Hooked on speed af­ter rac­ing de­but

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By MILLY KEYS

’Twas the night be­fore speed­way and all through the house not a crea­ture was stir­ring . . . other than the but­ter­flies in my stom­ach!

Last Sun­day, I got the chance to get be­hind the wheel of Su­pe­rior Auto Painters owner Damien Laird’s Toy­ota Corolla FX and drove it in the ladies’ race at Rangeview Speed­way, Wa­haroa.

On ar­rival at the track I reg­is­tered, signed my life away and got my gear checked to make sure that it was all up to stan­dard and fit for rac­ing.

Af­ter drivers brief­ing, the of­fi­cials post the race sched­ules up on the board.

My race was the last race be­fore lunch so I had plenty of time to let those but­ter­flies run their own race in my gut.

But be­fore I hit the track, Damien had or­gan­ised for me to go for a ‘‘skid’’ with Alan Wong, owner of a turbo Com­modore in the B Sa­loons class.

With a quick ‘‘gid­day, how are ya’’ and ‘‘cheers for tak­ing me for a ride’’, I was strapped in, hel­met, gloves and neck brace on and lined up ready to go.

It is dif­fi­cult to de­scribe in words how ex­hil­a­rat­ing the ride was. Like a bat out of hell, Alan carved up the track and we went side­ways A LOT – but he was al­ways in full con­trol. Alan won that race but un­for­tu­nately on the warm-down lap, the steer­ing locked and we ‘‘kissed’’ the wall so no glory lap with the che­quered flag rather a hook-up off the back of the trac­tor.

The ride def­i­nitely got rid of some of the but­ter­flies and I was ready to have a crack my­self.

Race time rolled around, cush­ions in place so I could reach the ped­als and see the bon­net pins ( very im­por­tant ap­par­ently) and lined up ready to go.

I was on the track! A com­bi­na­tion of ex­cite­ment, adren­a­line and fear washed over me as we did our warmup laps and got into our grid po­si­tions for the 10-lap race.

Seven ladies on the track and I was po­si­tioned sixth. We did one more lap then the green flag dropped and it was go time! I man­aged to re­tain my sixth po­si­tion for about . . . . oh, 3 sec­onds and learnt very quickly that th­ese ladies knew what they were do­ing.

Af­ter about six or seven laps I started to get a bet­ter feel for things and I des­per­ately didn’t want to em­bar­rass my­self by get­ting lapped.

My con­fi­dence grew and I man­aged to catch up (well a wee bit) and fin­ished the race in a very re­spectable sev­enth po­si­tion.

OK, so I came last, but I didn’t crash, didn’t get lapped and didn’t need the trac­tor to haul me off the track so I was happy.

There were still a few more races to go af­ter mine so the hubby, kids and I stood track side to soak up some more ac­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately the weather gods put a stop to rac­ing but what a day. It was fan­tas­tic and I can’t wait to have an­other go. If you have not been out to Rangeview speed­way be­fore, I urge you to go.

You don’t have to be be­hind the wheel to have a great time.

The mem­bers are su­per friendly, hos­pitable and the rac­ing is awe­some. The next race day is on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 16, hope to see you there.

Ready to go: Mata­mata Chron­i­cle man­ager Milly Keys in the hot seat.

Fast and fu­ri­ous: Alan Wong’s turbo Com­modore drifts around a cor­ner with Mata­mata Chron­i­cle man­ager Milly Keys in it.

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