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Bone stock, 1 year & 2 day old CLK55 getting tossed around turn 4 at Willow Springs by yours truly. What can I say except OHMYDOGMA what a well and truly spectacular kick-in-the-ass day of fun!<br>
I had the good fortune to participate in a track day/driving school put on by Jordan Alessio of RoadOne Racing. 7 half-hour rounds of track time for each driver, lots of talented instructors to help you get the most out of your car and yourself, great weather, a great track, good fun watching other cars & drivers.<br>
Mine was one of only 4 Benz’s there (one each CLK55, brand new no plates yet C320, late-eighties E500, and a mid-nineties E wagon with a C36 engine tossed in for fun!). Lots of bimmer’s & Porsches of every conceivable size, shape, age, and level of tuning, one rented(!) Viper, and a handful of ‘vettes.<br>
Since this was a driving school, no timing was allowed (keeps Jordan’s and the driver’s insurance in force). No doubt, my butt clock tells me my lap times dropped dramatically from the first session to the last. First time out, an instructor drives your car – my guy dove into turn 8 (a long right hand sweeper) at 120mph. No braking. No sweat for him, I just doubled the depth of gray on my head. Scared the holy crap outta me. We switched seats, and my first lap I went into turn 8 at no more than 90 – and I hit the brakes ‘cuz it just didn’t feel like I would be able to keep the shiny side up at that speed. By my final session, I was going into turn 8 at 120+, no braking, and it felt completely controlled. The rush was amazing….. and by the time I packed it in I had ribbons of melted rubber on all four tires.<br>
The only negative of the day – my beloved CLK decided to pick this afternoon to repeat its transmission “issue�. Stuck in limp home mode, it gets a free ride from Lancaster to Pasadena (nearest MB dealer), and I’m left trying to figure out how to get to LAX for my 6:00am flight to Finland. So here I sit half a world away while Dan at Rusnak Mercedes nurses my baby back to health. The good news – Dan agreed that going by the book (and replacing the tranny controller & valve body) wasn’t good enough since that had just been done in January. He even took the initiative to push back when “standard policies� dictated that he install a remanufactured tranny shipped in from the fatherland. So I get back stateside Saturday, rent a piece-o-crap from LAX for the weekend, and boogie on up to Pasadena Monday to pick up my baby with her brand new tranny & (promises Dan) a spiffy detail job thrown in. The only piece left to deal with will be getting MBUSA to reimburse me for my expenses – trip interruption policy says first 3 days @ $300 per. Only issue is that my three days aren’t the first three – so there might be some fight to get MBUSA to see reason.<br>
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Back to the fun part - RoadOne Racing is on the web at www.roadoneracing.com. Not a lot of details there, but you can reach Jordan Good guy, took great care of me when I had to cancel out on a previous session, and offered to drive me to LAX himself. No, I don't have any affiliation, ain't getting any kick back, just want to let you know about a good guy with a good product - enjoy!<br>
 
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