October 2012 Archives

October 2012 Archives

The Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres



The Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres, one of the busiest races of the year, provides an assortment of car classes that we, the folks in Duncan'gs pit, are not accustomed to including the Canadian Tire Nascar series with which we had shared paddocks with during a Napa 200 event, the Canadian Touring Car, Firestone Indy Car Light, Star Mazda, Sportsman, Super Car and our Formula 1600 and other autos in canada.  The weekend was a good one, but as far as racing goes, it was a bit of a disappointment. 
We all arrived in Trois Riveres to register for the event on Thursday night. I had never been at this particular race, so I was excited. On Friday, we had two events lined up for the Formula 1600. The first event was the practice at eleven o'clock in the morning. We decided to be first in the line up so Duncan could have a lot of room. The practice didn't really count for anything except for the drivers to get accustomed to the track. I decided to take lap times so I could get used to the dynamics of the track. During practice, Duncan drove by for tire temperatures, which is routine. Duncan was doing very well, even though it was hot outside and the cars were slipping all over the track. There was a red flag in lap 2, so the cars had to return to the pits and remain there until the stalled car was removed. I decided to view this optimistically, at least we got the feel of the pits! 
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Tremblant Autumn Classic



We woke up to a chill and rainy Friday morning, unable to view the top of Mont-Tremblant due to heavy fog. I couldn't believe what the weather forecast was projecting for the weekend: rain fevery day! Friday was a practice day, but I think it was one of the most intense days of the race season. The relentless rain made it almost pointless to take down lap times. In the morning session, a red flag waved, but it turned out someone was just stalled. In the afternoon session, the red flag returned for something much worse. I knew it wasn't for Duncan because he was coming into the pits just as the flag was being given. The scary part was that the ambulance was deployed onto the track with the lights flashing.

Jim and I decided to wait around and see the car that merited a red flag. When we saw the tow-truck come along with the car suspended just behind the bed, we were shocked. The car had three corners knocked off after crashing into the wall.  We weren't shocked that this happened but we couldn't fathom how the team could fix it for the next day's races. There is so much work going into fixing one corner of a car, let alone three!  We went back to the condo around 5:30, which is actually a record. I felt bad for the team that had to rebuild half the car. However that team had not had a crash for over three years, which is very impressive.

 The next day was still rainy and unbelievably cold. If you looked around, it seemed everyone gained at least twenty pounds from all the layers. Just before qualifying, it began to pour. The Formula 1600 racers had to qualify in a downpour.

We ended up qualifying thirteenth. The track was completely soaked. Duncan went from thirteenth to tenth, then took a spin and returned to his original position. As his lap times became slower, Jim noticed that there was something wrong with the car. An electrical problem stripped the car of some of its' power. Duncan  fixed it in thirty minutes, when it could have taken hours! We were very lucky.

We woke up Sunday morning to sun! However, we stepped outside and it was about nine degrees. We tuned up the car a little bit, but we were ready to go for qualifying. The results from qualifying were absolutely incredible. We qualified twelfth, but all the racers from third place to thirteenth all within 1 second in the 1 minute 47 seconds. The pack was so close!


 We decided to take a chance for the final race of the season. While some changed their set up for wet weather conditions, we decided to have a dry set up. We were a little anxious during the race because the radar showed rain would hit. Duncan did spin out in the first lap and he fell back to eighteenth place. However, he quickly moved up the ranks. He made it to ninth place when there was an incident and a full course yellow. The pace car came out and all the cars were forced to regroup. When the pace car drove off the track after three laps, the race started again. Duncan promptly rose up and finished in sixth place!

We also finished the Formula Tour 1600 Championship in fifth place! 



Calabogie Race



Packing a trailer and sending your team off to a race you can't attend is strange. That's what happened. For the Calabogie race, my father and I could not make the race, which was actually kind of sad. Nonetheless, we loaded the trailer and truck in record time and sent Duncan and the team on their way! 

The curse of Trois Riveres seemed to have carried over to Calabogie. Calabogie is about one hour west of Ottawa. A long complex circuit with 22 turns that poses a big challenge to unfamiliar drivers; it's incredibly frustrating. Duncan had qualified thirteenth for the first race; however, during the race, Duncan spun off track when he hit an oil spill from a blown engine. He had been four in a train, in ninth place. He hit the brakes as he spun and the others just made it by. When I heard about this, I reminded him that he still had four corners on the car! It could have been worse. He finished thirteenth in the race.

On Sunday, Duncan's knowledge of the track improved and so were his lap times. He qualified thirteenth and managed to finish ninth in the race on Sunday, which is actually quite good, considering the layout! The good news was that we were fourth in the Quebec Championship after that race!










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