While we've spent a lot of energy on the badness of two wheels, it's worth playing one more: This instructional video from Australia for changing the oil in a Yamaha SR500 has educational value far beyond the intended audience — just as BlueLightSpecial picked up a few tips from an early ride in a fast car that paid off on a visit to a Virginia track:
I had the chance to drive some pretty nice vehicles on that little track back in the day. And by "back in the day" I mean, when GM released the C6's to the public. I was working as a salesman for our local chevy dealership, and as it was my first job out of college I took it upon myself to learn every nook and cranny of every vehicle Chevrolet offered at the time. What else was I supposed to do with a double major in Philosophy and Political Science with a Pre-Law concentration? I impressed my manager enough that he let me head up to South Boston with him to drive a few of the then-new C6 Corvettes and SSRs and compare them with a couple of Mercedes, BMW's and whatever else GM wanted me to think were the prime competition for their flagship vehicle.
So there I was, standing in front of a dozen or so fresh vettes, each with less than a couple hundred miles on the tach. We've been issued the standard safety protocol; a helmet, and our very own professional driver in the passenger seat to give us some guidance while on the track. Of course, there was the obligatory "these are not toys" speech, a reminder that we had given our insurance info as collateral, as well as a verbal footnote indicating that we'd be given one warning before being asked to leave.
Jump back a presidential election or two prior... I have an uncle who's somewhat into Indy racing, living in Daytona, and he's managed to win some sort of day on the track for him and five of his closest friends and/or relatives. Knowing I was a car geek in training he asked me to come down and hang out. Well, the day turned into a week, and the "on the track" turned into an "in the car" sorta thing, and the "car" turned out to be a 400 horsepower chevy powered IRL specced monster.
I was 14 at the time, and not only didn't have my license, had never driven anything faster than a riding lawn mower. How I ended up behind the wheel of that car I'll never know, but I did manage a dozen or so laps before my hands were so numb that I could barely pilot the thing into the pits, let alone downshift to prevent it from stalling. The next three days I must have circled that track a couple hundred times. I did eventually learn a few things, one of them was something the instructor repeatedly called a "four wheel controlled spin designed to maximize turning radius without sacrificing engine and vehicle speed."
So back to that crisp Autumn day at VIR, standing along that track, I look across the removable roof panel and I know that the guy I was going to "learn to drive" from has no idea that my insurance company would just laugh at me if I told them I totaled a brand new Magnetic Red Metallic II beast of a vehicle with a 5.7 liter V8, Magnetic Selective Ride Control, OnStar, and a myriad of other electronic gadgets designed to improve the bottom line of the then flourishing GM.
So as I sit down and begin to buckle my seat belt, adjusting the controls of the 8 way electronically adjustable seating, looked at my new best friend and confirmed: "We do get one warning, right?"
Like the guy in Daytona before him, my copilot had never heard of the term "drifting" either and as we're going around that wonderful hairpin turn, all four wheels spinning endlessly, every light on the dashboard mindlessly flashing, blinking, doing whatever it could to helplessly inform me that what I was currently doing was beyond the limits of what it thought I should be doing at any given time, barely audible above the voice of my inner child screaming with glee I hear a tiny voice somewhere to the right of me, it's owner clenching the door handle with one hand and the opposite edge of the center console with the other, simply going "ohshitohshitohshit".
I never did get to drive any of the SSR's they had out there that day. But that was back when they only had the same Vortec 5300 as the 1500's, so I figured I wasn't missing out on much.