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Ice Race Report

Jan 26th & 27th, 2002

(Story and photography - Scott Miller)

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Finally, the first weekend of racing happened!
It will go down in history as one of the most anxiously anticipated race weekends ever after suffering through the two prior weekend cancellations due to unusually warm and wet weather. I arrived Friday as one of only about ten other cars in attendance. It would not be until Saturday that I would see the arrival of what I would guess as about 75% of last years attendance.

As a result of an incident Friday afternoon in the pits, there was an extra long driver's meeting Saturday morning. It looked like already Mavis had her hands full. After everyone was briefed on "the incident", in which a neighbour to the track had called the police to report someone "exposing themselves", the drivers were entertained with a lecture from Constable (?), from the Haliburton O.P.P. detachment, (or is that the "entire" Haliburton O.P.P. detachment?) on the law regarding indecent exposure. You will have to dig elsewhere for the details on the "incident" of "indecent exposure" as I don't want to skew the facts or incriminate anyone. (it wasn't me!) By the way, the aledged's opinion is that "it", is not "indecent" at all :) I also noticed a sudden flourish of new warning signs sprouting up at the track this year, one notifying us that there would be regular O.P.P. police patrols of the paddock during the races. I suppose next we'll be handed speeding tickets on track... this is beginning to get out of hand. Has no one learned from history! More legalism means more lawyers, more lawyers means less fun and the eventual collapse of any society - or in this case ice racing!!! If more common sense were excercised there would be no need, but then I am beginning to believe the "common sense gene" drowned in the gene pool.
I mean, has anyone working on the human genome project found any evidence of a "common sense gene" yet?

Any way, by the time the driver meeting was over and the qualifying started it was close to 10 am!

Results:

I neglected to pick up any results (sorry) but ewe can probably find them on the http://www.CASC.on.ca site. (Also, I am not 100% on some of my lower finishes quoted below)

Track Conditions/ Weather:

The track was very smooth and virgin and with temps. below zero things looked very good first thing Saturday morning but this was not to last long.

Thank goodness stud cars were allowed to go out for a short practice as the track otherwise would have been very slow. The track actually picked up traction during the first race Sat and was very fast and great fun to drive. Race length was shortened to 8 laps each race to preserve the track.

But as temps rose to 6C. things got very mushy and many areas developed potholes and larger car sized craters or pits that made some cars look like they were racing a dune buggy in the baja. By late Sunday there was mud at one end of the track. The snow banks have held up well. Click the pic for a short video: "Track Conditions"

Racing:

Saturday:
My races were quite varied and not without incident. Saturday I decided to stay with the Blizzak ws-50 tires from last year which had been tractionized and still had a good look to them. The draw for qualifying put me on pole! I was able to keep all but the two Skodas behind me as the car felt very strong and responsive with the new rear axle weights and replaced front lower control arm installed.

My first race of the day Sat. , after lunch, was uneventful and saw me drop from third start to a fourth place finish while driving too conservatively on a track that had started to melt but was very fast and that actually provided more grip as the race progressed, something I have never experienced before.

The SACond race Sat. was looking very promising for a good finish at about the halfway point, that is until the wipers quit working. In very warm, very sloppy track conditions, with the cars throwing buckets of slush on my windshield, all I could do was try to follow the "dark objects" ahead. I felt like Luke -"follow the force"- Skywalker. I finished 5th but not last and without being able to see where I was going - not bad.

At the end of racing Saturday I was ranked 9th overall.

The studs were allowed only one race on Sat. and then their entire weekend was cancelled and monies refunded. By the end of the day Sat. there was like 3 inches of slop on the track and a temp. of 6C. A number of large craters had opened up and were presenting themselves as obstacles to be avoided, some on the traditional racing lines.

Sunday:
The track was frozen solid again and I gave Tom a ride down to his shop to get the road grader to level the track as the ridges of frozen slop were going to shake his plow truck apart. The decision was made by the powers that be that the race would be run the same direction as the day before as they thought that the drivers would be better able to remember where the craters and potholes were. That's not racing people!

I was at the track early and made the decision to lightly tractionize the brand new Blizzaks leaving as much block definition as possible to deal with the slop and slush. This turned out to be a wise decision that should have been pursued the day before as well.

Starting fifth in the first race Sun I had a fast and smoothly driven race to finish SACond not far behind Tom Prentice but ahead of Larry Kovaks! Larry and I traded a little paint and positions a couple of times to make for a most entertaining race! (See the "highlite" below for details)

The SACond race Sunday however had a heartsinker start. Starting SACond on the grid I got a really good start and was running with the rest until I went to shift into SACond gear... AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!...It wouldn't go into SACond! Not until halfway through the first turn was I able to coerce the sucker into SACond and by then I believe I was in last place. I am not sure how I finished but I think it was SACond last.

Highlite(s):

Me setting up, faking, out-braking and passing Larry "the lounge lizard" Kovaks into the last corner on the last lap in the first race Sunday for a SACond place finish in class 1.

There was one bad rollover in rubber, frontwheel. A Hyundai four door with a couple of rookies, no one was hurt. Several cars made it well up on the banks with one Honda almost all the way down the other side of the snow bank.

Very little snow, this shot downtown outside the Rockcliffe. Click the pic at left for video "Happy Trails"

Keep praying for cold weather...

Scoty@rogers.com