Tareqhassan’s resident Motor Mouth, David Booth, and managing editor Neil Vorano tried their best to one-up each other on the track at the Nissan Micra Cup. But just finishing the race without a major catastrophe proved to be difficult.
David Booth: I have never been a religious man. I find all that Wrath of God talk — not to mention the raining of fiery coals and burning of sulfur — puts a serious damper on the Sodom and Gomorrahing I like to call the weekend. I’m more of an Oscar Wilde fan, “resisting everything except temptation” a far better descriptor of my moral philosophy.
But, for the first time in a while, I have to acknowledge the wisdom of the Old Testament. Proverbs 16:18 to be exact. Indeed, “Pride goeth before destruction” pretty much describes my entire July 9th weekend of Nissan Micra Cup racing at a Bowmanville, Ontario’s famed Mosport racetrack — calling it Canadian Tire Motorsport Park strikes me as taking names in vain. In fact, the whole weekend seemed to be about destructing either myself or the poor little Micra runabout I was driving.
I had such high expectations. Having had at least some experience around Mosport — on two wheels, mind — I dreamed of a top 10 finish. I even fantasized of “doing” some 1:47s (lap times). Most crucial to a satisfying experience, however, was the thorough humiliation of my new boss, Neil Vorano, in direct competition. Indeed, so confident was I in this last that I was openly boastful — committing, yes I know, one of the Seven Deadly sins — that I was going to pass my junior on the outside of Mosport’s famed sphincter-puckering Corner Two, the fantasy specific enough that I saw myself with one hand on the wheel, the other offering him a gaunty Tazio Nuvolari-like single digit salute as I sailed past to glory. Who’s the boss now, was to be the completely undisguised intention.
Little did I know the bugger had been sandbagging me….
Neil Vorano: While I may not have had any religious connotations in mind when it came to our Nissan Micra Cup weekend (other than, as you’ll soon find out, adding a “holy” pre-fix to an astonishingly wide variety of expletives), I had similar expectations to our resident Motor Mouth. In fact, I had two simple objectives for this, my first racing experience in Canada: 1) do not, under any circumstance, crash, and 2) beat that loudmouth schnook, David Booth.
The first, of course, was necessary to achieve the second. To finish first, goes the most important maxim in motor racing, you must first finish. And I actually had one wild card up my sleeve: a sliver, a mere dollop really, of actual racing experience, having raced a Swift hatchback in a Suzuki series. No, it wasn’t the McLarens or Ferraris that Booth regularly thrashes on our pages, but, in fact, their pedestrian nature was actually an advantage. While the Motor Mouthed one was used to having high-powered turbocharged engines to make up for his lack of talent, I had the benefit of racing nothing but under-powered, ill-handling econoboxes. With but 109 horsepower under the Micra’s bonnet, it was my ace in the hole.
DB: The feces hit the fan pretty quickly. One minute I was glorious sailing along two seconds a lap quicker than the sandbagging one, the next — and the video captures this far more dramatically than any thousand words I could write — I was becoming one with the wall on the outside of infamous corner two. Elbow dug into ribcage at about 60 miles per hour, or, more accurately, stopped from 60 mph in the space of about two inches. Thus did evaporate any fantasy of intra-department dominance. It’s a little tough to channel Lewis Hamilton when you’re feeling like Joe Frazier after the Thrilla in Manilla.
NV: Pretty hard to give a middle-digit salute when both hands are gripping the steering wheel in terror, isn’t it, oh chastened one.
DB: The weekend’s sole bright spot was the miracle of modern medicine. By medicine, I mean powerful muscle relaxants and some — let’s call them daddy’s little helpers — left over from a previous racing accident. Suitably medicated, I managed to drag my sorry ass back to Bowmanville, still deluded in the hopes of conquest but with “battered and bruised” excuses now at the ready.
NV: Of course, I was relieved to see that David was back. Officially, I mouthed the expected platitudes one is expected to express concern about a fallen fellow worker. I am, after all, the boss and am expected to set a socially conscious tone for my underlings to follow. But the real reason that I was happy to see him ambulatory was that boasting to a corpse — or, even worse, someone in the emergency ward — seems a Donald Trump chortle too far.
And I had much to boast about. While Booth was convalescing, I had quietly put in some quick laps and used all that previous Suzuki Swiftian nous to qualify 15th. Booth? Way back in 22nd. Who’s the boss now, oh Motor Mouthed one?
DB: OK, ye of little respect, now why don’t you tell the good folks what happened next?
NV: Well, the racing gods have a cruel sense of humour. Chomping at the bit to lord my superiority over the disabled one, I managed to crash not just once, but twice in one race. Yes, twice in one race. There is no humiliation greater than having to limp — bent wheels bouncing jauntily along — your damaged car back to the pits, all your competitors, including that blasted Booth, charging past at full speed. The shame was made only worse because I could feel the pitying stare of thousands of spectators.
DB: Oh, you think that’s bad, do you? You think that the ignominy of defeat is the worst thing that could happen to you? I’ll see that indignity and raise you the gastronomical distress of being strapped into a speeding automobile — with an impossible-to-get-out-of five-point harness, no less — with nary a roadside “rest station” to be found.
The night before the race I decided to be a good boy. Just a little Chinese and early to bed. Take the high road, I thought, I’m already banged up enough as it is. I need to be ready for the young whippersnapper in the morning.
Vengeance remains the sole purview of the Lord, it seems. All I got from my uncharacteristic good behavior was a case of bad chow mein and, how can I say this politely, a monosodium glutamate-fueled improvised explosive device in my lower intestines. So, my entire race — 30 interminable minutes with no bathroom in sight — wasn’t spent chasing those hoped for 1:47s. I didn’t give a flying fig about my “line” through Corner Two. Indeed, I couldn’t have cared less how fast you were, whether you were ahead of me or, for that matter, whether you were even still in the race. Nope, every single bit of my initial haughtiness — that’s the stuff that actually leads to the “fall” that Proverbs promises — was instead replaced with this one simple supplication …
“Please God, don’t let me shit my pants.”