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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 1 May 96 15:43:00 -0700
Subject: Sports Update
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Bennett)
From:email@example.com (Kevin McGrath)
Last year I reported on one of the most spectacular and little known events
in motor sports - the US National Rollover Competition. I think it's time
for another update. In this amazing sport, competitors flip cars by
accelerating a car to maximum speed (about 50 mph - these are junkyard
specials) and driving the driver-side wheels up a ramp which flips the car.
Points are scored based on the position of the car when the flipping stops:
a 1/4 roll (on the drivers door) gets 1 point; a 1/2 roll (on the roof) gets
2 points; a 3/4 roll (on the passenger door) gets 3 points; and a complete
roll (upright on 4 wheels) gets 5 points. Points continue to accumulate if
the car continues to roll. For example, one complete roll and then stopping
on the roof garners 7 points (5 + 2), while 3 complete rollovers captures
the coveted 15 point triple. Each driver gets three attempts to accumulate
points but in most cases the cars are are too greviously damaged to complete
all three. Based on the extraordinary interest in last years competition,
I wanted to report on the highlights of a recent event.
The winner was Billy 'Zig Zag' Souper who accomplished the Holy Grail of
rollover - 5 complete rolls. Zig Zag flipped 5 times and came to rest on
the roof for a 52 point hall-of-fame performance. In his second attempt on
the day, he steered his badly wounded car (make and model no longer
recognizable) to a complete double roll capturing 20 more points. However,
at this point the car was a goner and he had to be satisfied with a 72 point
day - a world record that stands today. In the post competition interview,
Zig Zag was visibly shaken and having trouble regaining his equilibrium,
but said he was happy for having won the event and setting a new point
Finishing second was Johnny Dangerously, last years champion, who landed a
fabulous 30 point triple roll ending up on all four wheels. He followed this
with a double and a roof (22 points). On his third attempt he missed the
ramp completely due to a collapsed suspension. Johnny was still a little
dizzy in the interview at the end and described the triple thusly: 'the
damn thing started flippin and just kept on going - I didnt know where the
hell I was'. He then thanked his brother for towing him to the track and
his wife for putting up with him.
In third was Doc Dougherty, a ceramic tile salesman from Long Island, who
scored a highly unusual and crowd-pleasing triple by rolling twice along
the longtitudinal axis and then once end-over-end and landing upright. Doc
was seen shaking his head in the car apparently trying to clear his senses
before the next runs. Doc's second and third attempts were hampered by four
flat tires incurred in the triple but he captured 35 points for the day.
Commenting later on his spectacular double roll and end-over-end
combination, Doc said 'That one really rocked my world'.
The type of car preferred by many teams in this competition are late-1980
vintage GM front-wheel drive cars. According to post-race interviews with
several crew chiefs, these cars are favorites because of their structural
strength (an obvious benefit) and because they often suffered serious
mechanical failures early in their life which takes them off the road with
relatively low miles. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for GM but an inside
tip for future competitors. Another favorite are early 1980 era Ford
real-wheel drive compacts because of their mechanical robustness which is
important for getting in all three runs. However, these Fords have weak
structures and their drivers are often seen hunched over the steering wheel
trying to drive under a collapsed roof.
All in all, it was a great day in motor sports. Because of the interest
level, I'll publish updates as the season progresses. Thanks to ESPN2 for
broadcasting such quality sporting events.
Lets hear it for the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
© 1996 Peter Langston