Eric Ooi: Chinese medicine made me a better driver. I started race driving way back in 1959, more than half a century ago. The TR2 was the first car I raced in.
The Singapore motor sport calendar that year had only two sprints and 1 hill climb if I remember rightly.
My first race was a sprint on a straight course. I came second behind an Ace Bristol.
The second event was the Gap hill climb.I was again second behind that Ace but this time I was very close behind and my time was one of the fastest for a TR2. I felt great and began to believe that I was the best.
The third event was over a twisty course and I was sure it would not be a problem.
On the warm up lap I made the stupid mistake of going fast on an unfamiliar track. Over a crest into a tightening right hander I ended up well and truly off the road. One look at the front of my car and I knew it was going to be expensive, certainly much more than I could afford. I sat on the road beside my car and held my head.
I was trying to decide whether to kick myself or to cry.
It was then that Lim Peng Han came and sat beside me assured me the car could be fixed and that he would help get a good mechanic to do the job as a favour, cheaper but not free.
Lim Peng Han was an old hand at racing and taught me my first lesson. A fast entry into a corner looked spectacular and felt fast for the driver, but a quick clean exit was really the winning edge. He then mentioned some formula involving V and R .I was wondering what the hell he was talking about.
He said the formula simply meant that when cornering V and R vary directly where V is the speed and R is the radius of the turn. This simply meant that the speed round a turn is limited by the radius of the turn. To get a quick exit the trick was to enter the corner on a smaller radius i.e. slower and then to progressively increase R as you turn on the power before the apex.
I wish someone had told me this earlier.
The second lesson I learned was at home. And it was the lesson that really hit home.
My sister’s old servant a great believer in Chinese medicine said I must have been banged around a bit and could be hurt internally. So Chinese medicine. A big packet of stuff was put into a pot and boiled for hours.
As I watched the cauldron boil and bubble, I knew for sure I was in double trouble.
That night I had to drink a big bowl of the most foul tasting and evil smelling brew imaginable.
I swore I would never crash again and I never did. I made very sure I knew the track thoroughly, that I was fit and the car was double checked. The fear of Chinese medicine drove me to safety.
So you see Chinese medicine really works. Maybe the police should try this too for traffic offenders.