Dreams of Rallying with an Unilkely Hero
Total mileage ran this week? 0 km. My training plan out of the window. Almost all my social plans were also put on hold. Work, work, work.
It is times like this that made one query one's livelihood. Where am I heading? Am I happy?
I sneak out for a little drive during lunch time. It was a short drive but it gave me a respite from my all day desk flying. The sound of the engine roar and the feeling of being able to control where I am heading gave me some relief.
I long for the open spaces and the country roads of the countryside. To steer my own Nissan March along those winding tree-lined country roads. Using the throttle to adjust the car along the apex of the curves. Let me fantasize on that dream drive...
Important Note: Do not attempt this with your car. It is dangerous and may cause severe harm to oneself or to your car.
I pull out of the forecourt of a rural Shell station after brimming the tank of my humble Nissan March with V Power fuel. The gear box gave a serious of quick snappy thuds. The gearbox and anti braking system giving itself a quick check as the car warms up. It feels as if Marchie is stretching itself for the drive to come. The temperature gauge glowed blue to indicate a cold engine temperature.
A quick glance around to check that the road is clear of traffic. Clear. Moving slowly, a quick stab of the steering to the left and then to the right. Repeat a few times. An F1 style tyre warming exercise...
The cold engine temperature indicator went off. Depress the throttle and work the engine to up to a gentle whine. The speedo moves up to a brisk 80km/h. Keep at it for a kilometre or two. Just to make sure the fluids and engine is all warm up.
The left hand corner beckons. I rev the engine and head towards the corner. Throttle cut, a quick step of the brakes. A quick twist of the steering to the left and immediately to the right, the rear tyres sounding as they progressively lose traction. The rear stumpy end of the March starts edging out as the nose turn towards the corner.
The revered slide doesn't happens with a Nissan March. Being overtyred, the traction is too great, and the engine torque is too puny. Furthermore, it is front wheel drive.
Nevertheless, the edging do happens. Now comes, the fun bit. Just as you cross the apex, step down on the throttle. The front Yokohamas started to grapple on the lose gravel with its thread blocks. The weight balances shifts from front to back. The engine bark and feel the front wheels pull the car straight.
Ah,... the beauty of front wheel drive. When in doubt, just step on the throttle. The front wheels always there to pull the car out of its oversteery trouble.
In the distance, the road rises up into the horizon. One again, the leaden foot steps down on the throttle. The automatic gearbox shift ups to a lower gear. It is as not as instantaneous as a Ferrari with the manettino. But nevertheless, you won't find the gearbox hesitant. The car pitch up from the acceleration as the tiny bug-like Nissan March races up the slope.
The slope finishes. The windscreen showing nothing but blue sky. The engine goes on overdrive as the Marchie fulfils its dreams of flight. The wheels spinning freely as your heart goes towards your mouth.
The momentum lessen, the nose started pointing to earthbound.
Marchie's short flight comes to an end as the front wheels and front splitter hits the ground. A shower of sparks flare out from the under chassis as the shock absorbers work overtime to control the rebound. The engine roar lessens as load returns to the front wheels.
Heart throbbing, adrenalin pumping, runners' high in the mind. I coast the March to a gentle stop. Engine ticking over, seat belts off. I open the door and step out. I survey the damage, the guilt commences...