Last year went by in what feels like a flash of lightning followed by the thunderous claps of deadlines, flights, and the never-ending shenanigans that we Speedhunters can somehow call a job.
Looking back on a year filled with memories and all sorts of events from many countries, it’s hard not to think back to the unsanctioned H2Oi/not H2Oi event in Ocean City, Maryland.
While I had covered the journey to the event with MustangKyle, along with a brief history lesson on the show by Dave Thomas, and published a few pieces on the show itself, I felt like I hadn’t really shown the diversity of the event along with the endless slew of burnout pictures.
With that being said, grab a bite to eat, crack a cold ginger beer, and buckle in for a look into a night at the wildest car show of 2018.The Day Before Dusk
I had been in Ocean City for a few days, but still had some things to check off the to-do list before the proverbial pawpaw hit the fan. First up on the docket was getting together with a good friend, Sam Schwartz, AKA SchwaaFilms, to film a segment with Kyle for his H2Oi after-movie.
Somehow we managed to shoot under the radar and didn’t attract any police attention, even with our bodies – allegedly – hanging quite far out of the vehicle.
After wrapping up, we headed to Kyle’s soon-to-be-favourite store where he proceeded to buy enough clothes to last a lifetime, including some truly American clothing.Buckwild With The Build Bros.
With the shopping and chores taken care of, it was time to meet some new friends from Ontario, Canada, known as the Build Bros. Garrett, the organizer of the Berlin Klassik had mentioned that some wild characters were headed down to the show, and that it could be an interesting time. That was an understatement.
The Build Bros., Jamie and Tanner, can best be described as a Canadian highway pileup between the Trailer Park Boys, Larry Enticer, a truckload of maple syrup, and a little too much Molson Canadian.
The duo had driven down from Ontario in what could be described as fairly unique rides. Jamie was keen to show off his two-stepping R32-powered VW 4-Motion Bora Jetta, whose flames and gunshot-esque noise had earned an impoundment and other traffic infractions earlier in the week.
Tanner, on the other hand, had burnt through a few gallons of oil on the drive down in his VW Westfalia Camper, complete with a custom hand-painted mural, LED disco lights, and of course, a beer fridge.
The Bros. were eager to help shoot some features, and Tanner offered the use of the Camper’s sliding door option, which was hard to resist.
We had just wrapped up shooting a feature when I received the above Facebook message along with a bunch of calls from random people telling me that ‘my’ car – a certain Mustang – was being towed.
After a brief call from Kyle, it seemed that I had become the owner of a 1967 Ford Mustang, and due to it being parked at our condo the neighbours were unhappy with the amount of attention it was attracting.
With the car moved over a few feet and the tow truck driver paid, we set off in the bus down ‘The Strip’. I had cruised The Strip in over a dozen cars so far that week, but none got the amount of attention that the Westfalia did.The Night The Sky Turned Pink
The Westfalia did a few laps of The Strip before it was time for our appointment with a 2JZ-swapped Subaru. Adam and I had been chatting on Instagram earlier in the week, and he had given me the details of a burnout that promised to be one for the ages.
This wasn’t just a regular burnout, but one that would be a gender reveal for Adam’s soon-to-be-born child.
With 655hp to the wheels, he didn’t hold back on roasting the tires off until the sky turned pinky-red and the smoke billowed across many blocks.
Adam’s burnout had sparked others to join in including this Skyline GT-R and RX-7. While the Nissan was lucky and narrowly avoided a drove of police, the Mazda did not fare so well.
The police had hardly blocked him in and the smoke was still in the air when the crowd flocked from the street and sidewalks to start chanting ‘one more, one more, one more,’ in the hopes that the owner would throw caution to the wind in front of a dozen officers.
With the gender reveal concluded and congratulations passed on to Adam and his family, we were back in the van, rolling down The Strip and headed to the French part of town.Meet The Québécois
Earlier in the week I had been jokingly razzed by some French-Canadians on the street, and after a few playful Canadian taunts back and forth, they invited me in their broken francophone words to a car meet that they were hosting, which promised some tomfoolery.
They too had made the trek down from the cold North in a variety of cars, so I was excited to see what was in store. Never mind the fact that we could talk about poutine and other Canadian things, eh?
We arrived just as they were finishing up ushering cars into parking spots, but it didn’t take long for the police to show up and put an end to any and all activities. Anyone drinking from a ‘open container’ with their toes grazing the sidewalk was arrested.
With the show being shut down, we clambered back into the van and headed back to the corner of 56th Street.Please Don’t Hit Me
This is the part of the story that I’m hesitant to share, because I do not want to glorify or encourage this sort of behaviour. It could have easily ended badly for numerous people.
But it’s all a part of the H2Oi experience, right? Kids, anyone actually, don’t do this at home.
Pulling up to the corner of 56th Street and The Strip meant navigating through an endless sea of people on the road and sidewalks, and with that successfully done and the Westie parked, I set my stomach on some pizza across the street.
As the the signal told me to cross, I checked both ways and started my jaunt across the street. But I had barely made it halfway across when a Hyundai Genesis driven by a wannabe Drift King launched itself into the intersection (through a red light, nonetheless), did a one-wheel-peel and a donut, and then attempted to flee the scene.
But justice was served in the form of an undercover officer sitting at the corner waiting to turn onto The Strip.
I managed to chase down the Genesis just as it was being pulled over, and watched him plead and beg not to get any tickets. But the police weren’t having any of it. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, or pay the Ocean City fines.Peer Pressure
The commotion of the Hyundai caused quite a stir, and more people swarmed the sidewalks until the crowd control police were called in.
I quickly devoured the pizza, caught up with the ILB crew, and then headed up The Strip on foot to see what all the crowds were about.
The sheer amount of people crowding the streets, yelling all sorts of chants and trying to pressure those cruising past to ‘send it’ was unreal.
Some people caved to the peer pressure, but many were quickly pulled over down the street. Truth be told, the police presence didn’t seem to be much of a deterrent.
As soon as the crowd would take over the road, the police would arrive, try to split everyone up, and attempt to arrest who they could. The flood of people would then walk a block down the road and do it over and over again until the crowd either dwindled or the police presence became overwhelming.
With that, I retired to the Westfalia’s pop-top roof bed and called it a night on one of the wildest car weeks of last year. H2Oi, not H2Oi, or whatever you’d like to call it will be back next year, and I’m going to try my best to be there again.