SPORTS: ‘A passion for crashing cars’ — Daredevils to dive-bomb at Port Angeles Speedway

SEQUIM ­– The best thing about crashing cars ­– also known as stunt driving ­– is that you can race to the top of the game right away, Bob Hanna of Sequim believes.

Hanna, 75, is organizer of Saturday night’s Auto Daredevil Thrill Show at the Port Angeles Speedway, an event he swears is one of the last of its kind in the country.

The Auto Daredevil Thrill Show starts at 8 p.m. at the Speedway, 25567 U.S. Highway 101.

Hanna has his eye on an up-and-dive-bombing driver who’s one-third his age: Tyler Moore, a fellow Sequim resident who made his crashing debut at the Port Angeles daredevil confab of 2008.

His first dive bomber stunt, a rush onto a ramp and then a plunge into a clump of cars, lives on via www.YouTube.com.

Watching that, one wonders: What is going through that driver’s mind as he whips around the track, takes flight from the ramp and hurtles into those parked bodies?

Moore took a stab at explaining, in an interview earlier this week.

“You’re supposed to hit the ramp at about 60 [mph],” he began. Once airborne, “it feels kind of weightless. You wonder what you’re doing there in the first place. Then you see the cars coming at you, the cars you’ll land in.”

Another thought that entered Moore’s mind: “How did Bob talk me into this?”

Hanna, for his part, said persuasion wasn’t a problem.

‘Natural’

“Tyler is a natural,” he said. “I haven’t come across anybody like him for years . . . he has the same passion for crashing cars that I’ve had all my life.”

Hanna, known by the pseudonym Dusty Russell during his stuntman days, doesn’t drive so much anymore, but he tirelessly promotes the daredevil show.

With great pride, he credited his wife of 23 years, Becky, for helping him see the logic in making that transition at this point in his life.

But for a young man like Moore, Hanna said, a good launch off the daredevil ramp is “a 10-second rush to greatness.”

That’s a powerful thing for a man who spent a parallel career in the semiconductor industry.

“It took me 30 years to get to the top in my professional career,” Hanna said.

He caught sight of the stunt-driving pinnacle much faster — soon after his first daredevil show in 1951.

He kept it up, and brought it down, for decades, but says he’s thrilled through his last show, back in 2005 at the Western Speedway in Victoria.

As for Moore, who works for a Sequim construction company, stunt driving is something he does “to keep out of trouble.”

And “it builds character,” added his friend Keith Fell.

For those who come to the show Saturday night, or who watch his 2008 dive-bombing on YouTube, Moore offers one more insight about how it feels to plough intentionally into a bunch of other cars.

“The impact looks like less than it is,” he said.

There’s no roll cage in the car; the driver wears a leather strap and come-along to keep his body from melding with the steering wheel.

Still, Moore said, “it’s quite a jolt.”

And it turns out that the dive-bomber won’t be Moore’s only stunt of the night.

He also plans on attempting the T-bone, in which he’ll drive fast up and over a ramp with the hope of wedging his vehicle’s front end between two parked cars.

“I’ve never seen it happen,” he admits, “but apparently it does, one in 50 times, or so I’m told.”

________

Sequim-Dungeness Valley reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]

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