River's Edge at Mission
Mission, British Columbia, Canada
June 28 and 29
Oh, Canada! On Friday, I drove to Mission in hopes of getting some time in at the track. I hadn't driven Lakeside before--I've never been there as a spectator, either. Because of its location, I assumed the city would be a tiny logging town as all of the towns south of the border are quite small.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Abbotsford, just south of Mission, was quite populated. Mission, the next town north, wasn't exactly big; but it had all the amenities I could hope for, including a large modern auto parts store and some restaurants.
My friend Bill Shaw led me through a few laps, and I picked up his line. Hugh Golden, from Kahn Team Racing, was kind enough to talk the course over while pointing at a very detailed map. I got lots of tricks, and was able to get comfortable at the course.
And that's really important! The track is very tiny, with very limited run-off room and lots of walls. There would be no small mistakes here; a misstep would result in some bent metal.
On Saturday, I had a good practice and a nice qualifying session. On Sunday, in the cooler weather, I had two great qualifying runs: I believe my fast laps for the weekend was 1:24.600.
The Group 1 race (where I run C Production) was great fun; I caught up with an RX-7 and couldn't quite pass him; I could out-brake the other car in T5 and T7, but just couldn't make the passes stick. My inexperience at the track really hurt me; I didn't know any of the tricks I can apply at more familiar tracks.
After the race, the officials threw me a curve ball. My car weighed in heavy for C Production, but would be too light for the ITS class race! That had me very worried. I had the car weighed a second time, and discovered that the scale wasn't properly setup--I really was legal.
Worse yet, I also received a sound level warning. My car was too loud! This was hard for me to believe; though I have a performance exhaust system, I don't expect the car to be louder than 92 decibels or so; quieter than the track's race-day limit of 95 decibels.
Unfortunately, my ITS race in Group 5 race wasn't quite as much fun. I let a slower RX-7 by me in the second lap, and he became engaged in a tough fight for position. I couldn't separate the two cars, and had to work on both of them at the same time. They just wouldn't separate, and I couldn't get by--even though my qualifying times were more than a second-per-lap faster.
A Honda caught me from behind, since I was so busy with the two RX-7's. Unfortunately, the driver of the Honda behind me didn't adequately slow entering turn one and solidly rear-ended me. It's hard to assess damage from inside the car, and it was the first time I had ever been hit, so I was a bit rattled.
Worse yet, the rain started in the back of the course on that very same lap. I didn't have rain tires (and it didn't appear to be quite rainy enough to use them anyway), but I was very surprised to nearly spin in T4. I did two hard twists before regaining control of the car; I never left the pavement, but lost several positions.
What a weekend! I learned a lot, as usual, and left being very comfortable with the tiny little track. I really enjoy going to Canada, and had a wonderful trip this time, too. I came home with a C Production trophy, and enough points to take the points lead in the ITS class for the season!