The spirit of driving

It’s seven in the morning at Willow Spring International Raceway, in Big Willow, California. The sun starts to heat up and the sound of roaring engines stupefies one’s hearing. Crowds of spectators as well as drivers wearing colorful racing suits gradually fill up the place.

Dane Remo steps out of his little red Mazda Miata with a casual demeanor, wearing jeans, Vans and a t-shirt. He checks the air pressure on his tires before the mandatory early driver’s meeting. After a little chit chat with friends about the conditions of the track, the voice of the announcer requests the Miata class to get ready for the first round.

Remo prepares for his first race session of about 20 minutes against 15 other Miatas. After the showdown, he gets out of his car and goes straight to the time lap scoring sheet, but his day is not over yet. In an hour he’ll be racing again, looking to beat his previous record.

From the moment you meet him, his charismatic, cool personality shows the kind of laid-back dude that Remo is.

His friendliness automatically makes people around him comfortable. That is the same way he approaches driving, whether it’s in the racing tracks, or the Little Tujunga canyons in Sylmar, California, where Remo loves to drive his Miata. His audacious, yet responsible way of driving makes him stay away from any type of racing outside the tracks. Instead, if he is itching to go for a spin, he’ll go to the canyons, where the spirit to go fast comes naturally.

Remo handles the race track and canyons with ease, despite his car being more than 20 years old.

The tranquility in which he takes the wheel is a clear sign of his talent as a racer. The 22-year-old communications student at CSUN has an uncompromised, yet humble charm that makes him likable among his peers. His youth suggests that he has not been driving that long at all. Although, cheap car insurance for young drivers will make this hobby more affordable.

The San Fernando Valley native got into racing cars three years ago through some friends. Racing starts off by not intending to race but then you get lost in the moment and suddenly question how you have ever lived without racing before. It is such a great thrill and if you love a wild driving experience then racing is just for you. Perhaps you want to start your racing experience by first purchasing a comfortable and sensible car for the roads such as an inexpensive Ford F150, then afterward, once you have got some more practice, you can purchase something faster and take your new purchase to the tracks.

“I started driving in canyons and mounting roads.†he said, driving a Mazda 3.

Remo gradually gained the respect of other drivers who have more experience on the tracks.

“He’s a pretty good driver, really smooth. He is progressing a lot faster than other drivers,†said Michael Hillow, one of Remo’s best friends, who is also a driver.

The two car enthusiasts met three years ago in the car scene, and from there they became close friends.

Remo’s eagerness to become the best in his circuit has also impressed other drivers.

“He’s a pretty cool guy. Very fast,†definitely very fast.†said Dominic Guo, who started racing about the same time as Remo did.

Even though he is in the amateur, or enthusiast, class, and his car has few alterations in the engine, Remo is considered one of the fastest in his category.

The Miata racing community has grown immensely in Southern California. It has gone from only about 10 drivers to approximatly 40 today, according to Touda Bentatou, organizer of the “Extreme Speed Roadster Cup,†a Miata only series.

“Right now, we are only in Southern California. We’re trying to get up north and we’re working with one of our sponsors to potentially do something in British Columbia,†said Bentatou, who’s been working with Extreme Speed Track Events for the past three years.

The company’s objective is to create a friendly, yet competitive atmosphere among car enthusiasts.

Drivers are required to register at a cost of about $120 per race.

It’s his uncompromising, and relaxed approach to racing that makes Remo so good.

“I mean I wouldn’t say I practice but a lot of times, like every couple of tracks, I make sure my maintenance is good, like oil changes and stuff,†Remo said.

Remo’s driving skills are natural because he doesn’t train much.

“I don’t really practice for a race because the race is kind of practice for driving,†he said.

In the past two race events he’s had. Remo has made the podium, once winning and the most recent taking third place. It’s the fun and excitement for racing cars, that keeps this young driver competing.

For Remo, racing in a more professional level is uncertain.

“Who knows? It’s a lot of fun right now. I feel like once I get older, or get a better job [I’ll stop],†Remo said.

Until he’s forced to make the choice between burning rubber and the responsilibities that will come with adulthood, Remo said he will continue to spend his days behind the wheel.

For now he’s just having fun enjoying the thrill of the race and giving everyone a good run for their money.