Today I want to talk about the “F” word. FUN! The type of pure, no holds barred fun you had as a child. No pretences, no self-consciousness just pure enjoyment. I am fortunate to say I have many memories in my life I could put in this category but when it comes to engines and wheels few can top the day I want to share with you in the following paragraphs.
So firstly as I would personally say I have the most fun when it involves doing something that is potentially dangerous, it has to be loud and will almost certainly include speed in some form. Nodding and smiling? Good…..
Autumn is my favourite season. The transitional splendour is a catalyst to England at its most stunning. The colours, the welcome chill to the air, coats, scarves, cappuccino and rosy cheeked women. What is also provides is post-harvest farm land which is damp but no boggy and as luck would have it for us on this particular day it wasn’t raining!
The weapons of choice on this glorious October day were things called “Rage Buggies”. Very much in the same species as the Ariel Atom with its exoskeleton chassis and suspension but the off-road version. We have two buggies at our disposal, two helmets, two sets of gloves, two sets of goggles and two large fuel containers. As you sit in the rage buggy on your little moulded plastic seat your pulse immediately raises. We are so used to air bags and side impact protection these days that to simply have a chassis / roll cage, four dirt tyres and a 900cc Honda Fireblade engine right behind your back feels so invigorating! The transmission is a column system with 6 gears. There is a switch for forward and reverse so to answer your question, yes there are six reverse gears if you are feeling brave!
There I sit, engine warm and purring, helmet and goggles on and nothing in front of me apart from an enormous stubble field to hooligan around. The worst you could do would be to roll it and as long as you keep your arms in that wouldn’t matter in the slightest! First gear, clunk. Rev’s up and drop the clutch as if the peddle was white hot. A bike engine on this thing is genius. The noise is unreal and the revs seem endless! You can’t help but scream with joy at the top of your lungs as the tyres spin and you zig zag off into the distance. Once first gear finally ends the ratios are short and you rattle up through the box into third. There is no need to go any further as you want to keep the rev’s up and fourth gear speeds will almost certainly end up with you making friends with the bushes that line our play pen. I now approach the end of the field at what feels like jet fighter speed. It’s probably no more than 60MPH but it feels double that. The damp ground beneath the knobbly tyres is like putty and the buggy playfully slides for me as we corner. My throat now sore from expressing my enjoyment in language that would make Chubby Brown wince and my face aches from smiling.
Lap after lap of the field goes by over the next ten minutes or so and as bravery climbs I nearly put the roll cage to the test a few times but pure luck prevents it. The ground now chewed up slightly from my circuits is getting more pliable so drifts grow as does the enormous amount of dirt flying out of the back of my buggy. From a distance is looks like a speed boat spitting out dirty water.
I can no longer selfishly drive past my friends who are patiently waiting for their turn so I pull in. My pulse is racing and my hands are shaking that much I struggle to find neutral. The adrenaline dump is huge and my legs feel like jelly. This is what fun is! I could not stop smiling and enjoyed myself vicariously through my friends as they fly around the field making their own imaginary corners up as they go. As the hour’s tick by like minutes we take turns standing there blathered and grinning or sat in the hot seat screaming our lungs out. If you get the opportunity to do an experience day with a Rage Buggy please remember this blog and sign yourself up! You will not regret it. The day I am talking about will be nearing 8 years ago and I can remember it like it was yesterday.
For those of you wondering why we didn’t use the second buggy I mentioned earlier sadly it had a running issue that day so better safe than sorry. Glass is half full though, using one was better as we would probably have crashed them into each other.
So there you have it readers, my definition of fun in its purest, petrol head form. A field, 14,000 RPM and minimal grip. Days to remember don’t need to cost the earth.
The Auto VIP.