even faster in a straight line is the #77 Honda CRX of Greg Van Gool.  The CRX is a much more powerful car than a Chevette, and with the advantage of FWD traction he easily blows past me on the straightaway.
Back to Map 04 As we turn left to enter the kink on the back straight, note how far ahead of me both the #77 CRX and #27 Civic already are.
Back to Map 05 But they're ssssssslow on the exit of the kink, and my trusty Chevette easily gobbles up the distance between us.

Laugh all you want about these underpowered old cars.  But a Chevette on ice is one sweet handling racecar!

I really don't want to have to get out of the throttle here, so I'm forced to go wider to the left than I'd prefer in order to avoid running up the back of the dog-slow CRX.

Once he's got his FWD car hooked up again, I have no chance of passing Greg's CRX on the straight.

Back to Map 06 Plus I'm being passed by Ken Staples in his #19 Nissan Pulsar.  I make sure to leave him lots of room.

Ken's car must have around 900 horsepower under the hood!  He usually starts right up at the front of the grid.  I was a little stunned to see him in my mirrors so soon.  For a moment there I wondered how he could possibly have come around to lap me ALREADY!?

But Ken had a big problem in the first Rubber race which put him all the way down to starting 27th.  It's not even two full laps into this race and Ken has already passed half the field.  He went on the finish 3rd.

Back to Map 07 It sure would be nice to have a powerful car.  But it certainly helps a lot if you also know how to drive.  Watch how smoothly Ken drifts this FWD car through the corner.

He had to take a fairly tight approach into the corner to get past me on the inside.  While braking, he pitches his car into the corner with a very sideways stance.

Back to Map 08 With the RWD Chevettes we can swing the back end of the car out under power and hold it there in a "powerslide" all the way around the corner with the throttle on.  This keeps the nose pointed into the corner where we'd like to be headed.

But watch in the video what happens with Ken's FWD Nissan as he gets back on the throttle.  Even though he entered the corner in a big sideways slide, the moment he gets on the gas the front of the car washes out to the right and now he's fighting understeer.

Ken's spinning front wheels are pointing left (blue arrow), the car's nose is rotating to the right (black curved arrow), yet the car itself is sliding in a smoothly controlled trajectory (red arrow) exactly where Ken wants it to go.

How does he do that?  I look at those wheels pointing in all the wrong directions, the car rotating to the right even though the front wheels are steering left, and it gives me a headache.  FWD is bizarre.

Back to Map 09 There are four FWD cars immediately ahead of me as we enter the second left turn just before the start of the Esses.

The #25 Rabbit is still in front of Diedrich's #27 Civic.  And Greg's #77 CRX is just ahead of Ken's #19 Nissan.  But not for long...

Why is it that the Nissan corners so well (for a FWD car), whereas the CRX always seems to be heading straight off the corners into the nearest snowbank, which it's doing again right now?

Back to Map 10 Ken has to back off for a moment to avoid the CRX, just out of view to the right, as it biffs the snowbank.

It would be rather cheeky of me to pass Ken back at this point.  But it would do my ego a world of good if I could later boast that I passed the all-conquering Nissan with my lowly Chevette.

But Ken immediately gets back on the throttle and shoots away from me.

Back to Map 11 Ken has the luxury (and good sense) to pick his passing opportunities under safe conditions.

He waits until the Pits straight after the Esses to go by Diedrich's Honda.  As we approach the finish line he squeezes on the throttle and blasts by the slower Civic.

Back to Map 12 The extra speed carries Ken a bit wide on the right turn, but Diedrich moves well over to the right to leave him plenty of room.
Back to Map 13 Unfortunately he has no intention of leaving me any room though.

The moment Ken is safely through, Diedrich turns sharp left to head me off.

Back to Map 14 In his haste to get back over to the left side of the track, he almost drives into the snowbank and has to make a sudden course correction to the right.
Back to Map 15 I'm trying to follow Ken as he smoothly accelerates his Nissan through the left turn and onto the straightaway.

But I'm having a heck of a time trying to figure out where Diedrich is going as he zig-zags back and forth in front of me.

In the video clip, listen how the engine note changes as my foot comes off and on the throttle as I'm still unsure of where I'm supposed to go.

Back to Map 16 I have great traction here, as evidenced by the way my car heels over as I'm turning hard left.  Check the angle of the horizon.

Diedrich however has given his car too much throttle and he's spinning his front tires.

His car is doing that ugly FWD thing now.  His wheels are pointing left, where he'd like to go.  But because the tires are spinning he's lost steering traction and the car is understeering badly.  (Understeer sucks!)

Compare this photo to the one above and you can see clearly that the nose of his car is rotating away to the right, despite where his front wheels are pointed.

Back to Map 17 As Diedrich understeers off to the right, I can finally get on the throttle to pull up alongside him on the left.

Unless he actually stuffs his car into the outside snowbank, I really have no hope of passing him here.  Once he gets his tires hooked up again, I'm sure he'll beat me to the hairpin anyway in a straight line drag race.

I'm more concerned about the way I'm being held up in the corners.  There's not much I can do about the straightaways, but I'm definitely losing time because of him here in the corners.

Back to Map 18 There are two ways to correct understeer in a FWD car.  One is reduce throttle.  The other is straighten your steering out.

Diedrich must have reduced his throttle input.  He sure as heck didn't straighten his steering any, because his wheels are still pointed hard left.

This makes no sense whatsoever.

He should have stayed on the throttle and simply straightened his steering.  Look where Ken is going.  Ken Staples obviously knows what he's doing.  Why not just follow him?

We're supposed to be accelerating as hard as we can in a straight line onto the straightaway.  But Diedrich instead chooses to lift off the throttle long enough to regain steering control, and then he turns hard left across my path.

Back to Map 19 I was already fully committed to going up the left side.  Now I'm screwed.  There's no way to avoid a collision.

If I jump on the brakes now, it will just lock my front wheels and I'll understeer straight into him.

Instead I stand on the throttle in an attempt to break the rear wheels loose and swing the tail out to the right.  This should turn my car further left and hopefully I won't hit him too hard.

Note that his front wheels are still pointing left!


Back to Map 20 Okay, now I'm good and sideways.


We should have been hard on the throttle to gain as much speed as possible onto this critical long straightaway.

Instead, he lifts off the throttle in order to block me, and now I'm pointed straight at the inside snowbank and I'm within a whisker of spinning out completely.

Back to Map 21 I almost stuffed it into the snowbank, but managed to recover pointed in the proper direction.

All my speed is gone, and I can only watch in frustration as Diedrich carries on down the track completely unaffected by the collision.

Back to Map 22 And the CRX goes past me again as well.

I was a bit miffed at being blocked like this.

The sound track of this video clip had to be edited to censor out my inappropriate comments, although they sure felt appropriate to me at the time...

Rubber Race 2 (Blocking) - ASF format
Rubber Race 2 (Blocking) - MPG format
Blatant Blocking.

Up next, the battle with Diedrich continues and I make A Dumb Mistake.

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