With slot buddies away on vacation, working in the garden, flogging real estate, besieged by in-laws for Father’s Day or otherwise unavailable, our fledgling little group of enthusiasts … “club” would be a stretch in the best of times… was hard pressed to put together a quorum to service this event.
Hey, it’s summertime and the leavin’ is easy….
And can we talk about the daunting size of the CanAm Proxy: 64 cars at 12 minutes track time per car!? That makes a good long day of racing on a 4, 5 or 6 lane circuit, never mind a 3 lane track with weather worries and a 75 minute commute from civilization… if you can call Montreal “civilized”.
But a core group of enthusiasts were determined to pull this thing off and live up to the proud Bent Birch-CPR tradition established in the 2008 and 2009 series. We decided to split the racing over two days, rolled the dice with the weather and won big time. Twice. What are the odds?
The Prototype Class, with 27 entrants, was raced last Wednesday.
Old23 and RIR, starting from the West Island of Montreal, rendezvoused with Ferrari1950 and Auguste the slotting terrier traveling eastward from across the frontier in Cornwall Ontario, at the Canadian Tire store in Valleyfield Quebec at 0945… a marvel of time-speed-distance navigation worthy of the classic Monte Carlo Rally. From there we traveled in convoy, for greater security, into the wilds of southwestern Quebec to the SandySun campground… though they might have more accurately called it “SandySunBuggyAnt Campground”. Just sayin’…
Anyway, by 1045 the three of us (and dog) were racing the CanAm Prototypes under the supervision of race host TR3. We worked our way from the slower to the faster qualifiers. With few exceptions, we demolished their Q-times, especially as cool morning air gave way to the heat of the afternoon. But the ultimate fastest lap wasn’t the whole story. Bent Birch isn’t billiard table smooth by any stretch of the imagination. Ten years of deep freezes and skin-cracking dryness followed by summer heat waves and swampy humidity have done their number on the circuit in spite of the constant care and loving attention of TR3. There are frost heaves and potholes, road repairs and surface patches. Some cars handled the changes without getting flustered. Others, well, not so much, forcing the driver to either traverse some segments with discretion or see their car flung from the slot.
Doc Evil (Ferrari1950) shed a tear for the victims.
On the other hand, with a shortage of hands available to marshal the errant cars, we went with “track calls” for almost all “offs”. As a result, a minimum of time or distance was lost to de-slots and this probably explains why so many of the cars finished so close together. Those that finished in the second half of the order were typically grip-challenged or suffered from other performance limiting afflictions.
A delightful lunch was served by Mrs. TR3 at the break. Thanks Diane! The Blue Jays and Chipmunks provided the halftime show. We finished the racing by around 1630 and were home in time for dinner. One class down, two to go.
Saturday was the “big day”, with 37 cars to run in the GTU and GT classes. Old23, BigBry and new-recruit (but veteran racer) SandyM met at RIR’s place at 0830 and carpooled from there to SandySun.
After some practice, warmup and track cleaning we got down to the racing. The GTU class was raced by BigBry, SandyM and TR3. Phil’s Dino and 356’s Opel were standouts in one of the middle heats, then Old23’s 240Z and the Crapi battled hard for top honors. But the final run group put the rest of the cars in the shade. 34ever1’s Alfa, RL’s Porsche and Redlynr’s Skyline went at it hammer and tongs for three close stints that saw each car ring up a 32-lap heat and the 904 pushed to our first sub-7 second lap of the day. And that was on three wheels after shedding a left front mid-run! Personally, I think it was a weight saving strategy. When it was all totted up, and to nobody’s surprise, these three cars claimed the GTU podium.
Another picnic lunch, this time a BBQ, provided much needed sustenance and relaxation before the afternoon racing. Burgers, dogs, ribs, BigBry’s signature Jambalaya….yum-yum!
The GT class pilots were SandyM, RIR and BigBry.
Early heats provided drama with dragging lead ballast on Mongo’s Camaro and another loose wheel, this time from Sports Racer’s Vette which also managed to pop a guide lead ferrule. Entertainment was provided by Vanski’s cute-as-a-button Gremlin with its super-short wheelbase that stuck well… until it suddenly didn’t. The Camaro’s of RIR and Old23 had strong runs in early heats and led the field going into the final two run groups, but it was never going to hold up under the onslaught from the top guns in this class. Southern Slotter’s ‘Cuda split the local pair while the Chevy’s of Mark and Redlynr elbowed their way past and onto the podium.
All afternoon we anticipated the runs with top-qualifier Smokeio’s Galaxie, but when its time came the first race stint on yellow lane was a disaster. The long tail kept clipping the barriers, sending the blue whale into the scenery and losing almost 2 laps to Mark’s Camaro. Was Smokeio going to get smoked? No chance. The final stints saw the Galaxie hustle to 33 and 34-lap totals, the only ones all day, and a blistering 6.659 second fastest lap that was faster than all but three of the more powerful Prototype cars. The Galaxie was in a class of its own today.
And then it was over. Round 8 of the CanAm2011 was in the can. A big weight lifted from TR3’s shoulders.
Beer was opened. Blueberry pie was served. Souvenir photos were snapped.
Some Course Workers were paid peanuts for all their hard work.
Designated driver (and most excellent photographer) RIR got us all home safely before the summer sun went down.
Well after the weather Gods finally brought us some sunshine, we were able to complete the Bent Birch round of this great proxy race. All the cars ran exceptionably well, except for a couple, that tires just did not enjoy my track. We had 14 cars that broke into the 6 second barrier this year as compare to 4 or 5, 2 years ago. This is a great testament to the quality of the cars this year. Unfortunately I am unable to comment on individual cars due to time constraints at this time, surface to say that I was quite impressed with the road handling ability of just about every car. I would like to thank the five club members that made the trek out to the great wilderness, helping out with the driving duties, Merck ,Sandy, Big Brian and special thanks to Peter (RIR) for taking the pictures which will be posted later and Stewart (OLD 23) for helping out with the compiling duties, and car repairs, also my wife Diane for a great lunch. You will find below the excel spreadsheet, however Stewart will post it in jpeg soon. Thank you again for letting us have the privilege of racing your cars. Till the next time Brian (TR3)
Brian, Please PM me I would like to ask some questions about the slot trailer that you made. I am buiding one and would like to get the thing TO AVOID on building a tent trailer
I see you have not been on here for a while