Friday, January 25, 2008

Some Days, I Just Cry

And this is why today.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Paris-Dakar 2008? Que? Zut.

This post is selfish. It is in no way meant to insult or demean the victims and families hurt by the actions which occurred on December the 24th. My condolences go out to the friends and families of those killed and I hope we can all work towards a future where this doesn't happen anymore.

But come on ASO! What the fuck? canceling the world's greatest rally for a few terrorist threats and the tragic events of Christmas Eve? So what went down?

Dec 27 - Rally organizers travel to Nouakchott to assess security concerns for the upcoming rally.

Dec 31 - The cabinet ministers of Mauritania are able to convince the Dakar organizers that this event was isolated and they will beef up security. The race is declared ON.

Jan 1 - The organizers recommend French citizens stay out of Mauritania for the time being.

Jan 4 - The race is canceled due to terrorist threats. ATY weeps. As do hundreds of people in villages along the route that rely on this race and the tourism it brings for their winter food.

"Based on the current international political tension and the murder of four French tourists last 24th of December linked to a branch of Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, but also and mainly the direct threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organisations, no other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken by A.S.O.

A.S.O.’s first responsibility is to guarantee the safety of all: that of the populations in the countries visited, of the amateur and professional competitors, of the technical assistance personnel, of the journalists, partners and rally collaborators. A.S.O. therefore reaffirms that the choice of security is not, has never been and will never be a subject of compromise at the heart of the Dakar rally.

A.S.O. condemns the terrorist menace that annihilates a year of hard work, engagement and passion for all the participants and the different actors of the world’s biggest off-road rally."

Yes, safety is important. But how is canceling the race condemning "the terrorist menace"? It condones it. So when did this announcement come? THE DAY BEFORE THE RACE STARTED. You think, after meeting with government officials for a week they could have canceled a couple days before, but no, January 4th.

I like the word choice "annihilates" though, that's a nice touch. The greatest rally in the world is annihilated on its 30th anniversary.

Link to Motoblag's article. Hilarious.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

2nd Annual Cypress Trees Awards: Best & Worst Racing Moments Of 2007

Worst Racing Moment of 2007:
Colin McRae.

Sniff. The death of all those in that helicopter still makes me sad.


Best Racing Moment of 2007:

This still gets me excited and that's why it wins. After a clusterfuck of a Le Mans - with the top three teams only taking a single podium place, two LMP2 cars finishing, wheels falling off, rain shorting out systems, et cetera, et cetera - Rollcentre Racing, a privateer team with only 7 members, took fourth. Badass. I still haven't worn a hat since then because my hat is still off to that team. That is a legendary achievement.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

2nd Best Racing Car Of 2007

Peugeot 908 RC

Oh sweet sweet closed top LM cars, how I do love thee. And Peugeot has made a damn pretty and a damn fast one. So why does the 908 deserve to be the winner this year?

1. Looks:

2. Purpose: This is an Audi-Killer and I can get behind any Audi-Killer out there.

3. Performance and Results: The car is brutally fast, and showed it, again and again. They won all six LMS races and got two podium places in three of those races. That is good. And they pulled a podium at Le Mans.

But why did it not take the top spot? Because the team didn't give the car its due. They didn't come out and say, "We want to win Le Mans this year," they said, "We are developing a car this year that we hope will win next year." Bull-Shit. That's not racing. Racing is saying, "I'm going to go faster than you and be sportsmanlike on the track," and that's it.

YouTube Links:
Maiden race and maiden victory
The first laps at Paul Ricard
2nd race and 2nd win
Onboard at Le Mans (part Audi)

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Best Racing Car Of 2007

Ford Focus RS WRC 06

Ford has finally won the manufacturer's championship - and rightfully so. They stepped away from the pride and elitism the company has shown since the 1966 GT40 and enlisted the help of Yamaha. They stuck with their superb 4 Wheel Drive system. They showed incredible honesty by admitting that they couldn't tune their engine properly, but could get the power on the road best. This is what racing needs. It needs multi-billion dollar teams to admit mistakes and shortcomings. Who cares what the sponsors think - everybody makes mistakes.

The car does not look the best of the WRC cars, but the teams decision to swallow their pride and hire out major portions of development is a step towards making WRC as exciting as Le Mans. The WRC has faced more challenges than F1, but they still produce a great show. Why? Because of teams like Ford pulling stunts like this, and actually pulling it off. And not only pulling it off, but trouncing their opponents: 212 points to Citroën's 183, a single non-podium race (Portugal - and Subaru deserved that podium), four drivers f(Marcus Grönholm, Mikko Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala, and Henning Solberg) in the top eight with Marcus and Mikko in the top three and Matthew Wilson at 11th, and only two retirements the entire season for the Ford team and five for Stobart. That is unheard of. And if those two retirements didn't happen to Grönholm in races 14 and 15 he would have had that championship. Okay, that may just be the huge Grönholm fan in me talking but still, that car is splendid. And I never thought this award would go to an American car.

YouTube Links:
Hirvonen onboard in Japan
Grönholm in his last race
Grönholm onboard in the snow in Norway

Runner Up: Peugeot 908 RC
Check ALMS Fan for a write-up of why and for the award Best Racing Moment of 2007.