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Re: Close Calls (kinda long)
--From: firstname.lastname@example.org (H.G. Silvia)
--Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 23:22:42 +0000
--Subject: Close Calls
--I was negotiating a double right hand turn, recommended at 20mph,
--at about 58mph. The first half went fine but I got cocky and accelerated
--was on the wrong line for the second half of the turn. After all I've
--learned I still panicked and hit the brakes (what a geek!) Well I spent the
--second half of that turn skidding across the road, off the road thru the
--grass of a vacant lot only to stop on a cross street to the smell of
--grass and semi-metallics. I love to drive like this, but it IS dangerous,
--and I hate to lose confidence in my Quattro, so I blame my driving first.
With all due respect... Does this happen to you often?? A scenario like the
one you described should be at most a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. (For
all too many folks, it is a "last-in-a-lifetime" experience.) You were lucky
not to hit (i) an oncoming car, (ii) an oncoming truck, (iii) a tree, (iv) a
child on a bicycle, (v) etc etc--there's a lot of stuff out there just
waiting to be hit. There is absolutely no excuse for charging that hard on
public highways--I fervently hope that you've learned your lesson.
All of us who have participated in on-track performance driving weekends or
raced cars with SCCA have learned an exceedingly important lesson: You
cannot come remotely close to your car's maximum performance on public
highways without being totally unsafe and a complete menace. "Pushing the
envelope" as far as you were is irresponsible.
Now, you probably think I'm just a Ralph Nader clone/codger. I'm not. I
enjoy driving quickly as much as anyone. You can drive quickly, with skill
AND responsibility, without exceeding reasonable limits, and have a fine
time. But you need to learn what those limits are safely, not through random
hit-or-miss street racing.
So, what's the solution for enthusiasts who really want to exercise their
cars and their skills, as well as learn their limits? Autocrossing is cheap
and a lot of fun. Marque club events at racetracks are even more fun and are
usually cheap (just don't hit anything). SCCA (or other) racing is expensive
but represents the ultimate test of your ability. In my case, three years of
marque club track events and 10 years of SCCA racing taught me a lot about
So, HGS, PLEASE pick one of the above and satisfy your need for speed under
the safe, controlled situations they offer. You'll have tons more fun, your
family, insurance agent, and even your Quattro will thank you. And the world
will be a better place. Okay, I'm off my soapbox. Send me a note if you'd
like more information on getting started in any of these events.