Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

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Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby SVTRonDogg » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:10 pm

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Re: Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby SonicVenum » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:55 am

Damn! What's amazing to me is just HOW MANY people seem to go off at that corner, evident by the skid marks on that part of the track heading directly off track. You'd think they'd do something to improve that. Have they discussed paving more run-off area on both sides, with maybe a curb on the left to dissuade people from being too greedy, and to help better delineate track limits?
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Re: Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby xbacksideslider » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:46 am

This is heresy but I think Willow's big track is a POS because of turn 9; it's down hill largely off camber at least on the entry and runoff room is insufficient; further there is always a ditch/drop off on the edge of both sides of the track that makes recovery very difficult. Hundreds of bikes and cars have been totaled just because they got off the track there; shouldn't be that way. In years past I recall substantial rocks and rainwater runoff ditches that catch wheels or generally complicate recovery once you are off the track. A few hours with a bulldozer, building a runoff berm would stop that shoot back across the track that follows dropping a left wheel off the outside but then a big error would result in a launch . . ..
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Re: Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby SonicVenum » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:43 am

I didn't mention it before, but I'm a big fan of the Audi RS4. If I needed a 4-door sedan, that will be high up on my list.
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Re: Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby Brakelate » Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:14 pm

Should have just taken his hands off the wheel when it started to run wide and let it run straight off in the dirt on the outside, then gradually slowed and collected himself. Never would have happened.

That said, I agree with 'Slider, as usual. Damn sand and ruts cause many to "dig in" and roll, or bikes to go down, if they do not leave the pavement damn near standing straight up. Hard thing to force yourself to do at speed, while every ounce in you is saying "I think I can, I think I can" and with the mentality of "never giving up" and driving it or riding it out, fighting constantly until it comes to rest, whatever mess that may be in. That thinking can and has saved many a life or get off on the street. But on the track.... you gotta know when is time to "punch out" the ejector seat and let it do it's thing.

OK. Now that those points have been made, here is the sad truth. Big speed takes big , HUGE amounts of room and 'real estate' to recover. Wide, open, smooth and groomed. That, costs a shit ton of money. In property, paving, maintenance, etc. One might even argue that given a bunch of "free, smoothly paved run off" many dopes would just push even harder, finding a false sense of comfort in seeing somewhere to "save it", even though they haven't the skill to hold it in the first place. So it might even lead to more crashes... you are ALWAYS going to run out of room eventually.

So, it seems Willow has, perhaps intentionally, perhaps just through the passing of time, "outgrown" it's own pace. Remember, this place was put together in the early '50's. How fast were corner entry speed back then??? Over time, they seem to have accepted the occasional crash / roll over / wall leap as being acceptable. Perhaps in theory, it (they - the individual driver / crashers) pay for it one piece at a time. On their own dime, at their own risk. That, rather than the track itself going out, pushing out boundaries, paving run off areas and all of that good stuff... something that in their eyes would cost a small fortune. All while they appear (from the outside looking in) to be barely hanging by a shoestring budget as it is. I do not know. I have never heard or seen their financial statements or "books".

Therefore, it comes down to sort of like the age old argument "It's going to take a kid getting killed in that cross walk, before they put up a light!" Until there is a bad enough crash, crashes or huge outcry and publicity in the small community who makes use of that facility, they will do nothing. And, who knows. When forced to do so, perhaps they will just call it quits and go away instead of making any upgrades anyway. So, be cautious about what you ask for. Is it better to try to manage one's own risk, knowing the limitations and hazards, or having nothing at all???

Remember how we used to bitch and bitch about all the various issues at LACR? And, sure there were a few semi-serious crashes on rare occasions. But, looking back, wouldn't you rather it still be there? I know I would.

;)
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Re: Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby xbacksideslider » Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:52 pm

yeah, as usual Brakelate is correct. :clap:

They'd have to move the pits back and then maintain a deep runoff area/gravel trap groomed to make it work. As it is now, no one can snap decide to stand it up when they're looking at that pit wall/buildings that seem so close with a bunch of rough ground between you and there. If there was another hundred yards of smooth dirt with a gravel catch pit beyond backed by tires or air fence . . .
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Re: Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby Brakelate » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:44 pm

Well, even 8 into 9 takes a lot of faith, balls, or what have you. Similar to running downhill through "The S's" without braking over on 'The Streets' course, where they too have a equally bad issue with big pavement step-offs, cross rain-rutting going down the hill and limited run off. Though speeds are generally 20-ish mph slower than Big Willow's 9. But, what's another few mph when travelling well over 100 and getting crossed up and digging in.

I actually got out of a car while instructing when it was revealed that despite being slower in the "omega" and other sections of Big Willow, this guy and his late model, fat tired BMW was flat out SMOKING through 8 and 9. He asked for assistance in showing him the line on the rest of the track, and that was cool. But, he started reaching insane cornering and entry speeds and it dawned on me that he very likely had the guts, the car and some talent, but gave me Zero faith that he knew what to do with that machine once he reached the limit of all that traction, at big speed, or when finally he pushed too hard and ran wide into the great unknown... I would rather be with a guy who "knows his limitations" (ala Dirty Harry) and slides around all day long -trying- at lower speeds, than be with a guy who has NO idea what to do with it, when all goes bad, and he is already up at some very high speed, high energy, high risk situation.

He mumbled something about pushing it, really wanting to own the "best lap time for street car" class with the "Time Attack" group running that day, and I said, well... I AM OUT. Take me in! As far as I recall, he never did get in over his head and ball it up, but I was done with him. And, there comes a point where an Instructor can do only so much anyway, and if one is REALLY pushing for time, my fat ass, despite any verbal assistance I may be able to give, becomes a big fat weight handicap that one should want out of the car anyway.

But yes. Really railing around up on the outside of 9, where it flattens out before diving back towards the apex (about the point you see everyone either lift or tap the brakes in street machines) you can look right over to the left (where that foxbody 5.0 launched into the wall) and you just KNOW that there is insufficient run off and distance between that goofy berm, orange plastic bails, boxes and rickety old chain link fence beyond to be prudent.
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Re: Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby xbacksideslider » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:39 pm

Talkin bout instructors, I had my GLHS out there for a GT40 club track week end where I and my car were invited by Neil Hanneman (the development engineer for Shelby on the GLHS and for Ford on the GT40 and Chrysler on the Viper) to help with timing and other stuff. Anyway, when the rich guys were off track I was welcomed to buzz the GLHS around and I thought I was going pretty fast, don't remember the specific times but after I got the car good and warmed up and needed a break I went in and Neil got into the car with me shotgun; he ran one or two familiarization laps and then ran a faster one - 2 seconds quicker! :doh: He allowed that he could have gone quicker but it being a more or less unknown car, that was as fast as he cared to go. Smooth, a real pro. Of course, the development of that model car was done at that track, by him, likely there is no one on earth with more laps in that model car at that track.
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Re: Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby jhwalker » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:52 pm

An interesting variation ----

I think this is from April 2014... a Chebbie forum

"In the dirt turn 9 at Big Willow!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well I had a little off track excursion on my last track day. In the drivers meeting they warn all about trying to early apex turn 9. I grew some balls and well this is the result! I figured I could get in a little earlier and grab some speed and well off at almost 100mph.
http://youtu.be/Dh63KjQRU10
==============================================================================
I ran a lot of laps at Big Willow in 2 different fast cars. We were always warned to respect Turn 9 .

I only left the track at too high a speed one time at Big W, with the usual excuse of tires not sufficiently warmed. :-D Clearly my fault. Turn 5 lol
and the repairs as I remember were a couple of thou.

That vid was pretty scary...
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Re: Turn 9 at Big Willow claims another victim

Postby Tetge » Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:18 pm

I never drove on Big Willow. I just looked at it in person and looked at some videos. But, it seems that the dangers of the track, and of almost all road racing tracks, even kart tracks, also contribute to the allure and the challenge and the satisfaction of those that survive. I know that I personally always felt very alive after surviving a motorcycle ride through the canyons following Braklelate, at speeds that were above my skill level. If he slowed down a bit so I could keep him sight, I was able to copy his lines and I used to think that since I was on a nearly identical motorcycle to his, that, if he made it, I should, if I didn't panic. There is a moment after such a ride, where your life has passed in front of your eyes a few times (he made it, but will I, as it doesn't appear that I will?), when you have a profound appreciation for life. I assume those that attack Big Willow all out and survive might have the same kinds of emotions, and the dangers associated with what they have done, certainly count. So, if the track were improved to the point of almost fool proof safety, would there be any thrill left?
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