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BEMC - March 3rd & 4th, 2012 (1st raindate)
(Story, photography and video- Scott Miller)
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Big thanks to BEMC for running a very efficient weekend starting with the pre-registration from 4-5pm Friday and continuing throughout weekend with no delay between races and no breaks other than a shortened lunch. Only
one rollover and resulting 25 minutes wait Saturday for ambulance to return to the track after delivering the driver to the hospital. Also a special thanks to my favourite grid marshal for as always doing such a great job!
Also need to thank Tom Prentice for reviving the track by so skillfully moving the banks around to expose fresh "virgin" ice especially by mock grid. Many were fooled on their first time arriving Saturday morning by following the newly located outside banks into a deadend "V" between that new bank and the mock grid bank.
I want to thank all my sponsors and encourage you to use them in turn helping support ice racing. First of all thanks to The Minden House Bed And Breakfast not only for your sponsorship but for keeping such a fine, clean and well maintained establishment that makes it such welcome place to come home to. Thanks to all those who use a SACtionizer to "Get A Grip" and in turn support my winter fun. Thanks to me for supporting me :-) through my company University Werks Landscape Construction and of course thanks to my awesome employees that help make the company such a success.
Wow, I can hardly believe we got a full season of 6 consecutive weekends! The talk this year was typically about the weather as we experienced what could be considered a yo-yo fluctuation of conditions from extreme mild to bitter cold throughout the entire season. Never knowing for sure from one weekend to the next if we would race again and ending on one of the coldest days. This weekend was a perfect example the season's extremes. Saturday was very mild but extremely windy with gusts to 100 kmh and driving snow and at times ice pellets. Many people were exhausted by the end of the day because the winds just seemed to suck the energy out of you. Temperatures started out at +3 C in the morning, dropped to -1C for several hours then unexpectedly rose to +2C then dropped to zero before going back up to +2C again near the end of the day. As a result of the mild temps the track produced a lot of slush on the outside and very grippy soft ice on the racing line.
The temps dropped dramatically Saturday night into Sunday and by morning stood at -16C. By the time we got to the track around 11am it was at -12C and I don't think it got above -10C for the whole day - at least the wind had stopped.
Track conditions were really sloppy by mid-morning Saturday and the track just kept getting narrower as the day progressed with the build-up of slush around the outside of the raceline. Suspensions took quite a beating both by the "ditch" across corner one followed shortly thereafter by the "ledge" that also ran across the track. There were several places where potholes developed and by Sunday afternoon, even though it was well below zero, we ran through to the dirt by the quanset hut and from there pretty much all the way through the kink. Otherwise there was tons of grip, the outside line being the fastest and very wide and late corner entries working the best for the welded diff Ovlov. I really liked the way I could kick around the back end up the outside bank at the quanset hut shooting the car almost straight across the track to the apex. Thanks Jose for pointing that out.
Race conditions all weekend were perfect for the Ovlov. The steel encased studs used last weekend were pretty much toasted so Friday afternoon I opted to put 2 new aluminum cased SS tires on the back from the 4 that I had just purchased as next years tire budget. I figured we wouldn't be running on any dirt at least at the beginning of the weekend and they should therefore remain in pretty good shape. This was a
good call and I kicked off the weekend Saturday morning with a truly entertaining back-to-front run in qualifying. I was slotted 18th at the back of the grid and finished 1st in RWD SS1 class by lap 7 of the 10 lap qualifier. Things continued well through the weekend winning 3 of my 4 races placing 2nd in the second race Saturday. Grip levels were so good that the Ovlov even passed and managed to keep ahead of a couple AWD cars! I increased the fuel/air mix a bit Friday afternoon as well but the car continued to run out of power and would max out at 5000 rpm.
I rotated the studs 180 degrees in the rear tires for the last race Sunday as the dirt through the kink had worn a good bit of the leading edge off the stud casings. The last race on Sunday saw keeping wide lines through the corners as the best strategy. I had a length-of-the-straight lead over Shane Hutton in his MR2 in second place when, with only 2 laps to go, a rod bearing let go
The Ov fortunately was able to soldier on for the next 2 laps and limp over the line for the win. Considering the way I have tortured the beast over the years it certainly doesn't owe me anything. I think I will look for a replacement 2.3 litre as most everything else on the car is still solid and it has proven it's still a contender. My attitude this season right from the beginning when I knew that Menards would probably not run was to take the Ovlov out and just go have fun - to simply enjoy the racing experience and to race against whomever I might be running with wherever and not worry about being competitive. That attitude served me well from volunteering when asked with the rookie school to winning races and driving more relaxed and less aggressive.
My friend Mike came up for the weekend and helped out a lot around the pits and enjoyed the racing although I don't think he was too keen on the "fresh" air. Mike and I used to share an ice racer years ago and between the two of us have had plenty of off-track Mindenhammer adventures.
I repeated a mistake from a couple years ago on Sunday as I loaded the Ovlov to haul it to the pits. I overshot the dolly with the front wheels because just as I hit the brakes the engine died and it beached itself atop the dolly tray. But thanks to the help of about 8 fellow racers (just like they were the Ov's "pall bearers"!) we lifted up the front end by the bumper and got the front wheels back into the dolly trays.
All races were run clockwise all weekend because counter clockwise would have had cars exiting onto straight right into the track entrance hole in outside bank with the new layout of the corner at the west end of the straight.
Richard Piper replaced his water pump on the black BMW and gave a great performance in car control winning his SS1 second driver race on Saturday but had to say his goodbyes as he would not return for Sunday.
That's it for 2012, see you all at the awards banquet and thanks to all those who made this season happen including a great bunch of fellow competitors - I had a blast!
All video for the season will be available on my Youtube Channel ...
Congratulations go to Brian
Sexsmith (red MR2) as the SS1 champion with a total of 416 points.
I finished SACond
with a total of 392 and Tim Penwell
(blue Fiero) finished in 3rd with of 340 points.
Pics from this weekend courtesy Jimmy McGlade: