‘It’s racing, but this is not a race!’ - Someone.
So there I was, staring at my recyclable cup fill of hot coffee from a petrol station. As I held it with both hands, trying to warm up my fingers, I started thinking about how all the lockdowns over the past year have made me excited about any automotive happening – even those held in freezing conditions
I got back to my car and fired up the navigation app. My destination? Auto24ring here in Estonia. I know where this racetrack is by heart, but I like to follow the digital arrow on a screen like it’s a video game.
I was going to the most ‘pointless’ race in the world – a local version of the 24 Hours of Lemons called Mannergute Mõõduvõtt. It arguably translates as ‘The Rivalry of Buckets’, but even Estonian native speakers struggle to point out the precise etymology of the name.
Mannergute Mõõduvõtt is pointless, because you’re racing for eight hours straight but the fastest car doesn’t always win. Crazy, right? Actually, it’s not crazy – it’s great.
I’m a person with a growth mindset instead of a goal mindset. I’m more interested in how far I can go than actually reaching the goal, so an event like this one is right up my alley. The competitive aspect is out of the picture, so the only people around are true-blooded petrol-heads. To be involved in any way you must have some octane in your system, because why else would you want to be out in the freezing cold?
Also, what sort of a person will look at a Hyundai Getz and think: ‘Yeah, I’ll race that.’ ? The best kind – your fellow car culture enthusiast.
The best ‘Mannerg’ cars are those that shouldn’t really be allowed near a racetrack – especially after been given a masquerade makeover. My question here is what car would you bring to this sort of race? The main rule is that the car shouldn’t produce more than 100hp per tonne (or 75kW per 2,205lb). Let me know in the comments…
Amateur racing in general is an outlet for creativity. All people have it, but there are different ways to express it and a competition like Mannergute Mõõduvõtt provides the stage for a gear-head to show both their style and humour.
While I was sitting on a snowdrift, shooting the action and feeling all smug about all the smart choices I made for my winter attire, I noted it: life, chaos, the belonging. A message from a dying Golf’s exhaust blast. And the simple thought was this: appreciate the little things in front of you – the cars, the noise, the racetrack, the snow that continued to melt on my face.
Shoot for excellence – this is what keeps us moving – but lower the bar when it comes to your personal self. If you enjoy these simple cars, cheer for drivers that are giving their best. There were no losers on this day – car culture took home the gold trophy.