TAC - February 24th & 25th, 2007
(Story and photography - Scott Miller)
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This was the Toronto Autosport Club's (TAC) weekend and I would say things went very smoothly with the exception of one rollover (see below). Thanks Andy Hughes for running things and also to the Minden Kinsmen for hosting and providing for the annual track skate and bonfire.
Well, this was an "eventful" weekend for several people with myself as no exception. Since I write this race report I think I'll start with me. You might say that the words register, de-register and reregister would pretty much sum it up.
Friday - I went early Friday as I had to re-attach a new muffler to the Ovlov, you will remember last weekend the "Cherry Bomb" broke at the manufacturer's weld. Also Steff and Terry were suposed to arrive early for some tire testing but of course didn't show till around 4:30. As soon as I had my repair work done I headed out onto the track to join Ahmad Khodkar and Tony Silvaggi who were already up to around 100 or more laps for the day trying out all kinds of setups and tires. Steff finally joined us as well. On one of the last laps I planned to run I heard what sounded like a loud clunk and thought perhaps one of the underside weights had fallen off and hit the underside of the car somewhere. I checked but everything seemed Ok. I continued a few more laps with no problem and then packed it in for the day. Just before leaving for the day Tony and Ahmad show up and sadly report that their transmission blew up in the their 323 Mazda 4x4 and that their weekend is done as they cannot locate another tranni.
Saturday - I got to the track around 8:15am and registered for both rubber and Street Stud (SS) classes as usual and then went to my pit. The Ovlov started with no problem ( after I remembered to put back the coil wire) . I then closed the pick up truck passenger door and went around to the driver's side to change from boots to "race" shoes but the keys had been locked in the ignition! I was attempting to call CAA on someone else's cell phone as mine was in my truck before I remembered I keep a spare key in my wallet. Whew! At about 8:45am I decided to drive down to the driver's meeting with the Ovlov but got no more than a 100 ft when there was another loud clunk and the car skidded to a stop. The left rear drive wheel had locked up and as I drove the car backwards towards my pit it locked again. After a couple of back and forth manuveurs I made it to my pit. I figured the weld had broke on the differential and a piece had become caught in the crown and pinion gears. At first I considered that was probably it for my weekend and I went and de-registered and got my $200 fee back. On returning to the pit I am met by some of my fellow racers and am rpesented with other more viable options. I am still feeling the best was probably to pack it in and go home but once again Steve Drysdale came to the rescue and convinced me I should defend my second place in the points and not throw that away. So Terry suggested that I get the rear end out of the red Ovlov up in Tom's pit and swap it out right then and there. I put that option on hold and eyed up Ian Lok's Ovlov sitting unused in the next pit to mine. I called Ian and he offered to loan me his Ovlov for the weekend so I called my Dad in Port Perry and he agreed to drive to Whitby to Ian's house, pick up the keys for his car and then drive them to Minden for me. Then Steve Drysdale said he was going to remove the backcover off the diff and have a look and upon doing so decided that the weld that had broke had done no damage to the crown and pinion that all I had to do was re-weld the spider gears back up and all would be good! Now, where to find someone to weld this diff up on a Saturday morning in Minden with only 2 hours to go before the first race of the day? I drove over to the auto supply store to pick up some diff fluid and brake cleaner. All the while my father who had no cell phone and therefore no way to call him was enroute from Whitby and I still didn't know which option would work out. I stopped along the way at Lazy Days garage to ask if John there knew of anyone who could weld the diff. He said no but his friend knew a retired OPP guy up hwy 35 who might so he called him but the guy said "no, too much already in his shop". Then John says "Jack Prentice is a really good welder, you know, Tom Prentice's boy!" So now I'm thinking where will I find Jack? He's probably gone fishing or something. So I pick up my supplies and head back to the track to try to find Tom Prentice to see if he knows where Jack might be. I ask around Tom's pit and Gord says "There's Jack right over there, he just stopped by before he heads out to go ice fishing for the day." Talk about providence! I laid out my predicament to Jack and he says "no problem I could do it Monday as I'm going fishing with my son". I ask is there any way he can do it now of course as I am hoping to salvage the weekend. Jack goes "get it up to my Dad's shop pronto and I'll meet you there shortly, I can still go fishing this afternoon." Whew! So I towed the car to the shop with Tony Silvaggi driving my pickup (thanks Tony) and in about an hour was back at my pits around 12:15 - the TAC were on lunch break and wouldn't start racing until around 12:45. As soon as I parked the car in the pit Steve Drysdal has it jacked in the air
and has crawled under cleaning out all the weld slag and Ian McIntyre has started prepping the cover with gasket goop so I went back to registration and re-registered for SS only. By the time I got back Steve had cleaned up the diff face bolted the cover on, and was pumping diff fluid in. Just about then my Dad and Mom arrive with the keys to Ian's car having taken only 1 hour 35 minutes to drive from downtown Whitby to Minden! I still had 15 minutes before racing began! Simply amazing , huge thanks to all specifically Jack Prentice, Steve Drysdal and Ian McIntyre, and Dad and Mom for all your help, advice and talented hard work and Ian Lok for your gracious offer to loan me your car - WOW!!!!. I believe Steve Drysdale gets my vote for sportsman of the year.
Of course I had missed qualifying so I had to start from the back of the grid for my first SS race Saturday but worked my way up to 5th or 6th by the end of the day. My Dad borrowed Eric Chapman's helmet and rode passenger in the first race Saturday, he said that it was quite an "experience" but that he wouldn't need to do that again. Mike Bell had the pleasure of enjoying a really entertaining second race, first time for him in a street
stud car. In that race there was a chain reaction pile up in the first corner that resulted in Richard Walker's Chevette hooking under my rear bumper and I dropped 3 or 4 places while I tried to shake him off my tail. We finally parted ways after what seemed like an eternity and Richard went spinning around like a top in my rear view mirror. Why is my car a Chevette magnet? Further damage was sustained to the right side front quarter panel thanks to the rookie in the gold coloured Nissan 240SX. Several people have had to go and talk to him about the damage he has inflicted on their cars.
Sunday - I started 5th and finished 2nd in the first race and won the second race. In the first race Steff Haas aka Dennis The Menace rode passenger - he couldn't keep his hands off all the switches and various controls in the car and he brought along a snowball which he tossed through the open driver's window of Tim Fleguel's car while we were on grid! This race saw another pile up in the first corner and the MR2 taking Tom Prentice out and spinning both of them well off line. I took full advantage and slid through but not before the MR2 rammed me on the driver's rear quarter as I passed by for 1st successfully crushing the rear fender into the sidewall of the tire. This acted like a brake on the drive wheel but I still won. Thanks to Ian Lok for doing the "Lok Block" behind me and congrates on your SACond, that made it an Ovlov one-two finish! Nice. And I am still running on my old 401 street stud tyres from last year and Ian is running on 404's from last year both sets of tires have only lost between 2 and 10% of the studs while the new 409's which I am not even using now have lost upwards of 90% during one race.
So as if I hadn't had enough fun already I locked the keys in the ice racer at the end of the day Sunday and guess who came and got the door unlocked for me? Yep...Steve Drysdale to the rescue! If I ever get a race team together Steve you will definitely be heading it up.
Oh, and I did remember to put fuel in the car this weekend :-)
In other news ....
I think it was during the Street Stud practice on Saturday although I am not 100% sure but the long time Skoda entry of Larry "The Lounge Lizard" Kovaks did an amazing aerial rollover maneuver in the kink that retired the Skoda. Larry was not physically injured but he did take a lot or ribbing from the drivers who attended the rookie school on Saturday. Larry continued racing his other car in the rubber to ice classes 1 and 11.
Tim Fleguel had his passenger side door torpedoed by Richard Walker
on Sunday in a street stud race after he was purposely spun from behind by a red front wheel drive car. He wound up front end pointing to the inside snowbank at 90 degrees to oncoming traffic. His young daughter was riding as passenger for her first time in an iceracer. Tim was able to pull into the infield where John Sullivan our medical officer checked her over. While she had no apparent injury the shock of having a Chevette bury itself in your her door and broken glass fly all over the place shook her up for a short time. What a shame that this kind of stuff happens, Tim has just returned to racing this year after like 20 years! I wonder if he will be keen to return ever again and who can blame him if he wouldn't want to have to deal with fixing his car all the time. This has to come to a stop because a car should last several seasons. We are here to race not fix cars! If you want to wreck your car and you enjoy wrecking others I suggest you try a different form of entertainment than ice racing, perhaps something like a demolition derby where that is the intent of the event.
Magnum Fine Printing (they are the Ice Race Series sponsor) is developing a web portal for iceracers only, it will be very hot with loads of options for ice racers to develop marketing themselves with every available current web hosting tool that's out there.
Nick Majors provided everyone at the track with a very thrilling back to front win in studded race after spinning his beautifully prepped RWD blue Nissan 240 SX twin turbo on the first lap in the first race on Sunday. He fought back in textbook style passing everyone to take the checker win by only half a car length at the finish line. Nick had been out with us celebrating his birthday Saturday night at the Cliffe and all I know is the
Jagermiesters just kept coming. He had a fine head full of "neutral brain" come Sunday's racing which may well explain his fine performance. He went on to successfully defend his first place in the second race as well.
A first time win came for Steve Drysdale this weekend also with a "from the back to the front" drive. Steve says that win made it all worthwhile, he is now happy just because now he knows he can win.
Eric Chapman also experienced a first time win this weekend in a rubber to ice race after a Stud race. His "Van Halen" inspired Ovlov capitalized on contact between the then leading cars of Larry Kovaks and Rodney Schmelter who tangled with each other late in the race. Click HERE for a short in-car video (700KB .wmv file courtesy Rodney Schmelter) of that amazing hit and you can see Eric passes through the frame for the win.
There was more fun had this weekend off the track than one would think is humanly possible. Once again the Kinsmen held their annual bonfire and track skate festivities and once again I didn't get up to the track for it. At around 4pm Saturday the
cottage 3 race team came to the mutual (albeit erroneous) conclusion that the best way to get back to the cottage early and get a good night's sleep was to start partying earlier. The plan was to immediately have a "couple" beers outdoors on the cottage "patio" (read parking lot) then go to the Cliffe, drink a "couple" beer, eat supper, go up to the track bonfire and then be home by no later than 11PM - yeah right! As Terry said: "I think the wheels fell off before we even left the cottage". Loads of people, birthday celebrations for Nick Majors, liberal libation, Tim Fleguel laughing, dancing by Jeff Wenzel, live DJ, music by Mr. Mophead, SACdance between Steff Haas and Scott Miller, fun and frolic had by all, Ahmad Kodcar even tried to pool surf. There were so many pictures taken by Tony Silvaggi that I gave up editing them and organized a bunch of them into a Flash slide show (click the image to the left). More pics at the bottom of this report
Saturday: just around freezing bright sun - beautiful day for laying on your car and suntanning
Sunday: around zero and sunny for most part with clouds moving late in the day
Sat. - track holding up really well even with milder temps around freezing and very bright sunny day lots of rubber to ice grip.
Sun. - similar conditions to Sat.
Look em up on the CASC web site www.CASC.on.ca , click the ice race link
Great Street Stud comeback culminating in a 2nd then a 1st in Sunday's two races
SACographer: James McGlade