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My first National Tour

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  • My first National Tour

    Sorry for the delay in writing this, but it's been a hectic week at work to say the least! Well, I finally got a chance to do a National Tour event and it was an intense blast. The weekend started pretty calmly with Darren and I driving down. We were a bit late so we missed the VCMC convoy. Instead, we ended up meeting Glen Hernandez on the ferry which was a pleasant surprise.

    Upon arriving there, the feeling of a big event really wasn't there. In many ways, the National Tour was much more relaxing than a Championship event up here. I'm not sure why, but it felt calmer. Tech was pretty basic, no helmet check and a sticker on the window. The test and tune was based on a ticket system. For 2003, make sure you buy a whack of tickets early in the day so you don't get stung by the 2pm cut-off. I believe Gerald gave up two of his tickets for Darren and I and Scotty White gave us another two so we could run our car in the test and tune.

    The first impression of Bremerton in our car is that it's very slippery, especially in braking traction. Once we moved to the regular autocross side, it wasn't as bad, but still slippery compared to what we're used to. I got a surprisingly good amount of sleep before Saturday (thanks Marc for booking the hotel) and was quite refreshed in the morning. Unfortunately, our heat didn't run until the very end so it was tough to remember the course and with the heat, it was quite tough.

    Working the course in heat 2, it was fun to watch some really great driving. Many of the top drivers just don't make mistakes and when they do make mistakes, they are very minor; they'll be off by a foot or two, nothing glaringly obvious. On Saturday, it was Darren all the way, I struggled with the course at first by DNF'ing and doing an extra slalom. This silly gate was added to the official course map to prevent drivers from taking to the grass to get a better line. I didn't realize it was different than the course map I had in my hand and got confused on course. Bernie, Gerald and myself ended up making that mistake during the weekend.

    On my last run, I did ok but overshot two corners giving me a slow time. I was down in 6th place. Our goal for the weekend was to come in 2nd and 3rd and maybe grab 1st if Cory coned all his runs or something. With Darren in 3rd and me in 6th, our goal was looking less likely to be reached. I have to say that the course designs for the weekend were a lot tighter than I expected. The speeds obtained were similar to what we see at Boundary Bay. In comparison, when Greg, Jodi and I ran the DSM/944 Challenge many years back, we were into 3rd gear in many sections. I guess they've got a safety push on too now.

    Walking the Sunday course on Saturday night, I started to feel very confident. I really enjoy higher speed courses and this was a lot better than Saturday's. Once again, I got a lot of sleep and awoke Sunday fully recharged. Throughout the weekend, one thing kept making me very happy, watching fellow VCMC members support each other. Even Gary Milligan took the time to talk to those who could win and gave them great advice. When they didn't win, he went back and gave them comforting words. Truly a great sportsman. When Terence hit that cone on his last run, the stupidest cone to hit that didn't kill any of his time, all the VCMC people let out a big, "awwwww". The announcer even heard it and commented. Throughout the day, I never heard anyone have that much support from the audience.

    With Sunday's course favouring the car better, Darren and I went to work. I think he was again faster out of the box than I was, but he hit a cone on his first run. On Darren's second run, he overshot a corner and came in a bit slower. On my second run, I improved a bit and went a bit faster than Darren (about 1/10th). On our last runs, I was really hoping for Darren to put in a killer run so that he had a shot at 2nd place. Unfortunately, he tagged a cone right off the start. He then went madman and turned in an amazing time, but with six cones. I was still down in 6th or 7th place going into my last run. Do I take it conservative and try to move up a place or two or do I go for the top. Of course, everyone that knows me will say that I'll go "10/10ths or Weeds".

    Right off the start, I truly went for it. I didn't care about cones, I didn't care about anything, I just wanted to maximize the time I was WOT. I kept the pedal to the metal in areas that I didn't think possible. Coming up the back section, I was practically wide open throttle through the offsets, just pre-turning literally one corner ahead. I had total faith in the car and just kept the hammer down. The car was sliding around a lot, but it was going past the apexes where I wanted so I didn't mind the movement. I overshot one corner slightly, the left hander going into the final "L" and I got a lot of wheelspin coming out of the "L". Other than that, it was a perfect run. The time was startling, a 50.1, almost one second faster than my second run. That was good enough to move me up to 3rd place!

    Our competitors in SM were great to battle with. Twenty competitors all with close times was really a huge amount of fun. Greg Downing, Cory Smith, Tone Lemon, they are all great guys and a pure joy to race with. Our positions kept moving all around all day long, you never really knew who was in what position it was so close, reminded me of E/SP up here.

    It was great that both Darren and I came home with a trophy and it was even better to see eight out of the 20 that went down coming home with a trophy. It just goes to show that talent does indeed run deep into the veins of VCMC. I highly encourage all of our members to make this a must-attend event next year.

    Special thanks to:
    Lowell at
    Frank at
    Don at
    for helping get the car ready for the weekend.

    Take care,
    Red 997 GT3 / 993 Turbo gone but not forgotten.
    HD YouTube track videos

  • #2
    It really was a fun tour - me, Marc, Terrence, and Chris were among the first people at the course itself (Chris and Elise were already there when we got there).

    The practice session was quite interesting as it got busier and busier during the day. The end of the practice was supposed to be 2 o clock and they tried to enforce it but it was not possible as everyone had bought tickets complained. They ended up finishing next 6 o'clock!

    If you run practice sessions, you also have to work. Marlon signed us up so I wasn't too sure where we were working. Later we found out we were in the timing van! Quite the experience as we only knew our own club members cars and were unfamiliar with the timing equipment (which by the way is really really nice stuff!). Since I was the announcer I was thinking that whenever the VCMC people came up, I was going to say "and here is the amazing "XXXXXXX from VCMC, hired hotshoe and highly skilled - you better watch out folks, he's going to win the XX class!" but I thought better of it (maybe it would have intimidated them!)


    • #3
      <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by fc-racer:
      When Terence hit that cone on his last run, the stupidest cone to hit that didn't kill any of his time, all the VCMC people let out a big, "awwwww". The announcer even heard it and commented. Throughout the day, I never heard anyone have that much support from the audience.<hr></blockquote>

      I was working station 4 at that moment. I was trying to keep track of Terence's and Marc's runs. The time you guys let out the big "awwwww", I did the same at station 4, probably scared the other workers at the station for a brief moment.


      • #4
        I forgot to mention the two runs of the days from my viewpoint. On the Saturday, the run of the day had to go to Alex. He drove the wheels off his Formula Ford and had just a perfect amount of slip throughout the course. It was really beautiful to watch.

        For Sunday, my run of the day was Mike Leuty's. His last run was absolutely perfect, I didn't see a single mistake anywhere. If he made one, it was not big enough to be seen. It was really a stunning run.

        Really well done guys!

        Red 997 GT3 / 993 Turbo gone but not forgotten.
        HD YouTube track videos