"...Big Government Will Be Behind It." The January 2019 issue of Car and Driver revives a topic that is sure to only get larger and more intense over coming years - "The War on Cars." But, make no mistake, this topic seems like it has been one of the few constants in my life since I first became a wee-lad-enthusiast probably forty years ago. We've loved to hate cars for a long time now. But my first reflection while reading the article actually was some introspection of my own personal politics, namely one centered on independence, intelligence, and irreverence (the tagline of Car and Driver, incidentally) and whether my automotive passion (folly?) may have had an incipient role in shaping my worldview. Could it be that cars shape your politics? Are they that evil?
Come join us for the next exciting installment of the annual FASRI Karting Grand Prix at R1 Indoor Karting in Lincoln RI. We'll kick off at 10:30 and hopefully wrap up the racing around 12:30 so we can grab a bite/drink at the newly opened FUEL restaurant upstairs. Both kids (6 years and up) and big kids in adult bodies are welcome to race (there will be separate race brackets for kids and adults).
Can anyone beat Joe? He might have been pipped by Guillaume last year, but will it happen again?? Will JB cruise ahead this year and steal the win from both of them?
And can Ian put his recent practice to good use on the kids' course?
There is only one way to find out - join us!!
What is the best way to celebrate Newport, RI in late summer? You have a party. At a mansion. With amazing cars. And celebrities like Jay Leno. And outdoor dining. And everyone dressed to the nines. And a theme of celebrating the end of Prohibition. And the revelation that New England has emerged as an amazing place to be a car person due to the efforts of a recent car museum - the Audrain Automotive Museum. Yes. That is the way you do it. And we did just that.
I faintly recall the Latin phrase "per aspera ad astra" from reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" back in early high school. I really liked the concept of "through the mud to the stars" or "through hardships to the stars". I hadn't thought about it much in automotive terms. It turns out I needn't have bothered. My recent automotive adventures bear a stronger resemblance to the Top Gear mantra - "ambitious but rubbish". Here's the story of how things recently took a turn for the worst.
How do you continue to grow and develop a skill? The classic saying is that you have to "step out of your comfort zone." I recently did just that. The next goal is to checkpoint where my skills are now and see how I can improve. How do you push yourself out of your comfort zone in the high performance driving world? Sometimes you have to get a bit extreme.
This past weekend, my son, Marshall, and I got to go to a very special event to hear Brian Redman tell us about his racing history. Mr. Redman has won a few things in his day - the 1970 Targa Florio being one of the most spectacular.
Lest anyone thing that the ACF is all about wrenches, gas, and oil - I also spent a fair bit of the winter reading...about wrenches, gas, and oil. One of the most fascinating reads was Peking To Paris by Luigi Barzini. Barzini was an Italian journalist who, in 1907, joined a team of two others to race a car from Peking all the way to Paris. Even by today's standards, that is a big undertaking. But imagine that in 1907, the car was only a commercial entity for about 10 years and was still very novel. Over much of the route, the racers would encounter people and animals (the car's primary competition at the time) who had never seen a car before and many who weren't yet aware of their existence! Also allow for the fact that there were no gas stations, no repair facilities who were familiar with working on cars, and the big one - not many reasonable roads and none up to our modern standards. Twenty five cars registered for the race and five actually showed up in Peking to compete.
On top of these logistical challenges, the Italian prince who owned and largely piloted the car, Prince Scipione Borghese, his mechanic, Ettore Guizzardi, and Mr. Barzini were driving an Itala.
What's a great way to use an hour between dropping the kids off somewhere and then picking them up? Enjoying some of the stored beauties over at Oxford Motorcars. They specialize in MG race cars so the iron here is primarily vintage English - Jags, MGs, Triumph, and Austin Healey's with the occasional Morgan thrown in. But some German, Italian, and even American marques are present as well. Looks like this will be the first Saturday of each month over at their facility in East Providence.
On February 12th, we rev'ed up our electric motors at R1 Indoor Karting, the new karting facility in Lincoln, RI, for our 3rd annual French American School Karting Grand Prix. This new facility is preferable in a few ways over our prior destination. This is much closer to us, generating a better turnout, they were quite a bit easier to work with to set up the event, and they have a dedicated, full-time junior track so for the first year this wasn't a parents-only event! We had a few veterans but lots of new faces and lots of kids!
I made a pledge to myself to not "let myself go" too much this winter. Last winter I gained some weight, saw my driving skill atrophy a little, and generally had a hill to climb to get back into the spirit of things in the Spring. The older I get, the harder it seems to be to put in the effort to do this remedial work. So I thought I'd try to nip it in the bud this year before it got out of hand.