A weekend to forget for Ashley Taws Eighteen-year-old race driver Ashley Taws patiently endured a terrible start to her 2002 ice racing campaign. After two weeks of delays due to a lack of ice caused by Ontario's unusually warm winter, the ...
A weekend to forget for Ashley Taws
Eighteen-year-old race driver Ashley Taws patiently endured a terrible start to her 2002 ice racing campaign. After two weeks of delays due to a lack of ice caused by Ontario's unusually warm winter, the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs - Ontario Region's ice racing championship got off to a rather slushy start at the fairgrounds in Minden, Ontario. Unfortunately, Ashley discovered that her car doesn't much care for slush.
At first, it appeared that Ashley was going to pick up where she left off last year when she finished either first or second in nearly 75% of the races she entered and was named Rookie of the Year. In Saturday morning's qualifying race, run while the track was still ice, Ashley fought a heated battle for second, but eventually finished third to start her fist race of the day from the inside lane of the second row. By the time the cars rolled out for the first race, however, the bright sunshine and warm temperature had softened up the ice. Right from the start of the race, Ashley quickly tumbled to near the back of the pack and was unable to make any headway.
Scott Stevens, Ashley's mechanic, worked on the car hoping for improvement in the second race, but conceded that what was really needed was horsepower, and Ashley's old Honda Civic just didn't have it. The second race of the day went no better.
"There was no ice anywhere around the track," Ashley said, "And to plough through all the slush I guess you just need power. My car just couldn't get any speed up."
For Sunday's races, Stevens pulled out a spare car, hoping it would be more suited to the warmer conditions. The track had frozen over night and in the morning warm up Ashley looked fast and was very happy with the car's performance. The sun soon warmed things up again and by race time, the track was a sloppy mess. Ashley barely had a chance to get into the race when water got up into the engine's electrics, bringing the car to a halt on the start-finish straight. The problem was cured for the final race of the weekend and Ashley hoped to salvage something from two trying days. Her luck did not change though, as the clutch failed and Ashley, obviously disappointed, trudged back to the pits.
"I was really looking forward to this weekend, especially after we got held up for two weeks, waiting for ice," Ashley reported. "But, it didn't turn out to be much fun. I'll just forget about this weekend and hopefully I can come back next week and start fresh."
Ice racing is scheduled to resume next weekend, weather permitting.