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Summary of Red Deer Western Championship

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  • Summary of Red Deer Western Championship

    Here is a summary of how the event went. Overall, I had an great time (the course was very, very fun - a welcome change from what I've become accustomed to) and it was a fun road trip to take with Paul from UBC as well.

    We left on Thursday night and stopped over in Revelstoke with the car packed with 3 tires in the rear seats and one in the trunk. Leaving Friday morning, we rolled into Red Deer at 5pm and got to the Westerner Grounds for the evening test and tune.

    After checking into the motel and mounting the tires, we went back to the lot and did 6 test runs on the asphalt. They had set up a series of slaloms, sweepers, and offset gates for competitors to practice on (this was torn down for race day). Having not run on asphalt for two years I was anxious to try the car out and surprisingly it stuck pretty well (better than the grip at PNE from what I can remember).

    After Paul and I ran the car and chose the tire pressures we'd start with, we parked the car and started walking the course. At first we were quite concerned about the immensity and speed of the lot. We honestly thought that it would be a mid-range 3rd gear course:

    It just seemed on paper to be a series of straightaways with sweepers leading into straightaways. Only a 3 cone slalom? No boxes, offset gates??? Certainly not what we're used to at Boundary Bay!

    What really surprised me was a lack of people walking the course at night. Other than a handful of people, Paul and I were the only ones really giving it a serious walkthrough the night before Day 1. I jotted down notes, lines, and marked key visualization cones on my course map for study before leaving so I could study them in the room before bed.

  • #2
    Day One, Paul and I got to the lot at 7.30AM (about 2.5 hours before first car out according to suppregs). Echoing a common thread throughout posts about other club's events this season... we were expecting an on-time start time but we didn't have first car out until 11:00AM. This at least allowed us more time to walk the course more and get some photographs out.

    SP ran first so we gridded in the dual-driver line. I agreed to take the first run and be the tire warmer since I had the advantage in knowing my car better at this point. Charging out of the box and past the first wide, easy slalom, I dove into the first right turn and onto the first straightaway. It was a LONG straightaway with only one minor bend, flat out all the way in 2nd gear and into rev limiter just as I had to brake for the sweeper. Exiting the sweeper, another flat out straightaway with only two small kinks in the course. That's basically what the course was! A series of huge straightaways with minor kinks and then dead slow sweepers to setup for the next straightaway.

    Unfortunately, their scoreboard did not display times and they did not announce scores on the PA so until the run group ended, we had no idea how we had done. Getting our run cards at the tent, my first run was a 54.X and my 2nd run was 52.8. Paul was not too far behind with a 53.4 (or something like that - we don't have our day 1 cards).

    As we stood around timing and scoring discussing our times, the other ESP drivers were congregating trying to figure out who was leading. To our surprise, after the first two runs, I was almost 3 seconds faster than the 3rd place ESP driver. I was quite perplexed, disappointed, and happy all at the same time.


    • #3
      Second run heat in the afternoon came after a very long, drawn out 2 hour lunch stop.

      Again, no times were announced/displayed between runs so it was a bit of a mystery autocross. We had no idea as we made our runs how we did or how the competition was doing. The ambient heat had increased greatly (it was 28C, sunny) and traction improved. By the end of the two runs, Paul got down to a 52.5, Peter Lawrence got 52.6 and I was behind with a 52.8. I had managed to get in my last run a scratch time of 51.5 but unfortunately I hit a cone in the stop box.

      Numerically at this point, Paul, Peter, and I were the only ones in the running for 1st place.

      The day ended at around 5pm and Paul and I headed back to the motel. Afterwards we attended the event banquent, and headed back out to the lot for more course walking. This time, the course was run backwards. Not surprisingly, this time there were more competitors doing coursewalk, including our ESP competitors.

      At first, we had thought Sunday's course would be tighter and slower, but in fact, it was even more flat-out straight. We were concerned about this for two reasons... one, the other ESP cars easily had 100+ horsepower over ours, and two, Paul normally drives an auto tranny 95 Mustang so he's not familar with heel-toe downshifting or shifting into 3rd at all for that matter.

      Like the night before, we walked until around 10PM and using another clean copy of the course map, I took notes, jotted down lines, and drew in key visualization cones for study.


      • #4
        Day two ran very quickly. First car out was at 9.30AM and amazingly, we were done by 12.30pm. The course was large enough to accomodate 2-3 cars on course so things flew by. With dual-drivers, the rate at which the car got back on course was quite intense.

        For the first run heat, Paul and I coin-tossed for tire-scrubber and I lost, so I took first run. It worked out better anyways since I was able to give him feedback regarding the need for 3rd gear.

        The course was... even faster backwards. My shift-lite and rev limiter came on at least four times throughout the whole course. Due to the extremely tight sweepers at the end of the straightaways, there was no point in going to 3rd. The back straightaway became basically flat-out with only two kinks, instead of four. At each kink I was bouncing off rev-limiter.

        Times from the other slower ESP competitors became much closer than day 1. The back straightaway allowed the higher horsepower cars to really pull hard. We ended heat 1 with 50.620 (me) and 51.777 (Paul). Peter now had the lead by a tenth on me. Again, like with day 1, it was a bit of a mystery autocross because no one knew their times until the end of the run heat.

        Unfortunately, Paul was a little timid on the throttle on Sunday and he didn't warm up until 2nd heat. The event organizers finally started announcing times with a loudspeaker. Both of my 2nd run heat times were fast enough to take the lead (50.365 and a final run of 49.914). Paul came close to securing second but in his final 50.743 run, he missed the 1-2 shift off the start and easily lost two-tenths off his time. Peter Lawrence managed to get down to 50.6-something to get 2nd place for Sunday.

        [ June 17, 2002: Message edited by: N2O4U ]</p>


        • #5
          Although the level of competition was less than what Paul and I are accustomed to at any given CACC Championship event, we had a lot of fun. I used the event to really practice all the things that I have read/heard/learned from VCMC.

          I know the large margin between myself and 2nd place was due directly to discipline I learned from the club - the Alberta ESP guys were flying through sweepers, going wide and scrubbing, while I braked hard and early and tucked in very close (Thanks Cfoo and Matthew). Its very clear that our region and our club teaches this very well (Colin Armstrong dominated his class with a brand new Civic SIR hatch and while watching his runs, the same philosophy was very evident).

          I also did as per Joe's tech session and did everything I could (Paul thought I was being silly for taking all the parking change out but by day 2 he got into the spirit and picked the lightest pair of pants he had to wear). And of course all the National Tour stories about walking the course the night before with flashlights.

          [ June 17, 2002: Message edited by: N2O4U ]</p>


          • #6
            FYI... next year, at the same lot, the Canadian Nationals will be held there... so I'm sure the competition will be more serious next year!!!

            PS. Thanks to Colin for giving up his 1st place trophy (they ran out of them and had to give them out to out of towners).


            • #7

              Thanks for the kind words and complements, I can say that the experience I gained at VCMC has helped me greatly out here. I agree that, slow in fast out, is a mantra I often repeat around the pits. I try to remember it but sometimes I push too hard, and my times are slower. Thanks for making the trip out it was great to have some out of towners to stir things up a bit. I should have some photos posted on the CSCC board soon I got a few of your car and the event.



              • #8
                Congratulations Andre and Paul! Sounds like a really fun event, next year's Canadian Nationals should be definitely worth the drive out.


                • #9
                  Conrgats guys! Good Job!


                  • #10
                    way to go guys! congratulations!!
                    Swift DB1 Formula Ford - trophy collection machine (co driver)
                    2006 Lotus Elise - daily driver
                    2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 - cycling racer
                    1/4 of a Dodge Neon Chumpcar - because I didn't want to risk saving money.
                    1992 Acura Integra LS - for those other days (or when I need a trunk)

                    2014 Knox Mountain Hill Climb - King of the Hill
                    2012 Knox Mountain Hill Climb - New record FF1600, 2nd Overall
                    2011 Knox Mountain Hill Climb - Record holder FF1600, 3rd Overall.
                    2011 SCCA National Championship - 3 cars, 2 classes, I have no idea...
                    2010 SCCA National Tour - 1st CM
                    2009 SCCA National Championship - 2nd CM
                    2009 SCCA National Tour - 1st CM
                    2005 Canadian National Champion - CSP


                    • #11
                      Andre and Colin,

                      Congratulations on your championship wins.

                      Reading your post convinced me that you did "all the right things" for a championship event. The course sure looked nice. No "cross over for multi lap application". White lines on both sides like what all top caliber championship courses should all have. Decent speed to keep it exciting and test the nerve as well as skill of the drivers.

                      I am also glad to hear that your VCMC experience (or former experience in Colin's case) has helped. As Cliff has said in his Velocity Driving School message, there is a lot of depth in our instructors' competition experience. Much of that experience was gained by attending top caliber championship events at places outside our own region. It's experience like what you just had which is valuable, as a future driving instructor, to be passed on to the next generations of drivers. I also believe that there are quite a few individuals in our club who have reached a level in their driving that could benefit from exposure to out-of-town championship level events. Meeting new people, travelling new roads and seeing new places don't make bad life experiences either.

                      "...I recommend books. People who don't know what they're talking about are less likely to write a book about the subject...."


                      • #12
                        <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Phantom:
                        ... Meeting new people, travelling new roads and seeing new places don't make bad life experiences either. <hr></blockquote>

                        I miss this most about autocrossing. The places you go and faces you encounter enrich the experience . Congratulations Andre, Colin and Paul for strong performances.

                        PS: I love the notes on your course map "TIGHT!!!"


                        [ June 17, 2002: Message edited by: Cliffy ]</p>
                        Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'
                        Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.


                        • #13
                          Congratulations on your good drives! And thanks for the writeup. Good stuff.

                          Who designed the course? Visually, it looks like a Roger Johnson course.

                          Canadian Nationals there next year, huh? Hmmm....



                          • #14
                            Congratulations Andre. Sounds like it was a fun event.


                            • #15
                              Photo's have been posted:

                              Under Photo Section