Cammer Yammer

I’M REWARDED EVERY NEW YEAR’S EVE when some of our enthusiastic participants race to their computers to sign up for DE. This year was no different as recorded by Peter Carroll’s brilliant registration system. So congratulations to Gregory Lick of the white group who managed to register for multiple events at exactly 12:00:08 in the morning. The competition was close as Terrence Tong was the first yellow group registrant this year at 12:00:09 a.m. Welcome back to the yellow group! The third club member on the sign-up podium was Paul Gogan in the white group. Paul must have been napping because he clicked “enter” at a dismal 12:00:15. That’s enough time for a gulp of champagne! He almost got beaten by the runner-up, or first loser as we like to call them, Benjamin Leung from the black group who registered at 12:00:16. Better luck next year, Benjamin!

All kidding aside it’s great to see this kind of enthusiasm after the year we just lived through. By the end of New Year’s Day we had taken in more than 600 registrations for the season. Hopefully by mid-year enough of the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed for us to open the events up to the green run group and resume in-car instruction. Until then we will do whatever we have to in order to have some fun while keeping each other safe.

It’s winter, just stating the obvious, and especially in a pandemic lockdown we all look for things to do. Occasionally when the phone isn’t ringing, I’ll watch a YouTube video or two. Sometimes it’s something interesting, like the Americans trying to destroy their democracy, but others are just bad-driver videos. I like to see how bad drivers are when they don’t have any advanced driver training. Since many people record their own failures, that begs the question: Should you own a dash cam?

What if your music is terrible? Would you want to sit in traffic court while your recorded voice sings ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” at the top of your lungs? Would you want your last recorded words in life to be capable of embarrassing your family and friends?

In some cases it’s made clear by the poster’s text that having the camera made their dealings with their insurance companies easier. That’s only true if you are clearly not at fault. The video certainly doesn’t make things easier for the other party. Recording your trips also creates other issues. What if your music is terrible? Would you want to sit in traffic court while your recorded voice sings ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” at the top of your lungs? Would you want your last recorded words in life to be capable of embarrassing your family and friends?

Aside from being referred to as a “cammer,” which is a stupid name, you may find yourself being seen as an idiot. I don’t know if having a camera makes you want to produce YouTube footage or not. I’ve seen lots of clips where the car with the camera speeds up to crowd another car that is trying to move over. They are ahead and have their signal on. There is room for their car, yet you can hear the cammer accelerate to block their lane change. Then they feign outrage that the other car cut them off in “their” lane. Does having a camera give you ownership of a whole traffic lane? This is always followed by blowing horns, ridiculous acceleration and a bunch of fingers being displayed. Watching all that, I always wonder why the idiot didn’t just let the other car in? Maybe the other driver is just lost, from out of town, or they just made a mistake. None of it matters since both cars fit on the road and end up where they are going anyway.

I’ve seen footage where the camera owner was so intent on getting a clip of a spinning car that they didn’t consider where the car was going to end up. They become part of the accident because they don’t use the brakes instead of recording the accident as its happening.

Brake checks make me mad. When I was a young man I drove a tractor-trailer and have experienced a few clowns who were angry that I couldn’t get up a hill. They pass you on the downhill side and then slam their brakes on in front of you. In many videos someone cuts off the innocent driver and then brake checks them as punishment for blowing the horn in warning. I think if someone brake checks you, the law should allow you to push them with your truck for about three blocks before you pull over. If you think that’s too dangerous, I’d settle for two blocks if I don’t have to slow down. If they want to cause a wreck, they should be in it.

I guess in countries that don’t offer no-fault insurance, having a video camera in your car could be worthwhile. On the other hand we live in a no-fault province so we don’t have to record or chase down anyone who hits us. As long as we report it, we’re covered whether the police find them or not. Having a video camera in Ontario could only increase your liability if you have an accident and provide proof that you were speeding or doing something dumb. You don’t want your YouTube video to become evidence against you. So my advice is to leave car cameras to those who really need them and enjoy your ABBA collection at full volume.

At the end of last season something went terribly wrong inside my transmission. The rear wheels locked up in corner nine and let’s say that my track exit wasn’t very pretty and leave it at that. Fortunately everything broke in time to return the ability to steer to me before I arrived at the wall, but my season was definitely over. I came to the immediate conclusion that my new limited-slip differential had failed since it was the newest thing in there and, once it stopped locking the rear wheels, they seemed to move independently of each other. The car was trailered home, the transmission pulled and the car put in storage for the winter.

My friendly transmission shop finally pulled it apart this week and the results were surprising in a bad way. The LSD, which was the only warranty part in there, is just fine. The balance of the box looks like someone took a sledge hammer to it. Apparently the pilot-shaft bearing retired and took the ring and pinion with it. They all made a quick pass through the box at 7,000 RPM and even turned the casing into scrap metal. Needless to say, if anyone has an inexpensive Getrag G87.21, six-speed transmission for a 2008 Cayman S 3.4, I have a good home for one.

Stay safe out there! </>

Photos by Robert Martin

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