Thursday, December 8, 2016

An Unforgettable Day

My 1999 Camaro SS (with aftermarket wheels)
Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "An unforgettable day in my live."

Well, I suppose I could talk about when my oldest son was born.

Or the day I got married.

Or the day I got left at the bus station. Oh, already talked about that.

But I'm going to talk about: my first day driving on a racetrack.

I signed up for a High Performance Driving School through the BMW club of Spokane. They didn't care what you drove, as long as it wasn't an SUV. I'd seen four-door BMW M5s driven on the track. Of course, M5s are screaming fast, especially for a sedan.

At the time I had a blue 1999 Camaro SS, stock. I had to rent a helmet from the driving school and I showed up bright and early on a Saturday morning. They put me in the "D" group (of four groups, A, B, C, and D) which were people who've never driven on a racetrack before. I was slightly insulted because I considered myself a pretty good driver. Then I got on the track with an instructor.

And it was both amazing and very difficult. The concentration required was overwhelming. One mistake at 130 mph could be fatal. But it was so much fun.

Then I was amazed to learn: it was a two-day event. I thought it was only one day. So I came back the second day. By about noon, the D class were lining up in order of speed. I was number two. A guy with a BMW roadster was number one; I had more horsepower than he, but he had more skill. On later driving days, I would be able to keep up with him. Also, the D-class had thinned out a lot as people got tired and went home.

It was the most fun I'd had with my clothes on. I was hooked. I went to a lot of those schools over the years, only stopping when I became a writer because of the costs involved. It wasn't the $300 fee. It was tires and brakes and keeping the car maintained. This got worse when I upgraded my car to a Corvette. Even though the Corvette has a lot more power than the Camaro, the Camaro was more fun to drive because you had to work to keep it going fast. The Corvette just went fast (sometimes too fast although I never put it off the track).

So that was an unforgettable day. Actually, two days. What was your unforgettable day?

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