I had a memory pop into my head when I watched the latest Hoonigan video featuring Travis Pastrana. For the three people that have not seen Gymkhana 2020, watch before reading. For the three million other viewers, give it another watch... It is worth it.
Now onto the memory.
Back when I was a car audio installer at a big box retailer in Santa Rosa I had a coworker named JV. If you asked him, that is what it said on his birth certificate, so out of respect I will call him that. He was old. Like really old, if you asked the 19 year old that worked for me. He was 37. JV was the type of person that was much better at doing most things than most people but didn't flaunt it unless someone really needed to know who they were dealing with. If that sounds ominous, trust me at times it was. He always had this look of "how did I get here" when he was in the zone doing things that people without his abilities might have found complex...It was awesome. There was this other installer who, for the sake of brevity I will use the initials of AK. He hated brevity, especially when it came to the shortening of his name or talking about how great he was at everything. He was 19. AK was the type of person that talked the talk, but hadn't learned to crawl, much less walk the corresponding walk. The one or two tricks he had perfected he bragged about constantly. If that sounds annoying, trust me at times it was. He always had this look of "how am I so much better than you" when he did anything, even when I was fixing his work... It was not awesome. AK had this Honda Civic that he put most of his paycheck into. Exhaust, intake, coil overs, flashing lights everywhere, and a stereo that would have drown out some of the concerts I have been to. Thanks to the boomin' system it was heavier that when he bought it, and the bolt on parts to did little to recoup the power loss all that audio gear and other stuff he added.
Still every single day that year AK woke up as a 19 year old, and every single day he used to do an e-brake skid into his parking spot...and the adjacent parking spots. He would brag about how he was a better driver than anyone he knew, how he beat a Ferrari in a race on Highway 1, you know, in his Honda Civic with a net 4hp over stock.
One particularly damp weekday you could hear him approaching. First the stereo, then the obnoxious exhaust, then his single wheel, front wheel drive burnout followed eventually by him sliding to a stop in the middle of about 4 parking spots.
He was late, again, and slowly sauntered into the garage bragging about being late because he had to keep racing this guy in a 911 and he missed his exit. Totally believable in the bumper-to-bumper traffic on 101 at 8am. JV had just finished fixing a botched alarm system that AK had worked on the day prior, and something snapped. JV had enough of picking up the slack and laid into AK about being late again, his installation skills, and just being a shitbag in general. I don't remember what was said between the two, but after a couple minutes of AK posturing his greatness, JV just walked out. He told me he was taking his 15 minute break, got into his 1980 something Nissan Stanza Wagon, and calmly drove off. AK was shouting insults long after the wagon was out of sight, and continued bragging about putting the old man out to pasture, that is for another 5 minutes or so. There are a couple of something else's that you really should know about JV. He lived less than a 2 minute drive away, and he had a 1974 Chevy Vega, that like his Nissan Stanza was also a station wagon. Unlike the Nissan, however, a small block V8 was placed ever-so-lovingly under the hood of the Chevy. Well, mostly under the hood. The supercharger didn't quite fit. JV came back to work with about 10 minutes left on his break. In the Vega. We could hear him approaching, probably from his driveway. He had removed the stereo (and anything else that was not important to offset the weight of the rollcage) so we heard the exhaust first. Then we heard tires begging for mercy as he drifted it around the back of the building, followed eventually by him sliding to a parallel stop next to AK's poorly parked car. JV looked over at the crowd of installers with his "how did I get here" face, stomped on the gas, and proceeded to literally run circles around AK's car, smoke pouring off the rear tires. Every revolution JV's expression got more and more worried, and the more nervous he looked the more confidence he instilled in everyone... except AK who was screaming obscenities. JV eventually came to a stop, sliding the passenger door of his Vega Wagon to within inches of the left side of AK's Honda. JV walked into the garage, grabbed the wiring harness he was soldering before he left, and went back to work. AK just kept yelling at him, threatening all sorts of things from bodily harm to calling the cops. JV put his head down and worked, ignoring the failed attempts at intimidation being spit over his shoulder. JV finished the install and walked over to the phone to call the customer with AK still making idle threats. As he grabbed the phone, JV put his index finger to his lips, and for the first time since he got to work, AK fell silent. With the call completed, JV finally spoke. "If you say one more word to me that isn't work related I will whip up another batch of doughnuts and see if I can get even closer to your car this time." Every day for the next week someone left a dozen doughnuts on AK's toolbox, and he stopped parking like an idiot. Astute observers will have picked up on why the video triggered this memory. Mr. Pastrana has an "I'm in danger, but it's fine" expression throughout the video which is either the legit panic of a masochist or he is hamming things up a bit for the 47 cameras mounted in his car. I am guessing the latter as he has made a career of motorsports dipshittery, and if he didn't know what he was doing he would have not have lived long enough - much less became famous enough - to convince his hometown to shut down so he could jump a speedboat in a car. Those that are familiar with the whole Hoonigan series will note that Ken Block does not have the same facial expressions. Mr. Block does not have a single facial expression that even boarders on the fun spectrum when he is whirling about Dervishly behind the wheel. He is 100% serious, putting in work, and saves the fun expressions for later... Probably? I mean, we don't hang out so maybe he always has RPF? That's Resting Pedrosa Face for those unfamiliar with the acronym. This got me wondering what expression MotoGP racers wear under their helmets. Like does Rossi crack a smile when one of his buddies rips by on last years machine or does it make him sad? If anyone from MotoGP's production crew is reading this, please start working with helmet makers to provide real-time facial scanning for mid-race expression changes. If you have to start with test riders, that's cool, but please skip Pedrosa as we already know he only has the one.