Demolition derby a fun part of Pictou exhibition
Some people might question the motives of grown men – and women – getting behind the wheel of their car to inflict as much damage as possible, but not these guys.
To some it’s wanton — albeit, in some ways beautiful — destruction.
To others, it doesn’t get more redneck than this
And to Terry Nelson, it has all the potential of being a record setting night.
The Bible Hill resident will be taking four vehicles to the Pictou North Colchester Exhibition’s demolition derby competitions Thursday in hopes of competing in his 100th derby event.
“I started in Truro in 1992 at the exhibition and I used to fly home from Alberta just to do the exhibition derby. I would always take money out of the Pictou derby, but I never won my home derby.”
He placed second in the NSPE derby this year, but he purchased the Cadillac that beat him from his friend and is taking that to Pictou for the rear-wheel-drive competitions.
He will be driving an Impala in the front wheel drive and an SUV in the SUV event, but his all-time favourite is the minivan competition.
Nelson said the design of the minivan allow them to hit without folding.
“If I take four cars, I expect two wins,” he said of the Pictou competition. “I do have people gunning for me over there. Bob MacDonald is pretty good and he has a good sturdy car so it should be interesting to go up against him. I had a lot of fun over the years with Bob and the boys.”
Nelson said there is little that needs to be done to prepare vehicles for derbies other than making sure all of the glass is out of the windows and the interior of the vehicle is removed. If the vehicle’s gas tank is behind the rear wheel, it must be taken inside the car with a shield around it. A metal plate can also be placed in the driver’s side door for safety.
He places the car’s battery inside the sitting area of the vehicle so that it will be protected from front-end hits. It’s only a safety measure, but it could keep him in the derby a little longer because hits can make the plugs come loose and stall the car.
As for tips on how to be a successful driver, Nelson said there is one very crucial element to being the last mobile car .
“You’ve got to have a good rubber neck and look around to see where the other guy went,” he said. “It doesn’t have a lot to do with the car.”
Nelson’s familiar opponent, Bob MacDonald of Lyons Brook, agrees but says his best strategy is just to keep hitting.
“You have to keep moving,” he said. “I have stayed in a corner before and let people come hit me. If you are out driving around looking for someone, you can get hit. If you are picking your hits, it is easier.”
But don’t be a sandbagger. That’s the driver that continues to drive around the edge in circles waiting for the rest of the group to get caught up with hits so he or she can be last car driving.
“You see those guys and some guys have a name for that,” he said. “Sometimes those are the targets right off the bat.”
MacDonald said it is also important to use the rear of the vehicle as much as possible whether a person is hitting or getting hit.
“It’s an adrenaline rush going after someone else trying to disable their car and put on a show for the fans,” he said. “You always have to be watching. There are no spotters or radios. Try to keep your front end clean and use the rear.”
The Pictou North Colchester Exhibition begins today and a complete list of events can be found at www.pictouexhibiton.com.
Lyons Brook resident Bob MacDonald is bringing at least four vehicles into the Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition’s demolition derby Thursday night.