The Rotary Diaries: Crashing my RX-8 and Dealing With the Aftermath

Pride comes before a fall, as yours truly can testify. More than two decades of driving, the best part of them behind test cars, I prided myself on having a clean record. Sure, I was handed some speeding tickets and I did have my share of near misses but, somehow, I had managed to steer clear of an accident.

Now that record has been blotted by an accident in my RX-8; it was a low-speed one and, thank God, no one was hurt. Ironic that I would return the keys to every car handed to me, from a low-rent mini to a Porsche or a Bentley (the latter the company CEO’s personal car, no less) with not a scratch on them but I would crash my own car in a spectacularly silly way…

Stupid is as Stupid Does

I would seriously consider changing my name to Forest Gump if not for the fact that I’ll never become a millionaire. No mitigating circumstances and no “ifs” or “buts”. I behaved in a stupid way, giving in to my lower instincts and I will pay the price.

Just for the record, I am most definitely not a boy racer. First of all, being 40-ish denies me the “boy” label. As for the “racer” tag, I have decided to ignore challenges by fellow road users since I was, well, a boy. Like Han said in Tokyo Drift (no plot, nice cars and Drift King Keichi Tsuchiya making a cameo appearance) street racing only proves that you’re faster than the other guy. So what? Unlike him, I don’t do doughnuts around beautiful ladies’ cars so I can get their phone number either (really, honey, I don’t) nor do I drive a VeilSide-tuned wide body RX-7. Just a humble, bog-standard 2006-vintage RX-8.

Funny then that, when I was goaded by a Honda S2000 on a sunny Saturday noon, I picked up the gauntlet at once. Perhaps it was my looking in the mirror and seeing the two guys in the Honda laughing as they came too close for comfort to my bumper. Do you feel lucky punk? Apparently, the joke was on me: it wasn’t my lucky day after all.

Crash, Boom, Bang

RX-8-Crash-3After a very long straight there’s a right kink. I didn’t try to do any heroics. Brake in a straight line, clip the apex and then get on the throttle, that’s all. Should be a piece of cake, no? Not this time, mister.

No sooner had I pressed on the gas pedal than the Mazda’s tail veered left – yes, the anti-spin control was off. It would be a cinch to catch it with a flick of the wrist if only I had some space. On this occasion I didn’t. There was a car parked too close, an old Mercedes E-Class. The rear left of the RX-8 made contact with the rear right bumper of the Merc. The angle of “attack” meant that while the sturdy German saloon got off with fairly light damage, my Japanese pride and joy had a seriously dented fender and rear door. Way to go…

I pulled over and left a note on the victim’s windshield with my phone number. The S2000 drove by, slowing for a moment and then getting on with its business. I didn’t bother to turn around. They could laugh all they wanted at the incompetent jerk who crashed his car. I had just been taught a lesson: never, ever race again unless you’re at a track.

Luckily, no one was hurt. As far as the car is concerned, there was no damage to the wheel or suspension. Sadly, there was practically no clearance to speak off between the “redesigned” fender and the tire either so I was immobilized.

While I was waiting for the road assistance flatbed my cell rang. It was the Merc’s owner who had found my note. I had driven just two blocks down the road, to a parking space large enough to fit the flatbed that would arrive, so it took him a couple of minutes to get to me.

The matter was resolved politely. It was my fault and I apologized for the damage I have caused. My insurance would take care of everything.

Except the cost of repairing my own car’s damages, that is. This is yet to be determined, but as I’ve decided to fix it properly it means that I’ll have to make do without my RX-8 for nearly two weeks. I miss it already but hey; I have nothing but time…

By Andrew Tsaousis

PHOTO GALLERY

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