We all have moments that stay with us and impact us - be it a memorable motorsport event, or a drive that we'll never forget. Happy childhood memories around a family car, or life-changing recollections of moments we wish we could undo. Maybe it's a breathtaking road trip or a thrilling car chase scene in a movie, but you can recall it as clear as day, even years on.
It's the tapestry of the highs and lows that form the picture of our past, our present and even our future, and as motoring enthusiasts, so many of those threads are built around our passion for cars.
For me, there's a few standout moments that stay in my memory;
I remember my most cherished and exciting drive experience. It was in my younger and more reckless days and I drove a modified Peugeot 306 Rallye hatchback with aggressive racing cams, high flow injectors and a sports exhaust. A friend of a friend who was a professional racing driver had invited my friend and I on a mountain run through Mount Nebo - a well known piece of picturesque winding road near Brisbane, Australia. He was driving his highly modified Honda S2000, easily outgunning my vehicle in raw horsepower, but I was enthusiastic and maybe a bit ignorant and pushed my little Peugeot so hard that I kept on his tail for the entire drive down twisting hairpins and sweeping bends. I recall the feeling of G-forces pulling strongly as I rounded a bend in the road, trees flashing past with visions of the distant valley flickering through the tree trunks like one of those flick-page animations. The sound of the screaming S2000 ahead mixed with the bellowing exhaust of my 306 causing an unusual harmonic resonance and deafening warble which filled my ears. Sunlight strobed through the treetops almost to the beat of the vocal trance music I had blaring through my sound system, and the smile on my face attested to the fact that I was in utter heaven.
I also remember another spirited drive that didn't end so well. Another mountain run on a different mountain and as we rounded a corner, I watched in horror as the car in front of me lost grip on the back end, spun around and with the front of the car facing mine, smashed backwards through a metal guardrail and plunged over a cliff face. Anxious moments followed, still seared into my memory as I managed to slow and pull over my car a few bends down the road and ran back up towards the site of the accident. Images of black skid marks sliding from tarmac to dirt and then into nothingness still fill my mind. Yelling, panic - and then (thank God), relief and almost disbelief as we saw the driver, standing on the roof of his smashed up car way down in the valley - almost completely unscathed.
I recall staying up at 3am with a bunch of friends to watch Sebastian Loeb's famous Peugeot 208 racer tackle Pike's Peak. We had pillows and sleeping bags strewn across the floor of our lounge room as we watched the (sometimes intermittent) coverage from the mountain. There was delay after delay - mostly due to accidents or spills - and most of my friends had fallen asleep on the floor before finally Loeb rolled onto the scene. From the moment the flag dropped and he launched the car into action, we all sat up spellbound watching in awe as Loeb flew up the mountainside to obliterate the standing record for the unlimited category (a record which was only recently broken by VW's insane ID R racer).
I remember going on holidays in my Father's Holden Kingswood ute. Pillows and luggage piled up to the roof, three of us kids in the back and Mum and Dad with their glorious 80's hairstyles in the front - windows down and AM radio on as we drove along the esplanade of the glittering Gold Coast.
Finally, I remember the moment when I first saw the Fast and the Furious 7 tribute to Paul Walker. I was on a 9 hour flight from Hong Kong to Australia and after watching several episodes of 'Pimp my ride', I decided to watch FF7. Seriously, I don't recall most of the movie but I can still see the ending scene in my mind right now even as I write this memoir. "See you again" is playing, and the cars driving along the road together come to a divide and split, each going their separate ways. Now I'm not one to cry, and certainly not during movies - but there, at 30,000 feet on Cathay Pacific flight CX157, I lost it. The reality of Paul Walker's death, and the symbolism in the movie just hit me right in the feels. I just sat there, staring out the window to the blue skies, crying like a baby.
These are just a few of my memories, and ones I hold dear...
But I want to hear yours. What moments take you back?