"Holden" my own... A race report / story in 14 parts.

Discussion in 'GT4 Race Reports' started by Smallhorses, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. MinoltaMan89

    MinoltaMan89

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    Another exciting chapter...:tup:

    ...another agonizing wait.:sick:
     
  2. Paulie

    Paulie Premium

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    Allow me to show my appreciation as well for this new chapter, it's another good one. On a side note, with rumours circulating that the new Camaro won't be made in RHD, and that direct injection engines could run into problems, I'm considering trying to get a V8 Monaro some years down the track.:D
     
  3. Thiele

    Thiele

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    Awesome mate, didn't read the whole thing. (haven't read the last 2 chapters) but :tup:
     
  4. GR

    GR Premium

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    Yay! :dopey: Thank you very much, Smallhorses!

    I just read the chapter and the only word to describe my impression is: AMAZING! :eek: Well done.. Keep up the good work ;)..

    Best wishes,

    S-Line Audi Fan :cheers:
     
  5. Lucas

    Lucas

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    Great job, Smallhorses! :tup: Nice chapter, and you are right, the lightweight and the power of the Esprit are a force better not to mess with. But you did it and you won! Seems like you are getting rid of the V8's cliché :D
     
  6. EDK

    EDK Moderator

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    I've been following along but have not yet posted my appreciation.

    Great job you do with these, Nick.

    :cheers: To you, for keeping GT4 new and interesting, for all these years.
     
  7. MinoltaMan89

    MinoltaMan89

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    When's the next chapter? It's been a month. We know you're busy, but you need to finish the story!!!
     
  8. Smallhorses

    Smallhorses Staff Emeritus

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    Sorry guys, I've been distracted, snowboarded for 2 consecutive weekends again, and since it's just 2 1/2hrs drive from where I live it's too tempting to miss. I love California! Woke up to this last weekend in Tahoe:

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    :D :D :D :D :D

    and yet today we've been barbequing in the Oakland Hills, where it's been almost 70F (20C) comfortably playing frisbee and soccer with no shirt on, and have a little tan to show for it! :)

    Will get back to the story as soon as I can, but I'm currently pushing forth with my 100,000 A-spec quest, and have recently broken the 91,000 barrier.

    Please be patient, an new chapter / update will follow soonishly.
     
  9. GR

    GR Premium

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    Congratulations on that :cheers:

    No problem, I can wait :) And as I always say: A good chapter needs its time ;)
     
  10. Smallhorses

    Smallhorses Staff Emeritus

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    Chapter 7: Fighting At Fuji.

    There are many places in the world which immediately conjure mental images when you hear their names mentioned, but few can invariably generate the same picture in such clarity as Japan's iconic Mt. Fuji.

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    On a clear day it's massive silhouette dominates the skyline behind the buildings of Tokyo even though it's 60 miles distant from the city. It's name has also been given, to name but a few examples, to a variety of apple, the well known Fuji Film photography giant and the Tokyo based Fuji TV station whose headquarters are housed in one of the world's most bizarre looking buildings:

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    Once again I'd arrived at Narita airport outside Tokyo, but this time I was bussed out to the town of Oyama in Shizuoka Prefecture situated in the foothills of the great volcanic peak where the Toyota-owned Fuji International Speedway resides. After the 2007 F1 fiasco with all flags and banners supporting any other team, except Toyota, banned due to the circuit's ownership and bias, you felt somewhat guilty arriving with a non-Toyota vehicle! No surprises then that Oscar & his Supra were singled out for favourable treatment here, much to his delight, but with 2 more Japanese cars in the field, each with their own loyal set of fanatical followers, there's enough non-Toyota presence so as not to feel too intimidated.

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    The pre-race checks on my car went well, and all of the other drivers had stopped by with their own tales of the week they'd spent after the Tokyo race, each offering the odd tip here and there about the Fuji track that they'd learned during their qualifying session the previous day. Rashid, it seemed, had departed Tokyo somewhat earlier than the others, coming up to Fuji to shakedown his Lotus, getting to know the circuit layout and restoring the paintwork he'd scraped on the Tokyo Armco, well, paying someone else to restore it for him anyway!

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    There was a certain inevitability displayed with the starting grid, and I shared my own experience of good launches with Ernst who was starting his tractable Subaru from the other slot on the front row, but with the outside line in the run down to Daiichi or "First Corner" in English.

    Suiting up and pulling on my gloves, shoes & helmet, I was ready to race once more, clambering into the Holden's driving seat before awakening the demon under the bonnet which burbles to life with only minor provocation. The back spot on the grid was mine again, so I pulled into my starting box on the left side of straight after the formation lap. I was directly behind Oscar's Supra, in turn behind Ernst's Impreza as we wait for the lights. Revs rose, my heart thumped and I felt my pulse throbbing in my temples as I did my best to clear my mind...

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    Go! The clutch engaged and Yves' Peugeot slid by on my right like it was accelerating in slo-mo and I eased out in front of him to go around Oscar. My view of the leaders getting away was obscured by the Toyota and the Honda as I used the stump-pulling torque of the Holden's motor to go by them into 3rd place. I was, however, given a good view though of Ernst, on the left and in front of Rashid, braking hard for Daiichi and turning in hard right to find a Lotus with it's brakes locked coming up the inside!

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    There's contact, apparently for the second time within the first 20s of the race, as I learned from the pictures that a fan sat on the S/F straight took time to show us later. It seems the Lotus' clutch had started to slip as it launched, and Ernst's new launch technique for the Subaru was paying dividends and he surged off the grid heading for the lead spot. Inexplicably Rashid began to drift left and made brief contact with the Subaru, almost forcing it onto the grass before tucking in behind and continuing on to the first bend, where it would appear his overexuberant lunge saw 2 shades of blue paint swap cars again.

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    Somehow the Lotus escaped with the lead as we headed down to Coca-Cola Corner, and I was able to close on a disgruntled, probably furious Ernst, whom I passed around the outside of 100R before outbraking him into Hairpin Corner taking me into 2nd place. The new Fuji circuit has a good mix of slow and quick corners, but it's the fearsome fast turns and long straight that have me worried as the Lotus pulls away down towards Dunlop Corner.

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    He was slow and wayward going into Panasonic Corner and I hurled the Holden into the gap he left. Guilty of overexuberance myself though, I ran up deep onto the rumble strip kicking up a dustcloud before I manhandled the car back onto the tarmac.

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    The Lotus ate up my brief lead and vanquished me to 2nd place again just after we began lap 2 to commence what was shaping up to be a great dogfight between us.

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    I tried the same move, round 100R and into Hairpin Corner, that I'd used on the Subaru, and momentarily it seemed to work, but I'd gone too deep into the tight bend and the Lotus' cleaner line pulled him back into top spot. A much better executed repetition of my pass at the final turn, as the Lotus breathed fire, saw me back in front onto the straightaway again, but I wasn't free of Rashid's attentions yet, his Lotus again strolling past me at full pelt, though this time later than before, giving me the opportunity to demonstrate an immaculate pass on him into Daiichi.
    I hoped he was taking notes!

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    Unbeknownst to me he was still struggling with a slipping clutch and as we exited the bend he dropped back abruptly, missing the shift from 2nd to 3rd crunching the cogs in the process. While he pushed as hard as possible for the remainder of the race he was unable to get close to my Holden again as I enjoyed the scenery for the last 3 laps and wondered why I was able to dominate like this after the excitement of the early stages of the race?

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    The Holden gobbled up the distance to the line in a copybook manner (with some guidance from me, obviously!) and I took the flag with an astonishing 6.8s winning margin! I couldn't argue though, I'd gained a stranglehold on the championship and was returning home with more prizemoney that we desperately needed.

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    Back in parc-ferme, the war-wounds on the Lotus and Subaru were plain to see, and it took Oscar & myself considerable effort to restrain Ernst as he launched a torrent of German abuse Rashid's way and strode angrily towards the Arab, who took advantage of our intervention and Dae-Hyun rushed him away from a potential bout of fisticuffs. We pacified Ernst a little, and the fan with the photos arrived to give us his take on things. Sadly I couldn't stick around too long, eventually leaving a calmer Ernst discussing the finer engineering points of the fan's Nikon camera. Typical! As I prepared to leave the circuit, bound for the airport and corporate drudgery again, I heard whispers of Rashid being summoned to the race stewards office.

    But, of course, I'd have to wait until the next race to find out exactly what went on...

    Special thanks to TB for his help in getting my GTP background colours correct for the camera images. :tup:
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  11. Thiele

    Thiele

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    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa??????

    I would just about be in a jumper on a day where the maximum is 20C. We're getting into that stage now, heading into winter. :sick:

    On another note, nice chapter. :tup: I saw a yellow Monaro the other week. :)
     
  12. Mad94d

    Mad94d Premium

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    We have a Yellow Monaro.:D

    Awesome chapter Smallhorses.:tup: I only just saw this thread then. I love all the photo's excellent stuff.:tup:
     
  13. Thiele

    Thiele

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    Cool. I saw one advertised for $22,000 or so in the paper, i wanted it. :(
     
  14. Mad94d

    Mad94d Premium

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    Ours was $43,000 3 years ago. CV8(of course), auto, and my mum uses it as her every day car.(yes, it's mum's). So if you lived near us you may see a Monaro every day.:lol:
     
  15. Paulie

    Paulie Premium

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    Excellent new chapter Smallhorses, absolutely loved it.:)
     
  16. GR

    GR Premium

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    I loved it, too.. Great work, Smallhorses :)
     
  17. Skygrasper550

    Skygrasper550 Premium

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    I like what you did with the Nikon camera.., :tup: more please.., :)
     
  18. Smallhorses

    Smallhorses Staff Emeritus

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    You have to remember that I'm what you'd refer to as a "Pommie".
    We're sun deprived as kids, and therefore prone to exposing as much skin as possible (within the bounds of legality :p) as soon as the sun comes out and the temperature exceeds 15C!!! :lol:

    Glad you've found it and like it. :)
    I'm guessing you'll get the priviledge of driving that Monaro one day?

    Thanks, it took ages in Paint, seeing as my graphical editing skills only stretch that far!!!! :dopey:
    I'm fine as long as I can cut, paste and resize images into a flat area that's the same shape as the pictures initially, but anything with angles or requiring transparent overlays or layering I'm :censored: with! :(
    Problem is I'm running out of new & novel ideas to present my pictures a little differently to everyone else here in order to set my story apart from the crowd and there's still 6 races to go. :eek:
     
  19. L_Hamilton

    L_Hamilton Premium

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    I just started reading this from the beginning and all I can say is...



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  20. Lucas

    Lucas

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    A bit late, though it's never late for a comment on a well done chapter! :tup: Excellent writing, and amazing job with the photos! :eek: You are the man at this! :cheers:
     
  21. TB

    TB Moderator

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    I weaseled my way into a race report! One and only time that'll happen, people. :lol:

    Looks good, Nick. If you need any other assistance, my offer still stands. :)
     
  22. Thiele

    Thiele

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    Smallhorses's post reminded me, will you be able to drive it when you get your license? Or are high powered cars banned in NSW? They're trying to ban high powered cars here.
     
  23. Mad94d

    Mad94d Premium

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    Well, on your L plates you can drive V8's here. But when you're on your P's no you can't drive V8's or V6 turbo's. So I may be able to drive it on my L's. But not on P's.
     
  24. Paulie

    Paulie Premium

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    Well it's that, a Cobra or an SS Sportwagon.:sly:
     
  25. Smallhorses

    Smallhorses Staff Emeritus

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    Chapter 8: Suzuka: Anime or Racetrack?

    Another couple of weeks passed before I found myself simply trying to doze away through the long JAL flight to Tokyo, I was definitely growing weary of this journey now, and I knew I had another 2 return trips to make for the races at the tiny Motorland track and the Japanese finale at Twin Ring Motegi before the Polyphony Digital Cup circus moved across to the Western United States for the last 3 rounds.

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    Even upon landing my journey was far from finished, another 160 miles or so SW of Tokyo, Nagoya was my next destination, but at approaching 300km/h on the Shinkansen the trip takes under an hour. I grab an extortionate cab-ride from there out into Mie Prefecture towards the fabled Suzuka circuit. It's been the site of some legendary racing scraps over the years, none more so than the Senna / Prost battles in Formula 1 which decided the World Championship for a few years without either driver crossing the finish line.

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    Suzuka had lost it's Formula 1 race for the calendar year that we were racing, but it still boasts the famous 8hr Motorcycle Endurance race, the Suzuka 1000km Sports car race and hosts a round of the JGTC which we were supporting this time. The pitgirls for the big teams were out in force in their skimpy outfits, and it was easy to see where the inspiration for the anime character that bears the same name as the circuit came from!

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    I caught up with my fellow participants once again, and eventually learned from Oscar that Rashid had received a stern warning about his conduct at Fuji, with a suspended points deduction for 1 race based on future violations, though he'd protested mechanical difficulties all the way. This meant that as qualifying had progressed as normal the grid took up it's usual formation ready for the start of the race. Once again Ernst's Subaru is able to make use of the all-wheel-drive and initially out accelerate the Lotus alongside it, but it's a long run down to the unimaginatively named 1st & 2nd Curve and Rashid powers, cleanly and carefully this time, into the lead.

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    Meanwhile I'd outstripped the Peugeot and the Toyota off the line and tucked in behind Dae-Hyun's Honda as we headed towards S-Curve, neatly slipping through inside as we braked for the turn and using as much rumble strip as I dared.

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    Once again I was apprehensive about the fast nature of the Suzuka track after Hairpin Curve, fearing that it was going to play well into Rashid's favour. I closed up on Ernst as his Subaru understeered in the off-cambered Gyaku Bank Curve, and was thus able to pass him around the outside as we powered our way up around Dunlop Curve.

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    Rashid was revelling in the open track ahead of him and was pulling away considerably, especially through the faster section, and as he passed under the Dunlop banner before 130R, I began counting off the seconds until I reached the same point... 4 seconds elapsed! His tyres weren't heating well though and he was tentative under braking for Casio Triangle which afforded me a small gain before he gunned it off down the mainstraight. Not too concerning though as I was able to close up on him through the twistier technical section at the beginning of lap 2, and as he ran high on the kerb exiting Degner Curve I showed him the nose of my Holden before we swept into Hairpin Curve line-astern.

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    He was back in his element after the slow turn though, and hared off towards Spoon Curve with me on his tail, but dropping back slightly. Able to catch a small draft from him, I was closer this time as I tapped the brakes to set up the Holden's wallowy body for the scarily quick 130R, just before I went balls-to-the-wall to outbrake the Lotus into Casio Triangle, and got just enough of a jump on him that he couldn't regain the place before the end of the mainstraight.

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    There was no repeat of his mechanical issues at Fuji though, and he didn't drop back at all like he did there when his slippy clutch let him down. In this case as his tyres warmed to the task we established a familiar pattern (as I later learned from the guys he'd got recording split times at various points around the course) where I'd draw away to a maximum of 2s lead just after the crossover point but he'd scream back to within 8/10ths of a second by the time we turned in for 130R. Given a few laps more I'm pretty sure he'd have gotten to grips with the first sector and found his braking zone for Casio Triangle a little better, meaning that he could've strolled by me on either of the long straights at will. Thankfully though we'd only time for 5 laps in the build up to the JGTC main feature, and I was able to end lap 5 with just over 1s lead to take the winner's trophy again.

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    Back in the pack both Ernst and Yves had both been struggling with understeer at Degner Curve and a trackside photographer captured some of their wilder moments playing in the sand!

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    I couldn't bring myself to be mean and make jokes at their expense after the race though as I was filled with a sense of foreboding with regards to our next venue, Motorland, the small, tight circuit being an notorious tyre-killer with a big sandtrap of it's own, the last thing I really needed in my massive Aussie Coupé, especially given Rashid's return to racing pace here...
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  26. MinoltaMan89

    MinoltaMan89

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    Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? But you still haven't lost your story-writing skills. Looking forward to more chapters Nick.
     
  27. Pitracer100

    Pitracer100

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    I've read this whole story and Smallhorses it seems the story has this type of flow that is unheard of.:tup::tup: Now it seems you've got your self a new reader.
     
  28. GR

    GR Premium

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    I've already read the first 7 chapter some months ago, but feeled like I should read the story from beginning... And the only thing I can say is that this story is great and that you, Nick, have extremely good writing skills that I can't wait to read the next chapter. The pictures look great as always. :tup:
     
  29. Paulie

    Paulie Premium

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    Nice new chapter.:)
     
  30. Smallhorses

    Smallhorses Staff Emeritus

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    Thanks again folks :tup:, I'm really going to start to push to get this concluded soon, as the snowboarding distraction is coming up again and I already know I'll be spending all of March in England. :)