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Backwards at a Buck Twenty!!

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posted on Jul, 6 2019 @ 10:44 AM
Okay, another post compels me to tell this story. Actually, it was a response in another post which compels me.

I'd driven up what we called the "Belt Loop" thousands of times. It wasn't really a finished 'Belt Loop' around our small town, but just the beginnings of one. Then they ran out of funding and just stopped working on it. It sat that way for years. It started down in town and continued up the hill we always referred to as the "The Pits" (a series of gravel pits on top of this big hill). After the last turn off the Belt Loop continued straight to just past the top of the hill. We would always ride our motorcycles up there; it was a good half mile long section of concrete pavement which transitioned onto a well graded gravel road. Nobody ever drove up there except for some guys who had some horse corrals back that way.

From the last turn off the Belt Loop was effectively 'closed', but the road was still there. Now, as you can imagine, a half mile long section of abandoned brand new pavement made for a GREAT drag strip! Back then the cops in town were pretty cool about it and looked the other way mostly. They knew if kids were up there drag racing, at least they were staying out of trouble elsewhere (or so they thought).

So me and two of my buddies hopped in the Trans-Am one night. It was a beautiful car; candy apple red, T-Tops, white leather interior, 350 high performance V8 with Ram-Air induction. It was a week old, and it was my Mom's car (a gift from Dad). On the first day she had it she took it down to the muffler place and had them strip all the smog crap off of it and fit it with dual straight pipe exhausts and Cherry Bomb glass packs. With 4 on the floor, this thing was a HOT ROD (and a half!)

Note - For you car nuts, this was essentially the Smokey & The Bandit Trans-Am, but in candy apple red. WOW, right? (I know, it really was cool).

So I get permission to take the Trans-Am out this night. (a little more on this in a moment). I head out and go pick up my buddies. I'm sportin' the nicest ride in town so you just know we're going to have to run the strip a couple times to check out girls. That was first on the list. Ran a couple lights with some guys who thought they were fast; lit 'em up. Before long word gets out, and some of the older guys start showing up with real hot rods, and they wanna' full-on race! Well, everyone knew where the real Friday night races happened, and that was the Belt Loop. So off to the Belt Loop we went.

Now, I didn't have any real visions of actually winning against any of these guys, but at least we could have some fun.

The hill leading up to the Belt Loop was about 3.5 miles long and it climbed about 1,500 to 1,800 feet in elevation over that distance which was pretty near the top. The last turn off was about half mile (maybe 3/8ths) before the end, and about a quarter mile to the top of the hill. The races would run uphill to the crest of the hill and then use the rest of the downhill part to slow down so you didn't run off into the gravel (and get your car dirty).

Speed limit was 55mph going up the hill, but there was no one out that night. Let's see what this baby can do, right?? So I mash the gas and up we go. We're gonna be the first ones up there. Cool! I think was going about a buck-twenty when I crested the hill, which was pretty damn good for pulling an 8% grade with two other occupants in the car!

I felt the car get light at the crest of the hill, but no worries, plenty of big wide, empty, road left, just keep it straight and we're good. To my utter shock as soon as I crested the hill I saw them...two giant 8' wide orange "ROAD CLOSED" barriers across the roadway!! (These had never been there before that day!) HOL-EEEY S######!!!

There was room to swerve around the barriers...IF you had enough traction to do so, but I was going way too fast. No time to turn. I turned the wheel, but all that did was make the car just rotate on it's axis ... right around backwards! Prior to turning I had centered up between the signs thinking I might be able to squeeze between them (if I was lucky), but then I chickened out and tried to swerve. (Keep in mind, this is all happening in a split second). When the car touched down it sounded like a 747 landing (good thing I had the clutch in). I looked in the rearview mirror and saw we were still pretty well centered between the signs. I knew better than to hit the brakes so I just closed my eyes and held on hoping for the best. I was just waiting for the big **CRASH** sound when we hit the barriers.

You know, it's pretty amazing all the stuff which runs through your mind at a time like that! It really is! I had calculated that we would likely be fine, but the car would be badly damaged by the sign debris. I had calculated that we were going fast enough that whatever happened would be quick. We would survive the crash, but I would later be executed by firing squad of my parents and sympathizers after having been beaten into a puddle of goo. But hey, at least my friends would live!

It seemed like an eternity going backwards at 120mph, really, it seemed like hours. The big **CRASH** I was waiting for never came, there was just one small **thud** on the right door panel...and the next thing I knew we were spinning out in the gravel!! I kid you not! We had somehow, miraculously, managed to split those two signs almost perfectly. The only part of the car which actually hit the barricades was the tip of the passenger's mirror. When that happened one of the boards on the sign shattered and put a tiny little dent/scratch down just behind the mudflap on the right front wheel well.

When the car came to a stop in a cloud of dust I was shaking so badly I couldn't get out. When I did finally get out I could barely walk, my knees were like jello. There was no sound. The radio was off, and the car was just sitting there idling. There was this giant cloud of dust everywhere and my headlights were shining off of it. My friends were still just paralyzed in the car like they were frozen in time. It was spooky! I walked around to the passenger's side expecting to see the right side of the car destroyed...but it wasn't! Just one scratch on the mirror housing and the tiny dent/scratch down by the wheel well. That was it!

Now, remember the part earlier about getting permission to use the car that night? The one where I said there would be more later? Well, here it is. Mom was pretty cool about giving me permission to drive her cool hot rod Trans-Am, and she really had given me permission to drive it that night. BUT, there was something special about that night too. You see, it was the very FIRST time she'd ever given me permission to drive it. AND, the reason she'd done so was because I had passed my Driver's License test earlier that same day! It was my 16th birthday!

(Now granted, I had already been driving for a while, and I hadn't just gotten a regular driver's license either, but rather my CDL license to drive a commercial truck, and I'd taken my test in a cab-over 15 speed Mack semi tractor, but still it's a pretty miraculous story, and VERY LUCKY, and VERY TRUE story).
edit on 7/6/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 6 2019 @ 11:23 AM
I think the really amazing thing about this whole incident is something which I may not have conveyed well enough in the story. ...

The car actually never stopped rotating once it started, so while we were closing in on the sign we were spinning (not fast, but steadily). It just so happened that we happened to be going perfectly backwards at the exact moment we reached the sign, and then continued to spin after we passed through it. This is why the car made such a big skidding noise when it got heavy again.

I said I had my eyes closed, but I don't think I really did (or only partly) because I could swear I saw the sign flash by on the driver's side...and the driver's side mirror actually went in BETWEEN two of the sign boards on my side! That's how tight it was!!

posted on Jul, 6 2019 @ 01:06 PM
This is the reason why I check the road one time before I do stupid stuff like that but I give you absolution (not that you need it) for being 16 at the time -and dumb as we all were.

posted on Jul, 6 2019 @ 01:32 PM
a reply to: Oleandra88

Oh, it was absolutely dumb! No doubt about it.

You can't imagine how many times I kicked myself afterwards for not doing just exactly as you suggest. But I "knew better"; there was nothing up there. I'd done it a thousand times on my motorcycles. Plus, I was 16, and everybody knows 16 year olds know everything. ...until they don't.

I was no different.

posted on Jul, 6 2019 @ 02:51 PM
Yeah I can imagine that. Recently killed an engine, cracked a cylinder wall. I knew better also....

At least you have a good story to share, haha!

posted on Jul, 6 2019 @ 06:00 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

In the 90s i was heading home for Christmas with the family a journey of 50 miles in a Saab 900 , after 20 miles i come to a bridge a big broad new one luckily enough the bridge was just one sheet of black ice with the weather , I spun 6-7 times and time stopped , when the car came to a halt across the middle of the lanes i breathed a sigh of relief any other day of the year it was busy apart from that Xmas morning not a car in sight just me .

I crawled the other 30 miles shaking like a leaf , when i got into my Grandmothers house the radio was on and the bridge had been closed due to the weather , it was common on that road to see trucks come off in the winter and go through dykes , and one summers day 2 miles from where i stayed there was a bad bend that if you took the road fast the camber would throw you towards a oak tree in a field but if you cut into the opposite side it was a breeze to go round , who ever designed it wanted to kill people and many did die on that corner the oak was all bashed where cars had gone through the fence and crashed .

This summers day doing 70-80+ mph seeing nothing was coming my brain told me cut the corner but something stopped me i dont know what but as i took the corner on the proper side which was unusual for me i came across a biker in a 3 wheel chopper low down dressed in a german helmet who was under the hight of the dyke right on that bend , i have used up all my nine lives in a motor , walked away from 2 good wrecks with not a scratch , one i was driving the other in a friends car

posted on Jul, 6 2019 @ 07:41 PM
a reply to: stonerwilliam

Yeah, those memories are cool; you never forget them, do ya?

I'll never forget that day, coming between those two signs with only a scratch...backwards, at a high rate of speed.

Never thought I'd ever see anything like that, and never did ever since.

I remember we had the T-tops off, so the car filled up with dust when we spun off into the gravel behind the barricades. Took hours to clean that car up. Had to spray paint the mirror (just happened to have a very similar color in the shop), and we had a paint booth in the shop too.

The scar on the mirror surround was bad, but some quick bondo, sanding, color and surface matching and a coat of paint looked really nice. No over-spray, we draped the car...just fixing a mirror.

posted on Jul, 6 2019 @ 09:40 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I have had two other spins in my youth in cars going to fast and got away without damage to me or the cars luckily and have never crashed into anyone else on the road but i have been VERY very lucky .

I used to work in a oil rig construction yard and when the shifts ended it was like the whacky races getting home in the am in the winter , people drove at crazy speeds even on icy roads you were scared to slow down because someone would rear end you , one very icy night while i was driving a Toyota van home you could hardly see with the fog and i dared not slow down in this line of traffic heading home at 50-60 mph which was crazy for the conditions , when i got into work the next night i heard 6 vehicles had gone off or been in prangs that night , one guy even totalled two cars that week one only days old .

The other yard i worked at had a mile plus straight road out of it and that was something to behold at change over of shifts it was MENTAL
100mph was slow going and guys with bikes going up the middle even faster i used to roll a smoke and wait 5 minutes till the madness was over and and take it easy going home , how i made it to my fifties amazes me

posted on Jul, 7 2019 @ 05:15 AM
a reply to: stonerwilliam

2014 I was on our longest race track (20~km) here and I got allowed to to a speed attack since we and a nother group were the only ones there that morning. It goes around a mountain and down again (Nuremburgring).

We had some problems with the fuel pump circuit so we let the other group take our run. We forgot about them and expected they would do their warmup run and then go for it.

Fixed the issue, and warmed up one round (20km) and when the official came around and gave me the okay, I floored it.
I am doing about 220-240km/h uphill and I see headlights and then they vanish in a fog bank. A second before they vanish I see the break lights coming on. I step on the brakes because I know inside the fog bank, there is a turn to the left. I try to slow down as much as possible without passing the point where the weightshift becomes a problem and not being able to turn into the corner without going sidewards.

I see the white line on the side of the road coming up just a few meters in front of me. At this time I just pulled into the corner praying to not hit the other car. My mind races where to go and what to do and what not, as I see a car flyby to my left like it was standing still. My luck was that I saw the white line on the side of the road for the rest of the fog bank. I just followed the line as it came up a few meters before me.

The fog bank was not there the first time I went over the track, the other car also not. I did not crush any record but my personal one and someone elses, too. My uncle who was with me (or I with him) freaked out because I broke his own personal record in the car, that also belonged to him.

But more because I was ffing stupid fast and I only told him a few minutes later what else happened, as the other car rolled up to us. I could have been mad at them for beeing on the track when they should not have been but I was lucky.

TL;DR: Even on a race track with checked conditions and rules, you can run into situations that you actively avoided and took precautions before.

go to 6:44 to see the part of the track where that happened. The video is not from me!!

edit on 7-7-2019 by Oleandra88 because: edit edit edit

posted on Jul, 7 2019 @ 06:02 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk
The tales of the belt loop had me in suspenders. Okay. I'll let myself out.

So your parents never found out about the damage?

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