A track that is 15 mins from home? Awesome.
HAUNTED HILLS, VIC.
Watch out for “Oh shiiiit” corner.
PHILLIP ISLAND, VIC.
Finally grew a pair and tackled Victoria’s best race track.
I suck at hand brakies.
The “home” track.
Interstate track days are bad for the wallet but good for the soul!
Words: Taken from an article I wrote for the Mighty Car Mods magazine.
After owning and tracking a turbo hot hatch for years, I never understood why anyone would want to own an impractical, underpowered convertible. This is a story of the car that changed it all.
The convertible; vehicle of choice for hairdressers and those suffering from a mid life crisis. This was the idea I had in my head until one fateful spring night when I was offered the keys to an MX5. I reluctantly agreed to jump into the driver seat and proceeded down the mountain road we had found ourselves on. That drive would prove to be a turning point in my motoring life. As the saying goes, “You’ll understand when you get behind the wheel of one.”
Little did I know that my mid life crisis was about to begin much earlier than I had anticipated.
A few weeks later, I headed down to Phillip Island to watch a friend who was doing a track day there. Unbeknownst to me, I was attending an MX5 and Alfa Romeo club day and upon arriving I was greeted by a sea of track prepped MX5’s. The way I will retell this story is that I assessed the situation carefully and weighed up the pro’s and cons of owning a second registered car. In reality it was more along the lines of, “OHMIGAWWWD, I NEED TO OWN ONE!”
I’ve had people tell me that I’m perhaps a little bit irrational and emotional when it comes to cars but after a serious 24 hours of consideration, I had organised to meet up with a seller, test drive and put a deposit on my very own convertible Mazda – A 1990 Eunos Roadster which had been imported from Japan. While the imported model had all the same underpinnings as the Australian delivered MX5, it also came with a few additional standard creature comforts like a viscous LSD, power steering and air conditioning. These features would be important for the car which was going to be my dedicated daily driver.
Within 4 days of attending that track day, I had the Roadster registered in my name and was driving to a car meet to unveil my new car to my friends. They were all shocked. Many of them said that they had not expected that I would end up behind the wheel of a convertible but more importantly, many stated that they didn’t believe that this car would be my daily driver for long. One friend in particular summed it up quite nicely,
“Let’s see how long you last before it’s stripped out and you’re looking for a daily driver.”
In my defence, it took a good two months until the Roadster was fitted with semi slicks and lining up on the starting grid ready to begin what would be the first of many track days and track related mods with this car. The thing that struck me the most was the difference from driving a car that was built from the ground up to be a great handling car in comparison to my other car which had an array of aftermarket bolt on mods to make it corner adequately.
You might think this is going to turn into a story of how I turned my daily driver into a circuit monster however, you’d be wrong. While the Roadster proved to be a extremely capable and reliable track car, I really found the car to be the most enjoyable when I was driving with the roof off, many kilometres away from civilisation on a quiet mountain road.
While I’d become quite addicted to the adrenalin of chipping away at lap times and trying to find the best line on a race track, the Roadster life offered me something else entirely. It was never about being the fastest. It was always about having the most fun. This was the car taught me that you don’t need power to have fun. I had never thought I’d be a person that would utter those words!
With every weekend came around, I would find myself checking weather reports and studying Google Maps. The plan was always the same. Find the squiggliest line on my screen and go drive it. It didn’t matter how far it was or where I was going. All I could think about was finding the perfect driving road.
When people find out that I like cars the first question they always ask is, “What car do you drive?”
When they hear my answer they usually respond with a laugh and ask “So when are you going to get a REAL car?”
I’m not exactly sure what that statement means but I am pretty sure that I already own the best reason to wake up early on the weekend and chase the sun through some twisty roads. That being the case, then I couldn’t be happier with the fact that I will never own a real car.
For car enthusiasts like us, it will never be about getting comfortably from A to B. There’s nothing that feels more pure and raw then rowing through the gears whilst being completely exposed to the world around you.
This is the car that reminds you why you like cars.
A cold Saturday morning, a pair of roadsters and one excellent photographer. Enjoy!