SPORTS: Auto Daredevil Thrill Show set for Port Angeles Speedway

PORT ANGELES — Bob Hanna promises to go out with a bang.

The 76-year-old stunt show veteran just hopes it isn’t the one that ends up costing him a healthy chunk of his life savings.

Hanna’s annual Auto Daredevil Thrill Show will ride through Port Angeles Speedway for the “final tour” on Friday night.

And he and star daredevil Tyler Moore are upping the ante on what may be the last show of its kind at the speedway, with Moore planning to launch a car over the track’s infield pit shack at the event’s grand finale.

That’s just one of three stunts planned for the 26-year-old Sequim resident, whose idea of a good time is “to do something stupid and cause mayhem.”

“I’m hoping I’ll actually clear [the pit shack], otherwise I’ll be in a lot of trouble,” said Moore, who will also perform the Outlaw T-Bone and participate in a car rollover contest Friday.

“I’m sure the track will be overjoyed [if I hit it], but I think Bob will be pretty upset.”

It’s easy to understand why.

Since the speedway’s power grid is stored in the shack, any damage done to it would put the enterprise out of commission until it is fixed.

Thus, Hanna had to agree to pay “some horrendous, ridiculous figure” each week until it’s fixed in order to compensate the track.

And, of course, he’d have to pay for a new shack.

“The betting line is against me that [Moore] can’t get over it,” said Hanna, who estimated the shack is about 15 feet tall. “I think that’s wishful thinking.”

Of course, as Hanna knows, nothing is guaranteed in the stunt show biz.

“The problem with this is there is a very limited approach,” Hanna said.

“[The driver] has to come out of turn two [and] cut across the infield.

“Normally on a dive bomber you get your speed and then maintain it. This one, to get the proper speed at that short distance, it’s floor boarding [aka putting the pedal to the medal].”

This will be the third straight year Moore will perform the grand finale for Hanna.

The past two years he’s done the dive bomber, including an attempt last year that saw his car flip over after hitting the first row of “catch cars.”

He had been attempting to break a world record with the stunt. Instead, he had to settle for just coming out of it in one piece.

“I kind of slid out around the corner [on the approach] because I got a little too crazy,” Moore said. “I just hit the gas and went for it.

“[As I was in the air] I kind of was just hoping I’d hit into cars, period.”

The idea of danger is nothing new to Moore.

He said he has been attempting random stunts on back roads around Sequim since he was a teenager, some resulting in hospital visits.

Hanna, too, is no stranger to the emergency room.

He estimates he’s destroyed approximately 3,000 cars in more than 50 years of stunt driving under the handle Dusty Russell.

“I’ve only been given last rites twice,” Hanna said with a wry smile.

A total of 20 stunts are planned for the show, including the rollover contest, T-Bone, domino crash, human battering ram, motorcycle fire walls and head-on crash.

Many of the stunts will feature local riders as well as the veteran World Champion Auto Daredevils.

As is always the case with Hanna’s shows, the cars will not be equipped with a roll cage. That includes, of course, Moore’s pit shack plunge.

“I like the audience to see what happens if you roll your car when you’re on the highway,” Hanna said.

“We don’t have a roll cage. We don’t have a roll bar. Therefore, this is real life. That’s one of the reasons why we do it that way.”

Hanna said this is possibly the last of his shows at the speedway (another stunt is planned at the Clallam County Fairgrounds on Sept. 10).

“I don’t have the stamina to do all of this,” Hanna said. “It’s just getting so hard to find people to do this kind of stunt work because it is so inherently dangerous.”

So what will Moore do if the show doesn’t return?

“I’ll do the same thing,” Moore said. “There just won’t be a crowd.”

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