Swamp Buggy Racing

What It's Like


March 03, 2002

What It's Like...through Beth's eyes

It's hard to believe it has been almost a year.  You can still read my original account of "What it's like" by clicking here but now I have another story to tell you.  I would never turn down a ride but, I had mixed emotions when I was asked to drive NUNYA this time. You see, Tony has put his heart and soul into his new buggy (4 PLAY) and this would be his premiere run.  I wanted to be able to watch him run for the first time.  But as I said before, I would never turn down a ride, and I didn't.  From the get go we were all pretty sure that Tony and I would have to race each other.  That part doesn't bother either one of us, we'd done it before when we were racing stock cars.  I won't name any names but...several people told me I should NOT beat Tony.  Not today.  Well, I have one question.  Why Race???  Tony and I had already talked about it and neither one of us are like that.  This is, after all, RACING.  If one of us can outrun the other.....GO FOR IT!

We were right.  4 PLAY, NUNYA and COLDDUCK.  4th race of the day.

If you read my story from last May, you will probably remember how nervous I got at the last minute.  Well, none of that this time.  I was extremely calm.  Almost too calm.  I still can't figure it out.  Nothing on the buggy has changed since last May either.  Not even the spark plugs!  I still needed padding, the gear pattern is still in reverse order, the steering is still harder than h*ll to control and the brakes are a little on the loose side.

Here we go.  They are calling us out of staging and onto the track.  Buddy (Cold Duck) pulled the #1 pill (inside line), Tony #2 and guess where that leaves me!  Yep!  Outside line!  When I pulled up to the line my wheels were turned to a position I wasn't comfortable with so I tried to adjust them.  I had the tranny brake engaged and ready to go.  Tap my helmet for the starter and what do I do????  Look away for just a second!  GET OFF THE TRANNY BRAKE AND GET GOING!!!!  It all happened so fast I really wasn't sure exactly what happened.  As soon as I launched, Tony and I collided.  WE WERE STUCK TOGETHER!  I was trying desperately to get loose.  Buddy and the Cold Duck were long gone.  Now Tony and I were unattached and trying to get through the Sippi Hole.  NOW WHAT?  I FORGOT TO SHIFT INTO HIGH GEAR!!!  Good Lord!  Get it together Beth!  Tony is out in front of me and soaking me!  And I mean SOAKING me!  I think scuba knowledge and gear would have come in handy.  Around the south island we go with Tony still in front of me.  Hey!  I took the buggy around that corner pretty good this time.  The steering didn't get away from me like it did in May.  Coming up that front shoot the first time I could see Tony and I knew I was gaining on him.  I had to do it!  I just had to!  I took the outside and went for it.  I passed him very near the Sippi Hole, but there was so much water I can't tell you exactly where.  So now I am ahead of Tony going around the north island.  Apparently I took his line to soon for buggy racing.  As a result, everyone says I still have "that stockcar racing mentality".  One more time around the south island, up the front shoot and over the Sippi Hole!  I beat Tony.  Finished 2nd in the class.  Back to the pits.

I got back into the pits, shut the buggy off and broke down.  Not the buggy....ME!  I know.  I know.  I was just sooooo disappointed with my performance.  I wanted to do it all over again just to correct my mistakes.  It didn't take long for me to realize that Tony wasn't back in the pits yet.  What happened?  Where is he?  I looked up and saw him being towed in.  I got out of the buggy and ran over to him.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  His left rear wheel was cut open like a can!  I DID THAT!  (Click here to take a look at the damage I did.)  Everyone (including Tony) told me that had nothing to do with the outcome of the race, but I was, and still am, devastated!  It turns out, Tony lost oil pressure and shut the buggy off to avoid major damage.  I would normally be very happy with a 2nd place finish but I just can't get past my poor performance.

After looking at video tape of the race, it appears I turned my wheels to far and that is what caused us to collide.  I took the NUNYA straight into the 4 PLAY.  There is no doubt about it.

It was great fun and I had a blast, despite the mishaps.  Many, many, many thanks to Ray and Bubba for allowing me to drive again!  You guys are GREAT!

Beth Hamm