Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why We Do It...

When you’re ten years old, everything in the world seems new and exciting. Your dreams are endless and you feel as though you could do anything. As you get older, your dreams may get more grounded, but you are always in search of that excitement you felt as a kid.

The fact that you’re reading One Hot Lap means you’ve likely found performance driving, or even just the simple act of driving, to provide that same sense of joy and even invulnerability you once felt as a kid. This is not to say that racers are impervious to the risks involved in motorsports. It's just that there is a particular happiness found in straddling the limits of adhesion overpowering any potential for injury that may exist.

It’s like any other activity that an adrenaline-thirsty, slightly mad individual might engage in for a thrill; be it skydiving, mountain climbing or even a “spirited” ride on a motorcycle. You don’t do these things because they’re safe, but because they preserve that feeling you had as a kid. There are risks involved in everything we do, but we can’t stop living life just because something might happen.

Racing is a dangerous sport. Just ask David Besnard (video above) or Mark Webber:

Every racing driver knows this and has had a conversation with themselves and their families of whether it’s all worth it. We live in a time where it’s easy to take for granted the level of safety that is available to us. Barnaby Conrad (a writer of the same era as Hemingway and a San Francisco raconteur) once said that "There are but three true sports--bullfighting, mountain climbing, and motor-racing. The rest are merely games." This may seem like a thing of the past until an accident like that of Dan Wheldon's reminds us how dangerous racing can be (no, I will not link to the footage of his tragic death here.)

I know the recent events won't stop me from enjoying motorsports or going to a track day. It's the life I chose and I am ready to accept the risks that come with it. I will, however, think twice before getting to brave down some desolate back roads in the middle of the night again...or going to the track in a convertible without a roll cage...


  1. Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
    Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
    Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
    Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

    Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
    And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
    And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

    And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
    Racing around to come up behind you again
    The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
    Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

    Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
    Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
    Hanging on quiet desperation is the English way
    The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

    Home, home again
    I like to be here when I can
    And when I come home cold and tired
    It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
    Far away across the field
    The tolling of the iron bell
    Calls the faithful to their knees
    To hear the softly spoken magic spells.

    And can you guess what Jared calls home?

  2. I like the association of lyrics to Pink Floyd's "Time" to this article, Christo. This songs sums up what I'm trying to say about living life to its fullest and not worrying about all the what ifs and what might have beens. If you do that, you will wake up in ten years wondering what held you back with a lot of woulda, shoulda, couldas...