“Newbies go to the tree….”
Those words were uttered by Shamsi at the end of our briefing for the intermediate drive. .
Those who were invited to the exam were very nervous and our founder meant that go take a technical break because you just will not have time during this bat-shit crazy, faster than a rollercoaster, stomach churning of a drive…
Due to some new happy events in my life I haven’t been for any drives for over a month. Since I haven’t been for any drives lately, I haven’t been checking the forum as much. Forget that I haven’t even sat in my FJ for over 20 days. A gut instinct in me told me to log into the forum. And behold I got an invite for an intermediate exam.
As the briefing started, for the first time I saw more marshals than newbies. That in itself should tell you the seriousness of the drive & what was about to come. All the marshals were looking for is how we prioritise our safety & how our focus & behavior is while under pressure. The idea was that each examinee would be given a time slot to prove himself with marshals observing him & judging. The cars behind would have to keep up with the brutal pace on technical dunes while having the marshal’s riding in front or close to you. They wanted to rattle your nerves while you are going fast. Your job is to fight with your self not to lose focus on the objective & just drive.
The drive started and it started fast on a very technical area. Trying to keep up was an understatement. Soon we reached our first obstacle where pretty much every contestant had a second try, some more than others. We also had our first pop out. Marshals sat on a high dune observing us while eating popcorn & told us to get to work. The contestants were to be each other’s intermediate support for the day.
We went further inside the desert. Facing more obstacles & challenges at lightning speed. At one challenge we spent over an hour. Marshal’s didn’t care whether the track was chewed up or your arms were tired or you were fed up of the number of retries you had to do it or your plastics decided they no more wanted to be part of your car. You had to finish the course no matter what.
Some time later after what seemed like eternity it was my turn to be the second lead. Daggerfall was going so fast that I was struggling to keep up with him. He was doing so many twists, turns & high crossings that
he would vanish albeit for a few seconds. But I just had to keep up & maintain focus. As I need to see what his car was doing or what track he was taking. So, I could react in a similar manner. Not forgetting that
there are marshals behind me scrutinizing everything I am doing.
The dunes weren’t big we have seen bigger. But at the ridiculous high speed with little or no time to react you have to navigate through ditches, stomach curling bends, do steep climbs with no run up, sharp
crossings & you had to dodge bushes that were strategically placed to take out your tyre. At this speed can’t think you just have to breath, focus & feel the car and at times pray that you made the right choices.
But when my 20 mins were up, I realized that I was longing for more. My towel, cap & shirt were drenched from sweat. I had no Music no AC just gave all the power the car had & kept razor sharp focus.
Daggerfall you drove fast you lived up to your signature ‘I feel the need for speed.’ You were just waiting for Shamsi to say “go, go, go…” and you just bolted. Whenever you post a drive, I will always take the ‘red pill.’
Most people reading this might think that he is a newbie he hasn’t seen higher level drives, but I drive at a decent level with my own friends and regularly flatten every high peak in badayer and done every side sloping possible in mahafiz regularly. And still an Almost 4*4 drive excites, challenges & brings a smile to my face & leaves me giddy.
The value of the skill gained & memories received are far ahead of others.
When I came home my wife asked me to shower & if I am going to sleep. As before the drive I had come home from a something like a 14-hour shift with little sleep. I said no I want to write first. I was inspired to write. No one asked to write a trip report. I really don’t care if I passed or failed because I had a
wonderful & thrilling time. I was just happy on observing the skills I have gained over the year & with what I was able to do. I just loved the fact that I really didn’t have to think. I just had to let my training take over. Every line, throttle pressure, challenge or an obstacle was done on instinct. I have my marshals
to thank for that.
Thank you marshals @Solmaz @Booy @rashid @Scorpio @SINGH @Agalon @Barish @Daggerfall @alshamsi_m for the brilliant afternoon & always pushing.
In hindsight the tree wasn’t needed, there was just so much sweat.