Tuesday, June 3, 2014
My older brother, who has always loved Porsches, has decided to indulge his midlife crisis by racing a perfectly good, quite expensive car around in circles with other people afflicted by the same excess of money and a need for speed.
He invited us to come watch him race in Hastings this past weekend. When you start racing, they put an X on the back of your car; sort of a 'Student Driver' sign for race drivers. You get to take the X off after you've successfully completed four races without incident. He'd completed two races last year, this set was to be the one where he graduated.
Curious to get a taste of a Porsche club driver's life, the kids (Kate and the baby are here) and I piled into the car and made the six hour drive after work last Friday night.
We got to the track in time on Saturday morning to watch his first practice run. I was catching up on the latest family news with his wife and kinda-sorta watching him drive when the cars on the track all came to a halt. You could see smoke off at the far end of the track - right about where Michael had been driving.
We watched anxiously for his car to pull off with the others, but didn't see it. We COULD see the white roof of the car that was burning; the same color as his car. Since the waiting ambulance didn't take off, we weren't panicked, but at the same time...
Sure enough, when his car came off the track, it was on the back of a tow truck. Once off the track, they pulled it over to the side and doused it with water good to make sure the fire was out. It turns out he'd taken a turn wrong, run onto the grass, got a load of alfalfa stuck under the car and the heat of the engine set fire to the hay.
I was quite sad. We'd driven a long ways to see him reach for a dream, only to see it go up in smoke. Little did I know. They brought the car back to his spot, and within a few minutes he had all four tires off. He and Joe climbed under the car to pull out all the packed grass; his wife wiped the extinguisher residue off the exterior. By the time his first race started 90 minutes later, the car was ready to go. I was impressed.
A couple of hours later, he had his two races tucked safely under his belt. Relaxing in the condo after the event, he was tired, but obviously high on his well-earned achievement. Yea, Michael!
(I'm SO glad we took the time to make the trip...)