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DMCC Round 5 Recap

Category : Events

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I went up to Canada again this weekend for DMCC Round 5 at Mosport. It was nice having a change of scenery as this round is near Toronto and the only round outside of Quebec. Also, everyone speaks English, so I was able to actually talk to the fans this time. I drove up on Saturday and met up with my crew guy, Kevin. The event was on Sunday, and everything went pretty quick since it was scheduled to end by 5pm.

We got a couple of hours of practice in the morning. I made about 10-15 runs. The track was a short straightaway into a fast full-throttle fourth gear right turn, then slow way down, downshift to third, left turn, manji, double apex left, and slow last right turn. I got the entry down after a few runs, and the slow part of the track was easy (because V8). The only thing that was getting me was coming out of the fast first turn and slowing down for the slow second turn. I kept either overshooting the slow left turn and parking it to avoid going off track or coming up to it too slow and having to e-brake extend. I did have several good runs in practice where I nailed it though. I noticed that my brakes were being weird too. Sometimes I would get on the brakes and it would be normal, pedal goes down a little and brake pressure gradually increases. Other times, as soon as I even touched the pedal, the brakes would almost lock jerking the car when I was barely on the pedal. Not sure why this was happening, or maybe it was just in my head.

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We went into qualifying after practice. I was planning on driving the first run at 90% and just concentrating on getting the braking perfect going into the second turn. I came out of the first turn, transitioned, got on the brakes, shifted to 3rd, got back on throttle, and the transmission came out of gear! Uggh. I straightened out and got a zero for that run. I guess I didn’t put it into gear all the way causing it to pop out.

So this was a crappy situation. I debated whether to be conservative or to go for it on the second run. I had only spun out once in practice and knew it was unlikely to happen again, but it would have been dumb not to qualify trying to do a run at 100%. So I did the second run ultra conservative going slower than usual and with a lot less angle. I concentrated on hitting 3rd gear, and it worked out fine this time. I expected to be towards the bottom of the top 16 because of how safe the run was, but I ended up in 9th place. So when they announced me in 9th, I was thinking, “OK, this is not so bad, at least I won’t be going against one of the top-ranked guys in top 16.” Then, they announced 8th place, Briggs. So now I was thinking, “God, why would you let that happen?” Apparently, Briggs didn’t have a good qualifying session either, so now #1 and #2 in the championship standings would be battling in top 16.

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I was still feeling confident about it. I beat Briggs in the last round. He had some transmission issues in practice so wasn’t out there as much as others, and I never got to pair up with him to practice following and see how fast he was. I followed him first, and I decided to be more on the aggressive side to make sure I could stay with him throughout the course. I took off next to him, got in behind, and went through the first turn about a car length behind. We transitioned and started braking for the second turn. I think he got on the brakes a second before me, because all I remember is me closing in on him way too fast. I stabbed the brakes instinctively, and the car snapped straight. Uggh! I always do that! I kicked it back out and finished the run decently close to him. In the video it doesn’t look like the closing rate was that crazy, but for some reason, I panicked thinking I was going to crash into him. I think I have terrible depth perception.

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Since I was able to catch him when following, I thought I might have a chance to pull out a gap and get a OMT. So I wanted to stay tight on all the clipping points and go as fast as possible for my lead run. I got through the first turn well and got on the brakes for the second turn, ended up slowing down too much and knocking over the inner clipping point, and finished the run with a few car lengths gap on Briggs. Kevin told me Briggs made the same mistake that I did and his car snapped straight in the braking zone. However, he got the win. I was told the judges’ rationale for the decision was that my entry speed on my lead run was slower than my qualifying speed, and I slowed down excessively at the second clip, which suggested that I was doing some “funky business” to mess up Briggs. I agree. Those runs were crap, but I wasn’t trying to screw up Briggs. I was just plain sucking.

Here are the videos of the two runs. Thanks to Pierre-Olivier Belisle for the footage!

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We watched the rest of the competition, which was filled with nice phazing and crashes in that braking zone. Congrats to Pay Cyr for the win. He drove great. Then, I had a nice 8-hour drive home to think about my mistakes… haha. Both Briggs and Laflamme, 2nd and 3rd in the points standings, lost in top 8, so they only gained a few points on me, and I’m still leading the championship.

Thanks to Kevin and Cedric for working on the car and making awesome shirts and hats. Check out Cedric’s brand, WIDENED, on Facebook. The car is still in one piece, so on to round 6 at St. Eustache!

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East Coast Drifting Championship Recap

Category : Events

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I went down to West Virginia last weekend to compete in Summit Point’s East Coast Drift Championship. It was a stand-alone competition they were hosting with a $5,000 purse, so I was hoping good drivers would come out, and I could get some practice. I couldn’t take any more vacation days from work, so I drove down Friday night and got there late, got a few hours of sleep, and then off to the track for practice in the morning. We ran the “bridge course” backwards, which is the same course Formula D ran when they came to Summit Point in 2007. The track is a lot of fun, and the first turn is the fastest I’ve ever drifted. It’s a long right turn that we were entering at around 95mph and holding around 75mph in drift.

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We had a lot of practice on Saturday. With some people crashing early and some skipping Saturday practice, there weren’t many cars on track. I got a lot of practice runs to learn the course. The car felt good, and I wasn’t lacking speed compared to others, so I didn’t change anything. Saturday went by with no problems.

I went out Sunday morning for practice and did a few lead/solo runs. Then, I decided to tandem behind people. A lot of guys were having trouble linking the first big turn to the second right turn and were basically jumping the apex of the corner or parking their cars with a lot of e-brake. I was following Alan and Lee. I think Alan slowed down, we all slowed down, then looked like everyone was good so I got back on throttle, Lee never got going though so I slamned into the back of his car pretty hard. Luckily his car didn’t seem to sustain much damage. Nothing structural got bent on my car, but the radiator got pushed back and cracked, and the core support/headlights/bash bar were junk.

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I spent the rest of the practice time pulling out the rad support and installing a spare radiator. I didn’t have any more practice, so my next time out on track was qualifying. I wasn’t worried about it because nothing was bent or broken with the suspension, so I knew the car would drive the same. But I was being a bit cautious hoping I didn’t forget to tighten something and that there wasn’t anything else damaged that I didn’t notice. I knew if anything broke on that 95mph entry, it would be really bad! My two runs were relatively conservative. I slowed down a bit more than the judges wanted coming out of the first turn, but otherwise they were good runs. I qualified 5th.

In top 16, I went against local dude Jorge Aguilar. It was his first comp, and he was having issues linking the track. I did a clean lead run, and on my follow run, he drove straight through the first turn and initiated at the second turn. I followed him and got the win.

In top 8, I was paired with Alan Brentzel. This guy has made a lot of progress in the past couple of years and has been performing well in XDC this year. When I followed him in practice, he seemed slower than me. I ended up giving him too much of a gap in the first turn when following but caught him by the end of the course. He had a good follow run, so we got a OMT.

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I initiated closer to him on the OMT run and was determined to get in his door going into the slower section of the course. It worked out well, and I was basically side-by-side with him towards the end of the track. I backed off at the right time, and gave him room to transition for the last turn while staying on him. It got a bit sloppy at the end since we both jumped the curbing on the apex. I got a sweet gift certificate for “sickest” chase run because of this. When I led, I went into the slower section of the track a bit too fast and had to get on the brakes more than usual to keep from going off track. Alan was staying in 3rd gear but had to downshift to second when I slowed down. He miss-shifted and straightened out so I got the win. I do apologize for that.

In the next round, I went against Lee Alexander. I did a good lead run, and he was about 1-2 car lengths back most of the way. He was entering the first turn slower than me, so it was tough to get right behind him and have enough speed to drift the first turn when following him. He ended up straightening coming out of the first turn as I was following him. I stayed sideways behind him and prayed that he would not get on the brakes… haha. He re-initiated, and we finished the run pretty close. I got the win.

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In the final, I would be going against the robot, Nate Brasz. I didn’t really get to tandem with him in practice, so I had no clue how fast he was, but everyone was saying he was super fast and not using the e-brake at all to extend from the first to the second turn. So I was confident I could drive it in there as fast as possible. I dropped the tire pressures a decent amount to try to get some extra speed. I went through the first turn maybe a car length behind him, then got on the brakes and was closing in on him entering the slower section of the course. Unfortunately, he slowed down a bit more than I expected, and I ended up swiping my left front headlight across the right rear corner of his car. I straightened out, then re-initiated and finished the run. Judging from the mark on my fender, I would have cleared him if I was two inches further back! Uggh. Anyway, I bent the radiator again, but it wasn’t leaking so I did my lead run. It was a solid lap. Nate seemed to take it easy on the entry and close the gap later. He got the win. I’m disappointed, but crashing into someone is always the most satisfying way to lose! And Nate’s car barely had any damage, so he was cool about it.

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I got my check and left as soon as possible dreading the drive home. 4 hours of sleep and back to work on Monday!

I also realized I drove all of Sunday on one set of tires. Sweet.

I have some work to do before DMCC Round 5 in two weeks. But thankfully this is the end of 7 straight weekends of competition for me, and I have one weekend off. I need to do some bending/welding on the front of the car and get a couple of new radiators, and the car should be good to go. I’m not planning anything fancy since this chassis only needs to last 5 more competitions before it becomes scrap metal.