Downhill Power Wheels Racing for Grown-Ups Is the Absolute Pinnacle of Racing
Watching a full-size adult cut through race traffic on Virginia International Raceway atop a children’s toy only makes me want to do it myself.
Want to go racing on a budget? Buy a Power Wheels. I've said before that Barbie Jeep Racing is the real pinnacle of racing. It's racing distilled to its purest essence: "Can I beat you, a ten-ply extra-soft roll of Quilted Failure in human form who is most assuredly going down?"
Yet it's all skill, as it's still cheap enough to be accessible to nearly anyone who can modify a children's ride-on. The closest thing you'll get to a budget war is maybe the dude who's risking his nice helmet for this. It's racing for the people, by the people, and always a genuine joy to watch.
Watching a member of Team HMA cut through traffic like a boss on Virginia International Raceway only convinces me more that races like this need to happen on every track. Rider Becca started near the back of the pack but ended up dodging both colliding race traffic as well as hay bales to finish just outside the top 10. There's an impressive thread-the-needle move in there that we simply don't see enough in full-scale motorized car racing.
If Team HMA sounds familiar, it's because HMA stands for Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, and they're the employee after-hours sports group you wish you had at your job. Instead of the usual inter-company softball league or trivia squad, these guys build and race cars, fielding everything from a souped-up Odyssey minivan to the Civic Type R that debuted in World Challenge's TC class last year.
Naturally, Team HMA's sweet race-van made an appearance at VIR's Hyperfest this year, which is a giant all-things-motorsport fest that features everything from drifting to rally and even lawnmower racing. A depowered downhill Power Wheels race also made it onto the schedule, and once again, I love everything about this so much that I'd be willing to launch my stupid self off of some surprisingly steep hills on other tracks, too.
Can you imagine flying down Circuit of the Americas' 133-foot-tall incline going to Turn 1 on a kids' toy? Or what about setting up at the top of the series of steep uphill curves after the Breidscheid entrance of the Nürburgring, and running it downhill on tiny ride-ons instead? Spa's big Eau Rouge-Radillon combo would be hilarious to watch grown folks with a diminished sense of self-preservation fly down backward on Barbie Jeeps.
Look, if I can't have the demolition derby at my local Formula One track that I really want, the closest thing mayhem-wise that won't leave a trail of permanent asphalt and barrier destruction is a Power Wheels race. Make this happen at every track with any semblance of a hill to it, and the world will be a better place as a result.