Learning The Delicate Balance Between Living Life And Cheating Death
"Don't lose the taillamps in front of you."
Those were the only words on my mind as our rolling convoy plowed its way over hill and dale on the Isle of Man, up Snaefell Mountain and back down again. Thing is, those taillamps were little more than faint twinkling halos shrouded in obscurity, nodding up and down obeisantly to the undulating road famously known by locals as the Mountain Course.
Those taillamps were the only sign that, up ahead, our procession of 2013 Subaru BRZ coupes was being led by one Mark Higgins, he who currently owns the four-wheeled lap record at the 37.8-mile-long loop of asphalt we're traversing. He who has taken home five British Rally Championship trophies, was born right here on the Isle of Man and is the odds-on favorite to win his home Manx Rally year after year. Put another way, we're following a seasoned professional who knows this track better than he knows the wrinkles, pores and follicles gracing the back of his own hand. And, while we're well shy of the 115 mile-per-hour average that constitutes his record-setting lap, to say we're driving gingerly is to say it takes a bit of arithmetic to land on the moon. As for us? This is the first time we've ever put rubber to the ground on the Isle.
Making matters a wee bit more interesting is the steady downpour of rain we've come to know and loathe on the Isle - enough of it, in fact, that the Senior TT motorcycle race, the most sought-after win of the entire Isle of Man race schedule, was canceled for the first time for any reason other than a World War - not to mention a layer of fog so thick in patches that we couldn't tell if it were a fellow BRZ pilot we were following on the Mountain Course or Charon's ferry over the River Styx.