Not quite the same as 40 years of experience!
Even before I got this gig, I was racing. I may be a life-long mid-packer, but at least I got out there, and I can still get a car around a track reasonably well.
And, you can see the proper racing line from where I am.
Most of the time.But sometimes I forget that not everybody is this lucky.
So when local Milton-based activist-in-general, town councillor and neighbour Jan Mowbray asked if I could come up with a little prize to offer for a couple of charity auctions she was organizing - in these cases, for the Bob Rumball Centres for the Deaf, and the Rotary Club of Milton - I wondered if she thought giving people rides around Mosport in my Targa Newfoundland Kia Optima Turbo rally car might appeal.
She liked the idea so much she bought one of them herself.
So did Tom and Shirley Dusmet, and Bill Zammit.
The issue then became to find a day when all of the guests and me were simultaneously free, and when we could gain access to Mosport.
Plus, the Kia was undergoing modifications for this year's Targa at Frank and Dan Sprongl's Four Star Motorsports shop in Georgetown - better suspension, bigger brakes - and we had to schedule our drive day around parts availability and the Sprongls' work schedule.
Billy Smilovsky to the rescue. Billy runs Engineered Automotive, a massive high-end automotive repair, modification, race-prep and restoration shop in Concord.
He puts on regular track days for his customers so they can give their cars work-outs they can't really do on the street. He invited me to one of his sessions last week.
At the last moment Bill Zammit couldn't make it on this day, so he made a present of it to his son Jeff.
That's me, Jan, Jeff, Shirley and Tom left to right above, with the rally car.None of the guests had ever been driven around Mosport before. I love it when I have newbies in the car. They try to be cool and all, but once in a while, they'll have a wo...rd catch in their thro...at...
That's my clue that I've got their attention.
Jan called it an "awesome, fabulous, over-the-top experience."
I think the others enjoyed it too.
And, we raised about two grand for the two beneficiaries.
Plus, I got a chance to try out the car before it gets shipped down to Newfoundland next week - Targa begins September 17.
These AP Racing brakes are stupendous. I was following 911 Turbos and ZR-1 Corvettes into Turn 5A, and outbraking them by thirty metres...
I hope to be able to offer these rides again, so watch for a charity auction at a location near you!
Many thanks to Kia for letting me borrow the car, to Dan and Frank Sprongl for working hard to meet our timetable, to Billy Smilovsky and his team - his wife Maureen who really runs the show including organizing the terrific lunch, to Larry Caruso and all the marshals, safety crew etc., who manage the sessions, work the flags, keep everything moving smoothly. All very professional, yet friendly and relaxed.
We'll be back!