Colossal paychecks, fame, glory, reputation and lives are at risk in the world of motor-sports. Racing is a very serious game that challenges the physical, mental and emotional abilities of those brave or adventurous enough to pitch themselves in. Well, most of the times it is.
However, there are some that are far from the testing, grim and heart-in-the-mouth events that we generally know as races, and the only common factor shared between the two is the number of spectators and the passionate enthusiasm from participants and crowd alike, with none of the risk and all of the fun.
Apart from the thrill and fun, one can add the word “crazy” to the list of adjectives describing these races. Inter-continental outlaw rallies, ambulances and school buses constitute some of the weirdest and funniest racing or rather rallying events that one could possibly think of watching and followed by large numbers of both enthusiasts and passers-by.
What are engineless cars and Redbull soapbox race
The all-American Soap Box Derby was made out of actual soapboxes that were gravity-propelled and used standardized wheels. It basically involved participants putting together engineless cars and racing them downhill to win prizes. The Redbull soapbox race is a more elaborate and fun version which promotes creativity along with velocity. One can see cars of all imaginable shapes like pianos, giant corncobs, shoes and what not.
The Carpocalypse ambulance chain race has ambulances racing with each other with cars towed behind them. The results include some badly battered cars, torn off fenders and bumpers, and in some cases, broken windows. One can see towed cars spinning out behind ambulances and it’s kind of funny to watch not to mention in a slightly ironic way.
The California mille is more of a rally than a race. It involves participants winding their way through the California wine country, stopping at resort hotels and vineyards. Makes one wonder how the participants keep their blood alcohol well below the maximum legal limits for the entire 1000 miles of the race. Funnier and slightly a parody, is the California Melee, which involves all pre-1975 sports cars and tourers and the pit stops are breweries, pubs and motels. With a low entrance fee and a duration lasting three days to cover a distance of 1207 km, it is jokingly called a road trip by many participants.
Upside down race car, matchbox car, towed car
The 24-hour long LeMans race held in France which includes some of the finest examples of design and engineering with pit crews comprising of some of the most able technicians and engineers, has inspired another parody, called the “LeMons”, which involves cars priced at not more than $500, and if any modifications whatsoever made to the car bring its price above the $500, the driver of that car is given an extra lap for every $10 over the five hundred. There are also other penalties that are determined by spinning a certain “wheel of misfortune”. Halfway through this event, the participants are given a chance to vote on one of the participating cars to be crushed on the spot. One of the regularly participating candidates is popular by the name of Speedy Cop and in 2013 he brought in an upside down race car. Based in a 1990 Ford Festiva, the car had the body work of an upside down 1999 Chevy Camaro. Sadly he finished 98th out of 139 participants.
If you think you’ve seen it all, think again, because people will do anything with wheels and an engine, to have fun. Even it means travelling across the world to crash their car into other cars for points on the tactics and technique of the crash, and the damage done to the opponent, or sitting in a car being towed by another just being bounced and swerved and spun all over the road for the major part of the race, or being in a matchbox of car that costs barely as much as an expensive bottle of perfume or a pair of sunglasses and compete with other similar cars and watching one of them being crushed to dust, people have fun doing the weirdest of things, and to do them with one of the oldest love affairs in the modern world history is somewhat of a crazy compulsion.