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From digest.v7.n356 Tue Sep 30 22:00:26 1997
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 16:06:43 -0400
Subject: Almost Better Than Sex

O.K. save for the occasional post to clear up any misunderstandings about=

BMW NA/BMW CCA rebate programs, or BMW CCA involvement in one event or another I have been just another digest lurker, checking in from time-to-time to learn about events or issues...

I'd read Yale Rachlin's "...Serious Lecture..." in the June, 1997 issue o= f
Roundel and I kept going back to his paragraph concerning the most common=

reasons people don't attend the BMW CCA Drivers Schools. Driving Events fall within my scope of responsibilities for the club and Yale was right...I was thinking "I'm a woman and it's a guy thing"..."Why should I= ?
I already know how to drive"... However if I'm supposed to be liaison to the chapters for drivers and speed events...I really ought to see what they're all about - so this weekend I traveled to Watkins Glen, New York = to
the Genessee Valley's Driver's School.

If you have not attended a BMW CCA drivers school you are missing an incredible experience. The school was run with a fluidity that made it appear easy. I suspect it was *not* easy to keep all run groups timed perfectly, all students matched to instructors, all instructors leaping o= ut
of run group cars into the next group of cars with barely time to adjust helmets... Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time and everyone I spoke with or overheard seemed to come away from the event feeling better about=

their ability to handle their car.

Did I participate? Not as a student. I was, however, taken out on the track by three different instructors. Let me preface this by saying that=

these gentlemen gave me way too much credit and treated me as though I actually understood what was going to take place. Wacky, foolish men. I'= d
never been on a track in my life! My ex-husband still complains about th= e
little brake-dance I used to do on the passenger side when he drove us anywhere.

My very first trip onto the track in an M3 lightweight with an extremely skillful instructor had me mentally throwing myself against the passenger=

window in an attempt to free myself from the G-forces flattening me again= st
the seat as we became nothing more than a white blur reaching speeds I wa= s
certain would cause a sonic boom to be heard all the way to Ithaca. =

Frightened? I kept thinking about Duane Collie's advice to Perry: "... M= 3
Drivers have a reputation to uphold in Drivers' Schools. Be sure to dri= ve
as if you are fully possessed by the Devil himself. 'Damn the torpedoes,=

full speed ahead' and all that. Remember your car is fully insured and th= e
walls are really no big deal."

After the fifth lap the instructor took me back to the paddock where, ashen-faced, I announced that it was a nice ride and I was never getting into a car again. This was unacceptable to all and so within an hour a good friend, also a remarkably good instructor, with whom I have ridden i= n
Boston traffic at high speeds without incident, offered to take me out. = I
was strapped into his E30 M3 and off we went. One lap was really all it took for me to impress five livid, finger-shaped bruises onto his right thigh - for which I truly apologize. Watkins Glen was not happening for fact I was thinking that perhaps I would walk back to Boston.

The next morning, Mark Morrissey, of the National Capital Chapter, was readying his M3 lightweight and I asked if there was anything I could do = to
help. "Go get me a helmet," he replied. I did as I was told and was then=

told to get into his car. Once again I did as I was instructed but when = he
handed me the helmet I'd brought to him, I began calling out to passers-= by
so that someone would tell my children that I was sorry I hadn't lived to=

see them grow-up.

If you attend a BMW CCA Driver's School and are lucky enough to have a Morrissey as an instructor, you will leave the school a better driver. =

Mark explained exactly what was happening the entire time we were on the track, subtly increasing speed until we were traveling faster then either=

of the preceding instructors had been driving when I was with them. Sissy=

grip? We don't need no steenking sissy-grips. All of the sudden I'm understanding what's going on and why. I'm beginning to understand the rabid interest others have exhibited in drivers events...I'm thinking - h= ey

  • - this is almost better than sex! =

Now a little background - I've been told that there is no one on this planet who loves to drive (on the track or off) more than Mark and it shows. His enthusiasm is contagious and it puts a permanent smile on eve= ry
student with which he interacts. He doesn't talk down or patronize the student. He'll tell you, he doesn't always know how things work, he just=

drives. It could be bald tires, bad brakes, sloppy suspension, etc. he doesn't care, he'll work with it, and often times faster than and more fluently than the guy with the twin turbo, supercharged, race car. His ability to make the technical seem non-technical allows him to communicat= e
with any student at a level comfortable for the student. He is passionate=

about getting people as hooked as he is into this stuff. He is the instructor that is always willing to take extra students. If he has 3 students out of 4 run groups, he will be standing in the pits in case another instructor doesn't show. Always the last guy to leave. On the race track, he does everything by the book and insists his students behave likewise. He has zero-tolerance for the instructors and/or students that either don't have or don't obey proper track etiquette (watch mirrors, proper signals, etc.). He really has issu= es
with those who aren't safety-conscious.

If there are spaces available in upcoming driver's schools - run, do not walk, run and sign up. There are many, many wonderful, experienced instructors teaching at BMW CCA schools - I guarantee you'll find the entire experience time well spent.

Wynne Smith

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