This YouTube is not me driving, it’s a great guy named Tyler Hamilton, part of the Cherry Bomb LeMons Team I ran against this past weekend at Carolina Motorsports Park In Kershaw.
But as soon as Tyler enters the track, you see a black Triumph TR7 ease into turn 1 and Tyler takes off in pursuit. I am in the Triumph. It is really an amalgam of two spirit TR7s, each equally rusty, it has won an Index of Effluency, Org Choice and a class C when before arriving in its current configuration. Under the bonnet rest a Buick 3800 supercharged V6. This past spring at New Jersey Motorsports Park, the TR7 attempted to tear itself in two, ala Herbie.
It was repaired trackside, but the suspension geometry is quite off. It’s really time the old girl found a new chassis for her beating heart, but in the meantime, I got to take the checkered flag in it. This is 30 minutes of that final session.
Just after Tyler enters the track,you see a dust cloud. Guilty. The TR does not like right turns and I put a tire in the dust. Tyler is fighting his own gremlins. Not the least of which is a very blo-uppy DSM coupe. Luckily it is normally aspirated and not subject to the crank walk that plagued the turbo cars. But they self limited to a 5500 rpm redline and in right turns you can see the oil pressure drop. Tyler explains it;
Watch the oil pressure gauge next to my knee in the carousel drop to nearly nil. I had to take an unconventional line through there to slosh the oil back to the pick up, while short-shifting to 4th. We also had a 5500rpm ceiling. My job was to bring the car home, so it took some discipline.
Despite all that, watch Tyler slowly real me in every time I am in traffic or the turns. The supercharger does its job and I pull him in any clear track. But that embodies two great points about this sport. Peter Eagan once related auto racing to hunting, except while hunting you are being hunted. Toward the end of the clip I am fending off a charge from a yellow Mustang GT. I don;t remember what he did to make me not like him, but he did and I didn’t. Meanwhile, Tyler is slowly stalking me like an alpha in a wolfpack. Plotting, positioning and occasionally taking a nip. As the day wound to an end, we both learned to trust each other and its gets really fun. After the race, I found his team shock his hand an thanked him for a great time. He did the same and then forwarded the video. No animosity, no ill feelings just mutual respect between two competitors who were battling a dozen others in a race that we all know doesn’t matter.
What a blast!
By the first lap, Tyler has closed.
At 4:07 he has caught me and is stalking me through the back S turns.
At 4:45 he almost makes an attempt to take the inside. The supercharger supercharges and I pull. This will be the rest of the day.
At 5:30 you can see the TR wiggle with instability, then the road straightens, and I pull.
At 6:30 we find ourselves entangled with the Raucharo team. Its deceptively quick, but suffers from the same inability to turn as the TR. We give it a wide berth because they are great guys and its a beautiful car. Tyler almost gets me, but then the road opens up and yet again, I pull.
At 8:13 to 8:20, as Tyler passes the Ranchero, thats a great sound from the 302. But at the end of the back straight, he is again on my bumper.
At 10:02 I stick him with two slower cars, as the GI Jose Honda is overtaking the 0 Mitsubishi and he must work his way through traffic. The final turn you can hear the side wheel spin as the engine revs.
At 12:30, we enter a yellow flag zone (car smoking to the right) and Tyler quickly closes as I briefly battle the furry Miata (It’s a cat). All of us are held up behind the Austin Powerless Marina. I have to part them in the middle. I make sure they see me and slip through. The Miata slips in my wake and the Marina points Tyler by.
At 14:47, we are back in yellow, see us pass the emergency vehicle.
As Tyler battles the Miata, I get caught up between the Shitbox Shepard’s Celica and the yellow Honda Civic just before another yellow zone. You can see Tyler and me waving our arms.
We don’t clear until 17:07 where you see the Civic blocking but I get him on the inside after the Mustang bullies through. Tyler follows. That Protege had not gone that fast all weekend. He had caught us in the yellow.
At 18:30, apparently the Protege had they hotshot driving, because he retakes Tyler and is after me when the yellow Mustang enters the fray via the blend line in turn 1.
At 18:42, the Mustang apparently forgot what “blend means and forced me onto the gators. I know remember why I was annoyed. The Protege takes great advantage and slips by both of us. Well done Mazda!
At 19:01 I let the quick MR2 by and lunch after the yellow GT, right up until the yellow flag. I am doing my best to position myself after the EV to take the Mustang.
Tyler does his best to position himself to take me.
At 20:57, I am looking to the inside of the Mustang when a red BMW enters via the been into turn 1. Then it gets interesting. We have also run up on Sputnik’s GM V6 powered Lotus. It was in rough shape and suffering teething problems.
At 21:25 a well-driven, V8-powered 240 slices through us.
At 22:14, poor Tyler is caught behind a slower Miata overtaking the diesel Mercedes of Idle Clatter. It looks like a Toyota pickup because they wanted it to.
At 22:37, the even-faster, even-better-driving Geo of the Knoxvegas Lowballs cuts through. Look closely at it as it starts the right hander and you will see it left the inside tire. They are great guys, very fast and most point them by, myself included.
In turn 1, Tyler see the Z3 approach, gives them spaces and slips behind them in the turn. Great driving that.
At 24:44, as we are working our way through, the white 613 Honda Accord almost cuts into Tyler, so he jumps on the brakes. Smart move. Its the end of the day and you’d rather lose a few seconds to a back marker than wad your team’s car up.
By 26:00 Tyler is reeling me back in as we approach more traffic.
At 27:27 Tyler gets overtaken on both side on the main straight by the yellow Mustang and an E30 BMW. Then on the back straight, everyone gets held up by the Trailers By Dale Camo Camaro. They had taken a ht early on Saturday and the car was not 100%
29:45 embodies Tyler’s struggle. A masterful pass on the inside is undone by sheer torque on the front straight. So he must take him after turn 1. Then slice between Shitbox Shepards and the Porsche on his left.
By the next lap, Tyler is again in the hunt as I dice it up with the E30, cosmic BMW and yellow Mustang.
At 33:30, Tyler executes a beautiful pass on the BMW and is now about the enter the fray between the yellow Mustang, white BMW E30 and me.
Entering the last turn at 34:02, Tyler is again, pressing me down the main straight.
The clip ends at 34:42. The white Toyota would retire with issues, causing another yellow flag. I would eventually repass the yellow Mustang, but he took me again. Just before the checker, I caught our teammate Steve in a white Mercedes.
So, even without the pay by play, you can see the attraction right. Always hunting, always hunted.