Banger Racing or: How I learned to stop worrying and love grassroots motorsport
Motor racing is expensive and inaccessible, right? Well, that's not always the case. Banger racing is cheap, fun, dangerous, and very accessible. So we decided to have a go.
I was told that I could get out at any point. I'd not be judged and no one would blame me for wanting to stay in bed on a Sunday rather than have lots of car crashes.
The majority of my Twitter followers told me to run and stay safe. My chums on Facebook were organizing a small audience to spectate, not for support, but so my death wouldn't go without witness.
I was to go banger racing. It, according to a Twitterist, is the "arse of motorsport," but it looks rather fun. A little violent, for sure, but an entertaining way to spend a Sunday.
I arrived early with Nick, and we swiftly found our cars: mine was the purple beast, Nick's the XCAR-coloured monster. Both were MK III Vauxhall Astras with 1,600cc engines, the limit for the races we took part in.
A fool would expect to escape his first banger races without a scratch. Hell, a fool would expect to finish a race.
I was a fool.
There's something about me that seems to treat everything with a childlike optimism. A new car, a first date, a race against 40 angry men in beaten-up cars...I'd hoped I'd be OK. I imagined it would be a lovely Sunday drive with a bunch of like-minded chaps (who in my mind's eye were wearing tweed and had pencil mustaches) that wanted a bally good race and a spot of light fun. If anything's going to kill optimism like that, it's going to be banger racing.
The video will explain what happened on the day, but here's what happened afterward.
Day 1 PB (post-banger): I couldn't move particularly easily and slept though the day while my body internally wept at the flogging it had voluntarily taken. I was irritable. My back and neck ached, and I couldn't lie on my front as I'd developed a rather nasty sticky-outy rib that hurt to rest on.
Day 2 PB: I went to the doctor because I still ached rather too much. She sent me to the hospital. I was X-rayed and told nothing could be done about the rib and given some rather spacey pain killers.
Day 3 PB: Turning my head is an issue. Tricky, really, because I was sat in a meeting with two people at right angles to me. It's hard to disguise a grimace. Pain killers would be lovely, but they make me chemically drowsy and unable to drive: a disadvantage when driving pays the bills, no?
Week 2 PB: The back and neck pain has gone but sitting and moving remains rather painful. Friends begin to chastise me for being a broken wreck of a man.
Week 4 PB: The rib pain is getting better. Thank God for that -- while it still aches to do pretty much anything, it's nowhere near as bad as it could have been.
Week 6 PB: Recovery. I'm as mobile as I was before and relieved that everything seems to be OK.
So what did we learn, class? Banger racing is fun, fast, and frantic but really, really dangerous. Do have a go, but take as much body protection as humanly possible.