They say when you are great time slows down, the seconds become hours, when you are great you live between the ticks of the clock. Ted Williams said he could see the ball pitched in slow motion, he could watch the seams spin through the air as the ball hurled toward him. For the greats, in racing the sweet purr of the engine is lost, or rather transformed. When the race is on the sweet hum of pumping pistons is replaced by the metronomic pounding of gasoline igniting. When the competition is tight your mind focuses on the moment, the time between revs can be savored, and each explosion rings clearly in your ear. At the line, ready to go, time stops, and the race begins.
It had been some time since I have been able to race, not since my mythic encounter with the Jetta GL. I was beginning to think it was a fluke, or maybe the word had gotten out. Were people avoiding the mighty blue wagon? Today, my drought would finally end, and by what you ask? Not another Jetta, but one, very small step up, a Ford Focus SVT. I was on my way home from lunch at the very light where the famed Jetta encounter took place, behind me came up a black focus, it had plastic mesh between the slits on the front bumper, I knew it was an SVT. He lined up next to me at the light but when I looked over to see the man behind the wheel of the black Focus he did not look back. Was he afraid? Did he catch wind of the gutted midpipe that would put the WRX in a whole different class?
The light turned green and I took off at half throttle, and nothing from the focus on my right. Disappointment, even though I knew I would win if he were to run. Another light, this time I was annoyed to have caught the red, there were chilly dogs and mac & cheese waiting for me at home. I had reached the light long before the focus but this time I didn’t care, I was merely watching my light and paying no mind to the deceptive black focus next to me. When the light flashed emerald I rolled over the line at a pace slower then was normal for me even in every day situations. But this time I heard something to my right, a cry of battle came from the squealing wheels of the tenebrous focus.
Time had slowed finally, or so it seems. My foot slowly pressed to the floor and my RPMs began to rise, starting so low in the power band it took a while before the sweet turbo scream reached my ears. Though the element of surprise was on the side of the focus, traction was not kind to him. Short shifting at close to 6500 rpm I was surprised at the slowness I felt, it felt as if it took over a second to pull the shifter into second. He was on my rear bumper as I pressed the pedal down to accelerate through second gear, I had gained a half car by the time I reached third. Again, the motion of my shift which again I did around 6500 was slow. But this time I realized something as I felt the car fall forward, it was not a genius ability that was slowing time to my mind. No in fact it was sheer laziness, and I was shifting slowly and short of redline.
A turn in the road came up, sharp one, I powered through in third and he fell farther behind. At the next light he turned right and didn’t so much as look over to see my thumbs up. Through third before the turn he held alright, losing ground slowly. But either the driver or the car couldn’t or wouldn’t handle the turn at speed. Someday, I will race a cool car, maybe.
If there is anything that sounds wrong or is misworded, I am just to lazy to proof read.