Steven Bradley, Gimli, Manitoba (July 5) The Winnipeg Sports Car Club hosted their second Road Racing event of the season this past weekend at the world-famous Gimli Motorsports Park. Members took part in Road Racing, Time Attack, Drifting and Autoslalom events scattered throughout the 2-day event.
Saturday’s 3-race schedule ended soggy with the last race of the day running in the rain. Drivers had to work together to maneuver the turn 1 entrance at the end of the long Gimli straight away. Overnight Saturday, the track took on massive amounts of rain with reports of lightning in extremely close proximity.
On Sunday morning, a lake of water formed at the front gate entrance – water levels well up to the door of a passenger car. Despite the heavy amount of rain that fell, the track remained racy. Water was only an issue if your left the driving surface.
Wayne Schellekens won the first 2 Open Wheel races on Saturday representing the Formula V class. Don Phillipow won Saturday’s final Open Wheel event in his Formula Continental after starting sixth. On Sunday, Jean-Sabastien Stoezel won races 1 and 3, while Greg Eastwood won race 2 after a weekend full of top 3 finishes.
Damon Hill dominated the Sedan division representing the STU class – winning the last 5 of 6 races over 2 days. Bill Langner picked up a win the first race of the weekend. Langner was the only driver that could keep consistent pressure on Hill.
Al Marcoux in the Sedan division won 5 of 6 events within the IT3 class – which made up well over half the weekend’s entries. John Sharples was the only other driver to top the IT3 class in Saturday’s second race after Marcoux sat that race out to deal with over-heating issues.
Ken Hilash was the lone driver enrolled in the Vintage class. George Abrahams raced in the GT5 class and Yogi Thakore ran mid-pack all weekend representing the IT1 class.
Saturday – Open Wheel Division
In Open Wheel race action, Jean-Sabastien Stoezel looked like he would walk away with the first race. However, on lap 4 Stozel suffered a brake malfunction and drove to the infield. This handed the lead over to Greg Eastwood.
On lap 9, Wayne Schellekens picked up 3 spots after getting by the leader on a tough inside pass entering turn 1. While Schellekens walked away with the win, Eastwood was left battling Damon Surzyshyn. With just 4 laps remaining, Surzyshyn got by Eastwood in turn 4. Surzyshyn finished second ahead of Eastwood in third.
In race 2, Schellekens held the point as Stoezel was recovering from a rear-pack starting spot. Stoezel moved up to second in the first 3 laps after getting by Surzyshyn in turn 4.
After 13 laps, Schellekens picked up his second win in a row, ahead of Stoezel in second. Eastwood completed a last lap pass for third after contact with Surzyshyn in turn 3.
In race 3, the Formula car count grew by 1 as Don Phillipow decided to join in the day’s only WCMA points race. When the green flag flew, Stoezel took command of the lead ahead of Shellekens while Eastwood and Surzyshyn battled back and fourth for third.
On lap 3, Glenn Gordon got loose and spun exiting turn 1 – nearly collecting Phillipow. Gordon got his car straight again and the race continued green.
On lap 9, Schellekens had caught Stoezel for the lead and began applying pressure. However, Schelleken’s bid for a third race win came to an end after mechanical failure forced him to pull to the infield.
As laps wore down, Phillipow found his way to the front to battle Stoezel for the lead while Eastwood and Surzyshyn fought for third.
After 16 laps, Phillipow was able to get by Stoezel on the last lap low on the front stretch to collect the checkered flag in what would be his only race of the weekend. Stoezel finished second (first in class) after leading the entire race and Surzyshyn held off Eastwood for third.
Saturday – Sedan Division
In Sedan race action, great racing took place between 13 drivers. The full-fendered stock cars were turning 1:11 lap times reaching speeds near 160km/h down the front stretch.
In race 1, Damon Hill took early command of the lead. However, Hill surrendered the spot after pitting for an issue with his throttle cable. Bill Langner found himself leading the pack.
On lap 4, rookie Mathieu Leveille’s weekend came to an end after mechanical failure forced him to stop over turn 1.
Back up at the front, Langner drove untouched to the checkered flag. Al Marcoux finished second, beating his IT3 class competitors and Yogi Thakore in the IT1 class got by John Sharples on lap 9 to round out the top 3.
In race 2, Langner took quick command of the lead while Hill had his car back on track – at the rear of the field. It only took 3 laps for Hill to drive by 7 cars and start knocking on the leader’s door.
Langner held off the pressure for as long as he could, but on lap 7, Hill completed a pass low in turn 5 to move back to the point. Langner stayed glued to Hill’s back bumper, but couldn’t regain the lead. Hill won his first race of the weekend ahead of Langner in second and John Sharples in third.
In race 3, Hill, Langner and Sharples all entered tun 1 side by side as rain began pouring down.
On lap 4, Langner, Sharples and Marcoux all got a bit wide entering turn 1 and got into what has become known as ‘the carwash’ – large ponds of standing rain just outside the race surface. Marcoux was able to hold the spot while Langner fell to the rear of the field.
On lap 13, Sharples slid over turn 1 and into swamp-like conditions. He was able to collect his car and the race stayed green.
After 15 laps, Hill collected his second win of the day. Marcoux led the IT3 class to finish second overall and Steve Leiding rounded out the top 3.
Sunday – Open Wheel Division
Sunday’s Open Wheel car counts dropped when Schellekens pulled himself from competition because of mechanical ailments. Phillipow also didn’t start a race.
In race 1, Stoezel led the entire 13 laps – turning lap times of 1:13 and reaching speeds around 150km/h at the end of the long front stretch. Eastwood got by Surzyshyn on lap 5 for second spot. Nothing else changed as Stoezel collected his first win of the day ahead of Eastwood in second and Surzyshyn in third.
In race 2, Eastwood used the outside groove to take the point away from Stozel entering turn 1. After the next 4 laps of pressure in nearly every corner, Stoezel finally got by Eastwood low entering turn 1 to regain his lead.
Fourth place car Glenn Gordon drove to the pits after sliding off the track in turn 1 and taking on a lot of wet grass and water.
Back up at the front, Eastwood and Stoezel swapped spots until the very last lap. On the last lap, Eastwood found himself on the point with Stoezel in hot pursuit. Entering turn 1, Stoezel attempted a high-speed pass on the outer groove. Stoezel slid a bit wide and found himself sliding off track and into a slew of wet grass.
Eastwood went on to collect the win, while Surzyshyn finished second ahead of Stoezel who managed to get back on track and finish third.
In race 3, Surzyshyn used his second place starting spot to steal the high line away from Eastwood and grab the lead exiting turn 1. Surzyshyn’s lead lasted 3 laps until Eastwood found an opening in turn 1 and drove by to regain his lead. Stoezel followed by to move into second.
A half lap later, in turns 7 and 8, Stoezel got around Eastwood to move to the point.
Over the remaining 12 laps, all 3 drivers raced within a car length of each other – each driver attempting a slingshot pass either high or low at the end of the long straightaway.
With just 2 laps remaining, Surzyshyn attempted a pass on Eastwood in turn 3. The 2 racers made contact which sent Surzyshyn spinning off track. Surzyshyn took his car to the pits and let the 2 remaining drivers duke it out.
Stoezel went on to earn his second win of the day ahead of Eastwood who finished second.
Sunday – Sedan Division
In Sedan race 1, Hill opened up a big lead at the drop of the green flag. On lap 8, Langner picked up 5 spots after getting around Marcoux on the front stretch.
On lap 10, Hill already found himself in lap traffic. At the time, Langner began slowing entering turn 2. He eventually got back up to speed, but was now in fourth position.
After 14 laps, Hill easily collected the win. Langner came back to finish second after a pass on Marcoux entering turn 1 with just 2 laps remaining. Marcoux finished third.
In race 2, Hill and Langner continued their weekend long battle. The pair of racers spent the first 9 laps playing a high-speed chess match, trying to outwit each other entering the corners.
John Sharples put his car in the hay over turn 1 on lap 2. Sharples limped to the pits after doing some damage to the car and retired for the weekend.
After battling hard all race, Hill was able to hold off Langner for his fourth win in a row. Langner settled for second and Marcoux finished in third.
In race 3, just 10 cars were able to compete in the weekend’s final event. Hill was able to lead all 18 laps and gather maximum WCMA points. Langner finished second once again and Marcoux ended his weekend in third.
The Winnipeg Sports Car Club returns to action in Gimli on August 8 and 9 for the club’s most popular event of the season – Vintage weekend. We invite you to check out classic cars battle the Gimli Road Course with a full field of competitors. For more information of WSCC’s Vintage Weekend, visit their website at www.wscc.mb.ca
Open Wheel – Saturday
Race 1 (WSCC points) – Wayne Schellekens, Damon Surzychyn, Greg Eastwood, Glenn Gordon, Jean-Sabastien Stoezel (DNF), Don Phillipow (DNS).
Race 2 (WSCC points) – Wayne Schellekens, Jean-Sabastien Stoezel, Greg Eastwood, Damon Surzychyn, Glenn Gordon, Don Phillipow (DNS).
Race 3 (WCMA points) – Don Phillipow, Jean-Sabastien Stoezel, Damon Surzychyn, Greg Eastwood, Glenn Gordon, Wayne Schellekens.
Sedan – Saturday
Race 1 (WSCC points) – Bill Langner, Al Marcoux, Yogi Thakore, John Sharples, Steve Leiding, Jordan Sharples, Don Schmidt, Wayne Kehler, Henri Marcoux, Ken Hilash, George Abrahams, Mathieu Leveille (DNF), Damon Hill (DNF).
Race 2 (WSCC points) – Damon Hill, Bill Langner, John Sharples, Steve Leiding, Don Schmidt, Jordan Sharples, Wayne Kehler, George Abrahams, Henri Marcoux, Ken Hilash (DNF), Al Marcoux (DNS), Yogi Thakore (DNS), Mathieu Leveille (DNS).
Race 3 (WCMA points) – Damon Hill, Al Marcoux, Steve Leiding, Bill Langner, Yogi Thakore, Wayne Kehler, Don Schmidt, Henri Marcoux, John Sharples, Jordan Sharples, Ken Hilash, George Abrahams (DNF), Mathieu Leville (DNS).
Open Wheel – Sunday
Race 1 (WSCC points) – Jean-Sabastien Stoezel, Greg Eastwood, Damon Surzychyn, Glenn Gordon, Don Phillipow (DNS), Wayne Schellekens (DNS).
Race 2 (WSCC points) – Greg Eastwood, Damon Surzyschyn, Jean-Sabastien Stoezel, Glenn Gordon (DNF), Don Phillipow (DNS), Wayne Schellekens (DNS).
Race 3 (WCMA points) – Jean-Sabastien Stoezel, Greg Eastwood, Damon Surzychyn (DNF), Glenn Gordon (DNS), Don Phillipow (DNS), Wayne Schellekens (DNS).
Sedan – Sunday
Race 1 (WSCC points) – Damon Hill, Bill Langner, Al Marcoux, Yogi Thakore, Steve Leiding, John Sharples, Don Schmidt, Jordan Sharples, Henri Marcoux, Wayne Kehler, Ken Hilash, George Abrahams (DNF),
Race 2 (WSCC points) – Damon Hill, Bill Langner, Al Marcoux, Steve Leiding, Don Schmidt, Jordan Sharples, Henri Marcoux, Wayne Kehler, George Abrahams, Ken Hilash, John Sharples (DNF), Yogi Thakore (DNS).
Race 3 (WCMA points) – Damon Hill, Bill Langner, Al Marcoux, Don Schmidt, Steve Leiding, Yogi Thakore, Henri Marcoux, Myles Rogers, Ken Hilash, George Abrahams (DNF), Wayne Kehler (DNS), Jordan Sharples (DNS).