Targa Florio Rally – Round 2

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We now join our coverage of the Targa Florio Round 2 sponsored by Austin Slot Car Club.

Morty Walker: Hello rally fans and welcome to today’s coverage of the Austin Slot Car Club’s Targa Florio event. It looks to be a beautiful day for the second stage if I say so myself, and I do say so. Sitting beside me in the commentary box, as always, is the esteemed German rallyist Hans Olderbolder to provide expert commentary. Say hello to the world Hans!
Hans Olderbolder: Hallo.
MW: And with that, we turn our attention to the starting line here in Cerda where Spyder (Mark) is lined up…and he is waved down the road to start this stage!
HO: I drink to that!
MW: And I hope everyone at home has their favorite beverage handy as we settle in to see how Spyder handles these tricky conditions as the first car on the road. But oh no!
HO: Only lap 3 and the jump has claimed a victim.
MW: Indeed it has! Wait…did you just say “Yump?”
HO: Yes. Jump.
MW: Well – I’ll drink to that, myself – a finely German way to pronounce that one!
HO: What are you drinking there?
MW: A gin and tonic, of course.
HO: Of course.
MW: And you?
HO: Beer.
MW: And with that, we prove we are in line with the nations we hail from!
HO: What about the stage, Morty?
MW: And what about the stage? Yes, if it hasn’t finished yet, it is still going on and…more problems with that jump.
HO: And some of the curves are problematic as well. It doesn’t look like the car is handling to his liking.
MW: I would agree that things are looking a bit scruffy for Spyder but as 40 laps are completed, we see a total time of 306.367 seconds.
HO: That jump looks like it may be a deciding factor in the event today. I have an idea.
MW: And what would that be?
HO: Let’s take a drink whenever someone is caught out by the jump.
MW: It is a hot one outside today, so that sounds refreshing.
HO: Good! And Radial T/A (Randy) takes to the starting line. His Porsche looks like it may be up to the task.
MW: And the task is taking the curves quickly but OH – a couple of quick spins in the first laps have him down on time already.
HO: YES! A problem with the jump on lap 4. Let’s drink.
MW: Um, yes…that jump is quite the problem for our first two drivers and Radial T/A looked like he wanted to drive all the way to Syracuse with the speed at which he left the course.
HO: Now, for those new to rally, the order that the competitors are taking to the course is based on their finishing order in the previous stage with the slowest drivers starting first, cleaning the course and laying down rubber for the faster drivers later in the stage. I wonder how drivers in the later stages will handle that jump when the course is in a slightly better condition. And there’s another issue with the jump.
MW: Oh…I worry a bit about our condition if they don’t start handling that jump. Perhaps a bit more tonic and a bit less gin in my next one?
HO: Radial T/A finishes his 40 laps with a 315.303, so Spyder retains the stage lead.
MW: Now we have Butch (David) lining up with his Porsche for his attack on the hills of Sicily. Butch is a perennial favorite in all ASCC events, so his 5th place finish in the first stage was quite a surprise to everyone.
HO: Including Butch.
MW: I daresy-so if I say so myself.
HO: The flag is waved and he is off! I would expect the issues with the jump to be less of a problem for Butch and he starts out with a tentative first lap, about 3 seconds off the pace. His second lap is much better and he is handling the jump quite well and…OH. Time to drink.
MW: Yes – only three laps in and we see an off at the yump – I mean jump. I need to take it easy on these drinks, I think.
HO: I’m not certain the drivers are going to let you take it easy.
MW: I have faith in Butch to make a teetotaler of me. As his 40 laps are complete, he had only 2 offs at the jump and has posted a time of 276.955 to take the stage lead, almost 30 seconds to the good.
HO: And that IS a good run. It is almost 10 seconds faster than his run on the last stage. This stage is proving to be more difficult, so a faster time bodes well.
MW: Bodes well indeed, and it looks like I need another gin and tonic.
HO: I have extra beer if you would like some.
MW: No thank you – and Lotus Jr. (John) takes to the track. His 4th place finish in the last stage was less than a second faster than Butch’s time, so the competition is quite heavy between those two drivers.
HO: And with Butch’s fantastic run today, Lotus Jr. has quite a bit of pressure to put in a good run.
MW: But we’re only on lap 2 and we’ve already had an off at the jump.
HO: And a drink.
MW: Yes..er…a drink.
HO: And another off at the jump.
MW: But with 40 laps completed, thankfully, there were only 2 offs at the jump and Lotus Jr. has done a masterful stage.
HO: But look at his time, Morty. He was a bit too conservative, I think, since he could only post a 279.543, three seconds off Butch’s fast time.
MW: You are correct, Hans! So Butch retains the stage lead and the bevy of Porsches give way to the local favorites of Ferrari as Stab’nSteer (Erik) takes to the starting line. His first stage time was good enough for 3rd place on the rostrum, but it was a distant 5 seconds adrift of the 2nd place car. He is out to try to close that gap!
HO: And his first lap is tentative, about two seconds off the pace, but the times are coming down quickly. He’s handling the jump beautifully.
MW: But it was inevitable! Lap 7, and he’s off due to mismanaging the jump.
HO: Good. I was getting thirsty.
MW: And you can take two more drinks, my beer-loving friend, as Stab’nSteer misses the jump twice more but comes across the line with a total time of 275.301 which lets him take the lead over Butch by just over a second!
HO: These laps are getting better. It is causing my beer to get warm.
MW: What’s the problem with warm beer?
HO: Oh yes…I forgot you are English.
MW: No matter! We have last stage’s second place finisher, Kein Mitleid (Steve), coming to the start line now.
HO: Hmph. That is a German name.
MW: Indeed it is! And in the last stage, he used a unique method to stay focused – he listened to music via earbuds. However, he has not brought his earbuds to this event. I wonder how that bodes for his laps today?
HO: We’ll have to see as he launches away from the start line. Some good first laps in his Ferrari. The crowd is very much behind the prancing red horse! It looks like I am going to go thirsty again…but no. Lap 4 and he’s off at the jump.
MW: What a day – that jump is without pity on these racers.
HO: But it has pity on me as I get to drink.
MW: So right! Looking at his average lap time, he’s slightly ahead of Stab’nSteer. Oh my, they are neck and neck!
HO: I think it will come down to how well he handles the jump, though his car looks better through the corners.
MW: Another de-slot at the jump! It is going to be too close to call!
HO: The flag falls and…
MW: 275.243! 275.243! That’s just less than 4/100’s of a second faster than Stab’nSteer and Kein Mitleid takes the lead of the stage!
HO: I will drink to that, too!
MW: I concur! Wow, what a session! And we have one more driver, Porsche 917 (Marty), driving a Porsche 908. Porsche 917 sat out of the first stage, so he’ll want to be posting a good result this time out.
HO: That’s right. Our winner from the first event, Jeff, is not here this weekend. But he won with a similar Porsche – so the two leading Ferrari’s are under pressure here.
MW: And not to mention, Porsche 917 is famed for his accurate driving, so we may be left thirsty during this run.
HO: That would be awful.
MW: And the lights go out, and into the first turn of many, he goes!
HO: He posts one of the fastest first laps of the stage. He drives with such confidence.
MW: But there’s an early spin on lap 2! I think the run with the least errors is really going to stand up today so let’s hope for Porsche 917 such errors don’t continue!
HO: Lap 5 and a problem at the jump.
MW: Nobody is able to completely master that difficult part of the course.
HO: He has an unusual number of errors during the laps but his lap times are stunning! With the 40 laps expiring, he posts a time of 262.019 to take the stage win, about 12 seconds faster than his closest challenger.
MW: My, that was a dominating display of speed by Porsche 917, 3 seconds faster than the event winner in the first stage.
HO: It is a different track this stage, but it does seem to be a bit more difficult, so the faster times are a bit of a surprise.
MW: So with that, we bid farewell to this stage of the Austin Slot Car Club Targa Florio and we will see you in two weeks time for stage 3, which will be run on the same course used in stage 1. We’ll see how the competitors use their knowledge from that first stage to tackle the third.
HO: I’ll drink to that.
MW: I thought you would!



Long-time slot racer. Began with AFX in early 70's and still has a TON of HO slot stuff including a 4-lane permanent raceway controlled by Race Commander and with an adjustable power supply. Raced 1/24th Brass 12, and Group 20 in late 80's in Denton and 1/24 Flexi in San Antonio in the early 90's. Raced with SCCA in early 2000's and occasionally works vintage racing events. Currently active in the kart world, racing mostly at the New Braunfels track in LO206 Master's class. 

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