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Guido Sarzani and his adventures in Oahu


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This Thread is to honor the magnificent TDU Platinum which I have downloaded sometime ago. I have both TDU platinum, and TD2 and in my humble opinion there is non comparison between the two. I am an old style gamer and so I don’t even think I will really like TDU 3 either. So in order to celebrate the excellency of TDU I decided to dedicate a story centered around it.

English is not my native language, therefore I hope you will forgive my mistakes and enjoy the story anyway.

 

Scene 1 Guido Sarzani goes to Hawaii

This diary is a collection of my official memories starting from that pivotal moment in my life when I decided to leave Italy and to move to Honolulu. It is a record of all the events following that very important decision that really changed my life.

 

My last chance to get that Formula 3 seat has expired last month and my frustration has reached new limits. I decided to move my 200.000 euros to the Manoa Branch of the First Hawaiian Bank and I booked a plane from Rome Fiumicino to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu. Once I bought the ticket and transferred the money to the American bank I cut all my bridges and the decision is irreversible.

 

A recent acquaintance of mine has been a decisive agent who pushed me to make the decision I made. I am talking about Jordan Duro, an Italian American who lives in Honolulu and who was in Rome for a vacation this summer. I met him at the Vallelunga Circuit near Rome where I was conducting my last tests for Baldini Corse F3 team; tests which did not lead to what I was hoping they would lead: a stable seat for next year F3 championship and a paid season for me as a driver by the team sponsors. On my part I failed to bring to the team any sponsor for the next season and that was the end of my business relationship with Baldini.

One evening, at dinner with Jordan, while I was expressing all my dismay and frustration for such turn of events, he came out with a weird but interesting proposal.

Like in many other locations in the United States, in the Isle of Oahu there is a club of clandestine car road races.” he said.

It is not Formula 3 or anything like that, but if you can drive you can make money there”

I asked him what he exactly meant by that and his answer was that if I could not be paid to drive race cars on a track, I could make money by racing road cars in Oahu Island in the Hawaii.

First of all is the greatest place on earth to live” said Jordan. “It is expensive that’s true; but with the right skills and the right contacts you can make a considerable amount of money there by doing what you like to do. I mean if you like racing, there is a lot of racing on the Island of Oahu”

You mean racing on open roads?”

Uh Uh!”

But that is illegal”

It is illegal but it is also highly remunerative and I have to say unfrtunately, a little bit more dangerous than racing on a track. On the plus side you can be your own racing team, your own boss and do what you want. Most of the races are at night in remote places. I race there, and if I do it, you can do it too. How do you think I pay for my expensive vacations in Italy. If you so choose I can introduce you to the club there

At first I refused to consider such a crazy idea, but then I considered my situation and the more I considered it and the more I thought about Jordan proposal. I gave that proposal a couple of week of thought and at the end I decided that I was desperate enough to make such a move. I had invested all my energies on racing. Starting very young like may with karting. I won the Italian championship three times and yet I was not able to secure a paid season in Formula 3. No degree, no skill other than driving and no perspective in such a crappy job market like the Italian one. And even if could find a job, what kind of job would it be. I didn’t want to end up washing dishes in a pizzeria or something. I decided to invest what I had inherited from my father’s death the year before in the enterprise of moving to the United States.

 

After months of bureaucracy at the US consulate in Milan and after having bought an expensive property in Ka-’ahu Manu east of Honolulu, I managed to secure a temporary green card for two years. “Better than nothing” I thought “In two years, if I manage to make something out of all that, finding a way to stay will be a minor problem”.

With that established I finally landed at the Inoue Airport of Honolulu a beautiful spring morning and found Jordan waiting for me at the arrivals. The one way ticket costed me 700 euros and it is the cheapest that I found.

Jordan takes me to see my house first of all. We are talking about a 1BR single small house with an independent Garage, which can fit four vehicles. I guess it will come handy for when I will be super rich and able to afford four vehicles. From the Airport to Ka-’aha Manu we travel on Jordan’s yellow Civic R EK9 that he uses to race. It is a good road racer the EK9, no doubt about that. It is also pretty expensive at 25.000 dollars for a car in good conditions. Jordan is a convinced suppoorter of JDMs and according to him there is only one JDM brand worth of consideration; Honda. I don’t necessarily agree with him but I have to admit that Honda is a pretty good brand in the landscape of the imported cars.

Jordan is a lithe tall young man, blond dark eyes, he is 23 years old and he is a fairly imaginative guy who always seems to come up with some idea or solution, and when I tell him that I don’t think that I can immediately afford a top line Honda sport car like his Civic R or an Integra, which is even more expensive, he immediately finds a solution: he takes me to Oahu Motors in Palolo where there is an assortment of cheap cars among which I can choose my first racer for my “new career.” They have all kind of assortment at Oahu Motors; from the cheapest little Mazda Miata, to the most expensive import which is a beautiful French Sport Car: a compact and mean looking Peugeot 308 GTi.

After much pondering and after having tested a couple of car, I decide to go for a Honda as well; a Civic Si (EM1) a “semi sedan” with a less powerful version of the 1.6 V-Tec that equips Jordan’s car, 185 HP versus 160 of my civic. It’s a good bargain anyway because the car is only 19.000 dollars and I need to keep a buffer for living expenses, car repairs and maintenance and to pay the entry fees in the races.

The Shadow Speed Shadow in fact works in the following simple way: you enter a club event and if you are among the first three you go home with a profit, if not you go home losing the money that you put on the table to participate to the race. Then you have to consider the repairs on car, maintenance, fines, and you quickly realize that either you drive well limiting risks as much as you can or you end up broke really, really fast.

I believe the Honda Si is a good compromise and has one the best cost to performance ratio among the F cars.

The Speed Shadow classifies all vehicles into 7 different classes; from the less performing entry level cars (F class) to the most exclusive hyper cars (A class) like Bugattis, Lamorghinis and other missiles of sort. The remaining two classes are for Motorbikes which are also marginally involved in the activities of the club. The higher the race class, the higher the prize money on the table, the higher the costs to purchase the vehicle and to participate in the events and of course the higher the risks and the profits.

There is also a “Vintage” class for gentlemen drivers. It is called G class and it has its own events.

The club is a highly secretive organization for obvious reasons. All communications must be done in person and a series of measures are taken to avoid that the police infiltrates their officers into the organization. Truth told Jordan told me that some cops are “infiltrated” in the club, but as members that participate in the events and supplement their meager cop income via the club races. Like I said life in Oahu is very expensive.


 

Edited by luigidelta
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Scene 2 Baptism of Fire

Not too long after I took residence in the Oahu Island and got a little bit acquainted with the new life style I access my first competition. The first occasion to show  the club who I am and how I drive. The Rookie’s Race is the entry level and  represents for me like for all other rookies the first contact with the Speed shadow clandestine events. Four Car. Get last  in this race and you can kiss bye bye to the club. The prize money for event is  partially provided by the club itself and part is put on he table by the participants. The winner brings home 5.000 dollars, which is not bad for an entry level race. It is a short race around the Punchbowl Crater a spectacular and huge extinct volcano on the Island. By the way speaking of the local color I have to say that Jordan was right; the island is a wonderful place, and life here, if you can afford it, is absolutely fantastic. 

I am of course very nervous for this first race. In the unfortunate event that I come last, I have just the money to get back to Italy and apply to that famous dishwasher job in a pizzeria, but Jordan says that I will not get last, and I trust that he is right. The race is at very late time on a Sunday night , when the traffic is practically non existent and the risks are minimal.

In this  event there are three imports and one American car. Almost all class F are European or Japanese Jordan. tells me. US manufacturers do not make many small cars than can compete with the specialized Euro or JDM sport compact, but the Ford Focus Sì driven by a lady called Emilia today is an exception to the rule. The other two cars besides mine are a magnificent red Delta Integrale, and an emerald green Volkswagen Golf GTI MKIII  which is a very competitive car in the F class.

We all are Rookies ias its name  of the event suggests and therefore all my opponents are unknown drivers to the club. In most cases they are just wannabe who will not last long in the club even if they pass this first test, but sometimes there are some serious driver, as we will see today . 

In this race I have to say that all the drivers were decent to good. I came up second for a split second behind Adam’s Volkswagen.

At the start we all rev up and my hart beat goes up as well.  Like I said I cannot afford to be last in this race.

The Lancia rockets away in first position thanks to her excellent supercharged engine, while the Ford and the Volkswagen trade paint  in the first super fast left corner and consequently lose terrain from the Lancia. In these  first moments I can’t compete with any of my opponents on a straight line. As soon ad the curvy section begins though, things begin to change.

This race has only two challenging corners, both right corners, and the rest  of them are super fast corners you can run flat out with these not so powerful cars. In the fast chicanes  before the first challenging right corner, I start gaining on the Ford that has been left behind by the Golf. The Volkswagen driver after having broken free from the Ford, surged ahead in hot pursuit of the Lancia, whose lady driver was being a little bit indecisive in some of the corners.

Little by little, the Golf takes advantage of that, the Ford also passes the Italian Lancia, and finally, just before the braking point of the first challenging right bend I manage to pass the Ford and the Lancia at the same time, because both of their drivers don't have the necessary thick skin to enter those corners as they should.

The Volkswagen on the other hand resists bravely on the outside and we are side by side in that corner and on its exit as well. I quickly realize that the Golf driver is non joke. He knows what he was doing and he is a hard nut to crack. So much so that we remain side by side for a long stretch until by raw power he manages to pass me on the inside a couple of corners before the finish line and remains in the lead to the end. of the race.

 I am not too unhappy anyway. I put 1’250 dollars in my pocket, while the Lady with the Lancia doesn’t make it and will have to abandon hope to become part of the Speed Shadow. On the other hand I am in, together with Adam the winner and Emilia who came third not too far behind me. with the Focus

While I am calmly driving back home, a Ferrari 430 Scuderia passes me on the coastal road at considerable speed and after a while a white Lambo does the same. Jordan told me that the are some high ranking club members who think that the Island is a race arena for them even when they are not in an event. Often the police pulls them over, but they can afford the fines or the bribes they pass to the cops.

Edited by luigidelta
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Scene 3: Celebrations and Congratulations.

That same night, the club held a celebration for the rookies who survived their first Speed Shadow Race. The place is the Republik nightclub in Kona Street Honolulu, and it has everything you can expect from a nightclub and then some. There are some club leaders as well to celebrate with us rookies and praise us for our good performance in our first event. The Rookie's Race is a special initiation ritual in the Speed Shadow, and whoever passes it must be celebrated. It's a Speed Shadow tradition. By the way, I learned that Dan, one of the leaders present at the party, is the owner of the white Lamborghini that zooms up and down Honolulu  at foolish speed and that passed me on my way back home after the race.

I was in a hurry to get ready for the party,” joked Mr. Dan when I reminded him about that. I ask him if that is the normal speed for him inside an urban area.  Hi answers with a laugh, expressing the hope that I don’t mean to bring him bad luck. His White Gallardo LP "Superleggera" is one of the most feared B classes on the island, and he is very proud of that fact. He is bound for the office of senior executive of the Speed Shadow next year if he manages to be promoted to the A class competitions. Dan tells us that he can recognize talent when he sees it, and from his standpoint, the three of us have a brilliant and long future in the club if we manage to keep ourselves and our vehicles in one piece.

The Republik is, of course, a very noisy place; full of people who want to have fun. We can barely hear each other because of the very loud music and people's loud voices. In our group, bunched up around one of the round tables in a corner of the big and dark dance hall, illuminated just by the disco lights, there are us rookies, a bunch of high ranking club members, whom the club calls "executives,” and their girlfriends or wives, I don’t know. There were plenty of very skimpily dressed women and a lot of food and beverages.

Honestly, I do not really like these kinds of pastimes, nor am I used to them, but I certainly could not refuse the invitation.

Mr. Adam, the winner of the rookie's race, on the other hand, seems to enjoy the party much more than I do. Also, Emilia, the lady who drove the Ford Focus, a small and insignificant Brunette with a very significant right foot, seems to be having a good time. She finished  the race only a couple of seconds behind Adam and myself, and in different circumstances, she could have comfortably won the race.

Adam is very boastful about his race and about how he will be racing with the big boys in a short time. May be it's the exciting atmosphere or the exciting music, but the fact is that our hero has such a big mouth that it could comfortably store both of his feet in it. Dan and the other executive grin and bear to Dan bragging. They probably think that it would be no good to spoil the party, just because an idiot thinks he is the president of the club already. 

Starting to get annoyed and bored by the noise and the confusion around me, I try to identify a girl that might be single in our group, and when I think I have found one, I kindly ask her if she will dance with me. I gave her my A+ Italian race driver smile, but I don’t think she is very impressed. She politely declines, given that he’s getting late and it’s almost time to go. Toni is her name, and she attracted my attention because she looks like a reserved girl, slightly uncomfortable with the noisy environment, a little bit like I am. I guess I will be luckier next time.

The evening has not been totally useless, though. I don’t know if the attitude of the executives is plastic training or if it is genuine, but they seemed all very friendly with me, and also with tough guy Dan.  Very open and very approachable people, and I like it. On the other hand, I believe that my adventures with Mr. Adam and Emilia are not over after just one race.

Edited by luigidelta
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Scene 4: The Eye-Opener.

Only a few days after the party, Jordan tells me that there is another night race on the schedule if I want to participate. It is called “Cute Little Race Between Friends.” Usually, there are 6 cars enrolled in the race, but this time there are only five, including me.

One more girl will participate in this event—another lady called Emilia, but not the one with the Ford. This lady sports one of those big American trucks. A Dodge Ram I learned after the race. Sometimes members of the club, particularly the ones that are so rich that they do not have a particular ambition for advancement, race with such weird vehicles after having suitably tuned them. Those things usually tend to have a lot of power but not so good handling, and this race will show exactly that. Moreover, this is also the race that opens my eyes to the real nature and the real risks of being a member of the Speed Shadow and participating in its events.

As it happened in my first race, at the start, everybody was faster than me. There is a long acceleration straight before the first braking point to take the first 90-degree right-hander. To that braking point, I come 4th. The last car is a blue Toyota G86. A guy called Riley drives it. The poor smuck has even less power than me. On the other hand, the first three cars—a Civic like the Jordan has but is light grey instead of yellow—a Mazda and the truck are well in front of me at the first corner. As I prepare to exit the right-hander, I already see the Ram spinning in front of the two other cars and going sideways out of the road. So far, so good. The lady in the Dodge didn’t last long. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like she hit anything while spinning out. I manage to avoid her by a thread and go on with my race. The second corner, a 90-degree left-hander, leads into a left ramp to be dealt with carefully, or the external wall is waiting for you. Neither the Honda nor the Mazda are spotless on this ramp, and at the end of it, I am glued to their backs and racing hard. The Civic goes slightly sideways and raises a lot of smoke, which impedes my vision for a couple of seconds.

In the long straight that follows, I manage to put the Mazda behind, but the Honda is another kind of fish to cook on a long straightaway. I have less power and less speed, and it shows when the Civic gains visibly before the next 90-degree left-hander.

Fortunately for me, we arrive at this left-hander at 100 miles per hour, and we need to brake. Hard!

Just when I was thinking about how to gain on the Honda, the guy with the Mazda shot past me like a missile, braking way later than I did. Not only that, but he drifts along the entire corner, managing to control the car very well this time. I remember that I thought that such a driving style could not last for long, and it didn’t. I also thought that I couldn’t understand how someone sane could take such risks between houses, trees, and sidewalks.

On the subsequent straightaway, leading onto another narrow right-hander, the Mazda and I are side by side the whole way. Again, at the braking, William (the driver of the Mazda) puts his car in front of mine, braking later. The Civic is already out of the corner, about 30 to 35 meters ahead. Then what had to happen happened. Exiting the corner, William goes wide and parks his Mazda in a court yard. I don’t know if Hawaii is one of those states where you can shoot someone who violates your private property, but for William's sake, I hope it is not. Fortunately, the speed was not to high, and I learned thereafter that William was okay and his car was as well.

The next challenge after another acceleration is a technical left corner blind and off-camber. Here, I take precautions because going wrong can be fatal. On the right side at the exit, all kinds of obstacles can really hurt if you misjudge the bend. I exit pretty fast at 80 miles per hour, but the Honda is still well ahead. Either this guy is very lucky or he is very capable. One sure thing is that at these speeds and on such a course, you better do everything right or...

And speaking of that, tragedy strikes just on the subsequent straightaway. Harold, the Civic driver, has exited the last corner very fast, as I said, but in doing so, he demanded too much, either from the car or from himself. The fact is that after the exit, he does not manage to keep sufficient control of his Honda and slams it on an embankment on the left at almost 90 miles per hour. Later, I learned that the Civic is completely wrecked and the driver, gravely wounded, has been rushed to the Hawaii Pacific Health Center, still alive.

Needless to say, the race has been immediately stopped, and the victory has been assigned to me. As crazy as it is to imagine, and that is also a terrible eye opener for me, I got credited with 15,000 dollars for the victory, 3.750 went to Riley and his Toyota and 1.500 to Emilia. Nobody finished the race, one driver had his car destroyed and was presumably fighting for life and death in a hospital, and the club still compiled the standings and distributed the money as if nothing happened.

Successive news about Harold that we learned later reported that his life was never in serious danger, but he suffered from multiple traumas that battered his chest and broke several ribs. He will recover at the hospital. His car will be demolished after the police finish inspecting the wreck.

On those sad notes, I finish the second event that I have ever run with the Speed Shadow Club, and I suddenly come to the realization that what happened to Harold can happen to me at any moment. This is a particular kind of racing, for sure.

Edited by luigidelta
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Scene 5: Respect for a fellow driver

Contrary to average foreigner expectations, Hawaii Pacific Health Center does not look like a very organized American hospital. Maybe it’s the time of day or the number of people there at that particular moment, but it looks like a pretty messy place where all the personnel are in a hurry and don’t have enough time to help you. The lady at the reception tells me that visits from strangers are okay. Determining Harold's room is a challenging task, though, either because I am dumb or because the indications are confusing. 

At any rate, after a certain number of minutes spent looking around and changing floors, I finally managed to find the right unit, the right floor, and the right room.

I put my ear on the door to see if I could hear anything, but everything is silent, except for what appears to be a TV set on. So I knock at the door. Nobody answers, so I carefully open it to peek inside. The man lying in bed must be Harold. He turns his head towards me, and I wave my hand at him to say hello. 

He is surprised to see me. After all, we barely know each other.

"Hey man, how are you doing today? I was kind of worried for you."

Harold is visibly in pain and distress, but despite that, he looks pretty well cared for. His room is in pristine order, and Harold looks neat and clean. 

"I am glad to see that you are much better than I thought."

"I am not... I am sorry, I do not remember your name," he says, a little bit embarrassed.

"Guido, do you remember? I drove the white Honda sì" 

"Oh yeah. Guido! I am sorry. I could be doing better, you know? Doctors say it will be some time before I recover. I have three broken ribs, and they say I have suffered a pretty serious blunt trauma to my chest. In the crash, I probably destroyed the steering wheel with my tits, you know?"

"Not to be rude; but your car is totally wrecked."

"I know, right? I already received the legal complaint from the owner of the house I crashed into."

"Well, I say it is a miracle that you sustained so little damage. When I saw you spinning out at the speed that you did, I thought you were dead."

Harold seemed to want to catch his breath.

"I came out of that corner too fast."

"That's OK, man; the important thing is that you are now recovering. You've got a neat room for yourself here. Are you a Wall Street banksters or something?"

"No. I just tricked the bureau here by lying a little bit about my insurance policy. When they discover the trick, they'll probably send me to the hospital's dirty laundry warehouse for a room."

"Jeez, Harold, why did you do that?"

"Well, you know how it is in these goddamned hospitals! I got into the emergency room almost unconscious, and even before they gave me a pain reliever, the first thing they asked me was: Do you have insurance? What insurance do you have?"

"You know, Harold; now that I think about it, I don't have any insurance. Where I am from, health care is free."

"What?"

"Yeah, you don't pay anything for medical care. Of course everybody pays a lot of taxes for that, but you know, in my country nobody really pays everything that is due, except for the employees, who have their taxes deducted directly from their paychecks."

"Wow! That must be a fantastic system!"

"Uhhhhhh... I don't know about that. It is an inefficient system in more than one way. Waiting times are very long unless you have a real emergency. Also, I am not sure about the quality of our doctors. The selection process is convoluted and bureaucratic. You get in the hands of the wrong doctor, and you are dead." 

While we are having our conversation, the TV set is broadcasting the local news. All of a sudden, the announcer starts talking about illegal racing getting out of control in Oahu and about how if the police department doesn't get any reinforcements, it will soon be a lost battle against the clandestine racers who roam left and right. Harold and I look at each other. At least one illegal racer will be out of the picture for a while. Harold and I are still discussing the news when a nurse comes into the room and tells me that the visit time is over.

"Harold, is there someone here who can look after you while you're here? 

He looks at me with a contrite expression.

“All right, dude, here's my number. Please give me a call whenever you need anything.

It is, after all, what I call respect for a fellow driver.


 

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Scene 5: Making Money, Spending Money

I'm doing really well financially following my win in the cute little race. This week is the day of the time trial, which is a very easy one. It is run around several blocks in Honolulu and is known as "Need for Freedom." I will win $8,000 if I can remain under two minutes and forty-five. I'm going to purchase myself a Honda Integra if I make the $8,000.

It goes without saying that the time trial is so ridiculous that, despite my slow Honda Sì, I managed to win. I go to the Honda dealer to pick up the single Integra they have available right away.

The Integra is a far better vehicle for me to compete in the upcoming F-class races, and I intend to use the so-called cargo missions to further my financial goals. You have to deliver an extremely valuable or unusual automobile to a certain location in these delicate transport tasks. These cars are owned by high-ranking club members, and they assign us, inexperienced or lower-ranked members, the responsibility of completing these missions for a very large pay. Naturally, you can wave goodbye to your compensation and be required to reimburse all damages if you even scratch one of these cars.

I have been assigned the first of those cargo assignments today, which is to retire a Ferrari Enzo in Honolulu and transport it to an Ala Moana repair facility. It's a job worth a lot of money, an interesting assignment, and, of course, I have to drive this monster with extreme caution. I've never driven a road car with such power before in my life. I have previously tested Formula 3 cars, but never a stock car of this quality.

I can become acquainted with my new Honda while I drive the Integra to my appointment with the guy who will hand me the Enzo. Compared to the Si, the Integra ihs even greater handling and power. What a fantastic F-class piece it will be for my F-class races

Is it even appropriate for me to discuss the Enzo mission? We are talking about a remarkable vehicle. Twelve cylinders, an incredible amount of horsepower, and excellent handling, provide confidence that you should never abuse, especially if the vehicle is not your own. It takes only a few seconds to reach 100 miles per hour, and driving out of town in a vehicle like that, is a living nightmare. On the highway, where I could safely rev it up a little bit further, the engine began to breathe. Needless to say, I drove this car to its destination with extreme caution. I'll make good use of the $120,000 in compensation by buying the greatest E-class I can locate for my upcoming races in that class.

There's no time trial quite like The Perfect Driving Line. And the Integra is probably one the best F-class cars to take on this kind of race. It handles with such speed and precision that it almost feels like a race vehicle. The automobile is up to the task, as I mentioned. In the beginning, the route winds through the heart of the city, turning abruptly to the left in the direction of the Alfa Romeo dealer, and then begins to climb the hill that makes up the longest section of the event. The course climbs via a first-class chicane that should be handled carefully and in full third gear. The road then increases in elevation to a number of left turns before climbing much higher to the hilltop. The fast portion of the course then starts.

The driver needs to use particular caution at this moment. When shifting down into fourth gear, be cautious when approaching the first right-hander. A slight error here will lead you right into a house on the left as you come out of the corner. You can unwind a little after this selective section because there's another fast stretch coming up. This continues until you reach an extremely difficult and off-camber left-hander where you have to shift two gears again and enter precisely. Once more, one small mistake, and your challenge is done. The time trial finishes with a final hard right-hander that leads on the last straight and a couple more rapid S-bends that are all blind and off-camber.

Here, 2'05 is the minimum time required to win the entire prize. Just to give you an idea of how outstanding this F-class is, my Integra finished the course in 1'59.

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Scene 6: Executives Bets

Dan resides in a lovely home with a fantastic view of Kuapa Pond on Kalanipuu Street in Hawaii Kai. Driving from Honolulu to the southeast part of Oahu requires getting on the Kalaniana'Ole Higwhay and driving straight east. This location is hazardous. Some individuals are used to drag racing on this route, particularly in the early morning or late at night. Depending on the resources available at any particular time, the police may or may not patrol the highway extensively. On this particular Sunday morning, I'm heading to Dan's house using my Honda Civic Si. The absence of law enforcement is evident today, as two insane drivers are in fact drag racing. They appear to be driving a big RS Audi and another large sport sedan of some kind. 

Regretfully, the Speed Shadow policy permits personal challenges on public roads at any moment. This implies that if two club vehicles meet on any road, a driver may challenge the other for a fee on a route that both drivers agree upon. At that point, the competition turns into a formal club event, and the loser is responsible for covering the stakes. This is an extremely risky approach, in my view. At least a number of safety precautions are taken when an official speed shadow event is planned, such as club vehicles temporarily obstructing lateral access to the racing circuit for the brief duration of the event and spotter cars alerting people about the approaching police.

However, none of these safety precautions are followed during these impromptu races, which significantly increases the risks for both the competitors and any civilian traffic that happens to be on the road at that specific moment.

Thus, on this particular Sunday morning, all I can do is try to remain out of the way and pray that neither of these two nuts causes any misfortune.

Upon arriving at Dan's residence, I witness him attempting to replace the front wheel brakes of his Lamborghini on his driveway alongside his stunning spouse Tabatha, who, despite wearing just a mechanic blouse, in plain daylight is even more stunning than she was at the celebration. God bless the United States of America!

I can tell they are having difficulty completing the operation when I pull up to them after parking my Honda on the road. It is obvious that neither of them has any serious competence in what they are doing. Dan looks at me and smiles, brake oil all over his face. He welcomes me and tells me that he has been attempting, but not very effectively, to change the damned calipers. He would normally take the vehicle to the local Lamborghini dealer, but sometimes he enjoys tinkering with the vehicle himself, even though he frequently fails to complete the task satisfactorily. 

"Perhaps I might help you guys? Allow me to investigate whether these brakes can be fixed."

Although I am not a professional mechanic, a 2005 road car's brake system is nonetheless a brake system. This is not a discussion about a spacecraft. They graciously accept my offer of assistance, and I start working beneath the car's raised side with the jack.

"You see Guido?" Tabatha asks as she slides next to me underneath the automobile. “We are unable to make the connection between the hydraulic conduit and the brake caliper.”

I momentarily lose all sense of focus on what I'm attempting to accomplish because of her gentle, aromatic perfume mixed with the soft scent of her skin. Somehow, I manage to hide that and come up with a typical response. "It's because the conduit is not aligned in that point, you see?" and I use my finger to point out the issue. "Let's see if we can adjust the canal's bend in this location. Could you kindly grab those pliers for me?" I ask her.

"I'm able to replace the old parts with the new ones and fix both of the Gallardo's front brakes in about thirty minutes.4

While I do my best to pretend that Dan and Tabby's assistance has been crucial to the operation's success, I still extend an invitation to him to have the car inspected by a certified Lamborghini technician to ensure that everything is in its proper place.

"So, in addition to being a great driver, you're also a great mechanic," smiles Dan. "I continue to think that you have a brilliant future in the Shadow."

I grin and tell him, "You might start by letting me drive this monster."

"OK then. Let's take a quick ride together". Dan informs his spouse that we will return soon and that I will get to experience sitting my ass in a Lamborghini for the first time ever. With the possible exception of the steering wheel, which I had assumed would be more precise than it is, the car drives just as one would expect a Lamborghini to. Apart from the steering wheel thing, the experience has been absolutely incredible. The car offers a more direct feel in terms of connectivity between man and machine and is more basic than the Enzo I drove a few days before, but it is still a hell of an efficient car, and I even get to unwind it a little bit on the roads around Dan's house.

As we slowly make our way home, Dan tells me that after seeing how I performed at the club's inaugural events, executives on the upper levels have their sights set on me as a potential peer in the future. "Where is the catch?" I ask in jest, anticipating a vague response of some sort. To my astonishment, the response was much more succinct and direct: "There are some events," Dan says, "that all of us executives had and still have to an extent to go through. Executives and club supporters bet heavily on these particular races. These are the riskiest events, frequently occurring in broad daylight on busy, open roads. One of these contests is coming soon, and I want to wager $50,000 on you. I'll show you the course if you visit me again on Thursday. It's a eight-car race in downtown Honolulu, and balls are needed. We refer to it as "Halawai Boulevard."

I slowly turn my head to face Dan while I'm still behind the wheel of his Lamborghini. "What's the winner's prize?" I inquired nonchalantly. “

“Ten thousand dollars. It's one of the occasions to get access to the Class-E competitions. Greater wealth, more events, and larger classes."

"I think I understand where we are heading here," I quietly respond. "On Thursday, maybe we can have lunch together and then go see the course." He smiles as he surveys the road ahead.

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Scene 7: Recon

Dan has been riding in the passenger seat of my Honda Sì as I drive the Halaway Boulevard race rpute, pointing out to me all the finer elements of this carefully selected course. At first sight it doesn't appear like a big challenge. It's possible to imagine racing here at over a hundred miles per hour in broad daylight while dealing with traffic in a video game; in real life...I don't'know.

The race essentially consists of a crazy sprint from Park Avenue through the sharp turns that lead to Halaway Boulevard, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the community. It's basically a straightaway on the Boulevard; your only task is to stay out of traffic.

You have to have already escaped all of the traffic on Park Avenue while competing against seven other drivers who are vying for the top spots and trying to outrun you in order to reach the Boulevard unharmed. A significant task to start with. You have a hard right on the McCully Street Bridge if you are still alive at the end of the Boulevard and you haven't killed anyone in the interim.

And looking at the straightaway, you will get to the bridge at a very high speed. You must apply a firm brake and nail the bridge, and you have to do that with all the civilian traffic present there and maybe while you are in a duel with a competitor.  There's barely time to catch your breath before you nearly instantly make a 90 degrees left turn onto Kapiolani Boulevard. Due to the heavy traffic here, you will be racing through the third and most dangerous portion of the course. After a swift chicane, there is a lengthy straightaway that veers slightly to the right. Once more, you are traveling at a speed above 100 mph until you reach the next sharp left into Cooke Street. Since this is a somewhat remote and low-traffic area of the course, it's likely the only stretch where you can unwind a little if you're not directly facing any competitor. However, your problems restart as soon as you reach what can be called an artificial chicane—that is, the hard right that is followed immediately by the hard left into South Street.

This is the final stretch of the racetrack; the lane is small, and traffic is once again relevant. Moreover, a bus route crosses South Street in both directions. Your finishing position in the race is the last thing to worry about if you make it through the three or four quick corners that lead to the finish line and you are still alive after the entire shenanigans, and most of all, you didn't kill any civilian innocent motorists.

Dan and I were having coffee at the Coral Street Starbucks at the end of the course recon. Even though the espresso was a sack of trash, I still gave the executive a shady glance.

"You say I should go through this meat grinder for a prize of 10,000 dollars?" "Ten thousand dollars for you, and you earn ten thousand dollars for me as well, because the bookies give you a one-to-five payout for this event. More significantly, though, you gain admission to class E." Dan responds with a tough expression on his face, "Alternatively, you leave the club, as the rule is that you either progress or quit at a certain point.”

I give him a puzzled look.

“Guido, Speed Shadow is not a joke. We move huge amount of money, and big money comes with events that our supporters will attend more of. 

They pay exorbitant sums of money thanks to these most important events, and the fans want the images we capture with our drones.

"You mean like deadly events!" I state.

"I mean the ones people would watch for any price. The club could not exist in the absence of these occurrences. And no one who wants to stay in the club is allowed to miss these occasions. Halaway Boulevard is not even the sole one.

"And what if someone doesn't plan on becoming an executive?"

"That isn't achievable. Guido, members of Speed Shadow, are divided into only two categories: quitters and climbers."

“So I not only need to participate in this race, I also have to win it!”

“Yes, I would argue, as a new member who has over half of the executives placing large bets, you have to win it.”

“And if I don’t?”

“Many VIPs would lose their money and would not be happy about it.”

 

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Scene 8: Action
From downtown Honolulu, the journey home is slow and lengthy. First of all, if I am not driving on course or in a club event, I always drive within the law; second, I find myself giving it a lot of thought as to what I want to accomplish 
here.
Is it truly my desire to put my life and the lives of innocent people in danger?

Since the "Halawy Boulevard" event is scheduled for dusk, fewer to no parents should be driving their kids to school, but it's still possible. Can I win this race, avoid crashing the car, and maintain a sufficient safety margin to make this an achievable event for me as a driver?
As I drive my Civic home, I think that I only have one certainty: the Integra is the best F-class around, or at least one of the very best, and at least on that side of things, I am giving myself the best chances. If there is a car that can win this race while minimizing risks, it is the DC5. 
Finally, I do believe I must take these huge chances unless I want to sell the property I recently bought here, leave this amazing island I've come to live on, and return to Italy to do dishes or watch dogs. I suppose it's the cost of belonging to an organization that can pay you 10 thousand dollars for one hour of work. Hell, it is three times what the average NFL quarterback makes, and infinitely more than I would make by racing F3s in Italy.

Fortunately, "Halaway Boulevard" is scheduled in the evening for this year's event. That being said, while there is definitely less traffic than you would anticipate during the day, I'm not claiming that there will be none. I'm still concerned about traffic, of course, but it's the level of competition that is causing me even more concern right now. The executives that sponsor the "Halaway" only permit well-known rookies to take part in this particular event, as they risk a lot of money on their proteges. Adam for example is competing in this race with his Golf GTI, sponsored by a class A big shot, and he is more cocky than ever. Another Civic R, a lightning-fast Alfa Romeo 156, and a formidable rookie named Eugene driving an Audi A3 3.2 are also present.

The remaining members of the group, which this year will consist of eight cars, are regarded as fillers. Eight vehicles in a civilian traffic-filled open road event! Fantastic! By filler, I mean novices who are assigned extremely low winning odds by the bookmakers. Of course, there is also someone who wagers on them in the hope of winning a lot of money. The odds can go as high as 20–25 to 1 for the least favorite competitors. I have been assigned one-to-five odds. Adam's odds are 1 to 6, primarily because the bookies value my Integra more than his Volkswagen. The person driving the Civic is also at 1 to 6, and Danny, the driver of the Alfa Romeo, is at 1 to 6.5. He has a pretty competitive automobile as well, and he is a good driver.

Drones take off at 19:15, and we line up at the Park Avenue traffic light. As is customary, the starting grid is chosen at random. Adam is to my left, and I am in the middle of the "starting grid". Naturally, I had to start with him by my side! Unaware of the impending events, a certain number of "civilian" cars are also waiting for the green light between us. And as we watch the yellow light appear on the traffic signal on the road that is perpendicular to Park Avenue, we all take off like rockets. I have a car that can match other people's acceleration for once, so I begin by exploiting that.

We all bolt down Park Avenue, taking the first of several extremely rapid turns to the right. Adam and I are both racing against the Alfa Romeo, with Adam still on my left. We're already losing ground to Eugene and the man driving the Civic-R. I believe his name is Luke. Adam is now ahead of me, maybe 20 yards, which is when my troubles begin on the fast left that leads into the Halaway Boulevards.

Just before turning the corner, Adam touches a civilian automobile that is positioned to his right. I, in turn, slam rather hard into the front end of the car as it spins to the right because of the contact with Adam. Fortunately, the impact was not so severe as to result in a catastrophe, but it was still an impact.

It is good that my Honda is still running well after the collision with the civilian sedan and it is also good that all club cars take off their license plates before any club event. I can still accelerate to the maximum speed down the boulevards in order to catch up to the Audi and the Civic, so nothing mechanical must have been seriously damaged. This is the point where Adam's Golf loses out because it can't match my car's top speed. I start to catch glimpses of the two leaders ahead when the tachometer goes off the chart, and I'm probably traveling at more than 140 miles per hour. The Civic is unable to match the Audi's speed until Eugene experiences traffic issues on the long straightaway, which allows me to close the distance as well.

The first spot where I can start having some leeway is at the brake before the bridge, as I make the hard right to nail it correctly. Everybody gets there at very high speed. Before the braking, the Civic is already somewhat behind the Audi, which is on my left. Adam can eat my dust, as can his executive class A patron. Next time, he will have to choose a faster car on straightaways. I break hard, accelerate into the bridge even faster in second gear, and approach the next steep 90-degree left turn as a continuation of the preceding right turn, treating the two corners as if they were a single fast S-bend. The maneuver is successful because, as I can see in the rear view mirror, I've pulled ahead of my opponents by roughly fifty yards.

Surprisingly, I don't have any further issues after this phase. This is primarily because, as I found out after the race, at the fast corners of Kapiolani Boulevards, Adam caught up with Eugene and the Civic, and they began to slow down each other in the ensuing struggle for second place. The second lovely thing is that there isn't much traffic on Kepiolani Boulevard or on the rest of the course, allowing me to finish the race in first place with a decent margin. Following a fierce battle on South Street's curves, Adams comes in second, followed by Luke in third and Eugene in fourth. The Alfa Romeo comes in fifth place; the others are insignificant. Actually, the only drivers who profit in terms of money from this race are Adams, Luke, and me, although I have significant damage to my Honda, which the body shop will quantify at 8.000 dollars. As I take the car in for repairs, I also tell the guy to repaint the entire car in an original Honda Milano Red, just in case the driver of the car that I hit remembers that the car that hit them was an Honda Integra.

The body shop wants to know If I want a simple paint job or a police proof job, I will of course opt for the second option:

"In that case, it's going to cost 4,000 dollars extra," says the guy of the body shop.

At least my sponsors are happy and in particular, Dan. I survived my first "Bottleneck" event, as they call these type of races in the club. 


 

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I receive a visit from the police while he is at home, who is investigating the accident that happened to Harold. When a cruiser arrives and parks on the road in front of my house, while I am changing the oil in my Integra, a man gets out and flashes his police badge. He is a Caucasian dude. The man's claim to be a police officer is difficult to accept. A short dude, he gives off the impression of being a sleazy gambler or something, especially when he speaks to me in his high-pitched whine. His pointy chin and diminutive figure accentuate the impression.

"Mr. Sarzani?"

"This is he."

"The Honolulu Police Department's Officer Runay. I came to ask you some questions regarding the incident that happened on Kaimiuki Avenue last week."

"About what?" I ask, feigning ignorance of what he is talking about.

"There was an accident last week on Kaimiuki Avenue when a car, a..." He pauses to check his phone. "Last Thursday at three in the morning, a Honda Civic struck the outside walls of Mr. Mullogs' property. Harold Loventry was the man at the wheel of that Honda Civic. Do you know Mr. Loverty at all? Mr. Sarzani."

I follow the maxim that, as long as it doesn't seem risky, I should tell the truth.

"Yes, he is a friend of mine who assisted me in moving from Italy to Honolulu. He was on vacation when I met him in Rome."

"Because, you see, some witnesses on Kamiuki Road that night stated that Mr. Loventry was racing his car that night."

"OK!?"

"And by racing, I mean that they saw two cars at high speed running side by side on that road."

"Is it possible that you might get to the point, officer?"

"Yes, it is Mr. Sarzani. According to a few of these witnesses, the vehicle Mr. Loventry was competing against was a vehicle like yours. Additionally, since I am presently handling a certain number of case of illegal racing on the island, I will also inform you that three days ago, additional charges were brought against a vehicle of your type as well as against another vehicle by another motorist with regard to another instance of crazy driving on the Halawai Boulevards. Do you have any comments, Mr. Sarzani?"

"Look, officer, first of all, I am not a journalist nor a politician, so I do no t have any comments. I have no clue on what you are talking about. I have no idea of how many cars like mine are on the island, but I can tell you this: I chose to move here because it's a great place to live. I paid nearly all of my savings to purchase the house you see, and all I need now is a respectable job to allow me to continue living here. Additionally, again, I imagine that I am not the only one on the island driving a Honda Integra, since if I were, your witnesses would either be blind or lack basic automotive knowledge."

"And where were you last Thursday Night?"

"At home"

"Anybody can confirm that?"

"No, I live alone."

"I see."

After the cops left, I returned to Dan's house to inquire about lawyers and the legal system in general in the United States. He advises me to avoid the club activities for a while. "It is common for the police to put slightly more pressure on club patrons following one or two occurrences of accidents.

"For a little while, just make sure that no one is following you or anything similar when you get out of the car. Give it some time, and then things should return to normal. It's just how they do things. I have frequently witnessed it occur." Dan tells me. Towards the conclusion of the meeting.

He also suggests that I be employed for some time in the so-called "Shuttle Service," which is akin to a taxi service for the girlfriends, spouses, and sisters of club executives who need to be transported from one area of Honolulu to another or, in some situations, even farther.

"It's a good way to get out of things for a while. You won the big race last week; take some rest. With the shuttle, you will still make some money that keeps rolling in while here in town things calm down."

"For example," continues Dan, tomorrow my wife comes out of work on Kalakaua Avenue and needs to get straight to the IRS office on the other side of town on Ala Moana  Boulevard." Wait for her and take her to the IRS quickly. She has an appointment in a very short time from when she comes out of work, and it is paramount that she gets there on time. I am sure you will do a good job. Then, when you bring her here again, I will pay you for your service. Stay away from the race for a week or two, OK?"

Nothing that I can do other than following Dan's suggestions for now. At the very least, with his long experience in the club he know what he is talking about. In any case as a precautionary move, he gives me the number of his attorney.

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Scene 10: Taxi Driver

This proves to be a very timely precaution, since the day after, while I'm walking to my garage to pick up the Civic and head out to do the Tabatha job, I run across the same cop that I spoke with the day before.

This visit is not intended to be a chat; rather, it is to present to me a property seizure order for my Honda Integra, issued by the Honolulu District Attorney. The police requested—and were granted—that the car be taken into custody for examination to determine whether it was used in a criminal misdemeanor. The policeman welcomes me to hand over the car's keys and paperwork and says he is coming to fulfill the warranty. He has come with a towing vehicle. The officer immediately gives me permission to call my lawyer when I ask for it. I quickly gave Dan's lawyer a call after that. After a brief conversation with him, the attorney advises me to comply with the warranty and tells me that he will look into the entire thing that same day.

He also tells me not to worry after hearing my concerned voice. If the police request to examine the car, it most likely indicates that they have very little chance of building a strong case  against me. The lawyer, whose name is Robert, advises me to carry on with my day and promises to keep me updated. I can't say that I don't remain extremely concerned, despite the apparent confidence of Mr. Robert L. Davis; I'm not really used to these things, especially in a foreign country.

In any event, I take the Civic and go to Kapiloani Regional Park to pick up Dan's wife, Tabatha, after the police carry out their seizure order and provide me with copies of the relative paperwork.

I don't have to wait long, once I reach the location where I have to pick Tabatha up, before I see her descending the stairs of the building that I assume houses her workplace. I find myself staring at her, perhaps for a second or two longer than American propriety permits, without realizing it or wanting to.

In fact, it's pretty clear that she's quite uncomfortable in her elegant outfit, consisting of a gray miniskirt and a white classic shirt. 

In fact, as she sits in the car, she strives too hard to pull her skirt and retreats as far away from me as she can. This woman is so gorgeous that I don't even want to talk about how horrible I feel for having probably embarrassed her.

Even if it could mean making things worse, I feel obliged to say something: the only issue here is that I could be mistaken and nothing of what I think might have happened at all. If that were the case, I would definitely make things awkward. Therefore, as I was about to open my mouth, at the end I chose to remain silent. After all, a man's true quality is not defined by his lips hanging open in front of a stunning woman but rather by the behavior that follows towards her.

Therefore, I try to be as official, proper, and respectful as possible while I drive to get her where she needs to go. She is the wife of one of my sponsors in the Speed Shadow, and she and my patron Dan deserve my full and unconditional respect. 

I tell her what transpired in the morning with the police and everything, and how helpful and kind Dan has been in providing his assistance. She also suggests that I don't worry too much. In her experience with the club, she has seen things like that happen more than once, but the club is still there, stronger than ever. The more I talk to her, the more I convince myself that I embarrassed her earlier. So at the end of the drive, I make the decision that I cannot allow the potential for any misunderstandings to persist. I can't tolerate having an unspoken issue in a  relationship, regardless of the circumstances or the type of relationship.

So after she thanks me for the ride and gets about to open the door to get out of the car, I spill it out

"Listen, Tabby, I really apologize for having stared at you earlier when you came out of work. I promise that it won't happen again. I didn’t mean anything bad, you know. You are just so beautiful that it was an automatic reaction. But I swear, I didn’t mean anything bad then, and I don’t now, I assure you, it will not happen again. I just wanted to let you know how I feel. Or maybe,” I added, “I'm just making that up in my head, and I'm embarrassing myself, and right now maybe you as well. But, Tabby, you know, I had to tell you. I simply don't want any misunderstanding to occur, okay?"

She remained silent for a second or two.

"Many thanks, Mr. Guido. I understand."

She smiled briefly before getting out of the car, looking still a bit embarrassed, but in a different way, like in a relieved way.  I sincerely hope I made the correct decision. While she walks away, I cannot help but look at her incredible figure going through the big door of the IRS office. So it actually it did happened again, and I am a freakin' liar. At least this time she is walking away from me. 

I sadly and slowly make my way back home. I have a copy of the police warranty order, which states that they will return my property as soon as possible. However, in  the interim, I will not have my fastest car, and if I want to compete in another            F-class event, I will have to use my less efficient Civic. However, I think that for now I'll accept Dan's advice and ease up a little. Therefore, I decide to begin my studies and research to choose a competitive class E for when I will be formally promoted to that next class in order to "de-stress" a little and to take my legal troubles off my mind. Keeping myself busy is the key.

tabby.thumb.PNG.95d6906d5dcadfa08f6814739af4da3b.PNG

Edited by luigidelta
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