I don’t know if it’s happened to you but imagine you’re just about to drive out of the garage on to the pit lane to line up for qualifying and you feel something big and hairy moving up your inside pedal leg towards your nether regions.
Qualifying is quite important in motor racing because it determines your place on the grid. When the light goes green and the bunny’s away, having no traffic ahead of you is a huge advantage. In the MX-5 Cup it doesn’t matter so much because the three Herrings (not a fish) Todd, Richard and Tim, are the Hamilton and Bottas of the class and always take up all the podium spots.
Anyway, I asked, well that’s not exactly true, I actually screamed at team owner, race coach to the stars and car lessor Phil Alexander what could heading for my private parts? “Oh” the Nürburgring champ calmly replied, “it could be Harry the Huntsperson spider I saw on the front wheel this morning”.
Eighteen readers (Adelaide’s Sozo Nikias is number 10) and one friend, can I just explain for the non-arachnologists amongst you that the Huntsperson is probably the world’s largest person eating spider and is often called (mistakenly but understandably) Tarantula or Giant Crab Spider. The ABC Science site tells us that instead of lacing together a webbed trap, they prefer jumping and stalking their prey.
Once they’ve caught their prey, they immobilise it with a venomous bite and perform a little “victory dance”. The Huntsman spider will dance with its prey in its jaws. After the victory dance, the meal begins.
Well this was not the best news I ever heard. I don’t think I need to paint a picture for you of my imagining Harry dancing with my family jewels in his jaws.
Now while there haven’t been many reports of instant death, the bite of a huntsman spider can be fairly painful and result in local swelling. The effects of the bite vary but cause headache, nausea, vomiting and irregular pulse rate. Readers, I already had the headache, nausea, vomiting and irregular pulse rate and Harry was just past my knee on his inexorable climb to my naughty bits.
Just as I had started to sob uncontrollably, Phil poked both his head and hand in the window. In his hand was a 61cm wrench. “Just close your eyes, take a deep breath and point to where Harry is now on his inexorable climb to your naughty bits,” he calmly said. Readers can I just report that while Harry’s bite may have been painful, copping a few heavy blows from a 61cm wrench in what I would quaintly call the groin area may have sent Harry on a quick journey to spider Swarga, the happy hunting ground for Huntspersons, but it had painful and life scarring effects on your correspondent who could only accomplish one lap of qualifying and in the next three races my abilities were hampered by the oversized FlexiKold Gel Cold Pack ($28.99) as used by thousands of physical therapists and other healthcare professionals to relieve acute and chronic pain, muscle pain, arthritis and menopause, wedged between my legs.
Look the Terry Denovan-organised socially distanced Motor Racing Australia series is always great. Last weekend’s racing was at the country’s friendliest course, Wakefield Park, near where the 97 tonne Big Merino highlights the contribution of cement to the Australian economy. My motel room looked straight at its bottom and it was nothing to crack up about. You won’t be surprised that after the Harry episode, I rang former colleague, Michael McMichael (yes, the King of Kensi, nude portrait painter to all but two of the royal family, etc, etc) but he was too busy to talk because he was in the middle of an online marine radio course.
Yes. I know. You thought the waters around Adelaide were safe save for a few great white sharks and a few great white property developers but no, the old bloke skippers a vessel and after reading Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember on the sinking of the Titanic has taken up morse code lessons on a Marconi radio lest the SS Minnow find a stray berg on an inexorable climb to the Port Adelaide Motor and Tinny Club, of which he is patron.
Talking of morse code, one of our favourite racers, Rachelle Stirling, founder of Race Chix Motorsport, messaged me to say she was launching Race Chix Race School at Eastern Creek (opposite the tip) “to put women behind the wheel in motorsport”.
“Women only make up 10 per cent of the sport and the school is designed for women who are starting out on their motorsport journey” and then there were some dots and dashes I couldn’t read but if you’re a woman I would jump and stalk at this much like a Huntsperson does on its prey.
Big announcement sounds: and the UK’s most unreliable car, as researched in a survey of 47,000 drivers by consumer group Which?, is the Volvo XC 90. In fact, Which? found seven cars, the Range Rover Velar, the Range Rover Sport, the 2010 to 2017 BMW 5 Series Touring, three Nissans and the Volvo so crook they want them recalled. Meanwhile, but also in England, the Sunday Times (part of our global multi-media empire) named the Porker Taycan 4S and the Volkswagen Golf 8 joint cars of the year.
Finally, in last weekend’s paper, the wonderful Barry Humphries revealed that Adelaide is now his favourite city. When he used to “visit there were endless parties with huge consumption of liquor, Turkish cigarettes, Wynn Vale flagons, Barossa Pearl and a poisonous beverage called Brandivino which was absolutely lethal. It was where I first heard the evocative verb to chunder and it described so well the experiences I had with Brandivino in Adelaide.”
Reader David Culkin was quick to say that he found it strange that I have never mentioned that the Kensi has a balcony named after Barry.