Photos: Caliphotography | Author: Jesse Beloussow
Amidst the cold, the wind and the rain, ten contenders attended the Subie Challenge season two opener at the Streets of Willow. Event 1 at the Streets brought out some familiar faces from Season 1 such as Richard Cooper, Bryan Tran and Jesse Beloussow, but also seven new drivers who were eager to get out there and show us what they could do. There was one driver for S.1, two drivers in S.2, six drivers in S.3 and one in S.4.
Though most of the drivers attending round 1 had previous track experience, for the rest, it was their first time on a wet and very slippery track. The first session of the day was still quite wet, despite the rainfall ceasing from the night before. And even with AWD, many of the competitors faced traction issues on the wet track with one driver spinning on the outlap! As the day progressed conditions only got worse. Session 2 exhibited light rain while on track, leading to overall slower times and more traction issues. When session 3 came around, competitors faced severe rain and wind that slippery was an understatement. The rain was coming down so hard that not only did standing water begin to develop, there were rivers of water running across the track! Drivers faced these conditions in unfortunate spots such as the two main straights, right where the braking zones traditionally started. Because of the standing and flowing water, many drivers got to experience high speed hydroplaning for the first time. Right around the 2pm mark, the rain stopped, wind slowed and the sun made a short appearance, allowing the rivers and puddles to run dry. It was during the fourth session of the day that we saw almost all competitors lay down their best times of the day.
Off the track new friendships were formed with drivers sharing hints and tips with one another. With the weather as it was; cold, wet and windy, many competitors found themselves huddling together under the canopies to stay dry. At one point in time we found ourselves 12 people crowded into a travel trailer with no heat. Even inside you could still see your breath, but at least we were dry and out of the wind.
Although there were a few off track experiences throughout the day, there were no significant mechanical breakdowns and all drivers were able to take their cars home in one piece. If the day was any preview to how the rest of the season will play out, we are all in for some exciting rounds to come!
Results for the day:
1st – Richard Cooper – 1:55.450
1st – David Chafin – 1:49.987
1st – Jesse Beloussow – 1:38.447
2nd – Garret Wilson – 1:39.401
3rd – Rhoy Tabafunda – 1:39.586
1st – Andrew Tulin – 1:45.432