Race Report Camp Coker GNCC April 21,2018
Camp Coker is a beautiful location. Filled with many ponds for fishing, wide open spaces for camping, big field sections and lots of tight woods. The perfect combination for XC style racing. We arrived with Collin leading in points, not only in his classes but OVERALL as well, so a lot of stress was added to this weekend.
Truett Racing brings 4 buggies to the GNCC races, Mitch and Collin race at 9am on Saturday morning in the Single Seat class then Collin & Steph race UXC2 and Emily & Alex race the Women’s class. We always arrive early enough to walk the tracks on Friday so we see potential passing spots, hot lines and danger zones. Places where perhaps the trail isn’t marked clearly enough or places that go away after a few hours of racing.
Saturday morning approaches. All 9 buggies line up in the same row. Green flag drops and Mitch takes the hole shot. Collin is close behind but going into turn 1 smacks the hay bail and lost his drive. He goes into the woods in 5th place. In a wooded section he picks off 2 machines and is now behind Mitch. Mitch in that same section, makes a mistake and gets caught between 2 trees and lost his lead. Now Collin is on Mitch’s tail to make a clean pass. They both come up to a tree, Mitch goes right and Collin goes left, only the left is off camber and Collin ends up on his top!
With no one there to help him, he unbuckles, gets out of the car and is only able to roll it over on its side. He has to wait for a track worker to come help him get it back on all 4’s. He is now dead last in his class, down 4 minutes. With some serious time to make up, he puts the hammer down. By this time, Mitch is back in the lead but lost it again on the motocross section when he comes over a jump pointed the wrong way and has 2 wheels on the wrong side of a burm. Mitch continues to run his race and maintain his 2nd place position all the while Collin is in the back picking off racers 1 at a time. By the time the checkered flag drops Collin has worked his way back up to a 4th place finish! This is Mitch’s first time on a GNCC podium in his RS 1 and he can’t hide his excitement! He desperately wants a father/son podium so we will see if it can happen in John Penton next month.
4pm rolls around. The day is a lot warmer than expected and the track is so dusty. We expected dust but it’s hard to prepare mentally for it. With a lot of friends, family and sponsors there the pressure is ON. Collin is always able to get the hole shot in the afternoon class but as he turns the key, it doesn’t take off like a rocket like everyone is used to. We go into the woods in 2nd place. 1st place takes a wrong turn on the track and we are now in 1st on our row. Lap 1 is short so we come through the barrels not haven seen anyone much less pass anyone. About ½ way into lap 2 we start picking off cars that have started in front of us. The dust at times is like a wall, you can’t see anything. You just push through and hope you drive out of it. The lead car always has the advantage in dust so you desperately want to be the lead car and have other people struggling to see through the dust. We continue to pick off cars, we are now entering lap traffic.
On lap 3 we have caught some row 1 drivers, we are running 3rd overall with a 39 second lead on our class. We are now in the motocross section of the track. We are battling hard with a XC1 turbo driver. Collin tries to stay in the gas a little longer through a whoop section but unfortunately that choice causes a malfunction in our clutch. The car picks it up a few jumps later, goes into limp mode. Collin quickly turns the car off to reset it but we know something is wrong as we start hearing the belt slip. We finish lap 3 with our belt slipping and desperately trying to conserve the belt.
Lap 4 starts and while we know we are out of the overall race now, however, we are still hanging on the lead in our class. In a woods section, Collin doesn’t make a turn quick enough and we smack a tree, folding our lower A arm. Collin knows immediately that we have broken something because he can’t steer the car well. We know the odds of us finishing the last part of the race are slim but we charge on hoping we can make this lap count. We do finish lap 4 but after a long break in the woods, we come across the checkered flag 8th in our class. Not the results we wanted but we learn from our mistakes and they always make us better and stronger.
Women’s class with Emily Truett as driver and her husband Alex as co-pilot. Mitch gives her a little pre-game pep talk about the hole shot and what to do. When to mash the gas and when to let up. She takes his advice and gets off the line flawlessly and goes into the woods 1st off her row. She is worried about the dust but we had all told her to run her own race, not worry about the speed and if she just continues forward she will finish the race. She always walks the track with us on Fridays and is always in learning mode. Collin had pointed out a passing spot to her if she ever saw the need to take it. She was following a car in her class, remembered the hot line and took it putting her in front of a fellow competitor. She later unfortunately misses a turn on the track, ends up getting lost, doing the field section twice before finding her way back on the track. She will finish the day 4th in her class with a lot of small victories under her belt!