Hooked on speed after racing debut
’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.