My Vintage Racing Season With VARAC – Part 2

UCR’s Vintage racers just might be having the most fun!

AFTER A FANTASTIC EXTENDED WEEKEND AT CTMP (Mosport) for the 2017 VARAC Vintage Grand Prix, our next stop was Shannonville.  I had not raced there since my wife, Toni was four weeks away from giving birth to our son, Zachary, now 24 years old, and it’s where I had been signed off during my first season of DE back in 1990 in the pouring rain by then-chief instructor, Howard Dexter.

[If you haven’t read it yet, check out Part 1…]

I had a blast coming back here, even if the track does not always flow well and is not always well-suited for a rear-engine car. It’s more than a little rough and bumpy as well, but I had some great battles, whether for class position or not, with my fellow competitors. And again, I got full points for both races.

But then Calabogie wasn’t as kind. I had never been there, so again decided to do the test day, and half way through, lost my clutch. Having no spare with me, I packed up and went home before the race weekend even started. Zero points for me.

Next, it was back to the Mosport Grand Prix track at CTMP for the BEMC Indian Summer Trophy races. It was a beautiful weekend, including the weather for once and was made perfect for me by again getting full points in both races.

That left the final round of the VARAC calendar, the Celebration of Motorsport event, once again at Mosport. It had gotten quite cold in the mornings – around zero degrees Celsius, but the race weekend turned out to be beautiful, if somewhat cool. Actually, driving conditions were perfect with the track getting just enough sun to afford some good stick and the air being cool and clean for the engine to run the best it had all season. And I proved that by “breaking out” (*see box at bottom of article) during qualifying on Saturday, which meant I had to start the Saturday race from the back of my class on the grid which, in this case, meant having to start from second to last in the 37 car field. I made my way up to 18th in three laps but then got stuck there when the entire remainder of the race was run under full-course yellow, due to an incident on the pit straight. That got me only a sixth in class, yet points for starting and finishing the race at least. 

The Sunday morning race, however, did not go well at all. After the initial pace lap, and only half way through the first race lap, I had no power coming out of corner 5B: a broken rocker in the engine. Time to pack up and go home for a somewhat sad ending to a great season. It turns out that the engine sucked in a small stone, which played havoc on the engine internals and caused the rocker to break, which it is, in fact, designed to do, in order to avoid more catastrophic damage.

To sum it up: I ended up running 11 out of the possible 14 points races, had one sixth, one third, and nine first-in-class finishes, all of which was good enough for the 2017 VARAC Vintage/Historic Championship but not the top honours of the overall club championship. </>

There are many UCR members racing in Regional, PCA-Club, semi-professional, pro, and in vintage racing. Come on out to get up close with the cars and drivers and cheer us on! Some of the regulars on the VARAC entry lists are:

VARAC Vintage/Historic Group:
#17     Paul Austerberry    1970 Porsche 914
#42     Gary Allen         1974 MGB & 1966 Lotus Elan
#58     Gavin Ivory         1970 Porsche 914
#356   Geoff McCord         1961 Porsche 356
#681   Kye Wankum         1968 Porsche 911-L

VARAC Classic Group:
#095   Ian Crerar         1989 Porsche 911
#12     Patrick Ferrier         1986 Porsche 
#17     Emily Atkins         1994 BMW M3
#21     Ted Michalos         1996 Porsche 993-C2
#39     Dave Osborne        1988 Porsche 944
#41     Richard Piper         1986 Porsche 944-Turbo
#47     Peter Askew         1985 Porsche 944
#48     Neil Young              1970 Datsun 240Z
#54     John Coey         1970 Porsche 911
#65     Ray Pleasance        1972 Porsche 914-6
#72     Doug Kurtin         1972 Porsche 911
#75     Mike Strelbisky       1988 Porsche 944-S2
#76     Steve O’Connell      1988 Porsche 924-S
#77     Gord Balantine       1987 Porsche 944
#83     Andy Januszewski  1988 Porsche 924-S
#86     Derek Fawcett        1986 Porsche 944
#91     Lloyd Service         1989 Porsche 944-Turbo
#93     Del Bruce         1977 Porsche 930 & 1971 Corvette
#94     Geoff McCord        1971 Porsche 911
#95     Rob McCord         1972 Porsche 914-6
#96     Phil Kontny         1983 Porsche 944
#160   Tim Sanderson       1982 Porsche 911-SC
#138   Alister MacLean      1983 Porsche 944
#227   Paul Ferreira         1987 Porsche 944-SP2
#229   Dave Margolese     1970 Porsche 914-6
#404   Paul Dufresne        1987 Porsche 924-S
#728   Bruce Ivanyshyn     1985 Porsche 944
#923   Alain Goulet         1987 Porsche 924-S
*My apologies if I missed someone…
We’re not referring to a skin rash here, its the result of being too fast for your class in bracket racing.

VARAC follows the same format as all other Ontario Regional events governed by CASC (Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs), designed to level the playing field because there oftentimes aren’t enough entries to make up a great number of race groups and classes at an event: it follows a format of “Bracket Racing”, meaning a competitor will be classed in their race group, by their own choice and/or by their actual performance, based on their lap time at a given racetrack, their “Bracket”. “Breaking Out” means that the competitor has gone faster than his Bracket allows, which brings penalties and/or getting moved up to the next faster Bracket.

For example, I ran in VH-3 last year, which represents a lap time at Mosport between 1:45 and 1:50. I broke out in qualifying at the last event with a lap time of 1:44.5, and got penalized by being moved back to the back of my class for the start of the race. Normally, that would have meant starting from 7th or 8th position in the field but because a fellow competitor in my class had a very bad qualifying session, I ended up behind him in 36th position.
Only at the VARAC Vintage Grand Prix, with its great number of competitors, will the cars be properly classified by displacement.
– Kye Wankum

Photos by Eshel Zweig

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