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2nd Place at DMCC Round 3!

Category : Events

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This past weekend, I went back up to Canada for DMCC Round 3 in Victoriaville. This was a relatively small parking lot course but we were still getting up to speeds close to 70 mph on the entry. The judges wanted to see wall-riding, so of course, a bunch of people ended up in the wall. Other than riding the wall, there was a huge dip in the ground after the outside wall clipping zone which was sending a bunch of cars flying. Getting grip on the straightaway was also a big problem for me. The pavement was “wavy” on the straight, so I would have to time my throttle input with the bumps/dips to get the most speed on the entry and not light up the tires going down the straight. There was a layer of dust/dirt on the ground, so that made getting traction even harder.

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On Saturday, we had two one-hour practice sessions and then qualifying. We didn’t get as much track time as usual because the Pro and Pro-Am events were on the same days this time, so we were sharing the track with the Pro-Am drivers. The event was also being held inside the city, so we weren’t allowed to start engines/make noise before 10am or in the evening. I kept my driving conservative in practice and basically just worked on getting the right entry speed to be able to make it out to the wall. The track was kind of crappy for my gearing. I was right on the limiter in third gear at the initiation, so I didn’t have much room to go faster. But if I went to fourth gear, I would have to downshift immediately after initiating because the first turn was relatively slow. Making that downshift on entry would be pretty sketchy. I tried it both ways and decided I’d do the first qualifying run in third and go to fourth gear for the second qualifying run if I had a solid score from the first.

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I put down a safe first qualifying run, which would have put me in 5th or 6th position. My second run got pretty exciting. I lined up as far back as the starter would let me, and tried to go really fast. I was about to shift into fourth but realized I’d be going way too fast at that point to make the turn, so I just floored it in third, barely touched the limiter, and initiated for the first turn. I hit full lock and almost pooped my pants, did a bunch of sketcky stuff, managed not to spin, but was still going straight for the wall pretty fast. Somehow I gave it just the right amount of throttle to ride the wall and not crash into it. I didn’t think it was that great because it felt so sketcky from inside the car. But the judges were stoked about it, and everyone who saw it was telling me I would be top qualifier for sure. I ended up scoring a 90-something, and the rest of the top 5 cars had scores of 70-75. I also got the fastest entry speed of 108 kph, tied with Jonathan Thiffault. It wasn’t fast, but it was fast for that track.

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On Sunday, we had a one-hour practice session before tandem. I was feeling confident that I could keep up with everyone, and the only thing that was worrying me was getting left behind on the straight. I think almost everyone was struggling with traction, but there were a couple of cars that were getting over the bumps really well and accelerating faster than everyone else. Also, during the practice session, I noticed my clutch was engaging with the pedal like 1-inch higher than where it usually engages, so I was worried about that. I stopped practicing about 3/4 of the way through the session to give the clutch the best chance of lasting in case there was something wrong with it.

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I got an automatic pass into the top 16 because only 15 cars were able to put down qualifying scores the previous day. For top 8, I went against Brad Carlton. He’s an aggressive driver and is known for hitting everyone he tandems with… haha. So I was looking forward to a good battle but also cautious and left myself some extra angle so I could catch the car if he hit me on initiation. I led first and he stayed relatively close behind, but he overshot the first inner clipping point behind me and lost a lot of ground, so I just had to do a decent follow run, and I would probably win. I followed him pretty well and got the win.

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In top 4, I’d be going against Pat Cyr. He followed me first and did a ridiculously good job. He was on my door the whole time and even tapped my left rear wheel coming into the first inner clip. So I would have to do something amazing to beat him. We launched off the line together. He was getting better grip than me down the straight and was pulling away, and then his engine backfired like crazy. I was right behind him, and I thought my engine blew up or I blew a tire or something. I think I jumped off the gas a bit and looked at my gauges, then on the gas again. With his better grip and me pooping my pants when his car backfired, he managed to get a big lead on me on the straight, so I was screwed. I dive-bombed him at the last clipping point, and got sort of close to him, but I knew it was over for me. And then… he crashed into the wall coming out of the last turn! I couldn’t believe it. They actually called a OMT after those runs, but there was no way he could fix the car in 5 minutes, so I got the win.

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I’d be going against Dave Briggs for the top podium spot. I wanted to battle him, but I was dreading the drag race down the straightaway. Dave’s car was just floating over the bumps, and he was accelerating faster than anyone on the straight. I dropped air pressure a lot as there was nothing else that could be done at that point. I led first, and he did a decent follow run, but nothing insane. I knew I could win it if I got on his door. I tried to jump the start, but we’ve gone against each other enough that he probably saw that coming… lol. So we ended up leaving at the same time. As soon as he shifted into second gear, he was gone… probably got 3-4 car lengths on me down the straightaway while I was spinning tires. I drove a super shallow line and caught him by the first inner clip. I was on his door for the last half of the course, but it wasn’t enough, and he got the win.

I can’t complain about 2nd place, but it sucks when you’re just as fast as anyone in drift and get beat on the straight. I think I could have been right on both Pat and Dave if I could have initiated closer than 3-4 car lengths back… lol. Anyway, it was a good weekend overall. I battled, in my opinion, the best 3 drivers that weekend and came out with a second place finish.

As far as the car, I need to see if the clutch keeps getting worse, so I’ll drive it the way it is this weekend. If it breaks or gets worse, I guess I’ll be changing it next week… uggh. Also, I really need to do something to get it to accelerate better. So I ordered softer springs for the back, doing even more toe in, and maybe getting a few sets of RT615s or RS3s that I’ll save for the next time I have to go against Briggs :)

Huge thanks to Kevin Darwish and Jf Bonami this weekend for helping me out! These guys were changing tires, checking pressures, making sure everything was good with the car all day, and keeping me up to date on who I’d be battling next. It really helped me focus on driving my best.

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