It’s that time of year again! Family, friends, indulgence and time off work for most. I love Christmas! Well everything apart from Christmas music which I wish didn’t exist but apart from that it is a delightful time of year I am sure you will agree.
For today’s ramble, I go back in time further than it feels I must say…back to Christmas Day 1998. As it is fair to assume pretty much everybody I knew growing up were into cars. I will add I was born in 1980 so a lanky 18-year-old me on the day in question. Anyway, as I was saying most people I associated with shared my passion and to this very day my lifelong friend who will remain nameless was no different. His passion was MINI’s. Not the enormous BMW modern day ones but the original ones. He would restore them, put wide arches on them, add new wheels, new interiors, stripes and even the odd CB radio for winding up HGV drivers. As a said we were 18 and yes, we were idiots.
There were two occurrences that Christmas Day that I am hoping will make my point here. The first of which came along just before lunch time. We were in his red Mini 1.0 litre bombing along a Yorkshire back road like we had someone on board going into labour but for no reason other than it was clearly great fun! Still to this day with its wide track and lack of weight I remember how that car handled. It was like it was on rails! However, as we all know the roads over Christmas are very dangerous which is why our behaviour was ultimately very dim. The tempting issue is the roads are so quiet! We had not seen another car in at least twenty minutes and the speeds were climbing. Our nameless driver’s bravery is legendary but he still was not getting close to the limits of the cars grip. I had a lobotomised grin on my face I am sure as we bombed down this back road with the car popping and banging from its straight through exhaust.
“No way” my comrade exclaimed. I would add at this time a WRX STi was pretty cool and one of the quicker cars you were likely to see. This gorgeous blue Subaru came flying up behind us and the throttle on the MINI was now welded to the floor. We rallied through a succession of corners that were perfect for the MINI and for a moment we felt like we had a chance. Then the straight came and the scalping we expected didn’t come. Weird. The Subaru just sat behind us, matching our acceleration. In our innocence…. Ok stupidity we thought the Subaru driver was enjoying himself so we carried on. More corners came with more giggling and raised pulses. Then it happened…. Our bubbles burst with deafening bang. Or I should say siren. The Subaru was an undercover Police car and swiftly pulled us over. Sweat now poured from us both in the MINI. This was serious. Neither of us knew how quick we were going but there was no debating our guilt.
The Police driver simply sits now in his gleaming Subaru making us sweat. Which we are doing profusely! After an eternity, he approaches our vehicle and asked my friend to come and have a chat. Both our windows were down on the MINI so we could listen to her roar but now all I can hear are the following words come out of the Policeman’s mouth.
“What’s your name?” Driver responds.
“Where do you live?” Driver responds with a shake to his voice.
“Ok listen. Your car has the performance of a wet fish. Stop being an idiot and go home. The last thing your family needs is a phone call about you having an accident on Christmas Day.”
With this crushing statement, he got back in his car and rumbled off leaving my friend stood in the cold shivering with fear, adrenaline and relief!
It stays with me as it was one of the best pieces of policing I have seen. We did exactly as he instructed and his words stay with us both to this day. Had he dished out a fine, points and so on which he deserved would a lesson have been learned the same? I am sure opinions vary but I should say by the simple fact I write this today that officer did a good job that day.
The message here kids is have fun this Christmas but be safe! Drink driving is at its worst over the festive period and the world is full of idiots so keep your speed down and your attention on the roads.
Happy Christmas to you all.
THE AUTO VIP.