Some places are more frightening than others, it’s hard to say why most of the time but even so it is undeniable that some places whether they be physical places or places we go in our minds have a way of getting to us. They take us places where we feel fear. Fear can creep into our lives in many forms and while history is full of examples of what horrors we are capable of when we are scared or threatened it is important to note that fear is a trigger that brings around opportunities for greatness.
When we leave the blissful safety our homes give us and travel, we invite fear into our lives. It can come with many varied severities and in many different ways. Some people feel fear dozens of times a mile, I know this to be fact as I have been in a car with them myself. People hate flying despite the statistics telling us it is the safest way to travel. People’s behaviour changes when a car approaches quickly behind them or something unexpected happens on the road. Fear will come, and when it does, how we react affects everything.
At the end of part 2 I am bursting at the seams with joy at the wheel of the Radical and the Gods of childishness have presented me with a play mate. Now not to stereotype but most people who drive Lancer Evolutions are normally up for a bit of road related foolishness within reason and this person is no exception I’m sure. Our cars are worlds apart and the overwhelming thought in my mind is “If only Colin was driving”. The Radical takes a lot of learning and I have a long way to go with this machine before fear is replaced by confidence. Well, a balance that at least allows me to get somewhere near the boundaries of this things capabilities! Sadly, this isn’t the case and I am very aware how little car there is around me. You are as vulnerable as on a motorbike but with none of the protective gear. To have an accident in this car, especially given its previous owner is bottom of my to do list!
The Evo on the other hand is only happy when being whipped and with its clever 4WD system, active yaw, clever diff’s yah de yah de yah it is permanently glued to the road by default. They really are superb, and this particular car is a lovely example. For those expecting a tale of us duelling I am sorry to disappoint, that is not where this is going.
How we deal with our fear and how some triumph when it enters our lives is what my mind was full of at the end of that day. I firmly believe the driver of the Evo is still walking and talking due to three main factors. One, his car was clearly a labour of love. This is so critical when on the roads as you all will know! Buy the right car and maintain it! Even at a glance this was clear of his machine. I admit I never examined it closely, but you could just tell the love of his life received the attention you would expect. My point being, no bald tyres, all brakes upgraded and no knocks or bangs that “I really must get seen to”. How many times have we all heard that? Two, we weren’t being daft. We were more cruising enjoying just being part of a convoy that would turn 99 out of 100 heads. Finally, third and most importantly he was one of those people who didn’t let fear get in the way of reacting with a calm mind and decisiveness to what came next. It saved his life and the lives of his passengers that day.
What unfolded wasn’t complicated. A Saab 93 of all things came around a bend ahead of us at what looked comfortably over 100MPH. Its rear end broke and much like our trusty mate “Ken Block” from Blog 1 the driver lost control. I had missed a gear in the Radical and had dropped back a bit which was pure fluke. The Saab driver is now along for the ride and the car is skidding wildly. The driver of the Evo left his evasive action until just the right moment and the car darted away from danger as the Saab slid past now half way through a complete 360 degree spin. Tyre smoke bellowed from the Saab’s wheel arches as the driver fought for control. It was futile but who wouldn’t be stood on the brake pedal in that situation!?
I was an event that in total lasted about 3 seconds but as you play it back in your mind time and time again you realise had the stars aligned differently, had the driver of the Evo been speeding, texting, arguing or simply had he not been in a car with limitless grip and agility it probably would have been horrific.
He pulled half a mile or so down the road to let his girlfriend out of the car so she could collect herself. She was clearly shaken by the close call. He was cool as a cucumber. His ability to react at the right time and make the right decision (in the right car some would say) made all the difference.
Fear didn’t get the better of him that day.
The stunning capabilities of the cars we enthuse over is often judged in lap times but that day the death toll of zero was the biggest accolade and triumph for modern cars I can think of.
I took the Radical back to the safety of its garage shortly after that. The fun factor in being on the roads was gone for the day. I just wanted to be home. Safe and sound. The bests previous owner on my mind was sadly all the reminder I needed.
Drive well and drive safely my friends. It’s not a playground out there and the world is full of idiots. That day was proof that his love and pride in his car rewarded him in ways he wouldn’t have expected and I tip my cap to that man.
THE AUTO VIP.