"Catholic Rally Stage 1" is our name for the rousing rally course of a playground behind the Catholic school I mentioned in my previous highway tale. It's not an actual rally course, and as such we tend to do just a few quick laps and then leave hastily.

Well, this time it appears Catholic Rally Stage 1 has had its revenge.

The scene: Another fun-filled night of driving. For this occasion, Barry brought his Acura Integra Type-R and I brought my Subaru Impreza WRX and we had lots and lots of fun on some windy gravel mountain roads (in the WRX, that is...we parked the Type-R for this portion of the evening). After taking a whirlwind tour of these roads (it was around 2am, by the way -- as usual), we decided to hit Catholic Rally Stage 1 on the way home.

We parked the Type-R several blocks away from the Catholic school and everyone hopped in my WRX (everyone being Barry, Carlson, Tabor and myself). I had let Carlson drive for a while, so he took us to the school. At this point, Barry, Tabor and I hopped out to watch while Carlson ran the course. His run was uneventful, since he was being extra careful. After one lap he jumped out and Barry jumped in.

Barry tore ass around the course, sending grass and bark chips into low Earth orbit, while the rest of us stood next to the jungle gym and watched.

We watched as Barry swung my WRX into a sweeping left curve, executing what appeared to be a nice e-brake slide. However, the car didn't stop sliding. We watched the headlights moving laterally at about 40 mph. We continued to watch as the headlights suddenly disappeared. We turned and looked at each other, jaws agape, as we realized that the car had just flown, sideways and spinning, off the edge of a steep hill. We cringed in horror as we heard a loud thud, followed immediately by crunch, a moment of silence, and then another crunch and one last thud. Images of my WRX rolling over flashed into our heads. Then we all started running like maniacs, hoping we could make it back to the Type-R before the cops showed up.

See, we weren't particularly worried about Barry. He can fend for himself. Our first thought was to get the fuck out of there. So we ran like mad. When we were about halfway across the field, Carlson realized he didn't have the keys to the Type-R. Neither did Tabor. Neither did I. Fuck. Barry had them. And Barry, as far as we knew, had become one with the mangled wreckage of my once-beautiful WRX.

Suddenly, we heard the loud revving of an engine and the WRX, with Barry still alive and at the wheel, came screeching around the corner. Amazingly, it appeared to be undamaged. We jumped in, went and got the Type-R, and then got far, far away from that place.

As it turned out, here's what happened: The WRX had been in a nice controlled slide around the curve until it hit the wet grass and lost all semblance of traction. It then continued to slide and rotate slightly, until it hit the bump at the edge of the hill. This launched it into the air, still sideways and rotating. After a good two to three seconds of airtime, the car landed (backwards), slid through some gravel, smashed through a small tree with the back bumper, hopped over a curb and ended up in the street, perfectly intact.

A careful survey showed that the only damage to the car was a broken license plate frame where the tree had hit, a few scratches, and a slightly-fucked alignment. All very fixable for very small amounts of money. I was extremely relieved (as was Barry, since he's paying for it).

Moral of the story: Leave Catholic Rally Stage 1 the fuck alone.

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