Friday, February 23, 2007

Slip Sliding Away

The Detroit SCCA rallycross season opener, presented by Team Illuminata Motorsport, didn’t go quite as planned for the husband and wife Alba Rallysport team.
An overcast, snowy day didn’t dim our spirits for the first event of the season. The twisty course at Bob’s Family Raceway in Clarksville, MI was one we were familiar with, having competed there twice and won once. With that record we were confident that we could be competitive with the Sti of #177 and #77.

With 10 competitors in the PA (rally prepared AWD) class and 6 runs planned for the day, this was the largest PA field since early 2006. A quick course walk revealed hard packed snow with thick ice below the surface. Experience told us the snow wouldn’t last long and we’d soon be slip sliding away on the ice. We went into the event with high hopes of a podium position but close competition from cars #42, #17 and #23 forced us to step up the pace a little resulting in an off course excursion into a snow bank on run 3 due to ice induced driver error. For the record, my co-driver did warn me!
Luckily, several other PA competitors made the same mistake and this evened the field somewhat but meant we had to step up the pace in the afternoon yet keep the runs clean. On run 4 the stars were aligned and it felt fantastic. We were back in the running but on runs 5 and 6 we took cone penalties, which pushed us into a final position of 6th place and 4th in the Detroit SCCA rallycross championship with 10 points.
The next event is on March 17th in Fowlerville, a course we are more than familiar with. Let’s just hope the snow and ice melts and we can put the power down on some gravel!

Photos by Nate VanderVeen