CONTRIBUTION · 20th June 2011
I feel compelled to write about my feelings on young people and racing. I was young once too. I remember it clearly. It seems like it was just yesterday; the bad decisions I made; all the close calls that I had, the car accidents that I made it through as a passenger- (6 of them in all); and how hard my parents worked trying to raise me properly.
That never matters. We as kids don't normally see it until long after we move out. I was a racer and my parents didn't even know it. They also didn't know Terrace had a speedway for a long, long time, and would've never thought to send me there. So I would just push the limits of the law and my car "ON" the street. This was not good. I ended up being that idiot on the street with a car that I put more money into than you could shake a stick at and for every dollar I put in the engine it was 2 dollars going to the Finance Minister in traffic tickets.
At the time I had no idea it would be so cheap to get racing so I never did and without a safe way to show everyone how strong my right ankle was I did it on the streets. It was like no one could stop me. Thatís just the way I felt. Finally I grew up and calmed down on the street when I had children. I realized then that I didn't want someone pulling that on my street and killing my kids so I had no other choice (or the money) to keep spending on my driving habits so they changed.
I know some parents don't even try. Thatís undeniable. However to the parents that are trying, GOOD ON YA! But sadly your kids are going to make mistakes too... that's how they learn. I've always said to people that I like to learn from others mistakes, however we can't always do that and I am happy to learn from my own.
Many youths will grow up to adulthood and not have ever robbed a store or stolen a bike or committed break and enter or some other specific crime. But very few people will grow up without a single driving violation.
Driving isn't something we really teach our kids a lot about as parents and I don't think that is going to change. We spend a lot more time on family values and honesty and really important things like that; and rightfully so. Driving has become a way of life and the risks involved are not really important unless a particular incident or accident brings those risks to the forefront. Then we talk about it for a while. Bicker about whether it should be exposed or not and we don't know what to do with the whole situation.
I do. We learn from it. Whether the people who are involved die or live to tell the story we learn from it. Whether they want to tell the story or someone else wants to tell it. We learn from it.... even whether or not some of the details are true or not!! We learn from it.
I know some people out there can look at my life and they know some of the bad decisions I made in my youth and even in my early adulthood but I hope that they can look back at what I was and now at what I have become and continue to become every day and say to themselves that heís got his act together. He's learned some life lessons. Isn't that what lifeís about?
Now to all the parents in the world. A RACER may have been born into your life and you just don't know it yet. As your child grows there will be significant signs that show they want to race. You may not have the time as a parent to teach your children the importanceís about driving. Like how when they climb behind the wheel of a car they basically have a loaded FIREARM in their hands. Nobody looks at driving this way, and your local driving school won't teach them that either. But these are the realities that "PRE-DRIVERS" need to be aware of.
When they are 14 yrs old they are allowed, with your permission and the supervision of the T.S.C.A. officials, to come out to the track. We will put them in a car and send them out on to the track. They will be required to competently operate the vehicle. They will experience first hand what can go wrong when you make bad driving judgements. And all of this comes in a controlled environment, with NO oncoming traffic and plenty of extra safety precautions.
After a couple of go's around the track the driver will know whether or not racing is for them or not. If it is not for them then there's no harm done and if it is for them then get them into racing. My first race car cost me $1000 to build and race for the whole first season. A FAR cry from some of the cost of other hobbies. Yeah it may be hard to get to and from the track if you don't have a truck and car trailer. But that's what local sponsors are for. And Iíve heard of storing your car at the track during the tough times too.
In 44 years at the Terrace Speedway no one has died. That's a far better statistic than any hwy between any two cities in B.C. and with help from this community and its continued support I'd like to keep it that way.
I once had a great idea about a racing team called "always freshĒ. This is TIM HORTONS slogan and they would be the sponsor (seeing as they have a heart for kids). The team would be made up of young high school drivers that would rotate out of the driverís seat in turn and off the team to make way for new team members. I don't have the resources or the know how to make this happen, as recruiting kids through the high school system is not allowed. Although someone might be able to make something like this happen; any takers?
For the last 3 years Iíve been involved with racing at the Terrace Speedway. I am so mad at myself for not getting involved sooner. Remember that feeling I told you about at the beginning of the article? The one were I was pushing the limits of my car and "NOBODY COULD STOP ME"? I've got it back again, in a safe environment and don't ever want to let it go. For now I would just like all of you to take this with a grain of salt and maybe consider it, comment on it, and discuss with other parents and maybe, just maybe, we'll see you and your kids at the track. If you have any questions call me ,,, (250) 641-4144
Sincerely, "proud Father of 3"
Could BCAA help?
Comment by Bev Williamson on 2nd July 2011
As a member of BCAA, I am interested to know if there is a program they could sponsor or start a pilot project in the north to help their younger members become better drivers So I emailed and asked. If there are enough parents who belong to BCAA in the surrounding area maybe a quick email might move them to contact Terry. Perhaps a future Nascar racer is just waiting in the wings! Good luck.
There might be hope
Comment by Alan on 25th June 2011
Hopefully the idiots around Hemlock and Balsam take notice before they hurt somebody or themselves. This is the place they belong, on the track. I'd even pay money to see them and cheer them on. Right now they just keep me awake and scare the little kids.
Comment by Former Street racer on 23rd June 2011
I used to be one of these kids too. Tires squeeling every corner, redline shift in every gear, triple times the speed limit. Stupid STUPID things now that I look back. The Terrace Stock Car Association has altered and channeled this raw racer energy that Terry describes in his article. The last thing I want to do when I get behind the wheel of the daily driver is speed or drive recklessly. But on top of calming down my street driving it has also made me a better more skilled driver. I now know how to control my car during a spin, what to do when the rear end starts to step out in a front or rear wheel drive, and if ever needed as a defensive technique on the streets, how to do a complete 360 spin and keep on keeping on. Any child or parent should defiantly give stock car racing a shot because you'll quickly find out that you may not be as good of a drive as you might think...
Comment by Linda on 21st June 2011
Great write up Terry, as a parent of a special needs son who, chances are very likely, he may never actually obtain a drivers license for a variety of reasons, a program like this may even include children like him who absolutely love cars but has never had an opportunity to drive one to maybe get a chance with professionals to at least have one or 2 experiences to do so. (a wonderful teacher at school has recently taken him under his wing and introduced him to odds and ends in auto class and he is absolutely loving it...I'm certain Markus probably knows of him)
We go to the speedway often too, he is always wanting to go into the pits!
I agree teens being involved in something is very important as Roy had mentioned. Sports has always been a big challenge for my son and very often he has not been "accepted" because he "cannot keep up" with the others, more so as he grew older, but something like this, even to be involved as a "helper" would mean the world to him, learning safety meeting other people and so much more.
What a wonderful idea for the youth of Terrace, I really hope it works out!
We need more "Terry's" in town.
Comment by Stuart Horner on 21st June 2011
Go outside right now. I bet you will hear tires squealing or some driver flooring it. If not, wait 3 min... it won't take long. At least 10 drivers floor it down my street going very near highway speeds every day. Even more on the weekends.
Why is this not TABOO in our society!? Why do drunks fighting take priority over the aggressive dangerous drivers? The RCMP is always boasting on how they are out to stop these aggressive drivers. I don't see them out enforcing this behavior as a priority. And it should be. More people are injured or killed in auto crashes than ALL other crimes combined. Hell it's not often even a crime to drive carelessly and aggressively, yet it's like Terry said, "a loaded FIREARM in their hands." Why is it then treated as a minor driving infraction in most cases?
So anyone like Terry that has a solution to the street racers in this town is very welcome and overdue. Well said Terry, my hat's off to you. When my son reaches the age, I will be down at the track for sure.
I Applaud Your Sentiments
Comment by Roy Harding on 21st June 2011
Although I'm not a racing fan, I've got nothing against it - when conducted in a safe, supervised manner as you suggest in your article.
In light of recent events in town, I would expand on your theme just a bit, to encourage parents to get their children INVOLVED in SOMETHING. ANYTHING which is conducted in a safe, supervised manner.
That SOMETHING could be Cadets, Scouts, Band, Hockey, Baseball, Soccer, Dance, Theatre, Cooking Classes, rock climbing, orienteering, rocketry, R/C planes/helicopters/boats/cars, or - as this article suggests - racing.
Having raised three sons to man high (not to mention having once been a teenaged boy myself), I'm more than aware of the energy and "silliness" that teens are capable of. DIRECT that energy into something exciting (to them), and properly SUPERVISED, and although your teens may still get into minor trouble now and then - it won't be a major thing in their lives.
I really think that Mr. Reinert has hit upon an excellent idea here, and I appreciate that he took the time to write the article.
Comment by Markus on 21st June 2011
Great article, and I completely agree. As a student of caledonia secondary, Im just starting to drive more and more, and I can't mention how grateful I am that my school has a drag racing club, where our school has a car that STUDENTS get to drive on the track. I believe this is a great incentive to get racers off the streets, and on the track.
Comment by BIG G on 21st June 2011
WOW TERRY THAT WAS WELL THOUGHT OUT AND WELL SAID IT ALMOST BROUGHT A TEAR TOAN OLD MANS HEART WISH A LOT MORE PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT WAY
Comment by C. Arnold on 20th June 2011
Wow, well said! That was a great article and very thoughtful given recent events. You are a great ambassador for the TSCA and have some wise words indeed.
Well stated !!
Comment by Chris & Debbie on 20th June 2011
Thank you for taking the time to write and post this. I hope a lot of people take the time to read it.