Rounds 3 and 4 – Lac La Biche March 2008:

Temperatures Varied on the Championship Weekend:

 

Lac La Biche, Alberta – After a rough start to the 2008 season which included races post-poned and cancelled due to (i) insufficient ice, (ii) blizzard conditions, (iii) water geyser / track flooding, the Western Canadian Championship weekend finally saw a full schedule of racing. The weather did however, throw a scare into the weekend schedule as Sunday morning started off at around -22 C. Many Chevettes required a boost to fire up.

 

Saturday was a racing success as the races were run according to schedule and the Charity race drivers completed the first of 2 events. Sunday also followed the organizers plan and we had 3 full races for all classes, the final race being a “double points” event.

 

The track was very wide in places, single file in others and offered over-taking creativity during the early races of the day. However, the track became polished and narrower as the day rolled on, meaning that drivers had to keep closely to the racing line left by the studded cars. My attempts to try the “outside” line or the late apex pass were stymied during the later stages of the day in Chevette (15 cars) or the Non-stud class (30 cars).

 

The Lac La Biche weekend is always associated with vivid racing memories for the weekend. For me, this included:

 

  • Upon leaving Edmonton, the realization that my trailer had somehow become ‘re-wired’ such that a right signal light would fully apply the brakes (yes, full braking intermittently with the turn signal…)
  • Getting to start DEAD LAST on the grid since I had no points to date for the season… (just like the previous driver of Car 79 – some guy from Ottawa that used to come to LLB annually).
  • Just how much fun it is starting last and passing 2/3 of the field, then spinning out and losing 3 places, then re-passing them again.
  • Leading a race for a number of laps and anticipating that pleasant sign that reads “LAST LAP”.
  • Leading a race and, instead of seeing that “LAST LAP” sign, seeing that dreaded “black flag” with my number on it…….GASP!
  • Exchanging pleasantries with the officials about why the lead car would be subjected to a black flag when there was no apparent, obvious, justifiable, reasonable or rational reason (my version here).
  • Heading straight to the “Crown Royal” motor home after such a “black flag” event, so as to drown a few sorrows. Thanks to Car 26 for their kind, thoughtful and timely liquid sponsors!
  • Finding the very LAST room in the Lac La Biche hotels Saturday night.
  • Making a pass on Car 55 that saw a closing rate of about 95 km/h (my exaggeration here) at the entry to the “sweeper”.
  • Holding off that dastardly Car 26, in spite of the repeated taps to my rear bumper on the last lap, to remind me he was there (Race 4).
  • Eating several pocketfuls of home bakes chocolate chip cookies, complements of the Team Boss, Car 54. (I had a stash of them in my racing suit pocket during races).
  • Seeing my OLD car (Car 77, the old Car 78) re-tuned and running very f-a-s-t again. Nice driving Kevin!
  • Watching the driver of Car 55, a Chevette from the original field of 1995 (yes, the same car after 14 seasons), drive the wheels off and win races, defying the laws of physics as far as grip and car control are concerned. The driver, now “55” like his car, deserves credit for keeping that car tastefully groomed and running strong.
  • The ALPAC race, Saturday, with a field of 12 cars, was well-driven by the rookies (and no crashes).
  • The Charity Race event, Sunday, also with 12 cars (Chevettes) injected money to the local charity for the 10th year running.
  • Sunday night - a car trailer with repaired brake wiring that actually could signal and stop normally again. Thanks Car 26 Team mechanic.

 

There is some talk about a series sponsor for 2009. That is, a sponsor for the Chevette car class. If this is to happen, it is important that we, as a class, put some extra efforts into the appearance of our cars. Have a look at Car 26 as a class leader in appearance and maintenance. Stay tuned for news regarding a series sponsor for next season. And buy some bondo!

 

Thanks again to the event organizers, workers, fans and sponsors for making this the BIG event of the year and providing tow money, finish money (top half in each class) as well as fine food and vivid racing memories. / Car 79.