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Motorsport Club of Ottawa Snowcross

Posted by Ferdinand 
January 26, 2010 08:23AM
I've been having fun with the new red car in the snow.



The Motorsport Club of Ottawa holds these snowcross events on our winter driving school track. With it's many different cutouts, the track can be configured several different ways. Here's one of the configurations we used a week ago.



The runs are not nearly long enough, but it's still quite challenging because we typically get more than 40 entries so there is a long wait between runs. In that time the track conditions can change drastically as the surface gets buffed and polished. It's difficult to judge how hard to push without overdoing it.

At the first event a week ago the mighty rwd BMW put all the fwd cars to shame and even beat all but 4 of the awd cars. This weekend we didn't fare quite as well because the course layout better suited the awd cars.

1st Run:





I had to start a little later in the run order this time out of the 46 entries, so I was a bit surprised by how slippery the track had already become. I wasn't at all sure how to attack that first turn, a 180 around a single pylon. I was lucky not to spin there. This kind of full-stop, turn-around, then try-to-get-going-again type of turn really favours the AWD guys. Us 2wd types suffer more while scrabbling to get going again. Then I ran a little too deep and wide at the acute right turn at 1:30 into the clip. Otherwise, this first run was okay.

2nd Run:





On the second run the track was way more icy. Instead of braking in the middle of the stop-box where nearly everyone else was having problems stopping, I wanted to use what was left of the traction along either side. But when I aimed down the left side of the stop-box and jammed on the brakes, hoping to lock up the wheels to better use the wedge effect of snow piling up in front of the wheels, I forgot this car has ABS. That worked with my old car which had no ABS, but not with this car. So rather than locking up and sliding in a straight line, the car tracked off to the left and oh-so-nearly tagged one of the pylons marking the edge of the stop-box. Had I whacked that pylon, it would have resulted in a DNF for this run.

3rd Run: No video. Just before I was supposed to start, somebody else hopped in my passenger seat for a ride-along. While getting him settled in the car, I completely forgot to start the video camera. d'oh.

4th Run:





During the lunch break the track was reconfigured. So it was another new challenge. But this layout flowed much nicer. A momentum course like this is not nearly as disadvantageous to 2wd as was the tighter course used in the morning. I had another friend ride along with me on these next two runs. This first run on the afternoon course was my favourite.

5th Run:





While we were waiting to start our run, Matt M. spun his rally car on the straightaway in front of us. We were wondering how anyone could spin out on the straight, but then we very nearly lost it in the exact same spot. Holeeeeeey, was it ever polished slippery in that spot! With the sun gone behind a thick overcast it was very difficult to see now. Everything was same grey colour and it was hard to make out the edges of the track.

Fun day!
January 26, 2010 12:02PM
Fun stuff! Thanks for that report.

We're still waiting for the lakes to freeze thick enough around here to have our first ice racing event of the winter. We were oh-so-close until yesterday's brutal meltdown and heavy rain. sad smiley I wish we had a location like yours to do something like that on dry land.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
January 27, 2010 08:08AM
hey Ferd, what kind of camera and mount are you using ?
looks like major fun !

thanks

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 27, 2010 08:55AM
Quote
jaffar
hey Ferd, what kind of camera and mount are you using ?
I have tried a variety of different video cameras and mounts, bulky tape cameras, smaller MiniDV tape cameras, but they've always been a nuisance swapping tapes etc. Plus, anything with moving parts eventually gets jiggled to death by bumps and vibration or dust in the car.

When I started co-driving for Martin in his Nissan 240SX I quickly realized we would need a more robust system. So I bought a Chasecam PDR100 solid state recorder and bullet cam like this. It's not cheap,but it's the best!



It records onto a Compact Flash card. No moving parts. And we can plug the intercom system of the rally car directly into the recorder so we get great sound quality too.

In the BMW I use the suction cup mount stuck to the windshield to hold the bullet-cam and the built-in microphone in the recorder to pick up sound. The only drawback of using the built-in mic is that, when the recorder is hard-mounted in the car, it picks up a lot of road noise transmitted through the car body. Every time the car goes over a bump it makes a lot of noise on the recording. I'm always surprised to hear that because my car has no rattles or squeaks and it's nice and quiet inside. But the video makes it sounds like the car is breaking in half everytime it hits a bump in the road.
January 27, 2010 09:07AM
damn, that's an expensive kit ! costs more than a E30 today (at least in my part of the world) eye popping smiley

i also tried lots of crappy recording systems, but now i'm really tempted to get the GoPro HD Motorsports Hero. it's only $300 and you can mount it anywhere (even under the car or on the bumper), or you can take it with you when you go skiing/bungee jumping etc.

i'm still waiting for some feedback from real owners, the videos on the site look almost too good to be true.

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 27, 2010 10:25AM
Quote
jaffar
i'm really tempted to get the GoPro HD Motorsports Hero...
i'm still waiting for some feedback from real owners, the videos on the site look almost too good to be true.
One of my rally friends had a GoPro, an older one, not the new HD version.

It was great in that it's all self-contained in a small camera. But the recording was a bit choppy and the sound was total crap. See this clip:

The picture quality suffered from the YouTube compression, but you can see how it skips frames.

Here's a much better video made using the same camera where they experimented with mounting it in different locations inside and outside of the car:

Note that by putting this camera outside of the car you'll get great views, but nothing but wind noise recorded. Hence the annoying music sound track to cover that up.

At each service break during the rally he downloaded the captured video footage to his laptop computer . Lucky thing too, because somewhere on the next stage the camera, now mounted on his outside rearview mirror, got wiped off by a tree. One moment the camera was there doing it's thing, and the next time he glanced over it was gone. It's still out in the woods somewhere...

The new GoPro HD camera will surely give you much better picture quality, and the price seems right.
January 28, 2010 06:13AM
The old GoPro was total crap, from the videos that float around youtube. The HD version seems to be a bit improved, even though it still suffers from some defects. There are not enough samples online, so I will wait a little before deciding smiling smiley

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 28, 2010 07:33AM
FWIW, my friend Will has a cheap Aiptek Action-HD camera that he uses at our track events. It's roughly 2/3 the cost of the GoPro (or less -- Amazon has them for US$170), but it takes beautiful onboard videos. It also has a jack for an external mic, which makes all the difference between great sound and lousy sound. I don't have one yet, but when I get one, this is what I'll be getting.

Check out a couple of his videos here, from Calabogie (in Ferdinand's back yard smiling smiley) and Mont Tremblant (my favorite track):

[url=

]

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[url=

]

[/url]

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
January 29, 2010 10:49PM
Quote
Ferdinand
I've been having fun with the new red car in the snow.



The Motorsport Club of Ottawa holds these snowcross events on our winter driving school track. With it's many different cutouts, the track can be configured several different ways. Here's one of the configurations we used a week ago.



The runs are not nearly long enough, but it's still quite challenging because we typically get more than 40 entries so there is a long wait between runs. In that time the track conditions can change drastically as the surface gets buffed and polished. It's difficult to judge how hard to push without overdoing it.

At the first event a week ago the mighty rwd BMW put all the fwd cars to shame and even beat all but 4 of the awd cars. This weekend we didn't fare quite as well because the course layout better suited the awd cars.

1st Run:





I had to start a little later in the run order this time out of the 46 entries, so I was a bit surprised by how slippery the track had already become. I wasn't at all sure how to attack that first turn, a 180 around a single pylon. I was lucky not to spin there. This kind of full-stop, turn-around, then try-to-get-going-again type of turn really favours the AWD guys. Us 2wd types suffer more while scrabbling to get going again. Then I ran a little too deep and wide at the acute right turn at 1:30 into the clip. Otherwise, this first run was okay.

2nd Run:





On the second run the track was way more icy. Instead of braking in the middle of the stop-box where nearly everyone else was having problems stopping, I wanted to use what was left of the traction along either side. But when I aimed down the left side of the stop-box and jammed on the brakes, hoping to lock up the wheels to better use the wedge effect of snow piling up in front of the wheels, I forgot this car has ABS. That worked with my old car which had no ABS, but not with this car. So rather than locking up and sliding in a straight line, the car tracked off to the left and oh-so-nearly tagged one of the pylons marking the edge of the stop-box. Had I whacked that pylon, it would have resulted in a DNF for this run.

3rd Run: No video. Just before I was supposed to start, somebody else hopped in my passenger seat for a ride-along. While getting him settled in the car, I completely forgot to start the video camera. d'oh.

4th Run:





During the lunch break the track was reconfigured. So it was another new challenge. But this layout flowed much nicer. A momentum course like this is not nearly as disadvantageous to 2wd as was the tighter course used in the morning. I had another friend ride along with me on these next two runs. This first run on the afternoon course was my favourite.

5th Run:





While we were waiting to start our run, Matt M. spun his rally car on the straightaway in front of us. We were wondering how anyone could spin out on the straight, but then we very nearly lost it in the exact same spot. Holeeeeeey, was it ever polished slippery in that spot! With the sun gone behind a thick overcast it was very difficult to see now. Everything was same grey colour and it was hard to make out the edges of the track.

Fun day!

Nice to see you back in your own car Ferd, even if it's a little less dramatic of a course; that looked like fun too though and the car looks wonderful- so far so good, right?

Do you race that red shiny beast in any other kind of race courses?

Can't imagine the temperature by you right now, they're around 0 here...Brrrrr, winter, I think I've had enough already eye popping smiley

Cheers, Rick
January 31, 2010 02:22PM
Quote
Dave_G
FWIW, my friend Will has a cheap Aiptek Action-HD camera that he uses at our track events. It's roughly 2/3 the cost of the GoPro (or less -- Amazon has them for US$170), but it takes beautiful onboard videos. It also has a jack for an external mic, which makes all the difference between great sound and lousy sound. I don't have one yet, but when I get one, this is what I'll be getting.

Check out a couple of his videos here, from Calabogie (in Ferdinand's back yard smiling smiley) and Mont Tremblant (my favorite track):

[url=

]

[/url]
[url=

]

[/url][/quote]

videos look pretty good. but this kind of camera is more difficult to fit in the car, out on the car, and especially under the car (where i want it smiling smiley ). until i get the proper car camera, i am using my point and shoot + [url=http://www.cullmann-foto.de/detail/id/saugstativ-1003.html]cullmann 1003 suction mount[/url] for average results.

with the Sony DSC-W150:

(used to look a lot better, i think youtube broke it during their last upgrade...)
with the Panasonic DMC-TZ7:



another option is the aiptek pen camera, dismantled into pieces and put in another case, or glued to the rearview mirror.

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 31, 2010 02:33PM
forgot to ask and apparently i cannot edit, so here it is - what kind of mount does your aiptek friend use ?
thanks

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 31, 2010 03:55PM
Quote
jaffar
forgot to ask and apparently i cannot edit, so here it is - what kind of mount does your aiptek friend use ?
He uses a Sitcky Pod Dash model. Looks to me like a good product.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
February 02, 2010 04:10PM


Event #3 was icy!!!

See Greg's Mustang spin...






Again we ran two different track configurations. Four runs on the morning configuration, and another three runs on the afternoon layout.

First run:





Try to make use of what little traction is still available, but don't screw up this all-important first run. It will surely get a LOT slipperier(?), more slippery, icy. Already those final two corners are extremely icy.

Second run:





Those last two corners are a beotch! Those are stupid slippery.

Third run





It is treacherously icy now. I don't know what I was thinking, but at 1:20 I tried a slightly different line into the left-hander, swinging out wider on the approach. That was dumb. There's no traction at all out there and I almost overshot the corner completely. "That was a mess."

Fourth run:





This one is strictly for damage control. Every run counts though, as the times for each run are added together for an end-of-day total time. It is EXTREMELY slippery now. Stuffing the car into a snowbank now could cancel out any gains made in earlier runs. But tip-toeing around too slowly might also cost dearly in the end-of-day totals. In ridiculously icy conditions like this though, going slow often ends up being quicker timewise.

Break for lunch, reconfigure the track layout, then go for another three runs.

Fifth run:





This first run on the new configuration was pretty good. Maybe could have pushed a bit harder in a couple of spots, but I didn't want to risk blowing this first run while there's still some traction available.

Sixth run:





On this next run my competitors tried to slow me down by setting a devious plan into effect in an attempt to distract me into making costly mistakes. They sent a very attractive young lady to ask if I'd mind her riding along with me for this run. Gee, how could I possibly refuse?

Fortunately I am happily married and therefore less susceptible to fall under the influence of such a dastardly plan. Nonetheless, I nearly made a dog's breakfast of this run while trying to show off.

The starter insisted on having me come right up to the slick polished start line, thereby ensuring I had no grip whatsoever to launch from. For payback, I tried running him over. Ha! That sure got his attention.

Into the first corner, the hairpin left, I again ran deep to the outside before swinging the tail of the car around. That had worked really well on the previous run. Um, not so well this time though. I got a bit too close to the outside snowbank. When I tried to swing the tail around it clipped the snowbank. Oops. Not at all what I had intended. That's what I get for trying to show off.

The first half of this run is unbelievably icy and slow. The back half is really fast though, with a scary fast rush to the finish. It's scary because you don't want to lose time by lifting off the throttle too early, but you're not really sure when to start braking or what sort of traction will be available in the stop box at the finish. As it was, the ABS was hammering away the whole time I was on the brakes. I could tell my passenger would have preferred me to slow down much earlier. She had both feet firmly stamped on an imaginary brake pedal over there on the passenger side, or maybe she was just bracing for impact...

Seventh run:





This last run was crazy icy.

Subie Snowbank Bounce:





Those AWD jockeys like to ride the snowbanks harder than us RWD pilots.

Results from Event #3: 2010_SnowX_e3_r.pdf
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