A Real Thrill - if you are in the car

Fans who say they get the thrill of their lives watching a beach-road race haven't seen anything yet. The real thrill comes when you're right there in the car with the man at the wheel. Since that's an impossibility for most of you, here's a play by play description of a ride around the road-beach course as told by a reporter.

You climb into the car, and while you're adjusting your belt and straightening the crash helmet, and while your driver is doing the same, his pitmen are adjusting the braces which hold the doors shut against the pull of centrifugal force, tightening the straps which hold down the hood, and making sure that everything is ready for a fast lap of the course.

Your driver looks at you and grins, and you smile back in a rather sickly fashion. He throws the car into gear and roars off northward on the beach. After the first quarter-mile, you relax slightly. This isn't so bad. You've driven this fast on the beach yourself. Then, just ahead, you see the north turn, where the racing cars swing through a narrow approach to cut back to the road backstretch.

Your driver seems to slacken speed only slightly, and with a slight movement of his hands, the car dashes into the approach. With a slight skid, quickly rectified, you're going down the backstretch, and now you are beginning to realize what racing speed means.

You blast down the backstretch gaining momentum with every turn of the wheels. You feel the car skid slightly as it whips through the first curve at nearly 90 miles per hour. Then you feel it slide slightly the other way as you burst through the second curve. Then, almost before you can think, you're nearly on the south approach.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see your driver reach cautiously for the brake pedal, and you start to heave a sigh of relief. But the sigh is cut short as you realize he only touched the brakes with his foot, apparently just feeling them to make sure they were still there and that your speed is practically unchecked as you zoom into the approach.

Then your side of the car goes into the air. You look down in the car, and your driver seems to be sitting three feet below you on the same seat. Your side of the car bumps down on the beach, your driver pours the gas to the engine, and you're away -- up the beach to the pits. As he straightens out, your driver grins at you and says, "She was on two wheels most of the way."

Editor's note: The driver was "Mad" Marion McDonald.