Petrolhead Tales: An afternoon with my father.

It was a saturday afternoon like another on summer, But this time instead of playing Videogames on my Ps2 and fire up Gran turismo 4 to entertain myself I had decided to help out my father on his orange field out of town, accepting his offer of easy money for helping out I had went on to help him, My arms were sweaty and with a few cuts after helping him burn down prunning remains, they were simpler times in which having 50€ on your pockets at 10 years of age meant being particularily rich for a 10 year old

"Hey, I have driven these country roads a lot, they surely remind me of when I was young" My father said as he was driving his S60 down the narrow country road, I was sitting exhausted on the passenger seat after the hard work

"Wow ..." I said unimpressed, As usual I expected him to tell me another of his young time adventures when he was on the military, young and with the strength of a furious bull, but What came next was unexpected.

"You know... when I was 19 years old I went up to the rally up here on the town with some friends, Lancias,Alpines,Renaults... all kinds of cars were on the descent rally, Do you know how fast they are compared to this car?" My father pointed at the logo on the steering wheel drawing my attention away from the passenger window, I had noticed on his voice a bit of happines behind his sweaty face after having done hard work

"I don`t think it`s fair to compare a racing car with a..." I said wanting to make an incise but he raised his right hand asking me to listen to him, and I obediently did.

"Well... do you remember my renault 5TX? the one that I modified with a semi-competition exhaust, I added a filter... you know that a TX has only 80hp if it even reaches that, My volvo is much faster of course... I thought I had the fastest car in town! even the rich kid with the Fuego was slower!" He said as I nodded,calmly he turned the steering wheel and brakes a little to dodge a bush that had grown so much nearly ocupying half of the road.

"Yes ... the difference between those 2 is abysmal, there is a lot between ..." I replied to keep the conversation going, I knew I was liking this.

"Well look, when I left Headquarters already on Civilian clothing and with my pay under my arm I picked up a few pals back in town and gunned it hard to the mountain to watch the rally, upon arriving there we found a Civil guard car and barriers that blocked the acess were already in place, none the less the Civil guard told us to hurry the hell up since only 5 minutes remained" My father downshifted smoothly and stopped on the uphill looking both ways before resuming the drive, he commented me that they were allowed acess into the road but with the condition of hurrying up to the top of the mountain, after all they had to get to a good viewing point to see the descent race.

"And what happened next?" I asked him wanting to know more about how it turned out.

"without thinking twice I accelerated full trotthle on the uphill, nearly without braking, My R5 was leaning like a boat on the corners, barely reaching 120kph on the long uphill straights, in every corner I was going 80kph" he pointed forward on the horizon as the volvo whined driving at a slow pace trough the country road, a furious Ricer slowly passed the Volvo.

I smiled as I heard that, I was aware of how hard was to drive a ordinary car of the 80s at that speed without crashing compared to a 2005 car full of driver aids and every safety gimmick possible.

"Did you get there?" I asked him assuming he had just reached the top of the mountain without any trouble at all and saw the rally descent from the starting point, that he would simply tell me that he had had a lot of fun driving his first car like a sports car but it didn`t turn out like that

"No ... when we arrived at the base of the mountain it was almost 8 o'clock in the afternoon, although it was summer the darkness was nearly absolute... ¿Do you have any Idea of what is it like turning at 80kph with your tires squealing and your car leaning like a boat and see that you are not doing anything really?" He said with a bit of thrill on his voice, I tought if he felt ridicolous trying to drive fast on the uphill with a underpowered car but I was wrong.

"Well look ... With my high beams I could see 50 meters in front of me and that`s all I could see, One of my friends told me to drive to the shoulder since we were late, I heard a furious bellow of engines downshifting 100 meters behind us, just as I heard them accelerating full trotthle suddenly it became daytime right in front of me, a frickin` Renault 5 turbo passed me on the outside narrowly and a Alpine A110 did it trough the inside at the same time! then a Lancia blew past us on the straight before the next corner...Do you know how is it like driving at 80kph at the limit, tires screeching leaning like a boat on every corner while there`s rally cars pasing you left & Right skidding all four tires on every corner?" I couldn`t even catch up while braking!"

Once my father said this I imagined the scene in my head, a light greenRenault 5 TX with steelies and small tires making a hellish noise of that tiny 1.4Cc engine turning at 80 kilometers per hour leaning on the corner almost about to roll over, and rally cars overtaking the considerably inferior car skidding the four tires at the limit hurrying to the starting line.

"And in the end what happened, did you manage to get there before them?" I asked, although I knew the obvious result my curiosity burned deep within my body.

"Well, 7 rally cars passed me effortlessly, I drove closer to the shoulder so they could get trough since you know... there`s no point... a policeman pulled us over and told us to stop driving since it was just pointless to try and make it to the top before them, could cause an accident...etc..." he told me that even if they only made it halfway trough the road at least they had reached a good spot to see the event.

"wow ..." I said impressed, this routinary drive back home had become a lot more interesting, Since that day whenever I played Gran turismo 4 on my Ps2 and looked at every car I had on my garage I was more aware of the difference between a street car and a racing car, they barely ressembled each other but... but both could not exist without the other.

and you ... do you have any good stories to tell? tell it below! -OMEGA