beware the final corner ...
GM Doug Schulz (left) gets a heat
Scale model cars and new tracks keep
the experience fresh.
drivers took on a series of brand-new qualifying tracks: Catalunya,
Istanbul, and a new version of Monaco. Six different drivers
won a qualifying race. Three more qualified for the Final with
a second place finish in one of the three heats and the last
three finalists qualified with a third place finish. Defending
champion Terry Schulz, came up a tie-breaker short, ending his
Don Tatum and Kevin Keller began the race on the front row
after bidding for the pole. Kevin failed to push his start speed
and stalled on the pole. Don sped out to the lead and spent a
good amount of wear in the first lap to create a decent gap tbetween
Chris Hancock and Doug Schulz in the pursuit group. Chris' top
speed broke on the back-straight after corner #4.
After one lap, Don continued to lead Chris and Doug by a good
margin while Jim Fleckenstein and Tim Mossman had worked their
way through the pack to make their presence felt. However, while
crossing the line completing lap 1, Don broke his acceleration
down to 20 mph. Going down the back straight, both Doug and Jim
passed Chris' broken top-end-challenged car, Tim spun in corner
#4 attempting to do the same. This pursuit group started reeling
in Don's acceleration-challenged car aided also by Don's fewer
Doug passed Don to take the lead through corner #6 but Don
managed to hold off Chris and Jim through the end of lap 2. By
the end of the lap, Bruno Passacantando had also joined the pursuit
group -- only four spaces behind Doug and with significantly
more wear in hand. Gerald Lientz led the pack, three spaces behind
the pursuit group. The rest of the pack, in order, was Russ Harley,
Tim, John Shaheen, Franklin Haskell, Robert Kircher, and Kevin.
Jim moved into second -- passing Don through the first two
corners of the last lap. He then pulled along-side Doug entering
the back straight before corner #4, and passed with his higher
top-speed to take the lead. But Doug managed to tuck in behind
Jim and used the draft and a chance roll in corner #4 to re-pass
back into the lead. On that same straight, Chris became the first
car to retire after his top speed broke for a second time and
the car engine failed completely.
Jim caught Doug as they ended the straight after corner #4
but Doug had initiative and a wear in hand. Meanwhile, Don and
Bruno were lurking just a space behind -- both having a wear
and -3 skill chip in hand.
Doug kept the arrow heading into corner #6 and used his last
wear through that corner to gain a slight lead. Jim sat on the
arrow, forcing Don to take a chance in the corner resulting in
a spin. Bruno was then forced outside, but retained his two chips.
Don immediately pulled his car off the track and retired.
Doug then went for the win with a naked chance roll in the
final corner and crashed. Jim and Bruno pulled up right before
the final corner -- Jim on the line, Bruno with a wear and a
-3 skill chip and the pack closing in fast. Now it was Jim's
turn to roll a naked chance for the win after Bruno chose to
go a safer speed through the corner. Jim also crashed out and
Bruno -- forced to roll on the chance table to avoid Jim's crash
After the first three cars spun or crashed in the final corner,
Robert suddenly led the pack not just fighting for laurels, but
for a championship -- all while trying to avoid Jim's crash.
But Robert's trip to the chance table was no more successful
then the previous cars' and he ended the plot spun next to Bruno.
It was Gerald, the fifth car into the final corner, who was
the first to beat the chance table, securing his second Speed
Circuit championship, becoming only the second person to
have won twice. John also managed to get through cleanly to take
second. John started the race on the last row and was one of
the last drivers to qualify.
More details on Speed Circuit racing as practised at
WBC at http://www.lucidphoenix.com/sc/wbc/
The view from the good seats.
The finalists going for the checkered