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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


MotorSpaceNW crashes Ford Fiesta launch, San Francisco (4)

The 2011 Ford Fiesta makes a noise like an old woman hawking up a loogie when you grind its gears. In my defense, I got all the way through first gear before discovering this. The Pro’s camera stared back at me blankly while I swore at it. It was time to make up for lost time.

“So, how much driving experience do you have?” he asked as the trees closed in over the top of the tight little road and the rain turned steady. 

“Very little,” I replied, “Just bought a 1995 Honda Civic with a stick, it’s got Costco tires.” 

No response. It was his turn to be scared. 

I drove as fast as I thought it was safe to, but then I got more confident. The Fiesta will do that to you. The trees overhead were so thick that the road stayed dry from the rain in places. It created a wet, dry, wet, dry pattern that was completely random. 

Several times we were pulling hard through a banked turn that suddenly became soaked half way through. When this happened I could feel the Fiesta kill a slide before it happened. It illustrated the connection in my head between racing technology and safety technology. Both ways saved our butts. 

Eventually my bun-clenching pace paid off and we found ourselves trailing a line of Fiestas that were having their own fun but not at the rate we had been. We arrived shortly thereafter at Byington Winery. It was beautiful. There were complimentary snacks and Ford personnel on hand to talk about our experiences on the public “rally” road. 

“We drove it until we thought it was going to fly off the road, and it didn’t,” I said to a Ford guy high up on the engineering ladder. 

He smiled at me uneasily, but with a noticeable pride. Once the meet and greet was through The Pro and I piled back into our Fiesta and made our way back down the road. The Pro, being as such, took the wheel once more and continued to terrify me. Nearing dusk we stopped at a lookout point over a valley of rolling hills. 

The Pro snuck the Fiesta beyond the parking stops to the edge of a massive drop off and set up his tripod to film a portion of his review. As this was happening, a helpful man emerged from an old Toyota Celica to inform as that San Francisco had been wiped out by a nuclear war.

“It’s all gone,” he said, “watch out for the acid rain. If it starts up again, wrap a cloth around your hands before you open your car doors or your fingers will get burned.” 

I was less concerned with acid rain burning my fingers than where I was going to sleep that night with the hotel having been destroyed. This guy was off base. 

He retreated to his Celica and laid back in the driver’s seat where he wept for the loss of the city as The Pro filmed a high-energy segment for his website. It went well. Shortly thereafter we arrived at Hotel Vitale. Somehow it had survived the nuclear assault. Our schedule said we had half an hour before dinner and cocktails on the back patio followed by, “Transfer to Ken Block Gymkhana reveal”. 

Translation: “Ken Block reveals his new Ford Fiesta rally car. 

Yes, he left Subaru for Ford. He also wound up having a beer with me at dinner… Sort of. 

Stay tuned.  

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