Several weeks ago the KWRC rallycross event was cancelled on the day of the event due to undriveable conditions. Then, this past Sunday’s MLRC rallycross was also cancelled a few days in advance of the event for similar reasons.
Then, late last week, an email was received from KWRC about a ‘substitute’ event scheduled for the weekend.
We were really disappointed that we didn’t get our first rallycross of the year to run on Feb. 12 so we’ve come up with a plan to at least get some fun runs in.
This will be a fun day driving on snow, ice and frozen dirt. We won’t be doing official timing and scoring and it won’t count in our series. There is no charge but if, after the event, you feel it was worth it you can make a donation to the club. Helmets and other rallycross rules will apply.
This wouldn’t be competition or count for the series, it would just be an opportunity to have some fun with friends. We wouldn’t have assigned car numbers. It would be a good opportunity for people to learn some slippery surface driving.
We just didn’t believe that the event would happen. And we didn’t want to risk driving all the way to Oshweken, only to find out the event was cancelled. Rallycross is subject to weather conditions, and if the track isn’t drivable, that’s too bad. Bet we errored on the side of caution and made indoor plans at HIP Motorsports on their racing sim.
Looking at the pictures and videos of the KWRC RallyX Test Day, it looked like an incredible day of high-speed driving in low-grip conditions. We really missed out on this one.
Earlier this week, the Maple Leaf Rally Club (MLRC) sent the following email to its club members, includes Chris and Daniel from Demaras Racing.
Everything was looking good!
Message From The Road
It seems we might be getting back to normal soon (whatever the new normal is). We’ll see the ORRC nav rally January Jaunt in March, Rallye Perce Neige in April, moved from February, and more events to come. It’s going to get busy!
But first, some regular business has to be dealt with. The Club Annual General Meeting is coming up March 15, 2022, to review 2021 and hold elections for a couple of Director’s positions. As well, the RSO AGM is March 19. More details below.
Polar Bear Rally (ORRC) Unfortunately, Polar Bear didn’t happen again this year. While things are definitely loosening up right now on the Covid front, back in January when we had to make a go/no go decision, there was too much uncertainty to proceed. Next year! In the meantime, tho’…
Kawartha Metals Rally Cross Championship Our first Rally Cross event will take place this Sunday February 27 at Free Flow Motocross Track in Shannonville. Thanks very much to Kawartha Metals Corp for sponsoring this year’s RX series. The track has been prepped and registration is open.
MLRC AGM Tuesday March 15 – 7:30 pm Official notice was sent to Club members previously. The link for the meeting will be sent shortly. The AGM will include elections for the positions of Treasurer and Director at Large. If you are interested in running for either position and would like more information, contact the club.
RallySport Ontario Annual General Meeting Saturday March 19 The RSO AGM takes place March 19 by webex. MLRC club members can attend or assign their proxy. Full details at the RSO site.
By the end of the week, it was bad news.
For the second time this month, a Rallycorss event in Ontario has been cancelled due to weather issues.
Good evening all, well it’s actually not that good of an evening, unfortunately due to the warm weather and all the rain and snow over the last 2 weeks we will not be able to run this weekends Rally Cross event at Free Flow Motorsport Park.
The note below is from the track owner and as you can see, the course would either be impassable due to water or it would be a skating rink.
“I went up to the track this morning. The entire field got flooded, then we got a blanket of snow that covered the water. The water in the first corner of the track is close to 2 feet deep with a skim of ice on it. We have had 40mm of rain and another 20-30 coming today. If it did freeze, the entire track would be a skating rink so unfortunately, the track will not be drivable.”
We are working with the owner to reschedule the event so if that happens we will let you all know as soon as possible on a new date.
If you have paid any money towards the event we will get it back to you as soon as possible.
MLRC Rally Cross Organizer
Looks like it will be a few more weeks until Demaras Racing gets back on track for its first Rallycross event. Fingers crossed!
At the recent Race Lab event at the Crazy Farm in Markham, Mike Heinrich brought out his turbocharged Mitsubishi Lancer and the crew from CutCartel to create this video below. Onboard, drone footage, GoPro through the sunroof, these guys tried everything. Impressive!
With Race Lab training at both their Road Driving Clinic and the Mixed Surface Track, the next step for Demaras Racing is to enter an amateur Rallycross competition. The team aims to compete in the February 27 2022 Rallycross event at Free Flow Motocross Park located at 5380 Old Hwy 2, Shannonville, ON, K0K 3A0 (GPS co-ordinates; N44.19725 W077.25008)
The event is organized by the Maple Leaf Rally Club (MLRC), which is one of the largest, oldest, and most active rally clubs in Canada. Club members have a long history of success at all levels of rallying, including regional and national performance rally championships. In addition, MLRC organizes some of the most popular rally events in the country, which attract competitors from all over Canada and the United States. Events range from the club’s Mini Rally Series, which gives teams the opportunity to enjoy low-cost, high-enjoyment rallying, to the Rally of the Tall Pines, one of the top performance rallies in Canada.
All colours, shapes and sizes of cars can compete in Rallycross. Vehicles are divided into four classes to level the playing field and provide good competition within each group.
Class one is for all front-wheel drive cars,
Class two is for all rear-wheel drive cars.
Class three is for non-turbo four-wheel drive cars
Class four is for all turbo-charged four-wheel drive cars.
Rallycross aims to provide all the excitement of rally driving at a low cost.
Getting the 2022 Rallycross season started has been challenging. The Maple Leaf Rally Club (MLRC) Rallycross event scheduled for January 30th was cancelled due to provincial restrictions on group events. Now, mother nature is throwing a monkey wrench into things.
The Kitchener Waterloo Rally Club (KWRC) was scheduled the kick-off of its season last weekend. A two-day Rallycross event on February 12th and 13th, and Demaras Racing planned on attending. Rumors about track conditions continued to swirl as raceday approached, so Daniel and Chris decided to error on the side of caution and stay in Toronto. It was a fortuitous decision.
Despite all efforts from the RX organizer, even with competitors at the track ready to go, the event was cancelled just before it began.
I’m sorry to say the Sunday rallycross is cancelled. We tried to run today but the mud and water on the track was too deep. Since our setup on Friday all the rain and above freezing temperatures cause a bunch of water to accumulate in the low areas. At points the water was 6-8 inches deep for 40 feet or more. Matt and Kirk did get their cars around the course but it would have got worse. Although it will be colder tonight it would take more than one night to dry things up. The track was great when we set it up on Tuesday and we didn’t expect the weather to warm up so much. It’s a real disappointment to both the competitors and the organizers.
Kitchener Waterloo Rally Club
Much respect to KWRC’s Martin Loveridge for trying everything possible to let the green flag fly on the event (change of location, delay start time, etc.) but sometimes the tough decision is the right decision. Demaras Racing looks forward to future RX events with the KWRC.
Rallycross, also commonly referred to as “RX”, is an entry level form of performance rally but without a navigator. One of the most popular and accessible forms of rally racing, rallycross providing drivers with a low-cost entry point to the motorsport.
Rallycross is similar to autocross, except rather than being run on asphalt parking lots, rallycross is usually run on temporary circuits often in fields, but sometimes on off-road tracks. Surfaces can range from gravel & dirt to ice & snow. Drivers attempt to set their best time on an agility course marked by cones, limiting chance of damage to a competitor’s daily-driver. Cars are grouped in classes based on capability and level of modification.
Rally cross in Canada is not like the stages in Performance Rally; there are no jumps or ditches, and roll cages are not required. In Europe, some rally cross events have drivers on battling wheel-to-wheel on track, but in Canada, drivers race against the clock, emphasizing safety, and minimizing the chance of contact or damage.
There are four clubs in Ontario that are currently offering rally cross events in 2022 listed.
It was still dark out when we departed for the Race Lab advanced driving course. I can’t believe we made it up there by 7:30 am on a Sunday.
But being the first drivers on track gave my dad and me the best track conditions. I was pared up with Cos, an off-road racer with Baja 1000 experience, and my dad was reunited with Jason, who’d taught us some basics of off-road driving out in the backroads a couple weeks ago.
Crazy Farm is all about learning to handle the car on ice and snow. In my first recce lap around the circuit, I was amazed by how small the margin for error was. The entire track around the perimeter of the farm was super narrow, and made even tighter in the low-speed chicanes and slalom. If I wanted to keep my car in good condition, I’d have to be careful.
My first run at speed was very cautious, but with the urging of my instructor Cos, I started to add speed while also refining my driving.
From my background in circuit racing, certain concepts being taught at Race Lab seemed completely backwards to me. For example, sliding the car is good on snow. You still have to touch the corner apex, but how you get there is so different on slippery surfaces.
Just as I was learning to slide the car and keep up speed, the track conditions really changed. All the cars lapping on track were polishing the surface until it was solid ice in the corners; much trickier. Along with changing track conditions, the pylons defining the track limits got moved around by drivers plowing into them. The track had a different layout each time!
I upped the pace each run, including one lap where I terrified my dad in the passenger seat, and despite a trips into the snowbank, I kept my car in one piece.
It’ll take a lot more seat time to get good at mixed-surface driving, but winter is long in Canada, and I think I could really enjoy going sideways quickly.
I was proud that the Bugeye held up so well. Sure, the fender liner got ripped out, and driving home it sounded like I’d left the window open. But it was totally worth it.
Arriving at the Crazy Farm on Sunday morning, I realized I would have been crazy to try and drive my truck on this course. Tight chicanes, a slalom section, and pylons so close together even a little Subaru would have to suck in its gut to fit through.
For the second time in a month, my son Daniel and I would learn about car control and mixed-surface driving from the instructors at Race Lab.
It was interesting to see that all the Race Lab cars are 2002 to 2007 Subarus, similar to Daniel’s WRX. It’s amazing that Can Jam Motorsports manages to keep this fleet of nearly 20-year-old cars running, especially considering the beating they take at the hands of, well…me.
The crew are all friendly people, and really seem to enjoy teaching new skills to motorists. Jen and Cos were great, but I was really pleased that the calm, confident Jason would be by instructor again, just like our backroad driver training a few weeks ago.
Jason hopped into the passengers’ seat and we went on a ‘recce‘ lap, which is rally-speak for reconnaissance lap, where you slowly drive the course to gain information about the condition and terrain. The ‘road’ was hard packed snow, with plenty of icy sections. I could not believe how close together the pylons were in the chicanes. No way I could fit!
My instructor certainly didn’t jabber on or distract me. Jason let me get comfortable for a couple laps, then gave choice morsels of advice, like turning in more slowly, driving more smoothly to minimize abrupt weight transfer that was unsettling the car. He jokingly asked if I noticed that the pylons weren’t so close together anymore.
The more laps I did, the more confident I became, and it was only a matter of time until I ended up in the snow bank. I always drive with my window open. It’s an old habit from when I used to smoke cigarettes, but it allows me to hear cars approaching on public roads. Exiting one of the corners, I gave it just too much gas before the car was pointed in the right direction. I slid sideways, putting two wheels in the powdery snow while Jason insisted “Keep your foot in it!”. So much snow flew in the window that I asked if the sunroof was open. I kept steering and giving it throttle while Jason reached over to turn the wipers on. I asked him not to tell my son about that moment.
When my session was over, I had time to kill while Daniel continued on track. I bumped into Mike H., who is a regular at Race Lab, and a former competitor of mine at Goodwood Kartways (that’s Mike on the 2nd step of the podium, below). Mike was driving his Mitsubishi Lancer equipped with some Sparco rally wheels and serious snow tires. Now…everyone knows that I’m a Subaru guy, but I couldn’t turn down an opportunity for a hot lap with Mike…even if it was in a Mitsubishi.
He threw that car into the corners at twice the speed I had gone. The car had so much more power than the naturally-aspirated Impreza, that the whole thing felt like a thrill ride. Sure, he put it into the snowbank a little, but always had it under control.
I actually got to spend an hour with Mike in the afternoon, this time as my instructor on the skidpad. We started with simple skid recovery. The exercise taught how to detect and react to an oversteer skid in an all-wheel drive car. It seems counter-intuitive to apply more throttle during a slide, but letting go of the gas pedal will cause the car to dive forward, transferring weight from the rear axle to the front axle, making an oversteer skid worse.
Where else but in a farmers field in an advanced driver’s course would you get a chance to practice such a maneuver?
During the (virtual) classroom portion of the event, Crazy Leo mentioned that many of the people who attend the course are either looking to get into motorsports, or are the parents of young drivers looking to enhance skills to keep the family safe.
Whatever your reason, regardless of the motivation, the advanced driving course at Race Lab really is worth every penny.