still playing with toy cars ...
On four different tracks, in three heats, over three days,
35 drivers forsook their regularly scheduled dinner to compete
for the 14 available slots on the finals grid.
#1, Thursday, August 1st:
22 drivers raced in our first heat. The first 11 raced Suzuka
with Darin Morley finishing first, Trevor Bender second, and
Doug Schulz third. The other 11 drivers raced on Kylami with
Scott Cornett following up his 2001 Championship with a qualifying
win. Terry Schulz finished second and Chris Hancock third.
Heat #2, Friday, August 2nd:
25 drivers filled two fields in our second heat. Both fields
raced Montjuich. Lane Newbury led a field of 13 for a win, followed
by John Welage, Scott Cornett, and Stuart Tucker. Twelve drivers
composed a second field won by Terry Schulz, improving on his
previous second place finish. Robert Kirchner and Brian Kircher
Heat #3, Saturday, August 3rd:
Thirteen drivers braved our final qualifying at Estoril. The
all or nothing attitude led to D.N.F.s and three last minute
qualifiers. Scott Cornett won his second qualifying heat. Kevin
Keller and Jim Fleckentein qualify as second and third place
finishers -- and Lance Ribeiro finishes fourth, the last driver
to qualify for the finals.
Finals, Sunday, August 4th:
This year's final track was a Frankenstein of corners and straights
from five different tracks. The long resulting track contained
14 different corners and engendered much fretting.
the first half of the first lap, Terry Schulz and Lane Newbury
had separated themselves from the pack. Stuart Tucker, Kevin
Keller, Scott Cornett, Brian Kircher, Darin Morley, John Welage,
and Trevor Bender formed the pack.
Lane moved ahead of Terry by the end of the first lap and
both drivers continued to separate themselves from a thinning
set of chase groups. Kevin and Scott led that pursuit. Darin
and Stuart formed the second chase group. The second half of
lap one also saw the first casualties. Brian dropped out of the
pack and retired from the race. Robert Kirchner's engine gave
out for the second D.N.F. of the race.
At the halfway point, Lane and Terry continued their dominance.
Scott, Kevin, and Darin bunched up behind the leaders and were
joined by Jim Fleckenstein -- taking the place of former contender
Stuart who crashed out of the race.
As the leaders finished Lap 2, Terry had overtaken Lane as
their ferocious competition continued for the lead. Jim moved
up to take the lead in the pursuit pack after two laps followed
closely by Kevin and Scott. Darin had previously fallen out
of contention and retired from the race.
first half of the third and final lap saw much jockeying to set
up the most dramatic finish in recent memory. Terry maintained
his tenuous lead over Lane. Lance Ribeiro made a rush to join
the pack led by Scott who was in pursuit of a second consecutive
championship. Lance would pass Scott and move into third in
the eighth corner. Jim and Trevor rounded out the pack. Doug
Schulz retired in the third lap after a failed move to join the
pack. Kevin crashed in corner number 5 trying to join the lead
Terry took a chance entering the 10th corner to gain separation
from Lane but spun, allowing Lane to pull ahead through the outside
of the corner. Scott, Lance, and Jim took advantage of the opportunity
to eliminate the gap to the leaders. Trevor and John also move
into contention behind the pack.
Entering the 12th corner Lane spins taking his chance to gain
separation, but stays even with Terry through the slow corner
after pushing his acceleration from zero on the next plot.
Lane approached the second-to-last corner of the race on the
line, but with Terry on his inside. Terry took a chance in the
corner with the race on the line, but crashed with the entire
pack immediately behind him. Lane is forced off his line by
the accident and crashes also. Scott is next to enter the corner,
spinning in Terry's wake. Lance and John follow and also spin
following the dual crashes. Jim spun just outside the corner
in a desperate attempt to slow down. Trevor and Chris Hancock
managed to successfully slow down prior to the blocked corner.
Scott managed to pull out of the corner with a seemingly insurmountable
lead. However, Lance succeeds in making a naked chance in the
final corner to pull even with Scott coming onto the front straight.
Jim finally enters the 13th corner and spins again on remaining
Lance Ribeiro completes his amazing run the last man
to qualify for the finals, pulling into contention only one-half
of a lap from the finish of the race -- gaining the lead for
the first time on a final push across the finish line, beating
out defendfing champion Scott Cornett. Trevor Bender, John Welage,
Chris Hancock, and Jim Fleckenstein rounded out the top six as
the only finishers in this dramatic race.
More details on Speed Circuit racing as practised at
WBC at http://www.lucidphoenix.com/sc/wbc/