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A Day at the Track

Barrie Speedway June 5, 2001

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Its a guy thing, right? Combine testosterone and adrenaline, pump in some hot iron, and let 'er rip. Ten guys get together for a day a the track to learn the fundamentals of handling a fast race car. Led by CASCAR star, Mark Dilly, and assisted by father Dave, and Uncle Pete, the school runs most weekdays at Barrie Speedway. The cars may look like an over-inflated go-kart but that is far from the truth.


The Legend Cars are a tightly controlled class of race machine especially made to create lots of competition while keep a tight handle on costs. There are now thousands of these machines in North America and competition is fierce. Powered by a 4 cylinder Yamaha motorcylce engine( FJ1200/XJR1200/XJR1250 “Sealed”) and running on a light tubular frame chassis results in a very high horsepower to weight ratio. The engines put out about 125 horsepower and the whole car weighs in at 1100 pounds. On the straight on the 1/4 mile Barrie oval, this car goes over 85 mph. Legend cars are very fast!

Preparing the cars, first thing in the morning. Peter on the left, Mark on the right.

The school day starts with a classroom session stressing safety and learning in phases. This session is followed by a walk around the track as Mark shows us where to start slowing down for the turns and when to start turning, maintaining the turn, then when to put the power on. Hmm...seems simple enough.

Here I am ready for the first laps.

After the walk-about, we take turns at running the cars around the track, getting the feel for the power and handling, and trying to judge the best line around the track. Before you know it, ten laps have just flew by. Hey...this is fun. And the power is fantastic!

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Pour on the power coming out of the corner.

Following the first track session, we retire to the classroom for a de-briefing. Mark tells us where we can improve our lap times, don't turn too late, wait to put on the power, get the line right through the corners. Before the next track session, Mark puts out pylons on the track in strategic places so everyone can apply the brakes at the right spot, get the right line into the corner, then start the turn, then apply the power.

Back to the track we go, this time with more enthusiasm. We drive harder and concentrate on the pylons, getting the timing just right. Lap times fall and everyone has fun. Would you know it! I'm the first one to lose control and do a 180 in the middle of the turn. Everyone knocks two seconds off their lap times from the previous session. On this session, we do 15 laps and it feels real good!

After a break for lunch, it is back to the classroom again. This time Mark says we should be concentrating on consistent laps speeds and reviews some of the earlier points for the best line through the corners, braking points and acceleration points. For the final set of laps, Mark moves the pylon closer to the corner so now we maintain power later and brake harder to set up for the turns.
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Small cars but powerful. Here I am just after the second session.

The final session is 20 laps and I just wish it could last all day. It is sooooo much fun. I lay down some nice consistent laps, rather than concentrating on reducing my lap times. I end up with lap times about 1 second longer than the previous session but I'm still happy with the results as I know I could have gone faster. Oh well, next time I can go for the lap record which is held be Mark. I think his time is 15.1 seconds and ny closest time was 17.39(just once). The fastest lap of the day was an incredible 16.1 seconds, nearly fast enough to keep up with the pack in a regular race.

Mark was quite impressed with the group's collective performance and said that in all the sessions he has led that we were by far the fastest group. Thanks guys. I really enjoyed your company and it was a pleasure to enjoy the day with everyone. fastteam1s.jpg
The fastest group in town!

If you want to see some more Legend Car information, try this link to LegendCars.com