What could go wrong
Recently I drove a car— made when Iwas six years old— that I barely fitted in as a gangly 6ft 4” gentleman with all the flexibility of a Jet Star check-in closing time, and with next to no experience.
Iwas racing it around Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, at speeds up to 170km/h among about 40 other cars, with all amateur drivers.
What could possibly go wrong, right? We dressed as the Dirty Mexicans— sweaty and covered in whatever the heck that black dust is. And Mexicans because we thought ponchos would keep us warm in the pits and sombreros kept the sun off. We’re smarter than we look!
There was a small nod to the struggle Mexicans might have if Trump built that wall, man didwe have some walls to scale during this weekend! It could also be said, as that orange sack of mess that runs the US said of Mexico: “They are not sending their best”. Aradio announcer, a property photographer, amortgage broker, a landscape construction expert and a 16 year old. What could possibly go wrong?
As Iwas spinning out on my second lap and watching cars coming towards me as I faced thewrong way at close to 100km/h, Iwondered if I’d made wise life choices. Turns out I had though.
Imet awhole bunch of new people from completely different walks of life, laughed at and learned frommymistakes, learned a new skill and continued to get better at it (I dropped 11 seconds of my lap times over the weekend, #humblebrag). I learned a little about cars— at the start of the weekend I still thought a flux capacitor (from Back to the Future movies) was actually a thing Maybe I’m just an idiot! To be fair that knowledge now still really only extends to knowing the names of a few more parts of a car. When the actual work was being done on the car Iwent to the apartment we were all staying in and cooked dinner for the team, amassive man-feed of burgers and sausages. Stick to your strengths I say!
But the thing I got out of this weekend impersonating a race driver is that over my life I’ve never once regretted doing the scary stuff.
Even if at the time I’m questioning it, or uncomfortablewith it, scared about it, worried for my safety and how much I could mess up others around me, or even if I absolutely hated the whole task, there’s always learning, there’s always a new memory and perspective and I ALWAYS get a sense of achievement. Which means I’m always glad I did it in some way.
You can apply this to racing a car, or just to doing the weeding out the back that you’ve needed to do for months. There’s always a positive. Life is too short to see it any other way, I reckon.
We did 496 laps of Hampton Downs over the weekend . . . and our car broke an hour before the end of the race so we didn’t finish it. Guts! But I’d do it all again in a second and already can’t wait for next year.
Plus the photographer on our team got a sweet shot of me thoughtfully jumping against a yellowwall at the race track. What more could you want from a weekend! Second thought, maybe I should’ve been more focused on the driving than the rad Instagram pic?
■ Will Johnston is host of The Hits 95FM Day Show. Live and local from 9am-3pm, every weekday in the Bay of Plenty.
Impersonating racing drivers.