@ Calabogie Motorsports Park
BY: Matt Randall (06/27/2016)
Our past race at Calabogie was by far the most difficult and disappointing race we’ve had so far. Don’t get me wrong, we had fun. We always have fun. Racing is awesome. However, a blown engine/fire with 2 minutes left on Saturday made for a hectic and stressful remainder of the weekend. While swapping the engine, replacing burnt wiring, and welding up our newly vented oil pan, my sleep deprived and heat exhausted brain kept flashing back to a moment I had a few years ago.
It was gorgeous, sunny Sunday afternoon, and I had nothing important to do. So I went for an aimless drive in my MR2. To me, nothing can compare to spending time driving for the pure joy of it. Nowhere to go, nothing I’m supposed to be doing. Just me, a car, and some unexplored roads. Spend a few hours getting lost, then a few hours getting un-lost, then go home. After running the engine out to redline, it suddenly wasn’t running right. It was bogging down and would only barely idle. Long story short, part of the intake had come loose and was blocking the airflow meter. But within a few minutes I had managed to fix it on the side of some back country road using only my leatherman. When I was done, I got back into my car and started it up to find it running perfectly. I looked down at my hands and they were now greasy, and I had a small cut that was bleeding. And I smiled. In that moment, dirty hands, side of the road, car now idling smoothly, a thought popped into my head. This is me. This is who I am. This is what I do.
Back then, I thought I was alone, just some oddball that likes cars and problem solving more than anything else. And maybe I am, but Chumpcar is definitely a group a people just like me. Sure, no one wants to work late into the night to fix fire damage while battling Canada’s prehistoric bloodthirsty bug monsters (side note, I was also having flashbacks to The Mist, and I’m pretty sure there’s a portal to another dimension somewhere near Calabogie), but nowhere else in the world will you find another group of people so willing to do so just to get more track time the next day. That unspoken bond still surprises me sometimes. Everyone is so willing to help each other out. A team dug through their spare parts bins to find us some fuel line so we could get our car running. As we were wrapping up, a guy rolled up on a mini bike and asked to borrow a sledge hammer. I handed it to him, and he rode off to go solve whatever crisis his team was in. No one questions these things, it’s just what we do for each other. There is no place I feel more at home.
Even after all the work we put in Saturday night and Sunday morning, a bad rear main seal leak in our spare engine meant that after only a few laps we had to pull the car off the track to avoid another fire. So yeah, it was easily our roughest race yet, and that’s not even including the heat, the bugs, and the trailer issues we had. This led to many people asking if we were giving up. Those people don’t get it, and maybe they never will. Our home is alternating between the driver seat, and wrenching under the hood. This is who we are. This is what we do.
-Matt Randall (06/27/2016)