Friday, 17 August 2012

Driven round the bend

Back when we were living in the UK there was a time we were proud owners of a new new MINI. It was yellow. It was also a great car; the sort of car you could get back into after a day at a motor show and be completely satisfied with, even though it cost a fraction of the price of some of the cars you'd sat in during the day. It was during on of these motor show trips that I paid a tenner for a ride in a Caterham 7. Because if the MINI had a reputation for go-kart like handling the Caterham represents a whole other level of raw motoring. And so it was that I had the wildest five minutes I've experienced on four wheels. Apart from the few seconds after pulling away the car never travelled in a straight line. It slipped and slid, squealed and spun its way around the little test track. All hot exhausts and burning rubber. The definition of a blast.

These days I don't drive a MINI, or a Caterham; I drive a Volkwagen Transporter. It's not a car but in my experience it'd rank highly it whatever the van equivalent to being a driver's car is. This is just as well: I do a fair amount of driving. And here in Bosnia and Herzegovina long, straight stretches of road are few and far between. In the last four days I've driven to Banja Luka and back three times, just over an hour's drive north, and to a ski resort on a mountain about an hour south of Jajce once. Heading north or south from Jajce the main road is single carriageway that twists and turns its way through mountains. Today I thought I'd try to estimate how many bends this means I've been round this week. By bend I don't mean the sort of wiggle in the road you can negotiate by straddling the white line, I mean the proper turn-of-the-wheel type. I got bored of counting but it was clear that I've driven round more than a thousand bends. It's a good job there's Red Bull and I don't get bored of driving!  

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