Peter and I ran the Qualifying Session at Mesa Roja, a Ninco plastic track powered at 10 volts. The Black Lane is 73.96 feet and the Yellow Lane is 72.11 feet. Here are the times:
Mesa Roja is a bit of a departure from the rest of the tracks in the series, being a 2-lane plastic circuit. For example, my car struggled with grip here but seemed to be very hooked up at the Autodrome in a test session last week. I will keep telling myself that as I contemplate a back o' the grid starting position for the race tomorrow!
Post by glasshorse on Sept 10, 2017 11:17:22 GMT -5
I'm astounded have a 5th starting position in such an elite grid. In the other proxies I'm currently participating in, competitors such as Aloha and Chappy are handing me my hat and showing me the door... badly. Bob, glad you made it!
Last Edit: Sept 10, 2017 11:20:26 GMT -5 by glasshorse
The long wait is over. Welcome to Race Day at Mesa Roja for the first round of the 1967 GRAND PRIX OF CANADA PROXY RACE SERIES!
From high atop the control tower we'll be bringing you the colour and the action, the thrills and the heartbreak of this exciting event.
For those who have never attended a race at Mesa Roja, you are in for a treat. Scenically situated in the high desert regions of Baie D'Urfé Quebec, not far from the notoriously secretive Area 51, the circuit has long attracted race fans from around the world and across the galaxy.
The cars are lined up in the pitlane. Final race preparations are being carried out and VIP Guests are mingling with the drivers and team personnel as the start time approaches.
Let's go down into the pits now to our roving reporter for a closer look at these magnificent machines.
The cars are lined up in order of their race number. The #1 Brabham BT24 of reigning World Champ Jack Brabham is first in line. Jack struggled with traction issues in the Qualifying Session and is well off the pace of the front-runners. Next up is Chris Amon in the beautiful scarlet Ferrari. He qualified on the fifth row of the starting grid with some concerns over steering lock problems in the tight hairpin turns. Next is our pole-sitter Jimmy Clark in the 2 litre Lotus 33. Fast and smooth, he's always a challenger for the race win.
In the #5 Lotus 49 sits local driver Eppie Wietzes in his first F1 appearance. Transmission problems and tire issues cut short his practice time and relegated him to the back of the grid. If the car can stay on the track and finish the race, it will be a successful day. The #6 car is American favourite Dan "A" Gurney in his own team's Eagle Weslake. The motor has less grunt that most of the others and the chassis has had handling difficulties at the high speed Buffalo Jump curve. He'll line up on the sixth row for the start. Next up is Hubert Hahne in the unusual Lola BMW, a Formula 2 car that is punching well above its class. It will start on row four.
In the #11 Eagle Climax is another local driver, Al Pease. He caused a sensation in Qualifying by claiming a front row starting position with a time less than a tenth of a second behind the pole-sitting Clark Lotus. Next car is the BRM P83 H16 driven by Mike Spence. This was another car that was unpredictable at Buffalo Jump but was quick enough to make the third low of the grid for the race. The red #14 McLaren M5A of Bruce "A" McLaren will line up alongside the BRM after qualifying a mere 1/1000 of a second quicker.
The green #17 Cooper T79 Climax of John Love qualified fourth and will start from the second row of the grid alongside the #19 M5A of Bruce "B" McLaren. Though some way off the pace of the front row cars, these two ran within a tenth of one another and should have a great battle for a podium position. The #23 Honda driven by John "A" Surtees suffered a series of handling troubles in practice but is looking for a better race setup.
The final three cars are the Eagle driven by Dan "B" Gurney, the Honda RA273 piloted by John "B" Surtees and the Ferrari driven by some unknown Polish driver. The Eagle and Honda qualified solidly in the mid-field, but the Ferrari suffered from a lack of grip and weak brakes in practice at the Mesa. Will Race Day bring better results to one or more of this trio? Only time, and your intrepid reporter can say.
Final preparations for the start of the big race are underway, but first we have a parade of vintage cars to entertain the crowds here at the track.
The race was run with two pairs of drivers and sufficient corner workers that power-off track calls were not required. The seven race run groups were cycled through the first driver team and then the second driver team, so all cars were driven by all four drivers. Track power was set at 10 volts and each car was raced for a total of 12 minutes (4 x 3 min. heats). Lap counts to a tenth of a lap and fastest lap times were recorded for each car in each heat.
Race Group #1 Due to the odd number of cars, the first run group was made up of three cars in rotation. These were the back of the starting grid cars: the #69 Ferrari, #23 Honda and the #5 Lotus.
The gear issue with the Lotus was corrected but the lack of traction problem continued, making it very challenging to keep on track. It trailed the field by quite a margin. The PG tires simply would not hook up like the tires on the other cars, but I think a contributing factor was excess friction in the front axle due to contact with the motor lead wires. There is so little room between the body, chassis and front axle assembly that there is only room for the thinnest of wires and the ones used were too thick. Marek's Ferrari had two good heats in yellow lane but two poor ones in black lane so his chances of moving up the order were limited. On the other hand, Chappy's Honda had three very good heats and one middling heat. In a very tight mid-field pack it rose to the occasion.
Race Group #2 The second pairing consisted of Old23's #1 Brabham and Aloha's Eagle #6.
The Brabham's traction problems continued, making it a challenge to put the power down out of the corners. In the two yellow lane heats, the drivers managed to ease the car to decent lap counts, but the black lane heats were not good and the car failed to get close to its Qualy time with any driver. Aloha's Eagle did manage to best its Qualy lap and had three good heats. Unfortunately, an off track excursion in the other heat resulted in the rear bushings popping out of their mounts. Time to diagnose and repair the problem cost it some laps.
Race Group #3 David's Ferrari and the Ecurie Martini Eagle had a see-saw battle through three heats, running within a tenth of a lap of one another most of the time. In the fourth heat, the Eagle suffered a few unforced errors and dropped behind for good. Nevertheless, the two cars finished one after the other in the final order.
Race Group #4
Terry's #47 Honda and the #7 Lola BMW of Thomas qualified within hundredths of a second of each other and their pairing promised some good, close racing.
However, while the Lola managed to beat its Qualy time and yellow lane heats racked up some good lap totals, the black lane heats led to a less happy result. The car seemed to want to tip out of the slot, especially in the tightest corners. On the other hand, Terry's Honda could do no wrong and all four drivers did very well with it, easily besting its Qualy time and logging high lap counts. This was a car on a mission to ascend the order.
Race Group #5
Only a single thousandth of a second separated Val's #14 McLaren and Brian's #13 BRM on the starting grid.
In the race, both cars had a bad heat in yellow lane, with the McLaren troubled at Buffalo Jump corner more than once. Sadly, the BRM was the victim of a bizarre incident when it lifted from the slot near the end of the start/finish straight, careened off a foam hay bale and was launched over the track safety wall. The contact with the floor broke the nose of the BRM cleanly off. Fortunately, it looks like a repair (with added bracing on the underside) will be quite easy to carry out. The car will, however carry a scar from the paint lost at the break's edges (as can be seen in the photo). We continued to race the car and it managed some good results in subsequent heats.
Race Group #6
Marc's #19 McLaren and Richard's #17 Cooper formed the next to last group.
Though the McLaren qualified faster, the "dirty" Cooper proved to be the giant killer, much as it had in the 1967 South African Grand Prix. It won every heat in this group and was remarkably consistent across all drivers, both in terms of fastest lap times and lap count. In contrast, Marc's McLaren suffered one terrible heat where nothing seemed to go right. Unlucky versus lucky?
Race Group #7
The top two qualifiers, Chris's #4 Lotus and Andi's #11 Eagle, easily set Q-times that the other cars could only dream of. They were the clear favourites going into this race.
But sometimes favourites stumble over one another on their way to the podium. Trouble hit the Lotus in the first heat with a completely unexpected off at Buffalo Jump, a corner at which it had previously been bulletproof. The driver lost confidence. More offs followed. Its final run in black lane was its worst and it also had the side effect of delaying Andi's Eagle.The hopes of a race win for the Lotus were down the drain and suddenly Andi's race-leading position looked at risk as well.
The prestigious accounting firm of Excel & Excel tallied up the lap count and told us the result:
And Terry's Honda-that-could, in fact, did it, taking the win by just over a lap from Andi's Eagle and the giant-killing Cooper from Richard. Here are the podium celebrations:
And that's the story from Mesa Roja. Thanks to Peter for the photos and hosting the race. The next round should be in a couple of weeks.
Fun to see the first event and the wonderful cars that were entered. Congrats to the podium finishers and a special thank you to the host and drivers. i gambled with an underpowered motor, a "Minow", guess I was a little sentimental as we live across from Gillian's Island here on Oahu. Seriously thought the motor would be easier to drive ... oh well. Definitely does not have enough oomph.
Was happy to see the car performed fairly well until one of those green men pulled it off the track and mucked up the bushings.
Post by Andrew Rowland on Sept 12, 2017 3:38:19 GMT -5
Well, well. I'm pretty much lost for words....
First up of course, congratulations to all for getting to the races. We all know how hard it is and how many have dropped by the wayside before even making it to the grid.
A special mention to Brian, having your nose break off in a proxy feels like it has happened to you!
Congratulations to the winner, one of the best recovery drives from down the grid i've seen. It shows there is more than one way to build a car and be competitive. Also commiserations to Chris W. for an unexpected lowly position from pole..... i'm sure that Lotus will come storming back in later races and nothing should be taken for granted at this stage. Luck has a huge amount to play in all this.
Now, obviously i'm SO EXCITED to have got on the podium and in second place. I was telling David the other day that this was the first time I really tried to make a racy car so i'm very happy that the effort has bourne fruit as it were.
However, my interest in my car is actually secondary to the fact that Richard and David are lined up behind me. Three of the top four cars with Policar power and transmission should not go unnoticed! After the disastrous yet information gathering entries in last year's VRAA this set up is coming into its own in this 3L field.
Well, better contain my excitement with a small caveat that of course the Ninco track was what the Policar set up was developed on / for and so as we head into the MDF it might all turn back around........
Thanks Stewart and all your helpers in bringing this series to us.
Post by David Mitcham on Sept 12, 2017 8:12:32 GMT -5
Thank you so much for the reporting from Mesa Roja and for making it all possible; thank you too to the drivers and anyone else who helped - I hope they had fun.
Congratulations to the podium trio great cars and a great result which bodes well for the rest of the series.
As for my fourth placed I'm quite overcome; my best ever proxy result. I was pleased with the end of mid-field qualifying but to come fourth was way beyond my expectations because, as usual, I spent too long on making the car look as good as possible and not enough on tuning it to be a 'racer'. I suspect I'd better enjoy my success as normal service may be resumed on the wooden tracks.