The fast and the foolish: Speed racers beyond their limits

Damien Daly used to speed along Hwy. 401. He would weave his car through traffic switching gears as he accelerated. The rush excited him and he felt invincible.

“Movies like The Fast and the Furious got me started,” he said. “Being able to push cars to their limits and having my adrenaline rush increase as my speedometer went up kilometre by kilometre.”

Since the new anti racing bylaw was implemented in September 2008, there has been a decrease in speed racing. According to OPP Sgt. Cam Woolley, 4,000 cars were impounded, along with fines since last year. Woolley said that there are still a lot of complaints about speed racing or extreme racing as he calls it.

“With the weather getting better, we see all types of cars. From cars that look like it came straight out of the Fast and the Furious, or as I call it, the ‘Fast and the Foolish,’ to Mom’s mini van,” he said.

Woolley stated that most speed racers are men and they vary from age 16 to in there 40s. However early this year, an 85-year-old man was caught speed racing on Hwy. 407; he sped right past a police car. According to Woolley the man claimed to be going to the bank. His car was impounded and he was charged. He is now known as the oldest person to have been charged with extreme racing.

“I’ve seen senior executives dressed in suits charged for extreme racing,” Woolley said. ” Most of them will try to argue their way out of it because they are not used to not being able to talk their way out of things… The young people just cry.”

One-time speeder Daly believes the reason why these men speed race is because of the excitement.

“Besides the rush… it’s the competition,” Daly said. “A big part of the competition was the element of surprise, not knowing what they had under their hood (engine, modifications, etc.).”

Woolley said that the disturbing thing is that most people who have been caught extreme racing already have a terrible driving record. Some are even under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He expressed how it is hard to speak to young people these days. They think it’s impossible to crash.

According to Daly, some people do learn that taking the risk is not a smart thing to do.

“I would have stopped (speed racing) even if the law wasn’t passed because as you get older you realize that it’s stupid. Risking your life as well as others,” Daly said.