By Yana O'Gorman email@example.com
Portergroup was holding a V8 Ute Hot laps session last week and I was lucky enough to get to take part.
I'd been looking forward to this hot lap ever since I heard about it. The date was set for Wednesday 29 March. However, as Wednesday arrived, so did a downpour of rain.
The date was then set for the following Thursday, and thankfully this time, the sun was out. I went to Pukekohe Park Raceway, the famous raceway that sees battles of all motoring kinds.
I signed in, got my bright blue wristband and waited for the debrief.
Local driver Peter 'Kaos' Ward asked if my life insurance was all up to date.
The drivers are just regular people with a love for motoring. Brett 'The Scud' Rudd another local driver was glad to be giving hot laps at his favourite track, Pukekohe.
"It's old, but it's still the best. It's unpredictable and the fastest," he says.
While the drivers race to win, The Scud says he enjoys the close racing and the good camaraderie.
At the debrief we were told that the track was slightly greasy and the road temperature was cool.
"You'll be reaching speeds of 230 to 240 kilometres per hour along the back straight. That's 140 times more than the legal speed limit," we were told. I was pumped.
Excitement levels were high as everyone pulled on their overalls and strapped on a helmet.
My time came and I was strapped in car #22.
"You're a lot smaller than the last guy we had in here," the guy told me.
I didn't mind though, but it was nice to feel secure as I had no idea what to expect.
There was a big grin on my face—not that you could see behind the helmet.
I gave my driver Geoff 'S.O.S' Spencer a thumbs up. I didn't have time to ask him what his nickname meant, because we were off.
We raced around the corners and roared down the back straight at 230 kilometres per hour, braking hard around the hairpin, the seatbelts did their job. The adrenaline was pumping, and so was my fist as we passed another ute.
A few laps later we headed back into the pit lane. I asked Geoff about his racing career. He has been racing since the formation of the V8 Utes. It's something he enjoys, and after a few laps in the SOS-mobile, it's easy to see why.
Geoff says he likes the fact that all the utes are at the same level performance wise. "It means you're all equal so any little mistake could cost you your position," he says.
As we stopped, the door opened and I thanked Geoff and clambered out of the car, arms and body first. Someone else was ready to jump in and take my place in the passenger seat so unfortunately I couldn't sneak in another round. As the helmet and overalls were returned, all that was left was my little blue wristband, and I felt like one of those kids who swears 'I'm never taking this band off.'
The whole experience was thrilling, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
The worst part was driving away from the hot laps experience. As I got into my car, turned on the key I was greeted with a little whine and not a beastly grunt. That, and only being able to travel 50kmph has been been hard to get used to.
Caption: My photos were lost, but here's Geoff's Ute #22. credit: facebook