25 THINGS ALL PETROL HEADS MUST DO by Bill Pearson Life gets busy with so many unimportant things, so here’s a list of things you really shouldn’t miss out on. Tick off the ones you’ve done, prioritise the rest, and make concrete plans that will at the very least get your way further down the list. Enter or at Least Attend a Demolition Derby There’s no cheaper nor sadistically hilarious form of motor sport, especially with the additional fun of caravans. Find one at your local Speedway track or try the Demolition Derby Drivers Assoc at www.wecrash.com Build Your Own Engine Nothing beats the sense of excitement and pride when you turn that key and it fires. You get that buzz every time it starts too, even if it’s just a stock engine. No mechanical knowledge? Get a workshop manual off the internet, or start with a just lawn mower engine. Crew on a Race Team Bloody knuckles, no pay, lukewarm pies, and little sleep. Pick your favourite amateur racer and go volunteer. Race a Hire Go-Kart These little terrors hold many records at tracks around the world. They’re the cheapest white knuckle ride you can get, one that’ll seriously raise your heart rate. Get together with a few mates from either work or your club and expect to have a ball. Track etiquette says you don’t cut up the inside, but there’s always at least one desperado happy to T-bone you, so keep your apex approaches tight. There’s a couple of tracks to choose from in Newcastle. Learn to Weld Fusing metal with electricity is a skill every club car requires. There’s heaps of schools and short TAFE courses you can do, or just ask an experienced mate to show you how. This is a skill for life so the sooner you learn it the better. See www.weldingschools.com Go see a Jet Car Run The best place to find these rockets is at drag race meetings, but whatever you do don’t sit on the hill behind them. The sheer noise, heat and fumes are awesome. Go to the Summer Nats This annual hot rod weekend in Canberra is an auto extravaganza not to be missed. Forget the wet T-shirts. The wildest and best customizing, extraordinary paint jobs, auto engineering, street parades and burnouts has to go high on your list of not only “I must do that”, but “I am GOING to that.” Drive the NSW Southern Coast Road One of the most scenic and flowing bits of public tar in the country, and even your wife or girl friend will enjoy it! If you start right down in Victoria and come up via Omeo you’ll also experience one of our nations best Alpine roads too. Officiate at a Club Event At Least Once a Year If all our members did this we’d have more helpers than we need and avoid burning people out by over use. Donate just one Saturday to do a CAMS course in the field that interests you. This will open events all over Australia to you who are seeking accredited folk. Paint a Car Yourself Although there is a fair amount of technical knowledge required you need to know few things can beat driving something sporting a colour scheme of your own design and application. The secret’s in getting the surface prepared and primed correctly and in taking the time to sand & fill and get it right. There’s good info on the internet or your local library, or find a panel beater mate who’ll gladly give you free guidance. Attend an Aussie V8 Jet Boat Race These boats are awesome and seem to defy the laws of physics by the way they turn and accelerate on the water. They race them in New Zealand or check out www.v8superboats.com.au Attend the Bathurst 1000 How many times have you promised yourself you’re going to do this? Get out of that lounge chair for just one October weekend! You have one of the greatest car races in the world a few hours away so have no excuses for not experiencing it at a level TV can never offer. There is no other sound like 30 screaming small block V8’s passing close by in unison www.v8supercars.com.au/content/bathurst1000 Go to A Top Fuel Alcohol Drag Race Meeting Not into drag racing? Who cares! These are the fastest, loudest cars on the planet and NOTHING compares to being track side as they blast past. A shock wave hits you like someone slapping you in the face. If you’re ever lucky enough to actually sneak onto the start line you’ll find it’s so sticky your shoes get left behind. Exhaust waves coming out of the headers merely on idle feels like Hulk is thumping your chest. The fumes of unburnt fuel burns your eyes and permeates your clothes. The guttural thunder shakes your innards, makes your eyes water and your nose run. No audio equipment known to man can harness this sound, and it’s part of initiation for new chums to remove their earplugs for the first alcohol pass. Yes – don’t forget serious hearing protection whatever you do. Get there early and tour the pits, which are open at very reasonable cost. You won’t believe the mechanical stuff you’ll see laid out and going on. Western Sydney International Dragway is your closest track (“Wizard” as the devotees call it). www.andra.com.au Teach a Junior Either driving or mechanics – it doesn’t matter. Pass on your passion, experience and knowledge. Especially look out for kids with no real dad. Tutor them patiently in how to drive and even lend them your car for an event. Take a youth to a big race meeting or car extravaganza. You’ll get even more out of the relationship than even they will. Do it once and I guarantee you’ll do it again. Buy or Sell Stuff at a Swap Meet The auto collectables and antiquities you see at these meets makes for an incredibly enjoyable half day. But take your wallet with something in it as you’re guaranteed to see something for your personal marque. If you can get together a small pile of unusual bits get a stall yourself. The conversations you have will be far more valuable than any dollars you make. A warning though. Advise your wife you will probably come home with more stuff than you take. One of the best meets is held right here at Cessnock. Wash Car Parts in a Dishwasher We’ve all probably done this already, but make sure your spouse doesn’t see you or it’ll be the dog kennel for sure! Watch These Videos Dweebs have their Star Wars or John Wayne Westerns trilogy; this is ours. The best ones were made before “blue screens” when the stunts were all real. The Italian Job (see the original with Michael Caine before the remake), The French Connection with Gene Hackman, What’s Up Doc with Barbara Streisand & Ryan O’Neill. This has the funniest car chase down San Francisco’s hills you’ll ever see, in fact the whole flick is worth watching. Rendezvous – from one side of Paris to the other in 8 minutes in a Ferrari (you’ll find it on U-Tube!), Gone in 60 Seconds (once again see the original first), Vanishing Point, The Seven Ups, Bullit, Dirty Mary & Crazy Larry, and Mad Max I & II. Yes I know you just thought of 3 I forgot! Ride in Ten Classic Cars Even better – drive as many as you can. Draw up your own list to enjoy . Mine would include an original Mini Cooper S, a Ferrari, classic sports cars such as the Lotus Elan, Austin Healey 3000, and the MGB. A couple of members have kindly loaned me their B’s and I was surprised what fun they were just to drive Maitland or to enter in a concourse. You’d have to include at least one of the classic Aussie V8 muscle cars, like a Falcon GTHO or an A9X Torana. Include a modern turbo 4wd and a turbo rotary for a real thrill. Be a Passenger in a Rally Car at Speed This is a mere $10 exercise at our Ringwood Dirt Track Days next year. You don’t even have to pre-arrange it. Just turn up with a helmet and a preparedness to get a bit dusty and shaken up. If you’re a tar competitor experience how the other half lives. Buy a Car and Wreck It This is the fun, ideal way to get a truckload of cheap spares. Promise your wife it’ll be gone in two weeks and make sure you redeem the shell for cash at the metal munchers within that time. Invite your favourite kids to rummage and keep whatever they find when you remove the seats and carpet. Best part is… you don’t have to put anything back together. Attend a Motocross Spectacular The noise, skill and madness of these shows, particular when they’re inside, should not be missed – even if you’re not a bike rider. Go with a small group and come away bedazzled. Perfect the Hand Brake Turn, Burn Out, and the Front End Throw These are all enjoyable skills that can be learnt within our local motor sport. Don’t have a clue how to do them? Just talk to our experienced motorkhana drivers or any young guy under 20. Search “car J Turns” on U-Tube for a few clues. If you can’t do these well you’re not as good as you think behind the wheel. Besides – they’re a scream to do! Perform an Engine Swap Upgrade At least once in your life ditch a stock motor for something more powerful. Do your research, talk to enthusiasts of your make of car, and search U-Tube for endless ideas. The only golden rule is don’t bite off more than you can chew. Avoid ending up with a dusty, sheet covered, unfinished project car that mocks you by careful planning and the enlisting of expert help in the areas where you lack it. Attend Targa Tasmania Compete somehow if you can, otherwise hire a camper home and go for a relaxing Tasmanian holiday with your family. People are always after volunteer crew members too. Discover and Buy a Shed Find That Monaro you see in the old guy’s garage down the street that never gets used? Make it yours, or just buy and re-sell it so yet another heritage beast gets re-born. Keep your ear to the ground and your eye out in country back waters, particularly in country Victoria with it’s low humidity and no pink slip rego renewal. The bottom line is if you get no further than noting this list compared to actually putting deliberate plans in place to work your way through them, you’re going to miss out.