Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Great Chase of '89

Is it possible to get air off a speed bump?

Ordinarily I wouldn't consider such things however this was 1989, my mates and I were young, daring and stupid in equal parts. Our fringes were long and our cognitive capacities were still developing and I had my first car, a 1967 Mini. It was a good time to be alive.

My little Mini was an amazing car, it cost me $200 and I could do anything to it and it would always forgive me and keep on going, it was a little trooper. Nicknamed ‘Morrissey’ by a mate, Andy, that little car ferried us everywhere and opened up freedoms we had only dared dream about.

Mini
Morrissey! Well, this is what he looked like, maybe not quite as shiny.
Most days would see five of us cramming ourselves and five skateboards inside and setting off in search of adventure which, for five larrikins of 17 to 18 years old, wasn’t hard to find. Especially when one of these mates had a habit of mooning people through the back window.

It was a normal night and we were minding our own business, cruising along the Gold Coast Highway just north of Surfers Paradise when one of my mates, known as Cookie, decides his pants have been on for far too long. There was a lot of snickering going on in the back seat so I glanced in the rear-view mirror and notice Cookie, awkwardly poised on the back seat with his bare bum pointed towards the back window.

“Cookie!” I shouted, “Put your bloody bum away!” Meanwhile Big Dame and Little Dame are scrambling to get as far away from the protruding posterior as possible when I notice a hotted up Commodore packed to bursting with angry looking blokes looming large in my mirrors. Surprisingly they hadn’t taken kindly to Cookie’s greeting. The chase was on.

I slammed the Mini into second gear and took off like a bat out of hell but the Commodore kept up easily. Knowing I could never outrun it I had no choice but to attempt to out-manoeuvre it instead. The corners came and went in a flash, left, right, left and left again, it was as if I was channelling Bo Duke driving the General Lee. My strategy was buying us some valuable space but poor Cookie was bouncing around the back trying desperately to get his pants back on; without much success and much to the two Dames’ annoyance and amusement. Andy was in the front shouting out directions as well as acting as spotter. Everybody was laughing nervously, eyes dancing about skittishly and my mind was trying to think three moves ahead.

The General Lee, it was in Morrissey's veins that night.
I pushed the Mini to its limits that day, everything I demanded of Morrissey he willingly gave, his little tyres squealing, his little engine bellowing, never missing a beat all the while this menacing Commodore was barrelling along behind us. This was a good old fashioned car chase, the likes of which are rarely seen. I was in the zone but I had to find a way to shake our tail, it had been twenty minutes up and down the tourist strip and the fuel gauge was getting dangerously low. Then I spotted it, salvation!

We were in the back streets of Broadbeach when I spotted a small roundabout, I knew this was my chance so I headed straight for it, slowing down so the Commodore would be right on my tail as I entered. “What are you doing Scotto?!” the boys shouted but I didn’t hear them, I was completely focussed and I knew the Mini would fare much better on the roundabout than the lumbering hulk.

What I imagine it might have looked like from the Commodore.
The Commodore was sniffing at Morrissey’s exhaust pipe as I entered the roundabout, I dropped back a gear and floored it. Round and round we went; it must have been a dozen times or more while people on the street stared in bewilderment at this comical scene unfolding in front of them. My bet had paid off, thanks to the nimbleness of Morrissey I started to pull away and the hunter became the hunted as I managed to gain enough ground to land myself behind the Commodore. It was total confusion as its occupants stared back at us in disbelief. The time to act was upon me so I pounced; as soon as they passed an exit I quickly darted off down a side street, swung a hard right, tyres squealing in protest then ducked into a long driveway and skidded to a halt in the shadows. I switched the car and lights off and everybody crouched down and we waited.   Nothing.  Check and mate Commodore.

And Cookie finally had his pants back on.

As for the speed bump? Well, that’s a story for another day.

What car based adventures have you had?

Linking up with Grace at With Some Grace for #FYBF