|I made a real mess of my first practice lap, so I concentrated on
easing off on this second lap. Rather than fighting the car all the
way around the track, I tried to relax and just let the car flow around
It seems I relaxed a bit too much and allowed the car to spin...
|This Saturday and Sunday event is the standalone Western Canadian
Championship event. However the two days also represent events
#6 and #7 of the season long 2003 Championship of the Northern Alberta Sports Car Club ice
These other guys have already competed in 5 previous events this season, whereas I come out west from Ottawa for just this one weekend. Other than drag racing a few times in a straight line up and down the street in front of Jim Graham's office, I've never driven this particular car before. It's going to take me a while yet to get settled down.
Coming around the far end of the track, still chasing Colin, the car gets away from me as I run too deep into the corner and let the heavily ballasted rear end swing too wide.
|It was not an intentional spin, but now is as good a time as any to
practice my spin recovery technique. It's certainly better to try
that now than during an actual race.
As I'm just starting to roll backwards I pop the transmission into reverse to keep up some momentum. I can see another car coming, but there should be enough time to swing the nose around and continue on my way before that car gets here.
Although I am pointed in the right direction again, unfortunately I'm way off line and on an extremely slick patch of ice.
You can see all the tire tracks off to my left. That's the proper line where the Studded cars have already chewed up the ice somewhat. But over here, outside of that line, the ice is as smooth as a skating rink and I can't find any traction to get going again.
|I could have been rude and bulled my way in there, and Don left me
lots of room in anticipation of that, but it's only just the second lap
of practice and there's no point in doing anything stupid so early in
the weekend. So I held up for a moment to let Don go cleanly past
me before setting off in pursuit.
In past years I was driving Don's car, so I've never before had the opportunity to race against him. It was a novel experience being able to chase him now.
|Starting into the third lap of practice, going into the left
hander that leads onto the long front straight, I decide to shift up a
bit earlier this time and ride the corner in third gear instead.
This gives me a bit better control over the wheelspin and lets me hook up earlier with better acceleration as we come onto the straight.
Besides, the practice session should be used to practice different techniques and different lines to see what works best.
|Right here, as we're exiting the turn onto the straight, you can see how Don's car is sliding a bit more than mine. In the video clip you can hear my engine note change as I feed in more throttle while third gear stays nicely hooked up with traction.|
|I'm definitely gaining ground on Don down this straight, but the
straight isn't long enough for me to actually pass him.
Listen to the engine revs in the video clip and you can clearly hear the revs jump a couple of times as the rear wheels momentarily break loose and spin on the slippery straight.
Chevettes are not powerful cars, still there's enough power to break traction in third gear. It's just like a Formula One car in the rain! Um, sort of. Well, not really. Okay, so maybe not at all. But I can dream, eh?
|With me trying too hard to chase him down, and with him all too
aware that I'm gaining on him, both I and Don overshoot our braking
points into the hairpin and slide wide.
But, while Don slides deep off line, I manage to slow enough to drag my car back to the apex of the turn and nip inside Don's line to pass him.
|This car is the yellow #31 Chevette of Landon Goudreau.
I experienced a momentary thrill of pleasure, marvelling at how quickly I caught up to Landon, before realising that it's only because he's limping around with a flat tire.