The Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres

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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After practice, we returned to the trailer and completed  maintenance on the car. Races took place throughout the day and we were right next to the track. It was  annoying to be wearing earplugs  throughout the day. We did a bit of maintenance on the car and waited for six hours until qualifying. A few of us decided to take a nap because the wait was long and we didn't have much to do. It was so hot outside we had no choice but to stay in the shade. One of the professional photographers came by and told us that it was going to be hot on Saturday but a huge storm was headed towards us on Sunday. In all the races this year, we had never raced in wet weather.
At five thirty, Duncan suited up, and we towed the car to the false grid. It was a bit cooler, so everyone was  comfortable; however, the sun was low in the sky and in the racers' eyes. During qualifying, one racer was so uncomfortable, he had to come in and get some sunglasses from one of his pit crew members. 

I recorded the lap times for our team, so we knew where Duncan was running with respect to the others. We were lucky to have a screen with the live action and the standings on it. I knew exactly what position Duncan was in when the qualifying ended. I told Duncan personally. It wasn't the best qualifying position, but we had done worse.

We ended up coming in seventh in the race. I told him, "Well, we weren't last... and we didn't crash". He wasn't very happy when I revealed where we stood. After the qualifying, we rested for a while before we did some work on the car.  We finished normal maintenance around 10 o'clock at night.  I had been handing gear grease, which basically looks like green sludge and  went back to the hotel to clean up and watch the Olympics before heading to bed. By this time, it was midnight.
The race on Saturday started at ten in the morning. We had to get up at six o'clock in the morning to get at the track. We always like to be early rather than late. We warmed up the car and got everything together to prepare for the line up. During the race, we ended up just outside the top ten. Duncan wasn't  happy, but, again, at least we didn't crash. The day was  warm and humid and it seemed everyone was having trouble. After the race, we did some maintenance on the car and relaxed. 
The race on Sunday was at nine in the morning and we had to get up at five-thirty. We were all so exhausted and looking forward to the end of the weekend. Because Duncan had gotten some great lap times the day before, he was eleventh in the line up for the race. It was still warm outside, however, dark clouds were looming in the distance on the horizon. The race was actually well executed. Duncan was taunting us a little bit. He dropped down a couple of places and then he sped up gained a few! During the second to last lap, the yellow flag went out and the pace car came out. We managed to place in the top ten! I was so happy. Although we didn't win, the car came out in one piece and everyone was safe. We got back to the paddock, weighed in and then packed things up. There was a storm heading towards us. Corey ended up leaving early and just in time. While we were loading up the truck, he called and told us that he was driving in the storm and he couldn't see five feet in front of the car.
We took down the tent as fast as we could and we put everything away before the rain started to came down. Duncan, Miro, my father and I ran into the trailer for shelter, unfolding some of the chairs, we all decided we would watch things unfold. Within an hour, the parking lot was flooded and the water was beginning to creep onto our ramp. People were outside bathing themselves in the water. We looked out of the trailer and saw that the water was up to the bottom of a pickup truck. This was the best part of the weekend. We were all smiles and couldn't stop laughing. A few golf carts and trucks came by once in a while and we could see the waves rushing towards us. It seemed the rain would never let up. It was so intense!
The storm  dissipated an hour later. We all poked our heads out and surveyed the damage. There were people swimming around, having fun. Other people who had taken refuge in the arena were starting to come out and they could see how flooded our side of the paddock was. Apparently, this wasn't the only place. About ten minutes later, my father and I had to walk back to the car. On the way, we passed through the Nascar and Indycar paddock. The water was up to the knees! There was no other way through. I sighed, pulled up my pant legs to my thighs and then trudged through it. I couldn't believe it! But this was a good end to the weekend.


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