Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
Illustration for article titled RADWOOD ANTHOLOGIES: Shoney

Truth is, I feel far too tired and stringy to hang onto the jeep. But I have got to go home, and fast. Who knows how slow the afternoon gridlock will flow?

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So I sit here now, at the edge of the step, gripping a railing with my right hand and the jeepney’s A-pillar with the other. My back faces the slightly bemused passengers inside. This position works fine, I reckon.

The jeep accelerates out of the corner with alarming alacrity for something filled with twenty-odd people. In seconds we arrive at the intersection, go past it, and breeze past another—thank goodness for the greenery—onward to the boulevard at maybe 100 miles an hour.

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He shifts gear. Fourth. Foot to the floor. Go.

Grizzly in his R32 GT-R turns in too sharply. Another mistake. He’s become much easier to exploit. I just push him further to the kerb and wait for a moment. He lifts. Grizz drops back, and further from my mirrors.

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Illustration for article titled RADWOOD ANTHOLOGIES: Shoney

My challengers approaching the tunnel are now reduced to two. Taffy in his old Porsche 911 is a little farther back, and with my car having 45 more horsepower than his, he’s got no hope of catching me. It’s Stag, whose scrappy, steroid-bulged wide-body Ford Mustang now quickly filling my rear-view mirror, that keeps me on my toes. No one should dare make a mistake when racing him, because he’ll make you. He shifts to fifth. Sixth. No. He still doesn’t have the grip to keep up with me.

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Something I’m sure the jeepney driver needs, too. But with the boulevard as smooth and as arrow-straight as it is, he’s confident to put the power down. There are few other vehicles on the road anyway, so it’s a risk worth taking to speed up the commute. Understandable. I’d have put the hammer down, too.

I can go much, much faster than him, though.

Faster than Stag and Taffy out of the tunnel, but not totally. The orange glow of streetlights have yet to blur and form long dotted lines, but already I can feel that we’re outrunning even the express metro line beside us. Most days the bridge rumbles as the train rolls by. Tonight, it’s a supercharged Voodoo V8 motor that shakes the sweat off my skin. He’s closing in. Where do I block him?

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The jeep veers left to overtake, blinkers flashing. Astounding. Looks like no one is about to call a stop soon. Good. I enjoy this trip enough to grin at the windshields I see. Hanging out here is a fun idea. Sure is an exciting rush. Those people at the back should try this spot!

But no, this ride isn’t satisfying at all. Too smoky. Too bone-rattling.

Illustration for article titled RADWOOD ANTHOLOGIES: Shoney
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At least my Audi RS5 is on air suspension, and with all four wheels on my car receiving power, my advantages are almost insurmountable in this twisting, snaking sector. Still, Stag is the best in these streets, and the fact that he’s alongside me in every corner is cause for concern. This is supposed to be where I pull away! Here, in the red, brushy canyon roads, pockmarked with pimpled bits of bitumen and lined by papier-mache barriers, I have every reason to lose him. Yet he keeps me to the right, almost glued to the walls of the canyon. Turn. TURN! But I can’t, firmly squeezed in by the relentless pressure the big Mustang applied.

I spin. Drop a gear. Apply opposite lock. Recover now! Wait, is that Taffy—

The sudden stopping force throws me back into the jeep’s walkway. My back bends and crunches. Oh yeah. These rusted things don’t have airbags and harnesses. Hope he gets a ticket.

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Illustration for article titled RADWOOD ANTHOLOGIES: Shoney

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