|Red Rock Big Wheel 400|
|Written by Brian Bergner Jr.|
|Wednesday, 07 July 2010 08:00|
Since there are no stock car races, go-cart sprints or dirt tracks to cover in the Verde Valley, I guess the only plausible option is to cover the local roundabouts.
Like NASCAR, except every day of the week instead of just Sunday afternoons, thousands of cars pass through our local roundabouts and most motorists have figured out how to use them.
However, some drivers still haven’t mastered the traffic circles, as evidenced when a big black SUV turned left into oncoming traffic, the complete opposite of the way it should be going.
Ever seen a driver want to turn right with the flow of traffic, but stop, proceed past the middle section and then turn right onto oncoming traffic? I have, and it’s quite laughable.
Not laughable would be when someone actually uses the roundabout correctly and a big 18-wheel semitruck comes dashing through, taking up every foot of space and squeezing you between him and Nancy’s art displayed center stage within the roundabout.
Of course, the most obvious violation of our new roundabout madness are the drivers who completely stop while still in the flow of the circle, not only upsetting those trapped behind them but making those at the yield sign escalate to their craziness point and yell, “Your turn…,” add any expletive of your choice to fill in the blank.
So how do we solve this roundabout madness? Should we invite locals and tourists alike to take a class called Roundabout 101? Should we set up a driver’s education course online for the computer literate?
How about a written test during the driver’s exam when the young ones get their permits? In fact, how about making it part of the checklist the Motor Vehicle Division employees can mark off while on a road test?
In the end, there is no exact answer, but to add to the roundabout madness I’m calling for a new sport to hit the streets using none other than … Big Wheels.
My fantastic idea would not only solve the lack of racing coverage in the Verde Valley, but also give the locals something to cheer about instead of calling out for the man upstairs to fix our roundabout problem all while behind the wheel, drinking a cup of coffee, eating a doughnut and sending a text message to their loved one to find out what’s up.
Wouldn’t it be exciting to see local business owners and other sponsors fighting to get in line to throw money at their favorite Big Wheel driver?
Let’s just call it the Verde Valley Circuit. Patent pending.
Each Verde Valley police department can shut down a certain roundabout when it becomes their weekend for a race for just the afternoon.
In Sedona, we could hold our first race of the Big Wheel season at the busiest roundabout in town, at the intersection previously known as the ‘Y’ and now lovingly called the ‘O.’
The city could call it the Red Rock Big Wheel 400 sponsored by ... pick any local business you would like. I think lots of local business owners would jump all over this one.
Race fans would turn out by the hundreds to see 40 to 50 people strap themselves into a Big Wheel and pedal as fast as possible for an hour or so.
Of course, there would be prizes for the winners like a gift certificate to a local pizzeria or even a toy store to buy bigger and better Big Wheels.
How about the pit crew? We must have a pit crew stationed somewhere along the roundabout for each driver and their plastic vehicle with water and sports drink refreshments.
Before each race gets started we would have the proverbial “Drivers, start your engines.”
Since the Big Wheels make no sound whatsoever, we could have either the drivers make the sounds themselves or even a loudspeaker play it for the crowd.
For the national anthem we would have our local talented singer, Courtney Grieco, winner of the Sedona Sunrise Superstar competition. Sedona Mayor Rob Adams could wave the checkered flag to signal the beginning and end of the race.
For Camp Verde and Cottonwood, the theme would be the same, especially in Camp Verde where the Cliff Castle Casino roundabout would bring the gambling crowd.
Either way, these Big Wheel races sound like a fun alternative to the everyday madness of driving.
Start your Big Wheels!